July 19, 2015 § Leave a comment
Preview: Friday 24 July, 5-8pm
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the opening of Vane gallery, ‘Ten’ showcases the work of nineteen international artists represented by Vane. With artists from Germany, Denmark, Iceland, South Africa, the USA, as well as the UK, working across painting, drawing, sculpture and video, ‘Ten’ provides a snapshot of each individual artist’s practice.
EC Davies’ R_27a is from a series of oil paintings that grew from her ‘Donthinklove’ project, in which the artist photographed participants wearing love-heart decorated balaclavas. These participants then took away a balaclava each and photographed themselves wearing them in everyday situations. These photos were then sent to Davies, who in turn transcribed them into the monochrome paintings, the results being both intimate and unsettling.
Michael Davies’ paintings are wry meditations on desire and mortality, their sources snapshots and found images. The title of the painting mono no aware (pronounced MoNoNo-Awa-Ray) is a Japanese term for the bitter-sweet transience of life. Read as if it were English, a Joycean meaning might be ‘one is not aware’. Davies’ studio overlooks an abandoned cinema (the same building is visible from a different angle from the gallery); its precarious fire escape echoes the retractable bridge on the Death Star from Star Wars; steps smashed and door bricked up to keep out copper thieves… or perhaps to keep something contained.
Kerstin Drechsel’s recent series of works, ‘zusammen/together’, explores the sometimes turbulent relationship between mothers and daughters. Starting from the personal stories of her friends related during dinner party conversations, Drechsel transfers fragments of these anecdotes into her paintings. In Together #11 the German text translates as: “When I was 45, my mother suggested that we commit suicide together”.
Jorn Ebner’s Asger Jorn’s Flower Collection is from the series of drawings in which the artist imagines himself as the influential twentieth century avant-garde Danish painter, sculptor, and author Asger Jorn. In a rebellious move, Ebner dropped the umlaut from his original first name ‘Jörn’ in 1995. Asger Jorn’s original surname was Jørgensen, which he changed as an act of defiance against his fundamentalist Christian upbringing.
Mark Joshua Epstein’s paintings play with pattern, colour and composition, drawing not only upon western art history and modernist abstract art but the traditions of the decorative arts, particularly the textiles of Turkey and Central Asia. In the Young people speaking their minds series of watercolours, Epstein creates images that echo early modernist art, purposefully confronting historical criticisms of abstraction.
Nick Fox’s Tribute, part of a series of small-scale paintings, quietly reveals intimate fragments of hope, promise, love and lust through an overabundance of decadent botanical forms. The series is layered with literary references, in particular the writings of Oscar Wilde and French novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans, giving rise to a sense both of the pleasures and the limits of double meanings in the construction of codes.
Simon Le Ruez’s recent work shows his interest in architecture and draws on its relationship to sculpture. He conjures the city and evokes the complex connection between the private and the public spheres. Like a fragile, slender skyscraper, Belle Époque plays with transparencies and reflections. The meticulous and precise play on the size of objects allows Le Ruez to ignite multiple relationships between form, structure and image.
Dodda Maggý’s recent video work, DeCore (rosen), is a silent animation of symmetrical compositions that unfold to reveal a complex structure composed of constantly changing small mobile elements. Based on imagery associated with the arcane symbolism of alchemy, and reminiscent of experimental films of the early twentieth century, Maggý creates a kind of visual music; the patterns of concentric circles creating harmony and rhythms.
Jock Mooney’s paintings, collages and drawings are inspired by an obsession for Japanese prints, 1960s underground comics and the Italian ‘giallo’ genre of horror films. His obsessive drawing process forms an integral part of the work. In The Degeneration Game a horned, half human / half animal head is constructed from thousands of tiny, writhing fingers. Is it a cuddly cartoon goat or an image of some archaic faun-like deity?
Michael Mulvihill uses drawing to examine the intricate, obscure points of contact between everyday life and the (nuclear) military-industrial-complex. Mid-Century Modern depicts the cover of a report on Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Art and Technology programme that situated prominent artists such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg into major corporations including Lockheed, The RAND Corporation and The Hudson Institute under the directorship of Herman Kahn, the inventor of Mutually Assured Destruction.
Stephen Palmer’s Nicholas Poole is from a series of paintings that feature old copies of albums by iconic male singers. He partially obscures the cover by placing the record’s inner sleeve over it so that only the face of the artist is visible. With the inner sleeves’ additions of scrawled or carefully printed personal messages and texts, Palmer creates a conversation between our idea of that artist and their work and the albums’ one-time owners.
Josué Pellot’s work examines cultural identity as defined through popular culture and consumer products. He draws on the identities (and the colours and shapes employed) created by the advertising industry for products marketed primarily to the Latino community. Thus he creates an aesthetic and symbolic abstraction of Puerto Rican (Caribbean) identity that is juxtaposed with the clinical space of the white cube gallery.
Narbi Price makes paintings about connectedness and separation from the histories inescapably with us, embedded in our environment. He exploits painting’s physical qualities and disparate languages to challenge the conventions of photographically derived painting. In Untitled Club Painting Price portrays the front of Salford Lads Club – immortalised in the photograph of The Smiths used in the band’s 1985 album, The Queen Is Dead – as it appears today.
Morten Schelde works in a limited palette, sometimes purely monochrome, which lends a sense of surreality to his images. In his red pencil drawing, After Turner, Schelde creates the kind of typically romantic image of a sailing-ship seen in JMW Turner’s painting. However, the drawing stops midway, leaving the bottom half of the paper blank, as if some momentous event had prevented the artist finishing his work.
Matthew Smith’s Rock Displacement explores how the rural landscape is used and consumed by mass media and urban society. A rock was removed from the Lake District National Park and a mould made to create concrete copies. One of these copies was placed in the same spot from which the original was removed. Video documentation of this process is shown alongside multiple copies of the rock, distributed around the gallery.
Alison Unsworth’s Nothing ever happens here consists of a printed book illustration which shows an idyllic landscape image of Dungeon Gill in Westmorland. Unsworth has digitally added brightly coloured, synthetic materials, falling from the cliff top into the water below. Not least a cascade of yellow paint which creates a streak of colour across the black and white rock surface, creating a spectacle observed by the local sheep.
Barbara Walker’s ‘Show and Tell’ series of portraits of faceless young men explores how clothing is used as a status symbol. In H, Walker shows only the torso and forearms, obscuring the identity of her subject. Walker invites us to use the information available – clothing, tattoos – in order to complete the portrait. She asks us to consider how much we classify and stereotype people based on preconceptions about their appearance.
Miranda Whall’s etching, (Untitled) Birds on my Head #2, is one of her recurrent self-portraits that explore the representation of both her body and her experiences. By constructing fantasy scenarios where she co-exists with other things – inanimate objects or living creatures – Whall makes humorous, unlikely, often erotic connections, drawing attention to the politics of female representation and trying to be the owner of her own feminine image.
Flora Whiteley’s oil paintings, watercolours and drawings explore how objects in space create a form of open ‘abstract’ dialogue with each other and the audience. In The chorus a trio of ceramic bowls are laid out as if in a traditional still life. However, the title invites the viewer to make a connection between the bowls and the chorus of classical Greek plays: witnesses to the passing drama of everyday life.