COB Gallery is pleased to present FORM, the debut exhibition in a three-part series to run over the course of 2018.
NEW WORK: FORM, SUBJECT, MATERIAL aims to exhibit selected groups of young, international multidisciplinary artists who bring distinct voices and striking approaches to these three fields of enquiry.
FORM is presented as a meeting of painting, sculpture, digital art, photography and mixed media works, examined through a dialogue between formal geometric structures and organic compositions. Explored throughout the exhibit is how these individual artists translate their subject matter and surroundings into the elemental, symmetrical or biomorphic. The exhibiting artists can be compared and contrasted through their differing contemporary engagements to form, not only through fabrication and rendering, but for their individual application of their unique artistic visual languages.
The three-part series format is inspired by a programme devised at Green Gallery, New York. Between 1960 and 1965, curator Richard Bellamy chose to exhibit the work of emerging artists who were redefining what art was, taking it into new directions, and using materials and forms in innovative ways.
Despite significant differences in practice and process, the works of Vanessa Da Silva, Katja Angeli, George Rouy, Asger Carlsen and Cristina BanBan all consider the human form as subject, whether it be through a more conceptual investigation or an overtly literal representation of the body. In part, Da Silva's sculptures, and Angeli’s assemblages both examine and translate the human form in movement and specifically dance. The shape and form of these works are suggestive of the body in motion rather than explicit in the representation of the body itself. This is distinct from Rouy and BanBan, who subvert and modify natural human appearances. Their aesthetics forge a lineage to tropes reminiscent of early modernist movements, choosing to exaggerate the human form by means of heightening characterisations. Similarly, the other worldliness appearance and deliberate distortion in form and pose of their subjects can be exchanged for metaphor or allegory.
Sif Norskov and Laurence Owen look to literature, including Folklore, early Mythology and Magical Realism as the foundations of their respective visual languages. Near recognisable objects and plant life are interchanged for the human figure throughout their compositions. Ambiguous in their placement, these shapes toy with what we perceive as the real and the imagined through planes of colour and forms that shift between representation and abstraction.
Pattern and abstraction are explored in the works of Dominic Beattie, Joseph Goody and Will Spratley. In particular, Goody and Spratley’s works are comparable in their embrace of geometry and formal shape, yet polarising in artistic intention. Goody’s methodical, process lead compositions question how materiality of paint can create a space that forgoes regularity and still resonates with emotional, and even figurative ideas. Goody’s gestural abstraction becomes a vehicle for expression, where Spratley’s sculptures urge us to consider the minimalist potential in everyday objects and surroundings. Spratley’s wall-mounted constructions are, in fact, direct abstract conversions of items found in his bedroom, including renditions of a football shirt and a David Hockney art exhibition poster. In this display, a tension is cultivated between organic manual means of representation and the appearance of something machine-like or systematic. Meanwhile, Beattie’s large scale abstract paintings concern the development of unique patterns and tie together the systems employed by both Goody and Spratley. Here, we see a lineage to tribal iconography, with geometric form applied to create an intense visual experience through the use of bold block colour and rhythmic outlines.
For Tristan Pigott, James Tailor and Realf Heygate, traditional painting resides at the heart of their practices. For all three artists, painting is the threshold to broader concepts, and all choose to push its limitations through their application of sculptural and digital accompaniments or counterparts. These expanded practices are direct challenges to notions of the artist hand, authenticity, perception and the medium itself. Tailor’s large-scale freestanding work is formed from sheets of a material made from paint, encased in a dissembled easel, confronting the distinctions between painting and sculpture. Similarly, Pigott and Heygate subvert traditions of painting through the canon of still life and trompe l’oeil aesthetics. Heygate converts his highly detailed paintings of archaeological artefacts into digital 3D objects as a means to explore the conversion of two-dimensional images into virtual spaces, a challenge to archival lineage in a digital age. Pigott's unique brand of high realism figurative painting has recently evolved into sculpture. In its veristic details, 'Slipped Wink’ toys with our immediate perception, but also bolsters Pigott’s continued exploration of how human ego is translated into the inanimate object, such as a chair.
This approach to humanising the inanimate can also be viewed in context with Paloma Proudfoot's sculptures, that are often realisations of borrowed shapes reminiscent of typically manufactured objects such as the bowling pin. Her interferences provide the ceramic interpretations with a human-like tactility that borders on the uncanny and surreal. Furthermore, Asger Carlsen’s photography utilises in-camera and post-processing techniques to interfere with the original image, creating unsettling images that sit uncomfortably within his candid, seemingly truthful world. Treating the digital image as raw material, his work erases the limitations of traditional photography and blurs the lines between photography, drawing, and sculpture. Carlsen’s ‘Hester’ series was created by photographing nude models in his studio, then setting to work at the computer, methodically erasing and reconfiguring any semblance of human anatomy. The works are rendered as digital sculptures of otherworldly flesh and bone, and exist in large black and white prints. As an extension to this series, Cob Gallery is pleased to exhibit one of his ‘Black Digital’ works, which resembles a material mass; similar to a lump of clay, but on closer inspection is a composite of barely recognisable human forms.
· Katja Angeli · Cristina BanBan · Dominic Beattie · Asger Carlsen · Vanessa da Silva · Realf Heygate · Joseph Goody · Sif Norskov · Laurence Owen · Tristan Pigott · Paloma Proudfoot · · · George Rouy · Will Spratley · James Tailor
For the exhibition In Favour of Three Dimensions, MLF | Marie-Laure Fleisch has invited four artists whose art can be characterized by an innovative approach to the materials and techniques they use to create their work: Jason Gringler, Manor Grunewald, Holly Hendry and James Tailor.
It is becoming increasingly evident that contemporary artists are not comfortable with the traditional vernacular linked to the act of “painting”. In order to continue to overcome the charged history of wall-hung artworks, there is a desire to push the medium into new realms by rethinking the materials previously considered as essential to the physical composition of paintings: the canvas, the stretcher and paint itself. Looking towards the future of painting rather than repeating past strategies of creation, artists are stretching the physical properties of these elements so far that they become unrecognizable, or even eliminating them entirely.
Using welded frames to contain layers of steel, plexiglass, epoxy and glass, Jason Gringler challenges our relationship with paintings, as the reflective quality of the pieces inevitably implicate the viewer and the surrounding architectural space in the refracted mirrored planes. Textures are created by cracks and ripples, the result of unmannered gestures made while integrating new materials and destroying unsuccessful elements of past works. These new lines attest to the acceptation of failure as well as the desire to create new form of mark making through the re-appropriation of past forms. He has recently developed a series of monochromes, purifying his past process to create minimal structures which attract the ambient light while maintaining a matte surface.
Exposing the ambiguity between digital technologies and analog techniques, Manor Grunewald is also occupied with the representation of the hand of the artist and the procedures which bring an artwork into being. Interested in the transitory states of artworks and the various forms they take during transport, storage or as archival material, Grunewald creates a vocabulary that incorporates shelving, construction materials and screen-like objects which obscure the original work or become the support for printed images. Evoking the hand of the artist without any apparent brushstrokes, Grunewald makes the viewer aware of the various physical processes engendered by the artist during the elaboration of the work through photocopied images.
Using a sculptural approach to painting, James Tailor has developed a technique of mixing acrylic medium with paint, creating sheet-like forms that can be used to envelope, drape, conceal, or expand existing objects. Commenting on the many artworks that are holed up in storage, James Tailor has created his own bubble wrap and tape, which he then uses to encase blank canvases. Taking found objects and re-appropriating their history to form new narratives, or creating new forms from blank canvases destined for traditional paintings, Tailor comments on complexities of human nature, such as identity, hopes, flaws and corruption.
Holly Hendry, a sculptor, superposes strata of plaster, marble, jesmonite, wood, and various objects to create works evoking geological processes, but also the human body and the internal processes of conversion. While the colour palette is often light-hearted and fresh, the forms and embedded teeth or bones remind us that we are all mortal beings made of flesh and bone. While she typically works with large three-dimensional forms, her wall mounted works offer another alternative to sculpture, creating sculptures which are dependent on the wall rather than on the floor to support their weight. These recently elaboured wall sculptures are comprised of multiple autonomous pieces which cannot exist without the physical support of the wall, allowing them to exist as one singular organism.
Held My Hand
Installation capturing the moment of resolution before helping someone to cope with the inevitable.
In my degree show, Held My Hand, my methods of assemblage have remained the same buthe motivations behind this current body of work were very closely tied to the death of my father. It was not until I began to consider the curation of the works that I realised I was making a contemporary monument which captures the last moments of my dad’s life.
Much of my previous work has dealt with ideas that relate to the conversation between painting and sculpture, but since this experience I felt the need to create a body of works using emotion portrayed through objects and paint. This is the most personal work I have created to date.