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Art That Moves - The Works of David Williams
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18 January - 2 February

** Prize Draw, free entry to everyone who attends the exhibition - a chance to win a David Williams automatic writing machine **

The exhibition of animatronic art, simply art that moves, by David Williams. The show is to be held in a wonderful space courtesy of the Cleveland Centre in central Middlesbrough. Enter the Centre at the Grange Road entrance opposite the Church and walk in the first door on the right, up the stairs to the wonders that await...

David Williams is a real throwback to the times when art and science were not artificially separated and it was perfectly acceptable to regard each as the reverse face of the other. Think about Leonardo da Vinci - he was better known in his day for creating siege engines than he was for painting and his output included everything from medical investigation (his studies of the human body are some the most exquisite life drawings ever), through 'fine art' painting to architectural designs and future technology (helicopters and parachutes).

David's work echoes those times. His pieces are made of metals, rivets, nuts and bolts and driven by motors. They're often constructed of Meccano. Hardly the materials of a fine artist you might think. But the works produced are pure art in every sense - they're beautiful, pleasing, thought provoking - and they move.

Animatronic art is simply art that moves. In David's work this means metal balls that make their way (often precariously) around helter-skelter rides and writing machines that automatically create drawings. But to describe them in purely these terms is to miss the point - and the total joy of them.

They move in that other sense of the word - in terms of the spirit. People's reaction to their first sight of the machines is invariably to burst into laughter with pure delight. They invoke an instant childlike delight in everyone - even the hardest, worldweary individuals. They seem to lighten the load and at the same time evoke deeper, more profound thoughts and feelings that cannot - need not - be explained.

The works look eccentric and are constructed of 'bits and pieces' but this cannot hide ingenuity and elegance of their designs. These evoke another period David is passionate about - the Industrial Revolution. There's no denying that - if the recent BBC series Great Britons is to be believed - the British have great affection for those genius engineers who managed to transcend simple commercial requirements to create what many people believe are some of the greatest works of art this country has. It is not so fanciful to say the spirit of Stephenson and Brunel as well as the spirit of Leonardo inhabit the quirky, delightful pieces that churn away minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, creating their own patterns - of movement, marks and thought.

Because they do what all great art is supposed to do. They entertain, delight and provoke. They merge reality with dreams, fine art with fine science and engage both sides of the brain. They're little pieces of magic (in the best sense of the word).

In other words, they move.

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