Et Cetera is a rather special exhibition. Not only does it mark the curatorial debut of Spoonfed’s Tom Jeffreys but it gives intricate insights into the ordinarily overlooked debris of our everyday environment.
An ensemble of rocks, moss, thimbles and broken china, which could easily have been retrieved from the cobbled street on which the gallery is comfortably nestled, may not sound enthralling. But set against the white walls of the gallery, the ordinarily mundane subject matter of the everyday underfoot, becomes something else entirely.
Take Laura Culham’s intricately painted loose leaves collection; eight solitary leaves that afford you the time to marvel at a fragile, concertinaed beauty that is lost in their usual abundance. The same goes for Culham’s broken china, ‘rubbish’ that is swept up and immediately discarded in its fractured form, but strangely alluring when time is taken to stop and observe its intricate painted detail here.
Stephen Gill’s ‘Off Ground Series’ of concrete slabs is intriguing, partly because the undulations resemble moonlike craters but more so because they’re the abandoned missiles of London rioters, which Gill scavenged from the streets and transformed into daguerrotypes under the cameras gaze.
Gill’s fascination with the less-than-glamorous details of our urban environment is not new, having spent three years photographing hotel toilet paper from around the world. His focus remains on a material whose only purpose is for our disposal.
For some, this exhibition might seem a bit spare; faint details of moss that you strain to see and shards of china fallen into disarray. But these quiet qualities are exactly what make it so appealing. The artists have delved into the nooks and crannies of our surroundings to capture moments of stillness that we wouldn’t ordinarily give the time to notice. It's about seeing beauty beyond the everyday.
By Jess Jones-Berney
Et Cetera is at Hoxton Art Gallery until 24 May 2012. Admission free.