05 Friday 05th March 2010

When I think of the word 'beast' it reminds me of good old Dean-the-beast. Dean was a Large and consistently dangerous rapscallion of a man who lived up the woods behind the estate, every now and then he would venture down from the woods and cause all kind of mischiefs, that was until the action group Community Resistance Against Perpetrators did a bloody good justice job on him. Now he is chasing rabbits with special toothbrush knives on a secure man farm, and by all reports is as happy to be there as we are to not have him lurking in the woods. This says something about the beast; it says unless we can pump out milk from its teats or eat its muscles then it doesn’t really have a place in civilised society. But alas some people won’t let the beast be and they just have to fiddle with it, and some beast fiddling is taking place right now at the Standpoint Gallery, 45 coronet street, London N1 6HD in the aptly titled show “Beast”.
There are three offenders taking part, namely:
Catrin Davis, she likes to poke about with her video camera hyping up beast fear with her inter-smashed film mixing up footage of her bothering Pontrhydfendigaid’s nervy locals - hard working welsh farmers who just happened to have kept a massive killer cat before letting it go to run free and eat sheep's faces off - and scary black and white films from the olden days. However this cunning combo did suck me in and I found myself enjoying its mix tape mythology. It was like an art house documentary using channel 5 concepts that for me threw up ideas of our herd like mentality in the face of an unseen enemy.

Catrin Davis “The Beast of Bont” 2009

Then there’s Rob Logan who has been fiddling more with the beast in his bonce than them that roams the hills. Using what we artists call the inner chat, he’s made a load of abstracted Gigerphile bio landscape paintings that are indeed competent pieces but somehow lacked the foreboding/dread that was alluded to in that bit of paper you find in every show telling you what you are looking at. However the site specific wall drawings held more psychological weight as they invaded the actual walls of reality with a detritus of production caught in the surrounding cobwebs. It was something that had potential to grow and invade, no longer safely caged within the rectangle of the canvas.

Rob Logan wall drawing (untitled) 2010
Finally there is Jeanine Woollard (“under the moonlit sky top). It could be said she has made the classic mistake of feeding the beast, when time after time and sign after sign we are advised not to do such a thing. But lump thrust my cheek bones I’m glad she did cause these (not fearless) heroines of hers that are about to be chewed and slitted up by kitsch posters make crackin narratives for some quality snaps. With their humour, inventiveness and tasty compositions they provide something that not a lot of art photography does these days - some engaging subject matter beautifully conceived.

Normally my advice would be to steer clear of this kind of thing and leave it to trained handlers but on this occasion I reckon it would be good for you to make the effort to go and have a little vicarious fiddle with the beast yourself.


26th feb – 27th march

Catrin Davis, Rob Logan, Jeanine Woollard

Standpoint Gallery

45 coronet street

London N1 6HD



Top image: Jeanine Woollard “under the moonlit sky” detail

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