‘Vane Shorts 2’ presents works by five artists, each of whom explores play and recreation in their work, ranging from the combination of formalist sculptural techniques with domestic and utilitarian elements (Beech), military re-enactments (Clamp), a carnivalesque parade of twisted figures (Mooney), to videos of low-fi inventions (Pearl) or seemingly random actions and scenes that evoke other things (Phipps).

David Beech’s That clinical emotion (2007) typifies the artist’s formalistic approach to sculpture. Drawing on influences such as flat-pack furniture, the domestic environment, and sewing techniques, the work frustrates any functional or utilitarian readings and the result is a culmination of both a sensual and, at times, creepy object. Beech was born in Luton, UK, in 1972 and currently lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. His projects in 2007 include the solo exhibition, ‘Solito’, at Star and Shadow Cinema, the group exhibition, ‘Shop’, Gallery Glue, and ‘For Hands that Make Things’, as part of Waygood Gallery and Studios’ ‘Harker Herald’ billboard project, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Rupert Clamp’s The Fighting man (2007) takes its inspiration from ‘War in Peace’ magazine, published weekly from 1983 to 1985 by ORBIS. Collected by the artist as a child, a regular feature of the magazine was the back page illustration and description of a ‘fighting man’. For this work he has recreated – or, rather, re-enacted – 40 of those back-page illustrations, placing him self within the original magazine page, with only a stick as a prop. Clamp was born in Guisborough, UK, in 1970 and currently lives in Marsden, West Yorkshire. His work encompasses both gallery exhibitions and publicly sited projects and he is currently working on ‘Lost in Louth’, a public art commission from The Gatherums and Springside Regeneration Group, in Louth, Lincolnshire.

Jock Mooney’s cornucopia of perverted ‘toys’ represents the fevered, meticulously crafted, physical manifestations of the artist’s dank cavern of a mind. His twisted nightmare world manifests itself here in the pair of severed heads of Remembering Marie Antoinette twice, the four-legged Two schoolgirls dressed as an autumnal landscape (2007), the trophy head bear of Fucked Ursus (2006), the twin figures of Raped and murdered at the bottom of the garden by these two (2007), the Burberry clad Preggers Charver/Ned (2006), the eyeballs of Les yeux sans visage, the knotted branches of Tree (yellow leaves) (2007), and the ejaculations of Vom-shit dog (2006).

Alex Pearl’s Protest Films (2006) is a series of films in which a small clockwork protest is made in a variety of locations around the world. A kit containing a clockwork protester and placards is despatched to various locations and then passed from person to person. No limits are set on how or where the protesters are used or what they are protesting against. The resulting films are sent back to the artist for editing and screening on their own website. Pearl was born in Manchester, UK, in 1968 and currently lives in Melton, Woodbridge, Suffolk. His work was recently included in the group exhibition, ‘RSVP, Contemporary Artists at the Foundling Museum’, London and exhibition and festival screenings in 2007 include ones in Iceland, Switzerland, Italy, India, USA, and the UK.

Richard Phipps films everyday and mundane objects and occurrences and transforms them into something else through a combination of framing by the camera, soundtrack, and titles that reference or evoke another thing. Thus, a flattened promotional flyer snaps back to its original 3D box form in Thinking inside outside the box (2007), specks of dust on a desktop, bouncing to a bass-heavy soundtrack, take on the appearance of dancers in a club in In dust we trust (2007), and the reflection cast by a glass of water on a ceiling becomes a UFO, and the adjacent lampshade a mothership, in Close encounters (2007). Phipps was born in Birmingham, UK, in 1970 and currently lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. Recent group exhibitions include, ‘Serious Playtime’, Gallery Glue, Newcastle upon Tyne (2007), ‘Disorient’, Globe Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne (2006), and ‘Disorientation’, HIT Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia (2005).