Wilbur Heynes is currently exhibiting a collection of photographic and sculptural work at the O3 Gallery in the Oxford Castle. The Shine exhibition displays many contrasts in terms of materials, techniques and design.
Shine is a collection of work which celebrates both the inherent similarities and differences within visual experience. At first glance, due to the shared theme of water, all the photographs appear distinctly similar. However, myriad variations become clear when we observe these images closely. The effect of water offers a diverse range of tones, patterns and reflections, and these are apparent throughout Heynes’ work. Some of the photographs display serene, tranquil surfaces, which are offset by their juxtaposition next to more turbulent scenes. Other photographs show a range of variations within the same image. For example, in Heliosphere our attention is drawn to the variations of textures. The effect of the tide divides the image diagonally between the smooth sand and the rippling water. Heynes’ photographic work is in many ways stylistically similar to abstract expressionist painting. This is illustrated in the interesting formation of tones and shapes in Nimbus, which is reminiscent of Pollock’s Blue Pole canvases.It could be argued that Heynes is not showing us anything we have not seen before. We are all familiar with the sight of light reflecting upon water. However, this helps to give the work a strong energy as there is a universal quality to this collection which allows us to project our own thoughts and feeling upon the work. The images may help us to recreate memories of a holiday at the beach, or represent a connection to the environment. But for all of us, as viewers, we have our own personal understanding of the subject matter.Heynes’ sculptural work represents recognisable forms (animals, humans) frozen during the moment of extreme movement. These small sculptures, all of which include hollowed-out sections, suggest an understanding of presence and absence. As viewers, we perceive the missing parts in relation to their framing within the strong solid sculptural forms. Light is again of vital importance to this section of the exhibition, as the shining sculptures reflect the surrounding light.This exhibition displays Wilbur Heynes’ attempt to tackle the key theme-shine-in distinctly different ways. The photographs seem to be unrelated to the sculptures, yet both deal with the ability of the medium to capture the light as it shines upon different surfaces. The sculptures are cleverly created to shine in certain places and to avoid the light in others; whilst of pivotal importance to the photographs is the effect of light as it shines upon the water. by Samantha Edgley
Shine is open until 10th February.