JANEY MUIR : F R A C T U R E is Muir’s first solo exhibition held at AXO Gallery and curated by COUP RED. Muir is a Dundee based artist and DJCAD Master of Fine Art graduate utilising sculpture, performance, painting and video.
The exhibition combines previous conceptual explorations and existing works with new work produced during a two-week project installation in AXO Gallery space, allowing Muir to play with objects and exaggerate the everyday.
Twelve of the artists’ works are exhibited throughout AXO Gallery: SWATTER, Transit Yoga, French Horn, DON’T BE SENTIMENTAL, SPINE, you could mean everything to me, USE EXCESSIVE FORCE, dada da, sublet of a sublet, The View From My Head, vertebral compression painting and I wished I was anywhere else.
Muir has rules for making work. The Rules: Always use the same brand of tape when making a sculpture to avoid differences in colour, use more tape than you really need to and don’t be decorative. Each rule adheres to each process, sustaining a fixed methodology that applies to medium and structure with the same candour. Paintings are layered with image and texture, folded lino and an abundance of duct tape fixed to the surface. All are easily ripped off, removed and relocated, consequently remaining fluid, in flux.
Towering high within the gallery space a 10ft cardboard and resin sculpture SWATTER throws an immediate visual punch introducing the viewer to an assemblage of work that is raw, industrial, precise and autobiographical – casting aside constraints of delicacy or sentimentality. It is what it is, art about art, unapologetic, immediate and accessible. Muir dismisses function and delves into the aesthetic of the object itself revealing the truth of the matter.
“Aura Staz presented a paper titled ‘Sculptural Fits’ at a conference focused on sculpture and performance at the Henry Moore Instutute. She spoke of how sculpture must ‘fit’ the body. She defined categories of ‘fitting’, where objects require human interaction in order to perform (to be played as in a musical instrument, or functioning as a relic after the human touch has left them altered). This paper changed my way of seeing objects – and how I interact with my sculptures and objects.”
The crux of Muir’s exhibition is founded upon SPINE: a 33 sectioned porcelain sculpture representing the artists’ vertebrae, fractures and osteoporosis. Each porcelain mug handle twists, pulls and contorts against the gallery foundations, accepting support, strength and safety, yet ultimately it is each section and each vertebrae that join to support the solid mass. Mugs are flipped and slotted askew, each a vessel for fluid like the spine, but with functionality dismantled. Muir’s polished structure makes us acutely aware of our own bodies, each enclosing a spine contracting and writhing beneath the surface. Our empathy toward the twisted structure unsettles, reminding us of our own fragility. We are not so solid.
The entrance of the gallery reverberates with sound from black monitors playing Transit Yoga and French Horn. Both video works employ and present different acts of performance inherent within Muir’s practice. Objects perform to body and body performs to object, each taking and offering control.
As you exit, in the corner of the gallery lies Muir’s cardboard manifesto: DON’T BE SENTIMENTAL. Both a personal work ethic and a mantra, like the very material that forms the text – it is disposable.