Everything Must Go - Part 1: WORKPLACE GATESHEAD

23 September - 22nd October 2005

Everything Must Go - Part One

Jo Coupe, Karen Cunningham, Leo Fitzmaurice, Richard Rigg, Matt Stokes, and Adam Thompson

Dates: 23rd September - 22nd October 2005
Preview: 22nd September, 5pm - 7pm
Workplace Gallery, 34 Ellison Street, Gateshead

The first group exhibition in Workplace Gallery draws together six artists from across Britain. Examining various aspects of dispersal, removal, reduction, and the throwaway; the exhibition resonates within an architectural location deemed unworthy to survive the progressive purges of redevelopment and regeneration.

Jo Coupe examines degenerative transformations and the fantastical, often using pseudo-scientific experiments and materials to investigate mystery and rationalism. "Cosmic" is a sci-fi print paper bag found on a market stall that is pinned to the wall like a butterfly with map pin planets, transforming it into an object of romantic escape. "Cosmic" hovers uneasily between the pragmatic logic of sculpture and romantic escape into the illusionist space of painting.

Karen Cunningham presents "Manual", an assemblage of rocks painted in white household gloss paint arranged lazily into the beginnings of a dry stone wall with disco lights. The rocks are subjected to banal washes of pastel coloured light that shift through the spectrum, echoing the decorative lighting of monumental architecture or the silence at the end of the disco.

Leo Fitzmaurice's work draws upon architecture and smallness. He collects and catalogues from the super-ordinary of all kinds of packaging to the throwaway publicity of brochures and flyers. Removing all lettering or logo his works reveal a formality in design untainted by the persuasive commercialism of product branding and information. Toothpaste boxes become utopian architectural models, holiday brochures enticing us to get away are carefully rolled into simple columns. Fitzmaurice's works occupy a world of gloss laminate and folded card, where mass production and cheapness are transcended through the subtlest of intervention.

Richard Rigg subverts and interrupts ideal forms. His recent works include steel rules turned circles, a hybrid offspring of Chess and 'Battleship!', and every page of the smaller oxford dictionary printed on one sheet of paper. In these shifts away from function Rigg creates a quiet uselessness that echoes the aesthetic purity of minimalism.

Matt Stokes' work emerges from an ongoing research into common culture and fringe activity. His recent project "Real Arcadia" consists of an in depth investigation and archive of a series of cave raves run by 'Out House Promotions' that occurred in the lake district in the late 80's. His work combines nostalgia, idealism and obsession. Stokes' attempts to reinvent and re-enact see him going to extraordinary lengths to search for authenticity that in past works has seen him partially frozen in a deep freeze, living for a short time as a rabbit, and more recently filming his re-staging of a northern soul all-nighter.

Adam Thompson's photographs and sculptures are blackened, bleak meditations on time and existence. Navigating a tradition of landscape and romanticism, Thompson courts the dead and distant. His photographic works are carved through in an act of measured violence inflicted on the artwork, excavating the gallery walls. His sculptures of the fabric of the universe make us feel puny and meaningless. Thompson's work inhabits the uneasy space between nihilism and truth.

Jo Coupe graduated this year from an MA at Goldsmiths College and lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne. Karen Cunningham studied an MA at Glasgow School of Art and lives and works in Glasgow. Leo Fitzmaurice lives and works in Liverpool. His recent projects include Further Up in The Air, a series of projects in a condemned Liverpool tower block. Richard Rigg recently graduated from Newcastle University and lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne. Matt Stokes lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne and has recently exhibited at PS1 in New York and DCA in Dundee. Adam Thompson recently had a solo exhibition at Firstsite, Colchester. He lives and works in London.