Last week, The Open Gallery went all out to present the Open Prize for the first time. The Open galleries name sums up the venue perfectly: a large space to which absolutely everyone is invited to and made feel welcome in.
Unlike other galleries, Open Gallery focus is entirely on video painting. If this term is new to you, simply imagine an oversized photograph, which moves slightly, but has in no way been altered or manipulated. There is no sound either to avoid disturbing the tranquillity of the room they are placed in.
A few of these paintings stood out in particular. One of them was Olwen Coughlan’s ‘Acedia 2009,’ which at a quick glance appears to be just a mess of colours. Only at closer inspection it becomes clear that the spectator is viewing a set up of four colourful screens through a cars windscreen. This cleverly arranged scene was inspired by the writing of JD Salinger and Chapter two of ‘After Dark’ by Haruki Murakami, a book whose story takes place in a world between reality and dream.
IDOL’s favourite and ultimately the winner of the Open Prize was Jasmine Metwaly’s ‘Crucifiction, 2009.’ Chosen from a select panel including: Hilary Lawson, Ben Lewis, Marc Valli and Ziba Ardalan De Weck, Jasmine’s work always reflects timeless, isolated places, which provides her with a “freedom to express what signifies entirety” to her.
Her winning entry, a video painting of Sinai, a place imprinted with history and religion, distances ones entire physical presence to define infinity. Gazing at the piece will leave one feeling very light and almost mindless through its harmonious composition of light and colour. Although, as with almost every piece that feeds on time and space, this video painting has a hint of melancholy to it – but the good kind that won’t let one take their eyes off it.
Verdict: All-in-all The Open Gallery managed to pull off a fantastic evening thanks to the friendly atmosphere, amazing music and of course a sufficient amount of, cough, alcohol, cough. IDOL can’t wait until their next exhibition.
Words: Sophie Everman