Monday 11 March 2013

Review of Leon Chew: Asphalt Black at Payne Shurvell

Leon Chew: Asphalt Black
Payne Shurvell
22 February – 13 April 2013

“This is an exhibition constructed for photography,” explains artist Leon Chew (born 1975) of his current show, Asphalt Black. “It speaks a lot of photography, but also attempts to test the limits of the discipline.” Indeed, alongside a series of eight prints on purpose-cut black mirror sheets; a single, limited edition, authorised installation shot of the exhibition, Reproduction; and a further limited edition, Barstow Site 1, from which the whole show was born, the gallery is filled predominantly by two painted shapes spanning the floor, end wall, and ceiling, and a strip of fluorescent lighting along one wall, creating a “horizon” which reverberates around the room. These elements are, however, as Chew says, intrinsically related to the camera: as Reproduction shows, from a single point in the gallery, and through the viewfinder lens (the effect doesn’t work anywhere near as well with the naked eye), the curious looming shapes of Anamorphic (Black Sun) and Anamorphic (Trapezoid) appear, respectively, to form a perfect circle and a shaft of silvery light cutting across the room.

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