Scheduled Entertainment. 2010

Description

List of works.

1) Whisper Cove
2) The Fall
3) Idol
4) Reception
5) Happy New Year
6) Easton Park Parade
7) Bullworker
8) Your indifference used to be attractive
9) I Love You

C-Type colour photographs
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

THE PHYSICS ROOM
Christchurch

Geoffrey Heath
Scheduled Entertainment
17 November – 19 December 2010

Auckland-based Geoffrey Heath graduated from Unitec School of Art and Design in 2000 with a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication Design, and he has exhibited at number of times at City Art Rooms. Scheduled Entertainment was the first chance I’d had to see a lot of his work, and it is very good indeed.

Within his suite of photographs in the larger space of The Physics Room, the immaculate large and small format images gently catalogue, and perhaps even fetishise, the banal little pleasures and man-made ersatz dreams that endgame consumer capitalism, mass popular culture and dying imaginations foist upon us. Small dreams of suburbia. Ironic, yes, but difficult to read as cynical.

The images seem to fall loosely into three categories. Some, like Your indifference used to be attractive, a helmeted and leathered biker standing in anonymous woodland, enigmatic and threatening; Reception, with its pair of female legs (Dead? Murdered? Drunk? Unconscious? Merely napping in heels?) poking out from beneath the elaborately decorated Christmas tree; and Happy New Year, a middle-aged man dressed like a small town accountant wearing a silly and strikingly incongruous party hat for the dreaded office party, feel like stills from some unmade David Lynch film. They speak to ancient hardwiring in our brains that demands stories by inviting us to make up our own narratives to fill the void.

Others, like Bullworker, a piece of exercise equipment lying on a motel-bland beige bedspread; or Idol, a purple, child’s guitar lying on generic off-white carpet like an amateurish reliquary; or the lycra-clad cyclist with the gashed knee in The Fall, have an aesthetic familiar from trading websites and private blogs. They wave their Barthesian punctum in our faces in a display of passionate hobby and personal enthusiasm, with just the faintest suggestion of something unheimlich and sinister. Do we really want to get that close to the inner life of a stranger, especially when it seems to be aiming so low?

The third category is probably the most straightforwardly pictorial in that while still fetishising the bland, they lack a hook or punctum. Whisper Cove, for example, frames with delicious aestheticism a bend in the road in what looks like some frightening conformist planned gated community, a superficially pretty slice of paranoid bourgeois utopia in Stepford pastels.

Reviewed by Andrew Paul Wood. eyecontactsite.com – 27 November, 2010