Postcard Show 2008 @ Surface Gallery

Opening a mere 48 hours after the volunteer-run gallery’s move to its new home at Southwell Road, near Sneinton Market, the Postcard Show has something of a haphazard, DIY feel. The exhibition’s tagline, ‘Anyone can make art, anyone can buy art’, says it all. As long as it fits on a 4” X 6” postcard, every submission is exhibited. And every submission is for sale: budding art collectors can pick up any one of the hundreds of mini-masterpieces for just £20.

Despite the seemingly constricting brief, the variety of the entries is impressive. Adorning three vast walls, the postcards range from pencil drawings, to photographs, to sparkly 3D fairies with jingle bells for feet. Witty takes on the traditional holiday postcard included a series of works with brightly coloured text describing how the traveller felt at famous landmarks, ‘At the Taj Mahal his mind wandered to what he would have for dinner that night’. Another series featured the outlines of countries like Japan and Germany, made of old postage stamps.

But the exhibition went beyond the theme of travel, featuring everything from an appliqué sequined typewriter, to onion shaped blobs of swirly acrylic paint. The postcards weren’t even necessarily confined to the wall. It is an interactive exhibition in every sense of the word: the curator urged me to take the postcards off the wall to have a closer look. 3D offerings, like intricate paper cut outs of trees, were placed on large concrete blocks in the centre of the gallery.

This is a community gallery, with artists, volunteers, and even visitors (as I found out when I was asked to give feedback on the lighting), having an impact on what is on show. The anonymity of the works and the varied experimentation with form made for interesting viewing, and it’s a great place to pick up original Christmas presents.

Isabel Roth

ArtsArts Reviews

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