Wallace Arts Trust Collection Area, October 2nd - November 24th
Throughout his career, Garry Nash has been preoccupied with how objects and images communicate with the viewer. In this exhibition of new works, Nash revisits themes of popular communication first explored in his internationally acclaimed Bill Poster series, now focusing on the concept of the neon sign and its artistic possibilities.
When we think of neon signs today, we may think of two things: nostalgia for the neon signage of previous decades, or the contemporary use of 'retro' styled neon signs designed both for nostalgic appeal and as an alternative to the more mundane commercial mainstream of backlit plastic and L.E.D signage.
Neon Sign may tip its hat to the nostalgic element of neon, but its concerns are contemporary. How can neon be manipulated or freed from its utilitarian functions, to become an expressive medium in its own right? Artists have long been fascinated with neon as a medium, sometimes employing professional sign benders to produce custom works. However, commercial neon is disappearing, and so too are the sign benders. What happens when they are all gone? Neon Sign addresses this question. Nash has made every work himself, with minimal tuition. He has adapted his prodigious skills with traditional blown glass to create the single and double electrode works for this exhibition, focusing on the ideas and potential of neon. The works utilise some of the familiar constructions of the signage industry in unusual ways, to make the usual look strange. By questioning our habits of looking and processing, Neon Sign aims to create new visual experiences, perceptions and insights.