In his first solo show, “…but there’s one in the window”, Mike Atherton brings the focus of his disparate ideas together under the title of Tommy Cooper’s celebrated punch line.
This is a witty, inventive, entertaining and sometimes very funny collection of sculptural artworks. Tommy Cooper’s brush with entomology gives the clue to the creative imagination and sense of humour at play here. In this show Atherton concentrates on the sculptural possibilities of bio mimicry by constructing entomological forms – bugs and creepy crawlies of all sorts – from mechanical components.
The objects are presented ‘under the microscope’ of a forensic exhibition display. They are shown as unique creations in drawing room, museum-style box frames, as ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ or simply as collections of miscellaneous and mysterious objects.
They are fabrications and flights of the imagination and, in some cases, excursions into the world of natural history fakes and scientific hoaxes. Airfix kits – mass-produced, ready-made mechanical components – are the raw materials of Atherton’s work. Lancaster bombers, T34 tank tracks, radar antennae and satellite dishes fit comfortably into the scale of the insect carapace or proboscis. Museum displays, dung and other beetles, and Airfix model-making components really do come together and make sculptural sense. Text by Henry O. Barrett