Ambush Street

Steve Williams, Stevie Deas, Brian Hodgson, John Askew, Semonara Chowdhury
6 November 2003 to 30 November 2003

Standing out in contrast with contemporary art that revolves around popular culture, five artists’ works responded to recent local and global events that have contributed to the rise of the culture of fear. Installation, painting and video commented on the effect of the information dissemination onslaught by state and media as experienced by ordinary people at street level, presenting a group of timely works that engaged with current realities.

Steve Williams created an ambitious new installation work in the industrial space of the Old Seager Distillery. Using painting, sculpture, text and sound, he created an interactive installation containing the narrative of his own bizarre experience of involvement in a terrorist alert.

An intriguing polygonal structure into which the viewer can enter, Stevie Deas’s State of Emergency Bunker simulates the virtual environment of a computer game, asking questions about the media representation of war and terrorism and its effects on people’s perceptions of these events.

When Brian Hodgson made his action Self-Righteous Attacker, troops were about to enter Iraq. He destroyed images of crowded public places in London screenprinted onto sheet metal, externalising the fears in the minds of the public in an explosive act of catharsis. In this exhibition he showed the resulting work, and a video made from the action.

The inuring effect of media communication is explored in John Askew’s overwhelming creations. Through a process of repetition, he transforms emotionally charged images from television coverage of the war in Iraq into a kaleidoscopic pattern, causing simultaneously an intense visual impact and the overshadowing of the subject in the image.

Semonara Chowdhury’s changing neon text is deceptively simple, yet acts as a catalyst for thoughts relating to the actions of ‘democratic’ states and the consequences of their interventions in global affairs. It also focuses the viewer’s mind on how particular words can be used for propaganda purposes, to represent facts and events in the most expedient light.