Emma Geliot's picture

March of Ownership, Sam Worthington (Colour Doomed) - 2015 - oil on canvas March of Ownership, Sam Worthington (Colour Doomed) - 2015 - oil on canvas

Things are heating up at The Abacus. Helen Bur and Sam Worthington s art practices will come together for the first time in a smoking new exhibition. Francesca Donovan stokes the fires of anticipation.

The embers smouldering at the heart of The Abacus are being stoked in preparation for a blaze of artistic expression. The exhibition space will be set alight by none other than two of The Abacus very own masterminds, Helen Bur and Sam Worthington (aka The Modern Alchemists). Their shared exhibition, Smoke Without Fire opens on Friday evening.

Expect dark aesthetics and thought-provoking politically motivated murals. This is a time of tangible social activity, particularly in Cardiff after the publicised austerity protests. Bur and Worthington reflect the current attitudes of concern, action and controlled aggression in this manifestation of their powerful practices.

For the past year, Sam and Helen have put their heart and soul into The Abacus, but not, surprisingly, their art. They have facilitated some of the most cutting-edge art Cardiff has seen to date and now they deservedly join the ranks of exhibiting artists in the lovingly renovated bus information office. The duo, who built The Abacus up from scratch and curate the astoundingly innovative Empty Walls festivalin Cardiff each year, are international practising artists in their own right. And they re no strangers to creating impressive, always expertly executed, artistic spectacles by their own hand and brush.

You will no doubt have stumbled across their sometimes pensive, sometimes playful murals on the streets around Cardiff. Now their creative processes take to the gallery space as they ask deeper and more pressing questions of the viewers. Smoke Without Fire promises to engage in a considered manner, discussing themes of the uncanny, control and ritual, without losing any of the energy Bur and Worthington showcase on the streets.

Towering murals are painted straight onto The Abacus walls, seeping into the very core of the space. Ominous canvases are being hung in preparation. A video installation will cut together raw footage depicting scenes of unrest. Sam, with a twinkle in his eye reveals a box of smoke bombs that will play a part in the opening night. He assures me they are perfectly safe.

The exhibition launch will include two live music sets: With C I T I E S electro indie-funk beats and Beresford Hammond s eerie ethereal string soundscapes, every one of your senses will be cheering for an encore. This event is set to be electric.

Smoke Without Fire Opens Friday 10 July at 7pm and runs to 26 JulyOpen Weds Sat 11 am 6pm, Sun 12pm 5pm