REVIEW: Internal/External @ Gallery North

Lauren Sneath tells of her glow-stick and beer filled frenzy of a night at Gallery North

6th March 2017

You know an art exhibition is going to be great when, upon entry, you are handed a cold beer and a glow-stick.

My hopes were high as I headed, a bottle in hand and a glowing bracelet beacon leading the way, through a pitch-black passageway- with no idea of the wonderfully baffling event waiting for me around the dark corner.

Heading into the first part of this second year art student exhibition, I was duly warned of “graphic content” with not only a written notice but also a delightful innuendo in the form of a photo of a cat; make of that what you will. I was then confronted with eerily lit sexual devices, against a glowing backdrop. The myriad of items included a luminous dildo and several butt-plugs (not hand-grenades, as I woefully assumed).

“this show gave no sense of the traditional, stuffy art gallery where one is afraid to speak for fear of being attacked by a wizened warden”

After this rather abrupt shock (which I’m assuming was the artist’s intention), I headed into the next, more traditionally lit room. White and clinical, this larger space included various different focuses that worked in, albeit peculiar, harmony. On one wall, jaggedly slanted television screens showed clips of eggs being bizarrely violated by a female artist; you name it, it happened. They were crunched raw, chipped from blocks of plaster, cracked into bags and shaken to a pulp- the poor things didn’t stand a chance against this ruthless maestro. Although unsettled, I was oddly transfixed.

I then turned, rather warily, towards a large crowd of onlookers surrounding a willing volunteer who was being painted. This interactive exhibit encouraged members of the public to paint as they felt, and this is a great example of the feel of the exhibit as a whole. I loved that this show gave no sense of the traditional, stuffy art gallery where one is afraid to speak for fear of being attacked by a wizened warden. The entire exhibition oozed life; pure, bizarre, vibrant life. To be honest, I wish I could go again, and not just because of my slightly irrational love of glow-sticks.

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