Exhibition visit: KennardPhillips- Review


The artwork on the white canvas is actually printed on the reverse side, a large image that lies between the canvas stretchers where refugees look out, their futures hidden to them and their plight hidden from the people who pass by outside. Should you pass the open gallery door and look in you will see a collapse of red wooden timber stakes on the gallery floor. A red Forex line charting  profit of loss on the pages of the FT has been made manifest and moved from 2-D  to 3-D and after zig zagging around the room, at one point leaving through the ceiling has crashed to the ground now.

The street must think squatters have moved in and they’d be right, the homeless have moved in, in the images of refugees sailing in boats montaged into war torn streets facing headlines of hatred of the newspapers headlines suck to barbed wire fences. The red stake lines charting  profits  and losses obscure the work in places, a comment that an obsession with money obscures the plight of those whose images are printed onto blank newsprint paper or the broad sheet pages of the Financial Times.


It is not always easy to make out the images in the pictures, too much is going on, too much is obscured. It feels like politics really, the truth hidden somewhere under so many other distractions. There are faces we know though, of politicians, May. Cameron, shown with no eyes, depicting their lack of vision no doubt.  There are references to the USA, or a view of American under Trump with him  blowing the stars and stripes off the Star Spangled banner into what looks like a black future,  the flag in tatters, a nation in tatters perhaps. A bald eagle-headed eagle chosen as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its associations with  great strength and majestic looks, has reverted back to its basic nature and acts as scavenger.


Heavy in content and heavy with layers of imagery the pictures printed on flimsy thin  newsprint stick to the walls like flyposters in a post apocalyptic future but the issues are very present day issues:  poverty, immigration, government failures, job losses and poverty and an NHS in crisis.  The thinness and flimsiness of the newsprint paper adds to the notion that these issues are never taken as seriously as they should be. That today’s news is just that, today’s news, and tomorrow there will be another print run showing another set of stories but like Kennard Phillip’s work the stories might differ but the themes they deal with are the same.