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April 30, 2012 | by  | in Arts Visual Arts |
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Phillip Beesley’s Vesica

The visual world of Phillip Beesely’s Vesica is utterly intoxicating and enchanting. I got into the exhibit just after the City Gallery opened and had the privilege of being the first into the work on that day. This meant that the scene which I encountered was still and serene, a contemplative prehistoric garden just waiting for my arrival.

This in itself is a remarkably humbling experience. Often to instill a sense of awe, sculptors and artists work on a large scale to make the viewer feel tiny and insignificant. Beesley has travelled down the opposite path in this exhibit, creating a manicured and gentle little world that leaves the viewer with a real sense of privilege at having been allowed in to this hallowed sanctum. But, as I was to discover, this was only the beginning.

Vesica is a structural work, but the viewer is invited to stroll inside it, interacting with the plethora of different forms. It took me by surprise when a paper flower next to me began to unfurl, until I worked out that I had touched the tendril of wire descending from it. The next half hour was a frantic journey of exploration, driven by a compulsion to discover what else in this bizarre dimension I could affect. This meant that, when the German tourists arrived into Beesley’s work, it was well and truly alive in a way that it had not been for me. Booming sonic resonances, twittering and gyrating wires, lights illuminating small flasks of olive oil suspended in the air by barely visible wires; all contributed to a graceful symphony. The gallery assistant described the scene as futuristic, but, to me, it spoke of the first life forming in warm waters, a world beginning to drag itself into life. Although somewhat unnerving, Vesica is more than an exhibit; it’s a challenge and an adventure, one which everyone should experience.

Take a friend, create a world.

Vesica is completely free and is running until the 10th of June. 

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