Jim Sharp; Mixed Illusions, Arts Hub 47, until Wednesday 30th November, free
One of the greatest pleasures I’ve had since starting the blog is the constant discovery and exploration of just how much artistic activity is going on in this city. There are artist everywhere, and happily there’s also spaces wanting to show some of these works to the world.
This week I visited a new one to me. Lark Lane is not unfamiliar territory to me, but neither is it exactly my local area, probably the reason I’ve never thought to visit Arts Hub 47. But one evening this week I was able to escape The Day Job early, and decided to stop by on the way home. It’s a space that strikes me as quintessentially “Lark Lane”; independent, creative, rooted in the community.
Upstairs is an exhibition space, currently hosting an exhibition by local artist Jim Sharp. Called “Mixed Illusions”, it’s about playing tricks with our vision and perception. There’s 3D paintings (glasses provided), hidden images, and some particularly fun pieces which you have to use a camera flash to fully appreciate. It’s one of the most frivolous shows I’ve visited in a long time – it reminded me of being a child fascinated by 3D dinosaurs in magazines, or books where a peacock might be disguised as a tree.
Maybe because of this association with childish memories that there was a nagging voice in my head saying “but it’s not ‘art’, is it?”. Even without considering the level of technical skill which has gone into creating these pieces, this is an easy voice to dispel. So much celebrated art, after all, is about similarly challenging our perception. The Surrealists jump instantly to mind, with Rene Magritte in particular making a career out of exactly this sort of thing. Sharp’s particular style may be commercial, but if this means that more people are entertained and engaged by what they see, and possibly become interested in exploring forms for themselves, I don’t see this as a bad thing.
This particular exhibition runs until Wednesday, and if you’re in the area I would recommend it for a cheerful artistic stop. For myself, I’ll be keeping up-to-date with Ats Hub 47’s future exhibition schedule and am happy to have discovered yet another space giving a home and audience to art.