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Knowing when to stop…A conversation with Jeff Cox by Helene Collins

It’s hard to keep up with Jeff Cox, his ideas and musings keep on coming. In his East London studio, surrounded by works for his current exhibition – ‘What Now?’ – at The Stone Space, Jeff takes me through some of the influences and inspirations for his coruscating and witty paintings.

Brought up in London in the fifties he always wanted to paint . At the time of leaving grammar school in the sixties art was not considered to be a viable option by either school or family so he studied economics at Southampton University and went on to become a teacher. But he was always painting and drawing, going to exhibitions, and reading books and magazines on art. He has shown his work in several small London galleries and was eventually able to devote himself fully to being an artist in 1999. Initially his work was figurative and he was an admirer of artists Stephen Campbell and R.B. Kitaj. But his ‘big three’ influences have always been Cezanne, Picasso and Klee, but has long admired painters such as Titian, Velazquez and Watteau.

Jeff’s pictures are vibrant and his bold use of colour he says is “emotional and instinctive”. Spanning abstract and figurative his work draws on themes of memory, relationships and introspection. There are often recurring motifs of triangles and of ladders. The works on show have not been produced as a series but complement each other, and the body of work has been curated specifically for The Stone Space. Some of his newer pieces, compared with earlier works, have been completed quite quickly. He has used a different technique with these, layering them up and using stand oil to create a more iridescent surface.

JCox 2

He says that often when he is painting it is important to know when to stop but in the case of ‘Donde’, adding mysteriously “…it could possibly be unfinished!”. He states that his aim is to provoke and engage the viewer. He quotes Anselm Kiefer ‘Art is difficult, it’s not entertainment’ and believes it is for the viewer to decide what it is he is seeing and it is not the artist’s prerogative to dictate but to offer ambiguity. He considers that some contemporary prize-winning artists’ work to be rather shallow: “There has to be more than just a visual pun”. He considers his art to be post-postmodern maintaining that the medium of paint is still crucial amongst other styles and disciplines. Amongst some of the contemporary artists he admires are Anselm Kieffer, Howard Hodgkin and Sean Scully.

Jeff works in his studio several days a week maintaining that for him making art is an intrinsic need -
“After this show I feel freer to move on. Not a new idea-but I wish to move further towards painting as an equivalent to music. And I may come to regret that remark!”.

Jeff will hold a Q&A session on Saturday 26 April at 3.00 pm.

‘What Now?’ finishes on Sunday 27 April. Exceptionally the gallery will be closed Friday 18, Saturday 19 and Sunday 20.

 

What Now? by Jeff Cox – 3 to 27 April 2014

The gallery is pleased to welcome back Jeff Cox after his last solo show ‘What’s Going On?’ in 2012.

The paintings in this show are Jeff’s reflections on life, memories and art. They are the result of recent work but they call upon past work as well as more recent ideas. Jeff has taken this opportunity to test himself in various ways while remaining aware of the range of possibilities in this post postmodern age.

Like many painters he is uneasy with the blanket term “abstract”- he does not consider any of his paintings to be abstract in the purest sense. Some would argue that all painting is abstract: painting is a bunch of forms and colours on a flat surface. All his paintings have a definite content but he is very resistant to explaining them.

The private view is on 3 April from 6.30 to 8.30 pm.

The artist will hold a Q&A session on 26 April at 3.00 pm.

JCox small

 

POLYGONDAYDREAM – Visceral and Virtual by Mark and Paul Cummings: 6 to 30 March 2014

The wolf and the goat are common motifs in the foundational mythologies and cosmologies throughout Eurasia and North America. Both wolf and goat have both nurtured powerful mythological heroes in their infancy. The totemic value of these creatures aided shamans to seek knowledge and transformed spiritual experiences into non-ordinary reality by identifying with the spirit of these creatures.

Goat and wolf by Paul and Mark Cummings

Goat and wolf by Paul and Mark Cummings

These sculptures offer up a modern visceral urban folk myth. Craft is aided by technology to afford a new status by providing a new kind perceivable reality, the non-physical digital reality.

The backdrop to these sculptures provides an arc for this last chapter of the narrative. The paintings portray the fragility of civilization where time, war and natural disaster take their toll and the myths die with them too. Nature reclaims what she has sown and a new cycle starts again.

Paul and Mark are acclaimed artists working in Leyton. Starting as fine artists, sculptors and photographers, the twin brothers amalgamate ideas and utilise their wide range of skills and conceptual practices from which they select the most appropriate medium to produce work.

For  more information on Mark and Paul’s work, visit POLYGONDAYDREAM’S website.

The private view will be on Thursday 20 March from 6.30 to 9.30 pm.

Complex and simple American art comes to Leytonstone

American artists Natalie Dunham and Sarah Jacobs are showing two series of their new work in ‘Complication/simplicity’ starting on 6 February 2014 in the Stone Space. Both artists create their artwork painstakingly by hand, Natalie using geometric language, and Sarah using patterns.

RED by Natalie Dunham

RED by Natalie Dunham

Natalie’s series, paint the roses [RED], is a minimal installation that targets the idea of uncomplicating the complicated. She strips down materials to their natural unaltered states and aims to reveal the inherent nature of something that is honest and uncomplicated in its purity. This series brings to light the result of masking and covering up, instead of fixing. The work will visually follow this theme and illustrate that painting the (roses) red is always a temporary solution, as the true nature and colour of things will eventually reveal themselves.

Sarah’s series of intricate showy paintings, Ethosphere, also speaks of life’s complications, but rather than striving to offer an alternative it glorifies noise, complexity & entanglements. In the visual language of her series patterns representing various paradigms or Weltanschauungen smash into other patterns in comic book-style explosions. The patterns often meld together creating new amalgamations, which render the original compositions nearly imperceptible. The visual pleasure produced by these painted interactions is analogous to the beauty of complex societies and thought.

Ethosphere by Sarah Jacobs

Ethosphere by Sarah Jacobs

Sarah and Natalie have between them, in solo shows and together, recently exhibited in France, Poland, Germany, England and several venues in the States.

‘Complication/simplicity’ runs from 6 February to 2 March 2014 at the Stone Space gallery. Natalie Dunham and Sarah Jacobs will give a talk a the gallery on 6 February at 5.30pm and the private view will be on the same day from 6.30 to 8.30 pm.

Behind the scenes: 9 January to 2 February 2014

Happy New Year!

All the works presented in this show are produced by Stone Space volunteers who help run the gallery and work behind the scenes. The huge diversity of the pieces in the show nicely reflects the diversity of our volunteers. Next to each piece we have also included a short profile written by the volunteers about themselves and their involvement at the Stone Space.

The Stone Space is a truly voluntary collaboration between artists and those who want to see visual arts thriving in Leytonstone. The gallery grew from the Leytonstone Arts Trail – which is a short annual show of visual arts in cafes, shops, churches, streets and open places run by artists themselves. The readiness of people living and working in Leytonstone to see something more solid became evident in visitors’ reaction to the much acclaimed ‘Pick’n’Mix’ show in the empty Woolworths before it became Argos and ‘When the walls come down’ at Norlington Road studios.

Artists involved with the Leytonstone Arts Trail were offered the empty spaces with a free mandate to see what could be done. The Stone Space opened in October 2011. The variety of work has been astonishing and has included residency, live painting, experimental drawing machines and world class works in video, oil, graphite, acrylic etc. The hugely popular Star Walls in May 2013 included all that and more, across two galleries, the Library halls and the streets. Our sister display area, SLATE windows, adds to the diversity.

All these activities fund themselves through the small entry fees that artists pay and commission on any works sold. With unfailing support from invigilators, curators and installers giving their time voluntarily the gallery has attracted visitors from all walks of life and fulfils its aim to bring great art to Leytonstone.

The collaboration thrives on opinion, new views and fresh ideas. New volunteers are always welcome. What would you like to see at the gallery?  How could you help to make it happen? A little bit of your time could help to make those visions come to life. Download a volunteer form or a proposal form or pick up a hardcopy from our office in opening hours. Come along and talk to one of the volunteers. Join our mailing list and come to one of our regular get-togethers, meet other volunteers and artists and help to take the Stone Space forward.

Red and black by Flash Bristow

Apanthropinization by Akvile Terminaite

Exciting stained glassworks to brighten our winter days

From 18 December 2013 to 6 January 2014 the Stone Space is hosting a vibrant collection of stained glassworks by Sergiy Shkanov. Showing Sergiy’s versatility as a draftsman, the works range over figurative and abstract themes. Sergiy also paints and, draws and sculpts. He has worked in the Ukraine, Russia and all across Europe, and now lives and works in Leyton.

Please note that the display will be only be viewable from the street as volunteers will be having their well deserved festive break which means the gallery will be shut for visitors.

We wish you all a great Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Nice to see you small

Women by Derek Marks: 28 November to 15 December 2013

‘Women’ is the recent work by Leytonstone painter Derek Marks. Derek was born in East London where he lives and works as an artist and lecturer. He studied fine art at Goldsmiths College of Art and has exhibited worldwide. 

These works in oil, often shimmering and intoxicatingly bright, sometimes darker and more grounded, seem to capture women’s everyday movement, gestures and inclinations. Far from being exploitative or voyeuristic, the images are warm and genuine observations. Working directly from his own numerous sketches and drawings, Derek captures the contrasting effort and ease of women cycling (‘Woman on a Bike’ I,II and III) and the exact geometry of a the mother and buggy (‘Blue Push’) or the hunch of shoulders in the cold (‘Snow’).

These works demonstrate Derek’s devotion to scholarship in painting, constantly recognised and noted in reviews of his work. Rebecca Bergese, friend and artist, comments that these works are ‘joyful traces of the best kind of research, research into the living of life.’ 

There will be a private viewing from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday 28 November.

Derek Marks small

Inamorata: 31 October to 24 November 2013

Paul Morris’s current work pursues strong themes of obsession in human liaisons. Images are often derived from the artist’s subconscious, exploring the mysterious or tormented dimension of relationships. The work is largely symbolic in its portrayal, using a variety of found objects/appropriated pieces to demonstrate meaning. Paul elicits the expression of feelings of an intimate relationship from an impudent photograph or an old letter envelope.

Paul uses a variety of media including oil, but more frequently includes images constructed using a collage of wax, lead, dried flowers, photographs sometimes of an erotic nature and other assorted objects. The objects are the emblematic clues Paul harnesses to work poetically.

Paul has exhibited widely in the last twenty years. He was part of a ‘Young Contemporaries’ exhibition at the Royal College of Art, has had solo exhibitions at Riverside Gallery, Richmond and participated in many group shows such as ‘Enlightenment’ by the Association of Erotic Artists in Milton Keynes and at The Gallery, Liverpool and Redgate Gallery in Brixton in a show entitled ‘How beautiful ugliness is’. Paul has contributed locally as a member of the Waltham Forest Arts Club and in the 2012 Leytonstone Arts Trail.

Inamorata

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