June 23, 2006

Art Exhibition: Half Life at Fieldgate Gallery, London


Half Life

Fieldgate Gallery, London

23 June - 16 July 2006

Artists: Maxwell Attenborough, Christopher Davies, Richard Ducker, Lee Holden, Mat Humphrey, Caroline List, Gretta Marchant, Gavin Nolan, Terry Smith, Isabel Young

Radioactive decay rates are normally stated in terms of their half-lives, and the half-life of a given nuclear species is related to its radiation risk. The different types of radioactivity lead to different decay paths which transmute the nuclei into other chemical elements. The radioactive half-life for a given radioisotope is the time for half the radioactive nuclei in any sample to undergo radioactive decay. After two half-lives, there will be one-fourth the original sample, after three half-lives one-eighth the original sample, and so forth.

This exhibition addresses a notion of decay where each artist appears to represent it at different stages before entropy takes over.  However hard it tries, art will always struggle to capture the present, and is therefore left playing catch-up. These artists exploit this state of affairs by exploring differing points of decay: half lives from moments that have passed, ideologies lost.  They reveal a world of physical or emotional instability, exploiting surface corruption to expose psychological wounds. Paint can either exquisitely open a world of illusion, while illusion can state an ugly opposite. Materials elegantly evoke a fading memory, or are assembled with precarious balance.

There is also a biological half life: the time required for half the quantity of a drug or other substance deposited in a living organism to be metabolized or eliminated by normal biological processes. Here at the beginning, there is the possibility of elation and intoxication, at least before the process of the hangover begins. The exhibition reveals a world caught at various stages of transition from one state to another, in flux, and on the edge of collapse.

Fieldgate Gallery is a new 10,000 sq. ft. gallery and project space founded and run by artist-curator Richard Ducker. 

The gallery is located at 14 Fieldgate Street, London E1, on the ground floor under Atlantis Art Materials, a 10 minute walk from the Whitechapel Art Gallery.  The nearest tube station is Aldgate East.

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