Site Gallery is the venue for Heavy Water, an exhibition of work by Maud Haya-Baviera, Victoria Lucas and Joanna Whittle. With four time-based works to view, the running time is approximately half an hour, with gaps in the schedule to view the wall-based works.
Coalesce by Victoria Lucas is a dazzling piece of projected CGI accompanied by the sound of deep breathing and primal incantation. This is art at its challenging best – visually stimulating to stir an initial, visceral response before our minds engage with layers of meaning and interpretations. Lucas’s thoughtful juxtaposition of textures and weight, both physical and psychological, provides a highly rewarding encounter.
Maud Haya-Baviera’s Things Fall Apart invites us to reconsider perceptions of cultural narratives. Skilfully constructed from film clips it is a dynamic tapestry of imagery, bringing to mind JMW Turner, who strapped himself to a mast in order to more directly feel the power of a stormy sea. The soundtrack echoes the earlier piece by Lucas and builds tension.
Joanna Whittle presents three paintings of dark, otherworldly spaces, framed to suggest shrines, and a museum-style cabinet of fascinating artefacts. The descriptions, like the artworks, are enigmatic, encouraging the viewer to weave stories. These are beguiling objects, a seamless extension of her extraordinary paintings, as evocative as they are exquisite. They add to the show’s prevailing mood of earthly ritual, of connections, tangible and intangible, and of personal reclamation.
Haya-Baviera’s Wish You Were Here provides a fitting closure. Highly colourised postcards and a jaunty voice-over create an apparently upbeat sense of enjoyable holidays. Yet, as the film progresses, we are left feeling that this is only a temporary masking of darker subtext.
Time spent in the beautifully curated Heavy Water rewards the soul, in times when it has been tossed in a seemingly never-ending Turner sea.