The Museum of Modern Art in Oxford are celebrating 50 years as a public modern art gallery and as part of their celebrations they are running a series of exhibitions that reflect the vast and diverse history of the gallery.
Currently running at MAO is ‘A Moment of Grace’
A Moment of Grace charts the ways in which artistic activism in the 1960s aimed to critique the art world as a way of commenting on ‘the establishment’, through to a new generation of artists working with the new materials and visual surfaces of the post-Internet age.
Two interesting artists that stood out to me during a visit to this exhibition are John Latham and Gareth Nyandoro. Both of these artists have a destructive element to their work.
John Latham uses destruction as a direct reference to the destruction of belief systems and currently held knowledge, particularly scientific thought. Using books as a form of knowledge he burnt them and repurposed them in turn changing them whilst implying a change in knowledge and communication.
Gareth Nyandoro builds up layers of paint and collage and then tears, scrapes, cuts and scratches parts away. This building up and taking away lends a fascinating texture to the surface of his work and has a sense of destabilization and renewal.
Human interaction within the urban environment is a recurring theme in Nyandoro’s work as he continues his investigation into issues surrounding urbanisation, alienation, displacement, diversification and social reconstruction that makes up the current Zimbabwean social fabric.