Eternity Anyways: Gabriele Beveridge at Chewday's Gallery
As sure as the hot air rises from the flame, the artist Gabriele Beveridge steadily ascends in the ranks of art world prestige. Over the last five years Beveridge has had several solo shows in some of the most artistically prosperous cities (London, Berlin and New York—to name a few), and now her latest show 'Eternity Anyways' at Chewday’s Gallery in London takes a breath, and reflects a distinct anxiety mated to this urban environment. Finished with the gloss of the retail realm itself, 'Eternity Anyways' is overcast with the question of commercial value.
In the ex-retailers shop front, slunk under a row of redbrick flats on London’s Lambeth Way are her estranged, voluptuous glass bubbles. They hover with a silent, constant gaze. In Chewday’s single-roomed gallery, Beveridge leans a triptych of towering walls onto the gallery’s own three, titled 'Clouds (I)', 'Clouds (II)' and 'Clouds (III)'. Constructed from old shop panels they turn to minimalist grids. Plotted in pastels, their colours soar up the walls and enclose the viewer in Beveridge’s own alternative world: a landscape, glitched and floating in the background.
Poised on each of these walls, a hand-blown glass bubble primly perches atop a couple of silver- slicked pincers, piercing out from the panel’s hole-punched surface. These translucent orbs glean with reflections of the city itself; contorted pavements, cars parked, apartments and people flickering in the curve of the glass through the gallery’s windowed wall. Ominous, they ooze out over the edges of their micro-scaffolds, showing at once the weight of the earth’s atmosphere and their own deep-seated fragility. Like tiny crystalline glaciers, these sculptures hold on the brink of gliding away into violent nothing.
Recently likened to blue-chip artists such as Agnes Martin and Anthea Hamilton, looking into Beveridge’s plump glass eyes I’m reminded of Czech artist Katharina Sieverding's photographs; in one series of self-portraits her features fade, one image after the other as she recedes into almost nobody at all as part of a procedural obsolescence. It is the woman, of course, who is positioned most in the way of this dissolution—a feature of Beveridge’s practice that is noticeably less explicit in Chewday’s Gallery than in her previous shows. Often using found magazine advertisements as material for her work, Beveridge selects decades-old photographs of female models, the pages and faces themselves often bleached by gradual over-exposure to sunlight.
Hanging in the window is just that; a salon-style collage of box-framed images titled 'Grace & Mercy'. Here, two identical photos of the same woman are suspended in direct sunlight, continuing to fade. Branched across both pairs of eyes are two white feathers fraying at the quill. Three serenely plain and pearlescent framed sheets accompany them, one of which houses a piece of clothing rail. It curves like the rim of an eyelid, its lashes clasped forever inside the steely skin of the chrome.
This alien window display serves as a preview to Beveridge’s most arresting installation, 'Dead Skin Living', constructed from railings sliding out from the gallery’s window pane as you enter the room. With the coil of fingernails they scrape the tiles of the floor as more glass orbs bejewel and distract in the rays of light sailing in from the sky.
Hidden away behind the gallery’s only partitioned divider is Beveridge’s final sculpture, 'Daydream Lotion'. Composed of two pristine kitchen sinks side by side on the wall, a beige rope marries them together in a flicker of intimacy as a clouded glass balloon droops grievously out of its silver nest. To view it you must slot yourself into the gallery’s very narrow aisle between the wall and the invigilator’s desk. Feeling more like an intruder than a viewer, it feels as if you're taking something, before the question of whether or not it was on offer in the first place, has arisen.