Freeze, the very aptly named exhibition currently at the O3 gallery, is the collaborative effort of two local artists to depict freeze-frames of a single moment in their own media. Rachel Ducker, a member of the Oxford Art Society, explores the concept of capturing a moment through wire sculptor whilst Rachel Owen, a tutor at the University of Oxford, concentrates on printmaking as her medium of communication.
The O3 gallery is a beautiful space and easily one of the best hidden gems Oxford has to offer. It has a friendly, laid-back atmosphere and the small floor space really lends itself to the display of new and very talented artists, such as Ducker and Owen.
Of the two artists’ works, Ducker’s is the weaker. Though the choice of wire sculptures may better encapsulate the contrast between the tangible nature of her medium and the impermanence of her inspiration, her work feels a little confused. Whilst some of her sculptures incorporate the use of materials to represent billowing fabric and really portray the theme of the exhibition, other pieces fail to convey that same sense of a single, trapped moment, and instead feel only static and monotonous.
Owen’s artwork lends itself beautifully to the space it inhabits as it flanks the curved stairs leading to the gift shop area. Her work has a much smoother flow, though with a sense of quirkiness that can only be found in unique spaces such as the O3 gallery. Where Owen excels is her ability to produce prints that feel that they are part of an on-going narrative and her manipulation of the images often draws the viewer in further and calls attention to the picturesque moments available from what appear to be the more mundane moments of life. The graininess and use of a monochromatic palette is very suggestive of snapshots taken of a memory, reinforced by the hazy, almost dream-like quality each piece possesses. The prints, as a whole, are much more successful at embodying the theme of the exhibition.
Freeze by Rachel Ducker and Rachel Owens is now closed.