Mark Handforth

Installation view, The Modern Institute, Osborne Street, Glasgow, 2010
The Modern Institute, 14–20 Osborne Street, Glasgow

The Modern Institute is delighted to present the second solo exhibition in the gallery by Miami based artist Mark Handforth.

Handforth utilizes the everyday within his work, exploring the possibility that a single object can exist simultaneously on sculptural, functional, and social levels.

For this exhibition Handforth has created a new body of work that plays on the suits in a set of cards — spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.

As we enter the gallery to our left hand side a neon diamond work spans the whole wall, spread outwards and upwards almost like a set of cards being shuffled. The neon work, like all the other works in the show, plays and interacts with the gallery’s space and scale.

To the right of this a black felt spade almost seems to fall off the wall and onto the floor. We are reminded of the phrase, ‘To Call a Spade a Spade.’ The materiality and physicality in each is honest and apparent and important, even more so in the steel club which sits at the end of the gallery. From a distance these works appear almost graphic in their effect but close up their labour intensive construction is more apparent, the felt has been sewn together, the club cast and finished by hand.

This effect of materials is perhaps most evident in the red and yellow sprayed heart which is on the fourth wall of the gallery. This has been screen printed directly onto the gallery wall. The pixilation and marker points hint at the printing process whilst the sprayed effect suggests a piece of graffiti to be found in the street.

The heart reoccurs in the framed screen print, this time on broadsheet pages from the Financial Times. The subtle reference to contemporary politics and its relation to a card game is hinted at but at the same time disguised, by the screen printed heart, shown upside down.

Handforth pairs handmade sculpture with appropriated everyday objects to disrupt the familiar and in some sense destroy it, no more apparent than in the neon on the gallery’s exterior, Crying Moon, a neon where tears fall from the half moon.

Handforth says: ‘I let objects collapse, and through their destruction they are transformed. So, in a sense, through their destruction they are reborn. It’s a creative act beginning with failure. In this failure things become something else-and that something else is often much more beautiful and interesting than the original.’