God Forgotten Face / Anonymity at T J Boulting

T J Boulting on Riding House Street is one of those establishments that has taken the name of an older tenant of the building. Riflemaker, a gallery in Soho does the same; more prosaically Brazil’s coffee shop in Chesham is so called because the ancient sign above the door reads W Brazil & Co. As such it is a rather apt place to see two exhibitions that survey identity and how people are lost and found amongst their surroundings.

Robin Maddock’s God Forgotten Face looks at Plymouth. There isn’t a trademark style here so the grouping is primarily based on that location with techniques and genres being used to best suit the subject. Thus the nightclub dancers appear in glorious techno-colour whereas the three boys cycling through rainy suburbia are straight out of the British documentary tradition. My personal favourite is the one on the calling card: it shows a young couple of alternative styling sharing an embrace. They are almost lost against the sheer face of rock behind them, the rock seeiming to come out of a sheer, man-made wall. Further over and they would be completely invisible in the shadows.

Jarret Schecter is not fixed in one place but his work seems to be more of one style. Think a combination of Gursky and Soth and you’ll be there. It’s a perfect look for Anonymity which takes aim at intriguing landscapes and asks us to consider the people who inhabit them. These range from snowbound Russian towns located on the Trans-Siberian railroad to sand-filled Ethiopia via bleak evocations of grim urban growth (see above). Proceeds from sales will go to The Denan Project which supports impoverished people around the world. Schecter’s locations are not necessarily poor but they are clearly tough and unforgiving. It is an excellent collection.

Taken together both exhibitions are an interesting exploration of identity and purpose in the broadest sense. They are well worth locating the now outdated facade of T J Boulting to see.

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