On The Scene // Down In The Galley exhibition by Katie Craven & Tomo.

A mission is set. This is one exhibition that is not easy to find if you don’t know where it is but once you are granted entrance after rapping on the metal doors it’s all worth the meandering journey. Once you enter the Galley it is indeed just as its name suggests. A small art space with a small but effective collection of pieces from Katie Craven and Tomo,  it is almost like one of the underground galleries one encounters in downtown Tokyo that almost always houses something remarkable.

True that, as they say. Eventually, after many raps in the aforementioned doors (also covered with some choice work from Tomo) the small space was full, with faces familiar and not so familiar checking out the, as usual, eye catching work from both artists. There were some nice touches, from the sheer minimalism in the number of pieces on display to the delightfully cheeky Tomo Securities prophylactics dispenser (Yes, prophylactics) to the even more cheeky (and highly recommended) toilet.

Indeed, I was highly recommended to go to the toilet (whether needed or not) whilst at the exhibition to check out the cool eco features and… toilet paper with the face of a certain city’s  current elected Mayor stamped on in bright red ink. Now that’s the kind of toilet paper that really makes a statement in the most fun but politically inspired manner possible! Can we imagine a whole collection? That’s another conversation…

Meanwhile the artwork in the main space was getting more attention (as was the prophylactic vendor) and not undeservedly, it could be said. All too often art can get lost in that vagueness between creativity and the mundane but this is art that jumps out at you like the proverbial tiger from the gallery wall, fascinating the viewer in its intricacy.

Individually, the two artist’s have similar touches to their styles, most notably the attention to details that shows in close up appreciation factor, but most definitely in the sheer sense of fun and vitality the art evokes. Rarely does an exhibition bring so many like minded people together as this particular show did. Indeed, I doubt so many people have stood round a condom machine in such anticipation before and in sheer kick ass art terms that’s a stroke of genius.

Whilst Katie Craven’s work is intricate in its processes and visual ideas there is no sense of it being too busy or involved for the viewer and neither is it slavish to the mainstream art-think. The bold black and white colours in use are enough to bring life to the room on their own. Tomo’s work, meanwhile, is playful and thought provoking. There is much to recommend deep study of his work (and if you’ve seen his pieces dotted about various locations in Liverpool you’ll now this already) and it’s thoroughly worth paying a visit in the one week this show has left to run.  Just make sure it’s between 6 and 7pm though…

Oh, and that location? Well, you’ll find out…

(Words and images of artwork by Sebastian Gahan) 

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