LONDON ROAD, BREAD & BLOOD IN THE GUTTER
6TH DECEMBER - 24TH JANUARY
MARTIN BROCKMAN imposes a sincere and strictly un-festive Christmas on the blackShed gallery this season, curating works from his bleak Glutton & the Illusionists series alongside a new, more hopeful collection of prints and sketches that bring a silver lining to the show. Brockman's dark caricatures hang like diplomatic posters that conjure subjective recollections of the unravelling of prosperity and a beginning of unrest. History retold as fables and folklore. The figures are both playful and sinister; they are a paradox of wealth and ruin. While we are ensured of our nation's building success, of financial security, Brockman reminds us of the inevitable cost that this success belies. The destruction of old-country-living, John Barleycorn is dead and trampled under the boots of fat cats and penny counters. The spirit and beauty that our nation's denizens cling to is being knocked down and bled dry. The Glutton… series holds a renewed poignancy as the economic crash of 2008 rings loudly in the ears of a society still looking for someone to blame. Brockman's characters play their parts as the symbols of oppression and greed, the image of tricksters and tyrants, the downtrodden and weak. The smiles of evil and corruption take advantage of a need to trust, and harrowed faces realize they've been deceived. But, there is a glimmer of hope. A shining light that is revealed on the wings and in the sweet melody of a songbird. A shining light that reminds us that even in the darkest nights of an economic and politically confused time there are retreats and places of serenity. There is a beauty and peace in nature, if we just stop and look for it. Bask in the warmth of the sun, or witness the dawn chorus of the early rising blackbird. It concludes the show with a bright and hopeful message; it reminds us that all is not lost. Things will get better, one day.