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Monday, 6 October 2008

Gillian Brent - Thicket

Persistence Works in Sheffield plays home to Gillian Brent's technocentric urban oasis.

The architectures of modern industry and technology have long inspired many an awestruck artist compelled to capture the inherent weakness of the subject against the sublime forces of the machine. Such abstraction; the subtle juxtaposition of tangible and intangible; local and universal, is what has led we technophobes to marvel at the often terrifying techno-terrains of the contemporary world.

Many of us, unwilling to accept the mind's superiority over the senses, prefer to see the architectures of modern technology as either flora or fauna, subject to movement, to growth and even to the nuances of intrinsic emotions. I recommend dissenters of this tradition to step into the retreat of Gillian Brent's most recent installation, aptly entitled 'Thicket'.

Brent's metallic masts, which ascend the heights of the exhibition space at Persistence Works in Sheffield, emerge from grassy knolls like majestic limbs, forming a protective canopy of leaves (or lenses) for the visitors below. Beyond the sea of transmitters, CCTV cameras, lamp-posts, aerials or electrical pylons, is a habitable enclave, which exudes the latent beauty of our technologically saturated contemporary landscapes. Their ambiguous forms are, however, evidently functionless, transcending the mathematical formulas that underlie technology and human mastery of nature.

Though fleetingly dystopian, with subtle and irresolute statements about man's relationship with nature, Brent's installation is a playful exploration of those mystical and seemingly superfluous sculptures, which animate our everyday drifts across the city.

Thicket is on until 31 October, 10:00-5pm, except Thurs 10.45am - 5pm, ADMISSION FREE
Persistence Works, 21 Brown Street, Sheffield S1 2BS
0114 2761769

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