Review of Part-Time Offerings

Earlier this month, Forest City Gallery Blogger and new Intern, Lucas Cabral, checked out Museum London’s exhibition Part-Time Offerings by Patrick Howlett.  Part-Time Offerings, an exhibition which alludes to the multi-faceted, yet time-constrained dimensions of artists’ lives, is on display until August 17th. Below Lucas elaborates on highlights of viewing this exhibition. 

 Review of Part-Time Offerings

Museum London is now host to London-based artist Patrick Howlett’s show Part-Time Offerings. Held in the Forum Gallery, Howlett showcases a number of his works which are frequently small, intricate, and endearing often engaging the viewer in terms of their production and composition. Howlett’s work commonly investigates the multiple capabilities of art and the political and social systems that surround it.


vague and hazy, 2010, egg tempera on panel, 54 x 51 cm

Among his own works are pieces from other artists and installations whose purpose is to reference spaces other than that of the museum or art institution. In his practice Howlett investigates the environments and situations where art takes form. Each of the spatial interventions suggests a unique stage in production, transition, integrity or a unique opportunity for deliberation. An arrangement of chairs, each with their own spatial or situational connotations, alludes clearly to this idea in potentially referencing classrooms, offices, and studio spaces. The introduction of other elements such as a measuring stick, a desk once belonging to Greg Curnoe, and a peg wall with a Paterson Ewan painting all further allude to other situations and occasions where art is worked on and considered in its many capacities. Among this, each of these interventions can also be considered in terms of its importance to Howlett’s body of work potentially exploring the artist’s history with art and London.

The Forum Gallery is a gallery one must descend into and in doing so the viewer enters a deep space that is separated from the rest of the museum by commanding walls. This space further aids the show in that a unique, uninterrupted space is achieved unlike the walkthrough galleries upstairs. This separation works to establish the space and in doing so successfully highlights and observes the references to outside spaces within it.


Patrick Howlett, to know oneself does not seem natural, 2010, egg tempera on panel, 43 x 33 cm

The viewer is made to take part in a meta-consumption of sorts. Being surrounded by the tall dominating walls of the Forum Gallery, the viewer is clearly aware of the venue. Quickly, this consciousness becomes an invaluable element of the show as it references itself as a stage or element of the process and further emphasizes the role of the objects in the space. With each referential element of other space, the viewer becomes aware of the works potential histories and life as well as its elements of production, conception, and display. The work of art is provided a holistic context, one that references its journey and the integral role of each environment and its elements on the body of work.

The individual works provide interest in their playful use of colour and composition as well as through their other formal qualities. Their motivation as individual works being somewhat ambiguous further emphasizes the work of art and ensures it is not overshadowed by the contemplation of setting.


Patrick Howlett, an interplay of something, watercolour on paper, 38 x 56 cm

In all, Part-Time Offerings hails its audience to contemplate the role of the artist and the work within and outside of its viewing potential. A history, though uncertain and inexact, is highlighted through objects that are assumed characteristic and common features of its life. The prospective elements of development, both physically and conceptually, are given an importance.

-Lucas Cabral 

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