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Wonderland: O3 Gallery, Oxford Castle
This year is particularly significant for the Alice Day celebrations which take place each July, as it is the 150th anniversary of the year in which Lewis Carroll told his tale of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Alice Liddell and her sisters. Fourteen artists have contributed to the exhibition, beautifully curated to provide a visual journey, enhanced by each artist’s take on the story. The show makes clever use of the two levels of the O3 Gallery, providing a natural progression through the story. In addition, there are audio pieces by Goldsmiths’ Music Faculty. There are DVDs from the University of California’s Wonderland Film Award, plus the opportunity to buy from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Installation.
The show begins with the digital collages of Adriana Peliano, who bases her works on Tenniel’s original illustrations for Alice, with additional references to Victorian history and iconography as in Alice in the Ship of Fools (pictured). And in Off with her Head, which features both Tenniel’s illustration of Carroll’s queen and a contemporary Queen Victoria. Then, Elena Katis brings a strong tropical blue to her prints Alice with Mirror and Alice Down the Hole, showing Alice in freefall against a crystal clear background.
Katarzyna Widmanska’s photographs speak clearly of the original text in Follow the White Rabbit and Advice from Mr Caterpillar. So does her third piece, Epilogue, where Alice declares: “You are only a pack of cards” — a reminder that this is, after all, an imagined drama.
Anica Govedarica’s abstract pieces continue in this vein. And the journey ends abruptly with Childhoodfriend #61 in which Catherine Hiley uses mixed media collage to represent a young and forceful Alice, sword in one hand and a severed head in the other.
Wonderland is at the O3 Gallery, Oxford Castle , continuing until August 5, open Tuesday to Sunday.