As their title immediately suggests, No Official Name as a creative collective are unconventional and ever evolving. Without the constraints of a set location or membership the group is able to work in a range of locations and with a broad mixture of artists. Their latest exhibition is hosted by Lenton’s very own Crocus Gallery, a small but dynamic volunteer run space just off Lenton Boulevard.  The title of the show has been taken from a studio drawing of the Turner Prize winning Keith Tyson, with pieces exploring the idea of the artistic process being inevitably subject to influences out of their control and outside of the exhibition space.

This theme has evoked a variety of responses from the eight artists featured, encouraging them in a number of cases to work outside of their normal areas of practice. They are all local to the Nottinghamshire area with the key exception of Matthew Atkinson, who was invited to submit his work individually without any information about the exhibition. It was also requested that he included no background context alongside the work other than his name, highlighting ideas of the unpredictability of individual interpretation to the art.  His contribution is a dark and eerie painting featuring an image of a white bear head against a deep blue background. The resulting effect is a juxtaposing and strikingly skeletal quality.

Aside from this there is an interesting selection of media processes represented within the exhibition. Rachel Murray’s projection piece was inspired by collaboration with artist Alice Thickett, whose resulting work is also displayed. The two sent cryptic pieces of text to each other via Twitter while in India and Hong Kong respectively, and from this Murray has built a textual description of an imaginary short video. This is then projected onto the wall, giving the piece a cinematic element while allowing viewers to create the scene in their own minds.

Thickett on the other hand used obscure methods to analyse and present the text from her Twitter feed, displayed as a 36-page publication that has been divided up and hung on the wall for observation. These are two innovative though markedly different responses to international social media interaction, exploring ideas about the connectivity of the modern day and it’s far reaching influence.

A highlight of the exhibition had to be Charlotte Hickmott’s photography piece entitled Pictures of You: A discourse of Love. The sensitive and intimate selection of portraits portrays individual members of the public who responded to the artist’s flyers or were directly approached. Photographed in their own homes, they also provided a short interpretation of what ‘Love’ meant to them in modern society and this is presented next to their picture in the gallery. Though a seemingly simple concept, the piece is a well executed and moving look at society and delves into emotions that strangers might not usually discuss.

All in all No Official Name has produced an exhibition that, while having a feeling at times of incoherence, is certainly interesting in the scope of media and thought processes presented. The gallery itself has a wonderful community feel, and located conveniently in the middle of Lenton, keep an eye out for their next exhibition.

Aoife Bruen

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