Matilda and Eleanor review Art & Cafe Space

Fossgate Social’s Spring 2018 Exhibition is up and running. New Voice Project journalists Eleanor Thompson and Matilda Michalke go and visit and review the Art, the décor, and the atmosphere.

Says Eleanor, “Fossgate Social is a small coffee bar located on a street lined with bars and restaurants. It exhibits a small collection of artwork within the intimate and relaxed environment. It perfectly accommodates the abstract artwork through decoration and lighting. Instead of having generic chairs, like a lot of cafés, it has a range of sofas, benches and stools. The seating accommodates the same colour scheme of minimalistic colours as the rest of the venue. The tables are situated close to each other to encourage conversation between tables and the walls are stripped back to the bricks to give a sense of the building having heritage which can be consistently seen within this city.”

Eleanor continues and looks more closely at the exhibition, “The artwork creates a juxtaposition in the interior since the artwork is bright and abstract which is a massive contrast to the minimalistic décor of the walls. One piece of artwork exhibited is a lino print of an owl on an A2 piece of tick, faded paper. To make artwork through lino printing you need to use carving tools to carve out the places that you don’t want the colour you’re printing to be seen. When carving out large chunks of lino it can often leave marks when it’s printed if the area is uneven. During the printing process, it’s necessary to print the lightest colours first and have the darkest last because it’s hard to print a light colour on a dark colour because it won’t show up. In this piece there are details and shading printed in orange with the outlines printed in black. Typically, an owl is an orange/brown colour but to make the black stand out, it is printed in a bright orange. The leaves printed around the owl link to the owl be an animal that lives in a tree and would be surrounded by natural things. This could suggest that it isn’t printed on white paper because to make the paper bright white it is bleached, thus making it unnatural.”

Looking closely at the specific techniques, Eleanor unpacks the strategies of screen printing. “Another piece of artwork exhibited is a screen print of a scene from a show Stranger Things. To screen print the material being printed onto is placed under the stencil and then a piece of material that the ink can seep through. Then using a tool called a squeegee, a solid object put on its edge, is drawn over the material with force on it, forcing the ink through the material and onto the surface being printed. Upon further research of the piece, it has been printed so that it is glow in the dark and the image changes to show the ‘upside down’ from the show. This is a good technique because it keeps the viewer interested because it’s two images in one. The whole image links to danger which contradicts the feeling of hospitality projected in the café. The detail of the light and shapes of the bark can create an almost hyper realistic feeling to the image, drawing you further into it even though when it changes to the upside down it is dangerous.”

Eleanor is joined by her colleague Matilda Michalke, visiting as gallery manager and journalist. Matilda is keen to try out her English in this cultural setting. ‘The first impression is that the café as an exhibition space is different from the exhibition space of an art gallery. For example, the gallery I work in, ‘According to McGee’, is dedicated to exhibiting art work. Its priority is light. This, of course, is a café. The sun only reaches to the first few feet, and then it is ambient lighting. The general ‘vibe’ is a natural slice of hygge. The wood is rustic and the distressed brick wall is authentic.” Eleanor moves onto the exhibited artwork. “The prints are illuminated by the ambient light. This brings out the bright colours of the exhibited art, and invites the viewer to look closer. The walls are organized loosely by similar styles. A perfect place for a quick coffee!”

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