|Silvia Champion knits the dictionary|
Just as it's sometimes fun to take a wrong turn and discover a whole new area, there's something refreshingly uncharted about the first annual S1 Artspace Members' Show.
With the work of twenty artists in a studio space scarcely bigger than a badminton court - give or take a few industrial crannies and corridors - the onus is on the visitor just to explore and seek out what intrigues them.
The artist-led studio and project space was set up a decade ago to keep artistic talent from Sheffield Hallam University's Fine Arts courses in the city and has since spawned a clutch of larger projects, a short film programme and a professional development programme for recent graduates.
This semi-formal show, mixing the works of members and associate artists is its equivalent of a graduation show: an intriguing selection of disparate work in a range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, performance and installation.
|Jerome Harrington's found object work|
Edwin Rostron's 'Spectres 2005' is a chaotic 16mm animation made to accompany the music of Sheffield band Hotsnack. It has a hypnotic quality and the grainy industrial landscape photos, which are layered with cycles of organically growing drawn animation, hint at local rootedness.
Andrew Tebbs' hand-tinted photograph of a traveller camp next to an A-road also has a strong sense of place. Its slightly over-saturated hue is redolent of the more lurid muncipal postcards collected by Martin Parr in 'Boring Postcards'.
A wall mounted photograph album, with quirky vintage photos separated by wooden beads in the style of an abacus seems to encourage interaction and perhaps a hunt for a narrative in Alison J Carr's 'Gift'.
Away from pictorial work, utk's light bulbs which subtly flicker to the intonation of a recorded conversation with a plate spinner and Julie Westerman's digital fan, which exists only as a line animation on a tiny screen, stand out.
|Still from Edwin Rostron's animation|
The story of an iceberg lettuce delivery from Tesco Online, as told in Matt Lewis' digital print 'Observe our Objections 2005' is nicely brief and has a contained sense of the everyday absurd which made me laugh out loud.
Engaging with ideas even more explicitly, Stathis Pertsinidis's 'Publicle 1' uses a distinctly offline poster to muse on how the internet age affects spoken anecdotes, with reference to media theorist Neil Postman and that modern philosopher Homer Simpson.
With so much on offer in small bites, some of the quieter or smaller works, such as Silvia Champion's performance of knitting the dictionary, might benefit from some explanatory context. But for inquisitive students or anyone with an hour to kill in the Devonshire Quarter it's a good way to sample the artistic practice that's alive and well in the city.
S1 Artspace Members' Show is at S1 Artspace, Units 4a-6b Trafalgar Court, Milton Street, Sheffield, S1 4JU until 23rd September 2005. Opening: Tuesday to Sunday 12:00 - 18:00.