The Bethlem Gallery’s Hollow Space and Outgrowth exhibition formally closes to visitors today, and the Gallery won’t be open in its regular hours until 29 August. However, the Archives & Museum will be open as normal throughout the summer, from 9.30am to 4.30pm Mondays to Fridays and also from 11.00am to 5.00pm on Saturday 4 August and Saturday 1 September 2012. For the next month (until Tuesday 13 August), Archives & Museum staff would be willing to take any visitors who ask to see Hollow Space and Outgrowth over to the Gallery for the purpose – subject to their availability and other commitments, of course. In the meantime, we are delighted to publish the comments of our guest blogger Susan Slater-Tanner, Professor of Art History at the State University of New York, Orange, on the exhibition.
“What I found fascinating about Hollow Space and Outgrowth at the Bethlem Gallery exhibition was that the artists did not make ‘literal’ visual responses to the artefacts and objects; rather they took an emotive approach responding to and reflecting personally on incidents, experiences and events of their own lives — without agenda or guile. For example, the “prevention of self abuse; anti masturbation device” literally as an object evokes serious ethical issues of human restraint and control. One even might consider bondage connotations. The artistic response Collar of Shame, an upright anthropomorphized dog, was so unexpected, so lyric, so funny yet not without deep thought, consideration and serendipitous artistic response.
“For me, the exhibition and its curatorial theme is not about finding similar shaped objects, or like-minded colours and textures — it is about how we all relate to and cope with our world, our challenges, our fears and our hopes.”
Part of the exhibition. The dog is in the bottom right corner of the left-hand case. The anti masturbation device is above it.