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Upstairs and along a small passageway overlooking the cube space is the Round Room, exhibiting the work of Christine Goodman. For the first time gallery-goer the Round Room is startling in its small size and brightness. The room is in the dome of the building, skylit, and floored with a brilliant red, which is stimulating in itself after the sterilized white cube space below.


With no pretensions, Goodman's work consists of a collection of canvases lent atop one another against a shelf at the very entrance and the rounded wall of the dome a few steps further in. The five small canvases, of varying size, placed both horizontally and vertically, grey in colour of likewise varying tones are sanded and primed repetitively for effect. This 'construction' of material of the surface allows a history of scores and scrape marks to slowly evolve as a ground. Upon this ground thinly diluted oil paint layers are applied. This creates an interaction between density and transparency. Likewise are the three larger canvases, also grey-toned from light to dark and textured.

I found the most refreshing aspect of her work, whether intentional or otherwise, is the option it gives to the buyer for change. As insulting as this may appear, and with no disrespect for the finished piece, for I admire Goodman's work, >

> I believe the choice the buyer is given, by the very nature of the installation and the quality of the textured canvases, to 'play' with the pieces lends it a quality of unpretention and exhibitory freedom not found often enough in works of art.

Instead of the artwork remaining complete and untouchable upon the wall surface, the canvases, and works as whole have a life of their own and exist spatially with confidence and adaptability. For example, even though her canvases are placed one upon the other, they can be moved and placed as one wishes. >

> The work would look just as good if the canvases were hung on a wall, from largest to smallest, one beside the other, or maintaining the idea of the canvases leaning against each other, one could hang them any number of directions or sequences.

Also in the room, to be examined with gloves on a small white table is a black box within which are alternate pieces of tracing paper through which can be seen black and white images. The images are like badly blackened photocopies of Goodman's ground canvases, the texture giving substance to the words from poems typed on the tracing paper over it. For example, one of Pablo Neruda's,

Suddenly afar the step the
Nothing then suddenly
Something then suddenly
Suddenly afar the silence

I enjoyed Goodman's originality and versitility, but found, upon my descent into the room hanging Shipway's work, that his derivative art had lost much of the naïve charm it had first begged of me. I am left wishing to acquire as versatile an artwork as that created by Christine Goodman and wishing to discover whether Shipman's work is really as pretentious as it seems, hung in a gallery space without much originality or conceptualization at all.


Gallery Design by Mike McCaffrey

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