Surrealism from the jungles of Mexico and rising graduate stars at the Surface Gallery

By Ben Miller | 19 October 2010
Emma Dexter, Tempus (2008)
Exhibitions: e.m.10: Continua and Terra Incognita, Surface Gallery, Nottingham, October 22 – November 12 2010

As you might expect from her spell as a resident artist working in a surrealist garden in the jungles of Mexico's Las Pozas region, sculptor Emma Dexter's worldview has changed dramatically in the past year.

"It was a turning point," admits the West Dean graduate. "My work has taken on a new energy, and colour and scale are no longer barriers within my practice."

Having dealt in mediums as disparate as furniture, glazed ceramics and photography and film, Dexter's new works for Surface brim with eccentric, playful and illuminating results, from marble-like glass eyes to colour boards informed by the traditional Mexican Day of the Dead festival that takes place in Las Vegas.

She’s joined for Terra Incognita by Kashi Nadim Chaudry. The Nottingham Castle Open Winner has made a sculptural installation, Harem, dealing with his own feelings of desire and transgressive sexuality as a gay man. It features a pile of colourful fabrics which gradually reveal six ghostly figures.

The accompanying annual East Midlands graduate show, e.m.10, introduces six recent Fine Art graduates selected and tutored by the resident curatorial team, moving from apprentices to young artists.

Chosen for the incisiveness of their explorations into the contemporary genre, they find common themes of materiality, consumption, time and space and the sublime and sinister.

The double-bill also marks a major transformation for Surface, which has removed partitioning walls to expand the layout of the venue into a single, united space. It also launches their new education programme, beginning with a talk and tour event led by curators and artists on November 6 2010 (2pm-4pm).
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