British artist, Lesley Foxcroft, uses ordinary building materials to create unexpectedly elegant site-specific works for Chelsea Space in “Corners”. Exhibition ends 30 October 2015.
It is the artist that turns humble material such as MDF into something more
Before going to see the latest offering by Chelsea Space (on the campus of UAL’s Chelsea College of Arts, Millbank, London), were you to say aloud to me, “Come see an art exhibition where all the works are made of pieces of MDF affixed to the wall with bolts or brackets”, I might have replied, “You go ahead; I’ll wait in the coffee shop next door“.
Thankfully, though, I’m the curious sort and one only needs a spare 10 minutes or so to have a look around in Chelsea Space (it’s not very big). This is one of those exhibitions where such plain language that usually describes MDF is a little unfair to the work, which must be seen in the flesh to appreciate what’s going on.
Firstly, the title of this current exhibition by Lesley Foxcroft, “Corners”, is pretty clever… none of the works are in a corner; rather, the works draw attention to and in some ways, define, this oft-overlooked part of the room. Secondly, the humble materials that Foxcroft uses in her practice (paper, cardboard, and here, MDF in black or brown) are selected for precisely their minimal presence in which their value is realised by the artist’s hands. Foxcroft has said of her work,
I like the idea that the uncomplicated has a purpose: that the material does not give a sculpture its value, it is the artist that does
In this site-specific project at Chelsea Space, Foxcroft utilises seemingly mechanical processes to relate the material to the space; thin sheets of MDF are bent, shaped, and stacked or bolted together to create unlikely and alluring compositions thus “producing a dialogue between an aesthetic commonplace and the gallery architecture.”
Judith Flanders for The Arts Desk compares Foxcroft’s work to that of Rachel Whiteread, another British artist who uses seemingly incongruent materials to “…focus on what is not there, the shapes that are left once presence is removed [whilst] Foxcroft illuminates our sense of limits and borders: where and why space is delineated as it is. Both of them are concerned with the built, the manufactured world, the world of cities and industry that we live in, and how we perceive these manufactured places.”
If you are in the area, Chelsea Space is but a few minutes’ walk across the courtyard adjacent to Tate Britain’s Atterbury Street entrance. Well worth the visit to see MDF elevated from ordinary cabinetry to something more.
More links and information
- Read more about Chelsea Space Public Programme and ‘Corners’ by Lesley Foxcroft
- View/download Press Release for “Corners” [PDF]
- Lesley Foxcroft is a graduate of Camberwell College of Arts (1974) and has exhibited widely internationally as well as in the UK.
- See more work by Lesley Foxcroft on Annely Juda Fine Art website
- Review of Lesley Foxcroft’s work at Annaly Juda Fine Art with David Nash – 16 September 2010 – by Judith Flanders for The Arts Desk – “two compact but fascinating shows…[Foxcroft’s] an intensive exploration of the beauty of the straight edge, the classicism of a corner, all highlighted by the deceptive simplicity of this monochrome, manufactured pressed material.”
Exhibition details: “Corners” by Lesley Foxcroft is on at Chelsea Space, 16 John Islip, SW1P 4JU from 30 September through 30 October 2015.
PS. Check out the Chelsea Cafe Project next door to Chelsea Space – you can enjoy a latte and a revolving exhibition of student/alumni photography or small-scale works from Chelsea College of Art. Currently showing a series of photographs by recent MA Fine Art graduate, Kelise Franclemont.