Mary Fletcher

Anna Harris ‘Untitled’

Walking into the Exchange I saw a lot of video screens in a dark room and a lot of explanatory texts. I instantly felt a bit depressed – that I could not be bothered – that artists seem to think a video that bores you to death with it’s glacial pace can compete with the snappy speed we are used to in television.
However, something kept me trying and I slowed down enough to look around.
I found a project about involuntary infertility which I wanted to read about although I thought it was approached far too obliquely and symbolically to pack the punch visually that Melanie Stidolph”s written accounts had.
Naomi Frears shows two videos – not too long- one using written memories about her father dying and the other images of men falling off their surf boards in a variety of balletic and amusing ways. She makes a strange connection between the two and it’s eloquent.
Then I drove over to Newlyn. Here there’s a lot of playful stuff – from a bronze fish finger with its own sound of the sea, by Eleanor Turnbull, to sea shanties with a gay slant by Rhys Morgan and choir, found seashore objects and similarly constructed complex creations by Anna Harris and a beautiful dark stool made from ancient washed up wood that comes from a tree growing at the time Stonehenge was being made, by Alistair and Fleur Mackie.
Oh and a video of synchronised swimmers at the Penzance Lido in aid of environmental improvement.
There’s a lot more at both places and curator Blair Todd has chosen and given a chance to exhibit to a variety of artists who aren’t the usual suspects.

We are Floating in Space’. Newlyn and Exchange, Penzance. 11 February – 3 June 2023

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