In early 2009 Andipa Contemporary presented an exhibition of works by artists Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, Tom Price and David Birkin. Their distinctive portraits explore form and identity on multiple levels: cultural, political, racial, external and internal. The exhibition related to a time when values were changing and many were reassessing the way we live our lives, and each artist forced us to question the judgements we make about identity.
Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada is best known for his recent work, 'Expectation', a depiction of Barack Obama covering 2 acres of Barcelonas coastline which can be seen from GoogleEarth. In this show, his large-scale charcoal drawings depicted ordinary people who have been thrust into the limelight overnight due to heroic or unexpected circumstances. One such hero is Captain Chelsey B. Sullenberger III, who safely landed his US Airways Airbus in New Yorks Hudson River, saving all 155 passengers and crew.
By contrast in scale, Tom Prices delicately sculpted heads are small enough to fit into the palm of a hand. The intensity and intimacy of the exquisitely detailed work by Price is palpable. While the sculptures' white colour links them to classical marble statues, their features are clearly Afro-Caribbean, altering our preconceptions of traditional sculpture. Every evening of the exhibition, Prices' animated video work Man 9 was back-projected onto the face of the gallery, the face of the anonymous character catching passers-by with only the subtlest movements a blink or a slight stir bringing him to life.
In David Birkins' Confessions series, each sitter reveals a secret to the open shutter of a camera. The length of the exposure is determined by the length of the confession. What is said remains a secret to the sitter alone. The camera captures the essence of the moment of catharsis, a process of purging or relief. Also included in the exhibition was Birkins' series Form, light boxes depicting a range of stress positions, similar to those employed by interrogators on prisoners at the detention facilities of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. As with the Confessions series, the length that the position could be held determined the length of exposure.