Arts Review - We: You, Me at Firstsite

Running until November 19th, Deborah tells us about her experience of this group exhibition, put together by emerging artists and fledgling curators.

I attended the opening at Firstsite of We: You, Me a group exhibition curated by JMC Anderson, Charlie Bryan and Laurie Taylor Straiton which brought together artists exploring narrative, environment and gender in their work. This fits in perfectly with the idea of ‘Identity’, which is a subject close to Firstsite’s heart this year.

Gender Redo is inspired by the 1990 work by Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. This book suggests that gender is a type of improvised performance, created by society. Gender Redo asks the question, is it possible for us to reach a state of gender fluidity: Be undone to be redone? I really enjoyed this part of the multi-exhibition. I found the work exciting and innovative, particularly those that questioned the defined societal norms and defied them. (Curator Laurie Taylor Straiton).

Narrative Whispers explores the artist's role and the process of creating art, from the collecting of materials, to the location it’s created. I was drawn to Mark Houghton’s work which deals with the linguistics of painting. I love the concept that these paintings are not paintings, but objects, and that the human journey is consciously seductive.

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This also links with David Foggo and his work ‘The Exhibition…’ -  which again uses language to entice an artistic response. Using erasable pen in his piece solidifies his ideas of fleeting moments and the transient state of the work. (Curator JMC Anderson)

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 Altered Environments compares the natural to the man-made. To me, it was a nature vs. nurture expression and exploring the extremes of both. The artworks were placed in a way that they conversed with one another, similar to the Between Things exhibition at the Minories last year.

I particularly enjoyed Colchester's own Frazer Merrick’s work, which plays with sound and imagery. I love the obvious manipulation of the way you view the images by using sound to enhance and change the visual presentation.

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Jon Thomas’ 3D light installations play with shape and use assorted colours: Again a kind of manipulation of our senses as the different shades effect our mood and how we feel about the space they inhabit. (Curator Charlie Bryan).

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As an artist myself this exhibition convinced me that emerging artists can have chances to show their work. Exhibitions like this give a great starting platform for new artists to take off and I look forward to attending and being involved in similar exhibitions.

I also just want to lastly mention how great a job the curators did. The exhibitions flow seamlessly into each other and allow those participating to feel involved with each piece. I particularly loved the idea of the ‘do it yourself’ catalogue guide. It was an innovative way of encouraging interaction with the pieces and allows people to take time to get to know each artist, rather than just having their bios on the wall, which only allows a quick skim read and then you walk away. With this, you get to take home the information and go over it again. It’s a fantastic idea.

We: You, Me is on at Firstsite until 19th November, daily, from 10am-5pm. Go see it!

Photos by Deborah Suzanne.