DON’T WORRY at Kate MacGarry

Kate MacGarry is having a party. The kind that Olaf Breuning likes to throw. The London-based gallery’s latest exhibition DON’T WORRY showcases a playful selection of zany ceramics, loud sculptural works, furniture and tapestry pieces. Five artists-cum-designers, whose works are known for their humour and lightness of touch, are brought together to deliver a simple message. 

The five artists each differ widely in terms of execution, but all share a similar sense of comedic timing. What shakes this show up is its fusion of elegant design elements and the over-exaggerated everyday–the lightness of colour and form is undermined by a strategic sensibility.

The exhibition title takes its cue from Olaf Breuning’s distinctive photo-collage Don’t Worry – All will be fine. In an absurd moment, a heavy-footed trainer hovers above a small crowd of clay figures, who look up in horror at their inevitable fate. It’s hard not to wince, as is often the response to Breuning’s slapstick humour.

Next up, FOS’s inanimate keyhole holds court; it’s dark and foreboding, and hints at the unknown with theatrical flair. FOS’s work subscribes to the principles of ‘social design’, meaning that social interaction and communal public experiences are his materials. Dually noted, participation with this object seems unavoidable.

Occupying the furthest wall, Dan McCarthy’s Space Ghosts are a group of ceramic smiling faces, little space age Buddha’s. Their 3D, putty appearance illustrates McCarthy’s primitive and immediate approach to sculpture making. Grinning vacuously, the works denote an enforced happiness–I feel I might be subject to scrutiny, and quickly shuffle off before they know too much.

Navigating the show is akin to climbing an experiential playground: A heady mix of humorous, quotidian and idiosyncratic motifs, each works lends to another, offering a loaded view of reality.

DON’T WORRY is showing at Kate MacGarry until 19 December


DON’T WORRY, installation view, Kate MacGarry, 2015
Olaf Breuning, Don’t Worry, 2015, dye-sub metal print, 101.6 x 124.5cm
Peter McDonald, Yoga, 2014, wool, 127 x 172 cm
DON’T WORRY, installation view, Kate MacGarry, 2015
FOS, Flowerpot Large, 2015, terracotta-like clay, 64 x 79 x 58 cm