Exhibition review: Skin Deep by Seize @ Leeds’s Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun

By April 26, 2016



If you ever find yourself in the city centre looking for a bit of ‘off the beaten track’ culture, just turn down a few side streets and you’ll find an abundance of artist studios and exhibition spaces. One of these such spaces is located on Wharf Street adjacent to Wharf Chambers; yet another great independent bar and events venue. Set the Controls to the Heart of the Sun hosts a range of independent studios and project spaces, and is definitely worth a visit.

Lily Ackroyd Willoughby - Sweat Box

Lily Ackroyd Willoughby – Sweat Box

Skin Deep, an exhibition curated by Leeds based collective Seize Projects, showcases the work of twelve artists who explore the theme of ‘cosmetic appeal’. The show forms part of a three month residency at STCFTHOTS. Seize support both established and early career artists and curate exhibitions which demonstrate the best of both. On Friday night I headed down for the private view, as I walked into the white space I was confronted with thirteen pieces which were outwardly visually stimulating. The show seemed to play with the taboo of making things for the simple aesthetic quality. One of the questions explored was, does artwork have to have a deep meaning for it to have value?

I was really intrigued by Lily Ackroyd-Willougby’s Sweat Box which was a pastel pink glossy box, intersected with butchers string and flecked with resin. It was placed on the floor and immediately drew you into the space. It was a piece which enticed you, you just wanted to touch it, to see what it was constructed of. It brought to mind Joseph Beuys’ Tallow which produces the same tactile temptation. One other stand out piece for me was Tom McGinn’s Untitled (I don’t know), its playful structure really captured my imagination and dominated the centre of the space. Although constructed predominantly from MDF the piece still possessed a value outside of its components. It seemed well considered and well crafted.

Work L-R by Amy Stevenson and Oliver Hickmet

Work L-R by Amy Stevenson and Oliver Hickmet

Although the works exhibited were vastly different in both construction and medium and they were made from materials ranging from plaster to turf, I have to commend the curation of the show. Seize really pulled all the stops out with this one. Despite the fact the space was limited, each piece had room to breathe and they all cohered well under the ‘Skin Deep’ umbrella. It’s definitely one to check out.

The full list of artists exhibiting is as follows: Lily Ackroyd-Willoughby, Jemma Egan, Sarah-Joy Ford, Daisy Forster, Rebecca Gould, Oliver Hickmet, Olivia Hodder, Tom McGinn, Jack Otway, Ned Pooler, Amy Stevenson, Jessica Mai Walker.

The show runs until Friday 29th April. To book an appointment to view, email
[email protected]. The next exhibition in the Seize calendar is Sell Out, which concludes their three month residency at STCFTHOTS. The show explores how branding and logos are becoming integral to contemporary art and how, if at all, this use is impacting the art world. Sell Out private view: Friday 6th May 7pm till late. Open 7th-20th May by appointment only.