Thursday, 7 August 2014

Reflect Crediton Exhibition - ends Saturday 9 August

I went to Crediton today and visited the exhibition 'Reflect Crediton' which features the works of Tim Backhouse, Paul McCullough and Nicci Wonnacott. To quote from Tim Backhouse in the Crediton Courier: "The work is based upon social, historical and cultural aspects of Crediton and touches upon a wide variety of themes such as the Link Road, World War One and aesthetic considerations in and around Crediton.” It is an installation-based show including film, sound, sculpture and drawings.

It's been some time since I was in Crediton and there have been some significant changes. The town seems quite vibrant and less shabby than I remember. But it also has a massive Tesco store on its doorstep and a ring road which is not yet open. As an outsider, I can see that these developments are likely to have been contentious - and this forms one of the themes explored in the show.

When you enter the old town hall, which is now the town museum, there is an exhibit marking the anniversary of the first world war and reflecting the involvement of people from Crediton. The 'Reflect' exhibition flows on from this, starting with a 'WAR DECLARED' banner and a moving video of wounded soldiers returning from the front, overlaid with a modern soundtrack of children at play.

The main hall contains a number of works by each of the exhibitors. The hall is dominated by a 30ft nude by Paul McCullough - a 'panoramic drawing which echoes the rolling hills, valleys, hidden woodlands and open fields of the Mid-Devon landscape'. It is a beautifully executed work.

Another McCulloch work explores people's feelings about the routeing of the Crediton bypass:

Amongst her four works on show, Nicci Wonnacott is showing her contribution to the Neoreplicants exhibition at Exeter Phoenix - a representation of 'The Woman in White' decorated with the 'white man's bones' and invoking the Ghost (and Death) of Capitalism:

Another piece is 'White Rocks, the Borderline':

But my favourite piece of Nicci's is 'White Rags, MH17-298, Homage to the innocent victims of war':

Tim Backhouse was stewarding on the day I visited and I am grateful for his insights. The most striking of his works is the film showing a continuous journey around the unopened Crediton bypass which is accompanied by opera playing on an old record player. The film is mesmerising, the more so because the highs and lows of the operatic soundtrack appear to accompany the action in a meaningful way, even though they are not synchronised.

In all, this is an excellent and thought-provoking exhibition. If you get the chance to catch it over the next few days, then I commend it to you ... and you can enjoy a day out in Crediton, like I did today.

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