Mythological Creatures And Uncoordinated Dance In An Art Double Bill

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Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 39 months ago
Mythological Creatures And Uncoordinated Dance In An Art Double Bill ☆☆☆☆☆ 0

Copyright Jo Baer. Varied themes combine to create surreal narratives in each painting

Jo Baer: Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

Jo Baer is an artist who has been painting since the 1960s and best known for her minimalist paintings. Thankfully there are only a few here, in this survey show containing a selection of paintings covering her career until now, which is probably for the best as they are the dullest on display. The more enjoyable works feature mythological symbols and a healthy dose of surrealism resulting in some truly bizarre pieces.

Artworks feature stone columns spouting flames and a cyclopean half man, half stag. One work had us completely perplexed as it features a silhouette of a provocatively posed woman standing over a snake and the other half features a bird of prey resting on a man's head.  Baer's fantastical paintings borrow from multiple mythological and modern sources — they may be all over the place but they're fun to investigate and draw you into their surreal narratives, even if they are almost impossible to decode.

The two uncoordinated dancers in a still from video. Copyright Simon Martin

Simon Martin: Londonist Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

The second exhibition is completely different to its neighbour. It is a solitary video work featuring improvisational performance art as the performers respond to the artist's commands and act out scenes relating to a city and its architecture.

The movements range from the rhythmic to the convulsive and it looks halfway between an uncoordinated dance and an awkward mating ritual. The artist wants the viewer to feel an emotional connection — but all we felt was confusion and apathy towards a stilted video. The references to architecture and a city are almost non-existent save for a wall that makes an appearance in the video, and the music never connects with what's being seen on screen.

This exhibition is trying to elicit an emotional response and reference architecture. It succeeds in neither and left us wanting our 15 minutes back.

Jo Baer: Towards the Land of Giants and Simon Martin: UR Feeling are on at Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, NW3 6DG until 21 June. Entrance to both is free.

Last Updated 11 April 2015