The first collaborative exhibition of Tim Betton and Louis Lisle took place at the Tent Gallery in Evolution House this week. Both artists are fourth year painting students at Edinburgh College of Art and their immersive exhibition, Paradigm Lux, stretches well outside the traditional boundaries of the medium yet retains the painterly concerns of space, light, colour and, most importantly, the viewing experience.
It combines Tim’s small-scale sculptural work and Louis’ larger sculptures and moving projections. The work is brought together with the use of projected light which, along with reflective surfaces and the varying scales of the architectural elements, draws attention to the space before the viewer and one’s own presence within it. The resulting installation is a material investigation into the intersection between virtual and physical space.
A key focus of both Louis and Tim’s practice is accessibility; Louis uses common, inexpensive materials to create works which imply the urban environment. Here his sculptures include privacy film draped over wire frames, and construction netting stretched around an oblong frame.
Similarly, Tim’s sculptures, which appear to be solid blocks of Perspex, are in fact transparent projector film sheets, cleverly adhered to resemble the architectural forms of sculptor Joe Drayford. These are the best executed element of the exhibition; their precision and angularity provide a perfect playground for the moving light projections which accompany them.
They have also made efforts to ensure that their installation extends outside the often-elitist confines of the gallery space. Tent Gallery, though small and tricky to reach for a non-student, offers the perfect setting for this; a window covering an entire wall looks out onto the busy corner of Westport and Lady Lawson street. By making light integral to the exhibition, anyone passing by the window in the evening will be able to see the work in its entirety through the window, opening up the exhibition to anyone that wanders past.
Throughout the production process the pair found that a simplified version of the installation that they had envisaged was more impactful than more complex pieces. I’m inclined to agree: more light would have diluted the complex layering that they have achieved by making each source indistinguishable, a layering that is integral to the power of the exhibition itself.
Paradigm Lux continues at Tent Gallery until 7 Feb.
Image: Louis Lisle