Kate MacGarry: J Blackwell 'R.O.I / J.O.M.O' (until 8 February 2020)
Photo: Robert Glowacki
'R.O.I/J.O.M.O' standing for 'Return on Investment / Joy of Missing Out' harks back to the cliché terminology that is thrown around not only in the sphere of the art world, but online too. When there is such a variety of content, recurring jargon not only alienates people but also makes the art world seem like a vapid joke. Language is an interesting concept in thinking about the bigger themes within Blackwell's work, really opening more questions than it closes. How we talk about issues of this unimaginable scale with the sensitivity, gravity and urgency it requires is a challenge, but Blackwell's 'Lank Alert Net' piece in the show creates a simple visual code, with its background of identical plastic bags with a red 'X' splattered across; its red hue signifies danger but is visually similar to blood in a horror film. At a time where our consciousness must shift towards reusing and relying on more sustainable materials to sustain ourselves and the planet simultaneously, the hybridity of matter in Blackwell's work is closely aligned to this ethos, all the while producing aesthetics that are so arresting that they force us to stop and contemplate.