Canvas & Cream Gallery: Jeff Lowe 'Brought to Light' (until 20th December 2013)

Jeff Lowe is an exciting, globally recognised contemporary sculptor, who has recently exhibited at the likes of Whitford Fine Art and Flowers Gallery, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he now has a temporary collection at Canvas and Cream Gallery, SE23, which already houses a café and therapy room, boasting a warm, friendly and intimate atmosphere.

However it is refreshing to see such a location showcasing the work of Jeff Lowe, as his pieces are intrusive, bold and modern. The exhibition is curated in such a way that everything is equally domineering in its own way, without being an overwhelming, messy or disturbing collection.

'Visible Gaps No.1' presents this point well, as its painted wood makes it a recognisable material, which seems to represent an imprisonment. By showing us a media we are all familiar with, Lowe entices the viewer and lures us into a fate that we cannot ignore. The title of the sculpture implies that there is a route of escape from what entraps us, and the freedom of expression can contribute to this. Lowe has shown this with his sculpting, but it is a premise that can easily be applied to the reality of the individual.

Lowe's 2007 piece, 'Anatomy of a Groove No. 3', shows us how methods of art making have changed us, both as opinionated spectators and as a society with a strong reliance on the industry in our culture. Intriguingly, the perception of the piece varies with different angles of viewing. From some distance away from the large wood print, one would not argue with the idea that it appears like a hieroglyphic or perhaps a Chinese symbol. However personally I would suggest that the artist is trying to convey the impact that printing has had on art reproduction, voicing this by making the design look like a type of language.

'Anatomy of a Groove No. 3' by Jeff Lowe
Photograph taken by Let's Make Lots of Monet

There are several aluminium and steel pieces exhibited as part of 'Brought to Light', which are titled differently but are visually fairly similar. 'Building a Space' is one that certainly attracts attention, as it is the most compact; being so small it allows the viewer to become wholly immersed in the piece and view it from all angles, to perceive it as they wish. The title and sculpture combined provide a fresh take on examining the artist's use of space. The medium of nickel-coated steel (for this particular piece) allows flexibility, and thus cleverly showing us spatial movement without the media of dance or performance art. As someone who is fascinated by new media and use of this, I find it hugely enlightening when artists are able to overlap different media by borrowing techniques from other fields in order to develop and grow within their own specialism. Lowe is certainly successful in this.

This exhibition is a delightful asset to an independent café. The fact that they are able to exhibit such an established artist, who happens to be local, is a huge bonus, and will certainly hope to boost the art awareness of the area.

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