For the Norman Rea Gallery’s first exhibition on Heslington east, it couldn’t really have gone any better, a great turnout for a great artist. Laura Elias’ ‘Possible Outcomes’ both showcased her artwork and the marvelous space which gave the gallery a more professional impression than that of its Heslington West associate. Elias seems to possess a power in communicating how angles and colour can change a space and invoke the senses. In the style that has developed from her degree at the Slade and her work on prop creation, the first thing that hits you as you walk into the exhibition is the shape of the walls, manipulated by her use of tone and angles. The origami-like ‘Plissé’ created the illusion of a wall that is jutting out at awkward angles when in fact it is a straight plain wall. ‘Round Up’ follows the curve of the wall to enhance the rounding of the room maneuvering the exhibition space through illusion.
Her paintings are as spatially aware as her installations She uses the texture of the brushes to mimic the wind in ‘Swoosh’, the curves outlining the pebbles whilst their blending together also becomes a metaphor for the wind. In ‘Harbour’ the use of interesting angles changes an ordinary seascape into something curious. And the contrast in tone and use of angular lines and boxes created the perfect abstract impression of a ‘Space Station’, the subtle blending creating the colourful dimensions of the universe. The music complemented this exploration of space and colour, almost bringing harmony to the tensions raised by the abstract angles in Elias’ artwork.
The artist herself summed up her work perfectly as “a sculpture of the mind” as these works are sculptural without being a physical piece of architecture. They interact with the space and whilst with normal paintings in a boxy gallery the pieces are limited by boundaries, these works define the boundaries and force the viewer to rethink their physical environment as opposed to the space crafted by Elias. Well curated, this gallery is a “360 degree view” of Elias’ work, sculpting the way people should view the space and its meaning, where nothing is quite as it seems, the outcomes and possibilities are endless as the angles change with every look. This exhibition was most certainly “a sculpture of the mind” and one I enjoyed exploring and well worth the trip to Heslington East to experience.