We are delighted to be hosting Karen Logan, Lucy Williams and Gillian Swan during the Leytonstone Arts Trail.
Karen Logan and Lucy Williams: Over and under
Karen Logan and Lucy Williams both use time consuming methods, working by hand to stitch and knit exploring issues such as belonging, absence and place. They decided to use the Leytonstone Arts Trail to begin a conversation between selected works.
Karen Logan – Close knit is an ongoing project exploring family history, textile process and landscape. Karen has worked in gallery/community education for many years, this includes work for Creative Partnerships, Tate Britain and The Whitechapel Art Gallery. Currently part of the creative practitioner team at The Hepworth Wakefield, she works alongside families, schools and young people considering, exploring and creating visual art.
Lucy Williams -Worn jackets explores how clothes can metaphorically take on the emotional as well as physical shape of those who wear them. Lucy is inspired by stories and folklore, drawing on symbols and motifs connected with concepts of self, other, reflection and shadow. Lucy has worked in children’s charities and galleries on education programmes for a number of years.
Gillian Swan: The future is brightly coloured
Gillian’s work explores real inhabited environments and seeks to examine the relationships people have with their surroundings. She is interested in the physical remnants successive occupiers leave on buildings and how they form a subtle, yet candid, record of the complex and varied interactions people have had with those buildings.
Gillian will be showing several small pieces from her new series of work titled ‘The future is brightly coloured’ as well as a large relief sculpture which she will be inviting visitors to paint over during the first four days of the exhibition (3 – 6 July).
This series of work is based on buildings not far from the gallery on Leytonstone High Road and is inspired by the action being taken to sanitise and remodel shop fronts and buildings in the area. The first piece of the series was recently shortlisted for The John Ruskin Prize 2014, and is currently on display at the Millennium Gallery as part of an exhibition of shortlisted entries titled ‘Recording Britain Now’ that is partnering the V&A exhibition, ‘Recording Britain’.
Interview by Kate Delamere
Your work has been described as literally ‘out of this world’, even ‘alienesque’. Do you draw inspiration from the cosmos and does your imagination play a part in your work?
No. When I paint, I try to repress my imagination, I fade it out, push it away, because I work in a process and for that imagination is a distraction. However, I’ve always been fascinated by the cosmos and the science related to it. I believe that what’s written in science fiction doesn’t match the reality of what might really be out there. My guess is that no-one will ever imagine what it could be like – maybe our senses are not even able to experience it.
How would you describe your creative process?
Painting is for me playing like a child – a solipsistic game – in the sense of being alone with oneself. Sometimes the game or play is simple, like playing in a sandpit. Sometimes it is complex, like a board game. It is not passive, mechanical or automatic. There is no experience on which the game is based.
You’ve been described as having a ‘free style’. Can you elaborate on that?
‘Free style’ means that when I’m working I’m completely free – there are no constraints, rules or restrictions. I may start off painting but it could turn into a sculpture. There’s only me and the laws of the paint and materials, but even those I experience anew time and again, through experiments in my working processes. I work in series. This way I don’t get stuck with one work and always move on to the next one. Later, with a certain distance when I go over the series again, it’s easier to destroy and analyse. Destruction can mean creation, discarding can mean renewal.
Over the years your palette’s evolved to become brighter with more distinct lines. How do you choose the mediums and tools for each individual piece?
A series is often dominated by similar materials, therefore the paintings belong together, for example; rice paper, jute, plaster, soil, ink. There’s no rule that a series must remain focussed on them. In my studio I often rediscover materials by stumbling upon them again.
What is the most unusual medium or tool you’ve used for a piece of art and why?
So many! In the past I’ve used oil paint, alkyd paint, acrylic, oil pastels, pastels, pigments, charcoals, graphite, fabrics, papers, wires, carrots, sand, shells, branches, cinder, glues, enamel, tea, coffee, marble dust, glass, ropes, string, wool, chestnuts, stones, sheet metal, tin cans, grogram, Chinese rice paper, soil, moss, roots, bark, leaves, iron filings, felt, concrete, honey, flour, salt.
I use them because a painting is never only colour, it’s also structure, texture and materiality. The colour is sometimes not important even though my palettes have become brighter.
As a German artist living in London, you were founder of the artist group ‘The Rip’ that exhibited work across the UK, Germany and Russia. Tell me more about the group and its origins?
The Rip was founded in 1987 in what was then West-Berlin. It was a group of painters, sculptures, musicians and writers and had around 10 members. Some of the artists did paintings together, others sculptures and a punk band called ‘der Riss’ was founded. As emerging artists we helped each other organise shows, readings and concerts in small galleries, derelict houses, former STASI-buildings and warehouses. We had connections to artists in St. Petersburg and Moscow in Russia. It led to us showing our work there during the summer of 1991 and the band played in Leningrad. After Berlin became the capital of the reunified Germany, lots of members moved away from the city, so the group split up.
In this particular series Boris Born uses a brighter palette than usual; his lines are more distinct, giving way to angular or organic shapes and their contrasting effects. The result seems like a scene from a landscape, objects, or creatures of a second nature or different planet. In the process of painting, Boris moves freely between mediums and tools: papers, concrete, lacquers, leaves, dust and ashes are some of the many unusual materials he likes. Playing with colours and textures, he paints, spreads, scrubs, stamps and assembles the material onto recovered floor boards.
Boris Born is a German born artist based in London and exhibited in many group and solo shows across the UK and Germany. The private view is on Thursday 29 May at 6.30 – 8.30pm with musical accompaniment by Kay Grant (voice) and Ntshuks Bonga (saxophone) performing improvised pieces.
You draw much inspiration from the world around you for your artwork. What inspired your latest exhibition at The Stone Space in Leytonstone?
The main inspiration for this exhibition are the effects we are having on the environment. I’m interested in the mindset that we can just take until it’s gone with very little thought on the consequences; that we have grown to expect energy built into our homes and offices without really understanding its origins or our consumption of it. We might choose to dine at a restaurant because of its ethically source foods but we probably wouldn’t ask where they get there electricity from and how much they use. I’m not exempt, when I put the light on at home I have no idea how much of the planet I’m burning to light my room. It’s this ingrained assumption that the demands we are making on the planet can be met without consequence that interests me. We are a greedy and blinkered race that has, and continues to build an unsustainable world.
There is a piece entitled Disappearing Species in the exhibition featuring a picture of man that sends out a stark message to take personal responsibility for our planet before it is too late. What overall message do you want people to take from your work and why?
The over all message I want people to take away is that we are all responsible for our own consumption of energy, not matter how small. We have an ingrained reliance on the planets resources built directly into our homes. When we switch on a light or turn the oven on we are using energy from the planet. This is a luxury that we have come to expect, and will continue to expect it until it’s gone!
Your work mixes simplicity of form with a variety of materials from newspaper to marbles and wood. What material do you particularly like working with and why?
I am starting to use wood (recycled pallets) to create moving sculpture. It’s relatively tough and can be shaped quickly. My ideas are often very diverse. Using a variety of materials gives me the ability to visualise the idea in a much more succinct way. It also enables me to interest and engage with a wider audience. If you didn’t get this one, you might get that one! In the future I hope yo work more with fully recycled materials and objects to deliver the message.
You have been involved with the Kaghan Memorial Trust in Pakistan that raises money to educate young girls. How did you get involved in this and why?
I got involved through a friend of a friend that works for the charity. They put a call out for artists to submit work for an auction to raise money to build a school. I was working with maps at the time. Through researching the traditions of the area I decided to use the bridal Menhdi patterns to represent knowledge spreading form the area of the school. I was very pleased to hear that my paintings were reserved before they hit the exhibition!
So what’s next for Woodie Wright?I’m looking forward to exhibiting some of my photography in the Slate on the 17 May. I’m entering work for the Leytonstone Arts Trail; I’ll be in the North Star as well as entering work in some group shows. I’m also very excited to have been invited to show into the Star Walls exhibition in Pictorem Gallery on the 15 July. You can follow what I’m up to on my site woodiewright.co.uk or on Twitter @Wooodie (that’s Woodie with 3 Os!). It’s been a great privilege to exhibit at the Stone Space and to work with everyone there.
Woodie’s show finishes on Sunday 25 May 2014.
The pieces in Woodie Wright’s show will attempt to explore the devastating gentle ignorance that continues to grow in all of us. Woodie is interested in trying to expose the overall assumption that our needs can be answered without consequence. This series of works aims to highlight these ingrained and deadly assumptions using many materials and methods.
Whilst the artist’s work is capable of generating complex philosophical responses, Woodie has tried hard to retain a level of simplicity. Hopefully this will encourage people without artistic backgrounds to engage with his work. Utilising complex methods of delivery and subject matter has not restricted his ability to retain a simple and to-the-point final piece.
The private view is on Thursday 1 May from 6:30 to 8:30pm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.