In Salford's Paradise Works, Cherry Tenneson's exhibition 'Half Of Two Days Of Everything' mixes sculptures formed from collisions of accrued kitsch objects with examples of her more widely exhibited text and signage pieces.
Titles seem to be lifted from literature and the lyrics of pop songs; all in the service of mining popular culture to construct physical incarnations of moments of poetic sarcasm.
Tenneson has a preference for the high-fidelity banality of functional objects with a plasticised shouty-ness, everyday things as heightened visual events nodding towards the distancing paradigm of digital purity. They are objects that aspire to the cheeky inconsequentiality of flat and decorative signage.
The largest pieces are floor-bound combinations of functional items and cartoony toy items echoing blandly useful things. So 'Out Here On The Mountain Top' (2018) is a square art packing case topped by a miniature but not insubstantial black umbrella, open and, impossibly, standing up by the curved handle resting on the wooden surface. 'You're Like An Automatic" (2019) has a handful of wavy plastic chips spooning each other in the curved indentation of a polystyrene brick's surface. 'More, More, More' (2018) uses three trainers as snug bases for three fatly inflated inflatable walking sticks; their curving handles grumpily facing away from each other.
The best of these works is 'The Victory Cry' (2019); a table tennis net raised from the ground at each end of its length by aluminium-silver cleaning stanchions, its horizontal sag emphasized by a weighting square of sticking plaster. It sulkily radiates the prosaic inevitability of a predictable British Wimbledon defeat.
The smaller sculptural collisions presented on a line of white shelves are more immediately like-able but stick in the grey matter less successfully. The exception being 'Ashes to Ashes' (2018) in which a lumpy ash grey arch of an aquarium rock and a horizontal plastic cigarette bring to mind a pissed golem on a fag break.
Tenneson's confident use of the volume of real space has been ratcheted up further by hijacking Paradise Works projection and digital image playback space as an almost blacked out installation. A short line of cinema seats face a floor grounded light-box announcing 'A PAUSE', the restful break time from opening night socialising undercut by the regular sonic irritant of a clacking metronome.
Even here the space of the room is formally restructured as a series of flat theatrical layerings and positionings of viewer and information-object.
Cognizant of the retreating vagueness of object-biased culture Tenneson seems to enjoy taking pre-fabricated things for a wander back into the arena of flattened signs; that is to say literal, functional popular signage. This adds a tragicomic incorrectness to proceedings and yet, far from nonsense, the works themselves radiate an ironclad logic; one which is, however, hard to re-articulate outside the idiot slap of the visual.
The flatter text on board paintings of 'HALF OF TWO DAYS OF EVERYTHING' (2019) and fourteen part 'Birds never look into the sun (Social media paintings)' (2018 - 19) have the visual punch of informational signs. Blocky text sits on simple decorative grounds, avoiding the diaphanous layerings of obsessively painterly engagements with surface, and transcribe the spatial grandeur of the more bombastic of Ed Ruscha's horizon-hugging signage into claustrophobic square patternings like polite slices of wallpaper design.
'ALLEGORICAL NUDES' announces a dark blue acrylic and gouache; 'PHOTOGRAPHED AT LEAST ONCE IF NOT TWICE' darkening blue letters observe seated on a washy pink background; 'BOB' has the eponymous Bob (or possibly an insinuated verb 'Bob') as text on a scruffy skyblue hovering over a white strip of horizon; keeping it simple 'TUPPERWARE IN HER APARTMENT' states a blank white square of canvas board - and so, inventively, on and on goes the pithy little text works. All enjoyably slightly left-field and smile inducing.
The pivotal piece is the most easily overlooked one, 'Entre tes reins (Unknown Meeting)' (2017) already handily 'meta' with its description of 'painting-drawing printed onto vinyl, on vinyl.' A small portrait format rectangle of yellow vinyl stuck directly on the wall, each corner infected by a thumb print scale, slightly raised simulation of blue tack.
It places the viewer on the wrong side of a hastily produced office notice, combines the functional, banal and eye-catching with a spatially impossible vantage point, and in the process reanimates the attenuated confabulations of the neighbouring sculptures; enforcing an unanchored solidity to them. One which then loops back to the interleaving two-dimensional simplicity of the text work.