Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Mike Tann (artist)

Alice Tallulah was the first Lady Luck
by Mike Tann

I made a wonderful discovery at the Francis Perry Gallery on my last visit there a few weeks ago now. I was fortunate enough to have been nosing around when the Sussex artist Mike Tann arrived to drop off a new series of prints. Originally created as mixed media works, the prints are themed around Cat sayings including Cat Burglar, Cat Fish and, the one which particularly appealed to me, Cat And The Fiddle. The Cat in question is drawn slightly differently each time with these little details determining his character.

However, the main reason for my excitement here is because my attention was drawn to Mike's assemblage works. I think there are three at Francis Perry. Assemblage is still a relatively new idea in the UK although I was told it is very popular in America where there are already galleries devoted to the genre. I would describe it as a form of three-dimensional collage and Mike's style is a wonderful steampunk. So if you like the Lucifer Box novels by Mark Gatiss or the music of Sunday Driver, then this could very well be the Art For You! I think the work is very inventive and great fun.

My favourite of the pieces is the one pictured - Alice Tallulah was the first Lady Luck. The title has as much importance as the items chosen for the assemblage and I did find that my interpretation of the works changed between seeing them initially and then looking again having read their titles. Also, in a reverse timescale, Mike described Bert and Rupert's Strange Zebra Zoo to me while we were at Francis Perry. However, the work was not there and the reality of it seen on Mike's website was far more than I had imagined while travelling home on the bus. I challenge you now to imagine Cowgirl Electrician or Albert Scuttle's machine for turning school dinners into real food, then click through and see!

Francis Perry Gallery,  Mon-Sat 10:00-16:45.
Free admission.

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