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KRONK Matthew Robinson, Spectacle Gallery, Birmingham, 19th Nov-13th Dec 2005

From: Charlie Levine
Category: Art
Date: 30 January 2006


Spectacle Gallery is a hidden gem that rests just upon the ring road of Birmingham town centre in Ladywood. It is an exhibition space that has brought to the Midlands a variety of new artists with innovative ideas and exciting prospects. It is then with their latest offering of in-house artist Matthew Robinson that they once again do not disappoint.

Robinsonís ideas are based upon the city. The structure and architecture that builds up layers and layers of textures, colours and cultures; and Birmingham is the ideal environment for his work to be shown. The intricate sheath that Robinson works with that envelops any space that it is shown is outstanding. Upon the entrance wall (opposite the DJ) Robinson has covered the wall with a plethora of black and white printouts that cover the wall like wallpaper that one would find in any home. Its poster effect is immediately reminiscent of fly posting that you see all over the city. He brings the street into the gallery and, along with the DJ, creates the air of young urban cool. You know instantly, purely by the entrance arch, that this show is going to be explosive, loud and in your face; and so it is.

Upon the right hand wall of the gallery Robinson exaggerates his posters by covering the wall in one large colour version of his black and white posters. It is attention grabbing, bold and beautiful. As Spectacle say in their press release it is both Ďorganic and futuristic,í almost like we are gazing into space. But rather than an actual space it is one built from imagination, inspired quite openly from manga and typical sci-fi imagery. Upon the gallery floor a large sculpture bursts into the room via a pipe. It is as though someone has tried to squeeze Robinsonís painting through a tube and the globular balls of colour and angular shapes that make up his sculpture are the result. His sculptures are at first humorous and playful, though they become intense and eerie after contemplation. You can not move through the space without being ever aware of its presence, especially for example as you have to navigate your way through it and over the pipe that ejaculates it into the room to get to his final piece of work.

When you have high jumped over the pipe which is at hip level, Robinson presents a short animation, again it explores his themes of shape, texture and colour and for me was my favourite aspect of the show. It was by far the most subtle of pieces and explored each of his themes whimsically yet directly in a format that one associates with the comic, the ideal and the imagined, the perfect medium for Robinson to explore further perhaps.

Spectacle have once again proven that young artists in Birmingham should be more acknowledged and recognised. Robinsonís exhibition is personal, frivolous and enchanting, and allows any viewer the chance to lose themselves in a city filled with colour rather than the grey that we have all become ashamedly accustomed.

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