John Paxie at Mint
by Nick Duval-Smith
My attention was first caught by this show (“What I Wasn’t Allowed to Say”) as I walked past. A wall of little twisted loops, rising towards the back of the gallery, reminded me of raw ‘cock’ graffiti on the inside of toilet walls, but these looked as if they’d been made in a fun, happy moment. On the opposite wall a long row of ‘Hanging Ellipses’, cracked yet fresh, drew my hands; I took one off, and their lightness surprised me. Lying it down I got another genital association, female this time.
But it’s not all parts with John. Kiln meltdowns are sculptures, echoed on a smaller scale in blown out imperfections amongst sweeter, smoother models: cups arranged in an asymmetric grid, almost balanced. Fine, finished bowls share space with a creepy hip-hop hat head, punky and hidden.
I nearly fell over some of the ‘Coloured Ellipses’, work of John’s I’m more familiar with. Their casual placement on the floor seems significant, as if they’ve been put in their place; different in their closed brightness, yet included still.
Censorship seems a thing of the past here, and it’s a good thing. John is speaking up, and in so doing he places as much weight, if not more, on what and how to show and tell, as what to make.