29 Friday 29th January 2010
Isabel Rock makes some really wacky illustrations... of women menstruating bunnies for instance (see below, you depraved things). Tanya Geddes went to check out her new show, Ultimate Love Story.
Located opposite Deptford Rail Station sits BEARSPACE, a small and unassuming whitewashed gallery. Inside, however, hang explosive and intricate collages that layer illustrations, print and paintings. These works hypnotically fuse the human world with one full of wonderful creatures - all of which are sure to blow your mind away.
Despite darkly surreal elements such as tentacles streaming out of beards, or errant rotted fish heads flying around, there is a touch of whimsical humour that surfaces. In the ‘country gent’ illustrations, Victorian prints are combined with explosions of colourfully painted flowers to add a mystical charm.
In a contrastingly monochrome palette is a large black and white piece full of wild horses. Equally wild are the creatures attempting to mount these horses. Whether they are human is uncertain. What remains clear is that they are involved in a battle for survival. With the collection entitled Ultimate Love Story one can only hope that this is not what love is like.
Pity Your Rivals
Horses are a recurring for Rock who uses this image again in a lighter way. Pastel colours, gnomes, glitter and unicorns adorn one piece. However, this light-heartedness is balanced with dripping illustration gushing elaborately in swirls and fat blobs. Block colour and a feel for excess hint at the distraction of love, yet darker undertones of struggle and conflict exist.
Next, the black centipede-type sculpture holding a bunch of crisp packets and a cardboard sign saying ‘I love you’. If you press the switch, smoke even comes out of his mouth. The attention to detail is great and I could have pored over it all day. The celebratory overflow of patterns and colours create a fantastical escape. Yet it is the sinister elements and solid figures that anchor pieces to reality. In Isobel Rock’s own words, she produces a world where "animals can talk, midgets have four eyes, and birds have dogs’ heads". She may be daydreaming but this alternative love story between real and imaginary worlds is a pleasant one; one in which you are sure to fall for.
Ultimate Love Story is on until 16 May. To find out more, visit www.bearspace.co.uk/catalogue
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