curated by Nico Kos Earle Helen Barff Katharine BeaugiĂŠ Sarah Dwyer Dominique Gerolini Echo Morgan Ginny Pavry HelenA Pritchard Alice Wilson
Published by JGM Gallery, on the occasion of the exhibition SURFACE 6th June - 21st July, 2018 Curated by Nico Kos Earle Accompanying text Nico Kos Earle Publication designed by Hannah Luxton JGM Gallery 24 Howie Street London SW11 4AY email@example.com ISBN 978-1-9998458-5-8 © 2018 JGM Gallery and the artists. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any manner without prior permission. Cover image: Alice Wilson,‘Untitled’ construction timber, acrylic paint and oil pastel, 240 x 300cm, 2018 Leaf image: Katharine Beaugié, ‘Blossom and Rain’ diptych (detail #2), 2018
curated by Nico Kos Earle Helen Barff Katharine BeaugiĂŠ Sarah Dwyer Dominique Gerolini Echo Morgan Ginny Pavry HelenA Pritchard Alice Wilson
Composition 5, 2018 Wood, Gesso, Cotton Mesh, Rabbit Skin Glue, Gypsum 60 x 56 cm
Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi Photograph, Tony McGee 2017
JGM Gallery are thrilled to present eight women artists participating in our latest exhibition “SURFACE” curated by Nico Kos. Nico Kos has been working closely with JGM Gallery and brings her expert knowledge of contemporary art as well as her uplifting personal ‘sparkle’ to JGM Gallery. Following the successful exhibition curated by Nico in 2017, DRIFT, SURFACE 2018 champions the work of a group of women artists who are all somehow linked to JGM Gallery and where “surface” is a fascination and contributing factor to their work. The interaction of the artists’ work is both thought provoking and engaging and evokes a peaceful harmony at JGM Gallery. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this exciting exhibition.
Jennifer Guerrini-Maraldi June 2018
“What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” T.S.Eliot, Four Quartets
At first, we skim the surface. If something catches our eye - wink, blink - we briefly consider what has been presented to the world. Like the red lips of a girl on a train, our second cursory glance is the response to an invitation, one that is framed by what the artist wants us to see. The surface of a work, like a veil that might be lifted, represents the beginning, the entry point, for an encounter. It openly, sometimes audaciously but more often subtly, whispering, asks us to probe beneath. In this sense, the surface is the space between the artist and the viewer, but also the place where they meet.
Like a newborn’s skin, the moment an artist stops intervening on the surface, when their surface work is done, is the moment its relationship with the world begins. With each of the artists in this show, surface elicits as much as it demands; it holds a meaning as diverse as the specific methodology it provokes. For the painter Sarah Dwyer, surface has a topographical quality, one that requires a kind of burying and digging, revealing treasures in the hunt for colour and form. To the painter Dominique Gerolini, surface has more to do with a totality that contains, like skin on the body. It is continuous, without beginning or end, as described by the thinker Giles Deleuze, “…there is a surface that owes nothing to profundity. It is completely.” On the other hand, for the multidisciplinary artist HelenA Pritchard, surface is an opportunity to transform. Her surface work is a restoration of found form, adding layers that confer dignity and elevate the quotidian. “It is a mistake to think that the painter works on a white surface… The painter has many things in his head, or around him, in his studio. Now everything… is already in the canvas… before he begins his work. (71) In Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, Giles Deleuze “The Painting before Painting.” Alice Wilson questions the idea of surface itself though a strategy of inversion: the outside becomes the inside, the underbelly is flipped, and the step for your foot becomes a platform for your mind to expand. For the sculptor Helen Barff, surface is a boundary: the contact layer. It retains the spectre of touch, but also separates, “surface is edges. Edges between here and there. Shifting edges. Our own edges.” Her interest in casting the empty spaces of discarded garments is about manifold surface, synonymous with Warwick and Cavallaro’s sense of surface in Fashioning the Frame, as the “threshold between the physical and the abstract, the literal and the metaphorical. Or a transition from material to metaphorical.” As with Dwyer, the exploration of surface is in many ways synonymous with the manifold space of memory and self. Surface is a continuously shifting membrane between “then and now, inside and outside, there and here.” To the artist Ginny Pavry, surface becomes a narrative space to disclose what lies beneath, what is captured and what is lost. Her cyanotypes reference the undulating history of the water’s surface in art from Casper David Friedrich to Gerard Richter, and our urge to dive beneath, deeper into the unknown. She gets under the wave of things, exposes their lost history, white ghosts floating on a surface the sun has developed into a watery blue. To the artist Katharine Beaugie, surface reflects. Central to how she creates each photogram, surface directs and aligns light that is captured. Her work has a three dimensional quality, in the way it casts shadows in space. The performance artist Echo Morgan is the surface. She uses the surface of her own body to create new bodies of work: her skin as a canvas, her hair a tool to paint, and her voice as colour. And so, the surface is the thing. It invites us to look more deeply, and ask questions about how something came to be that way. Rather than the end point, it is the access point. Its double aspect is what attracts but also separates. You can know and even memorise every single aspect of a surface, like a face… except that it shifts, as with your mood, and never fully reveals what lies beneath. “si la profondeur cesse de jouer contre la surface, c’est en se redistribuant contre, tout-contre la superficie… Par émergence, glissement et pas de côté, le sens est produit par, et produit, une redistribution à la surface, plus qu’une inversion des superficialités et des fonds, (les fonds peuvent bien être charnels ou célestes, psychologiques ou organiques ils restent fonds).” Giles Deleuze [The above excerpt, which counters the notion of surface as superficial, was shared with me after a salon the artist Dominique Gerolini held at her studio in the South of France, ahead of the work she made for SURFACE] Nico Kos Earle
Untitled (Lap), 2016 Jesmonite, Concrete, Steel, Wax 74 x 36 x 52 cm
Helen Barff Helen Barff is looking for the imprint of memory on things, the contact point between skin and object, the rub. Her process might be likened to three dimensional photography, because her works stand outside the flow of bodies in time, and capture the space they once occupied. Working with found objects, in particular women’s clothing, and materials such as felt, plaster, concrete, rubber or photographic surfaces, she uses a host of processes that capture space or surface. These include wrapping (using felt), or filling and casting (with plaster, concrete) or other interventions like photograms. “I am interested in how materials are shaped by temporality, or how memory becomes embedded in matter.” Old bras are folded in two and their cups filled with concrete; when the material is pulled away what remains is a beaked visage, not remotely similar to the soft contours of breasts, strangely suggestive of a bird feeding its young. A stork. Plastic bags are filled with plaster, equal in weight to a baby and held against her hip, or on her lap, until they set. A physical memory of the weight of child bearing and child caring, is now a smooth contoured and pointy ended lump of what was silently, tirelessly given. Her work is to transform the fleeting, ephemera or detritus, into weighty, corporeal forms, like bookends to the passage of time. The power of these works lies in Helen’s ability to make concrete what is only noticed after the fact, like the punch of seeing your mother’s dress hanging in the cupboard, when she is gone. And like your mother’s embrace, sensitivity to touch is central to Helen’s practice, “surface for me is to do with touch. Contact.” She is keenly aware of what is lost, the face of a loved one you cannot remember, and she experiences this in drawing. “There is always a gap in drawing; you can’t look at the subject and the mark on the page at the same time. In that gap perception is retained in memory. I close this gap by bringing the subject in direct contact with the materials – such as wrapping, casting or photograms.” In doing this she creates new surfaces - a topology of contact - a second skin. The inside becomes the outside. Like skin underneath clothing, within another, inner layer, she is birthing new forms. “Surface is edges. Edges between here and there. Shifting edges. Our own edges.” Helen Barff (b. 1974, United Kingdom) holds an M.A. in Drawing, from Camberwell College of Art, London, 2004, after a B.A. in Fine Art and Art History, from Goldsmiths College, London, 1999. Awards include a-n The Artist Information Company, ACME website commission, Arts Council for the Deptford X project, and South London Gallery, Route 12:36. In the Lubeznik and DeMarco Art Foundation collections, her numerous group and solo shows recently include the Jerwood Drawing Prize, Elephant, in Espace 15, Paris, and All the Names, Scrap Metal, Canada.
Untitled (RB), 2011 Plaster 34.5 x 11 x 7 cm
Untitled (BBB), 2011 Plaster 17 x 11 x 12.5 cm
Gold Cube No.4, 2018 22 ct Gold Leaf, Gesso, Reclaimed Wood 21.3 x 21.3 cm
Katharine Beaugié Katharine Beaugié is a light artist, in the sense that she captures or manipulates light sources to create her images. Working mostly in monochrome, with the exception of gold leaf used for its reflective qualities, Katharine has developed an ongoing series of photograms (a cameraless photo of the shadow of an object) and contact prints from these (which take the exact opposite light structure). What distinguishes the photogram is that it is raw light capture, not representational like a photograph. Bouncing light off surfaces creates negative space: the photosensitive paper turns black on contact with light, shadows become white. Using the surface of water, she captures the outline of floating objects or the interplay of concentric circles - the images are the delicate and ethereal shadows of real life. Others are made through a process that is more in line with the language of sculpture: light is cast against three dimensional objects, like her signature, hand made gold leaf cubes. This resulting works contain stark geometric forms that convey an immediate, non illusionistic presence. It is the actual shadow of a gold cube, recorded by a flash of light onto light sensitive fibres of paper. “I am looking for the almost invisible aspects of natural phenomena. The translation of the surname Beaugié is “good, strong or beautiful eye” and I now realise that aiming the light source, like finding a shot; is like finding the right angle for it to reverberate, this has become a central feature of my work.” Her process is intentionally disengaged from digital; it is analogue, the unrepeatable, the unique. Piles of discarded attempts in her studio indicate a time consuming process of repetition, punctuated by the sudden flash of an image that coalesces. For Katharine, this comes down to alignment: the distance at which you shoot the flash determines the trajectory of light, which is how the shadow is created. “I really feel that our relationship to light is about our alignment to light. You can understand this relationship with the ancient, astro-archeological works like Stonehenge, and feel it in the works of Turrell; the placement of objects in relationship to the cycle of the sun as it moves across the sky, can enhance our awareness of alignment and our subsequent place within the universe.” This idea of alignment touches on our primordial, primitive relationship to the sun. We need light, and are deeply sensitive to it, but cannot control its source. It controls us; we turn towards it, and live between this light and it’s shadows. “Also my work is very much about finding the balance in life; in dark and light, in massive and diminutive, in good and bad, in life and of course in death…finding balance is the answer.” Katharine Beaugié (b. 1975, United Kingdom) received an M.A. from the University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury, in 2012, and UWE Bristol in 2006, after a B.A. from the Glasgow School of Art. In numerous collections including the Hampshire County Council Contemporary Art Collection and the VAULT 100, her most recent solo and group exhibitions, include Reflections on the Landscape: Against the Tide, at the River Garage Studio, Dover, and the Cheriton Light Festival.
Shadow of a Gold Cube | # It Is, 2018 Unique Photogram. Flash of light on Ilford fibre based silver gelatin photographic paper, mounted onto aluminium 38 x 47 cm
Shadow of a Gold Cube (Inversed) | # It Was, 2018 Contact Print of Photogram 1 of 3 on Ilford fibre based silver gelatin photographic paper, mounted onto aluminium 38 x 47 cm
Untitled, 2017 Etching, watercolour and pastel on somerset paper 74 x 56cm
Sarah Dwyer Sarah Dwyer is a painter who digs, layers, unearths, reveals, conceals. Her deliciously textured abstract oil paintings are like maps from another realm, distantly familiar, as if seen from the window of a plane. Like mind maps, drawn from an imagination without borders, they have a distinct lexicon, a very Dwyer language of mark making. She uses paint like a poet uses words, subtly building a picture your eye returns to over and over again. “The surfaces of Dwyer’s paintings often appear densely worked; the result of repeated application and erasure, where the brush moves between areas of impasto, chalky white washes of paint and sketched lines that seem to reveal an amorphous shape, or corral a cluster of forms. This method of revealing and concealing holds the surface of the work in constant tension.” (Sunk Under @ Jane Lombard Gallery 2015). Interestingly, the title for her first solo exhibition in New York, Sunk Under, was taken from a poem by Seamus Heaney, entitled ‘Bogland’. Heaney once described this bogland so unique to Ireland as ‘…a landscape that remembered everything that had happened in and to it.’ Her paintings have an underground, often brilliantly coloured like gems, which is worked over - like time compressing the land - with paler, softer colours. She buries treasures, which are then pulled back to the surface, colours dragged back into the light in the final stages of painting. Dwyer’s poetic process is rooted in the impulsive nature of drawing: of creating a line. This offers the viewer a vocabulary of forms, particular shapes and drawn lines recur across works, or even outside of them (realised in freestanding plaster sculptures to accompany works). She plants them for us to read in a softly inviting and luminous palette of fleshy pinks, aqua and sea blue. Suggestive of both personal and shared histories they recall the physical paintings of Willem de Kooning and Arshile Gorky, and speak to Ireland’s poetic tradition that infuses the real with the imaginary. Sarah Dwyer (b. 1974, Ireland) earned a Master’s in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2004, after an MFA from Staffordshire University, in 2001. Dwyer lives and works in London. Recent group shows include New Order: British Art Today, Saatchi Gallery, London, and Fade Away (Touring exhibition), and solo shows at Jane Lombard Gallery, NY, and Josh Lilley gallery London.
Tigprag (detail), 2018 Oil on Linen 250 x 200cm
Untitled, 2018 Dyptich. Acrylic on Paper 40 x 30 cm
Based in Plan de la Tour, France, Dominique is an abstract painter who worked through the top Ateliers in Paris before settling in the South of France. Her reductive, geometric paintings call to mind some of the great abstract painters of the 20th century such as Mondrian or more recently Ellsworth Kelly, and yet her choice of paper as substrate engenders a softer, more nuanced approach to colour. Pigments are layered until saturation point, and form a part of the surface without concealing the paper’s texture and irregularities. Each work begins with automatic drawing, in a meditative state, with geometries or repeating patterns revealed in the free hand. Forms are discovered through one continuous drawn line, that which is then translated into white space: the single line is erased and opens up a space between the shapes that remain. Dominique then carefully paints these empty forms into flat planes of colour. What was once a line disappears - slivers of white both contain and highlight these forms which pitch and balance with colour. Increasingly minimalist, her works test our understanding of proportion and balance, and ask whether it is intuitive or simply learnt. As such her works often emerge in pairs, establishing a dialogue of subtle harmonies that is emphatically contemporary. Dominique Gerolini (b. 1954, Paris) lives and works in the south of France, near the Mediterranean sea. Shows internationally in France (Var) , Germany (Köln ), London and the United States (Miami, Hamptons).
Untitled, 2018 Dyptich. Acrylic on Paper 40 x 30 cm each
Rose, 2018 Series of 9 - edition of 6 Digital Print on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Paper 50 x 35 cm
Echo’s real Chinese name is Xie Rong. The role of translation, the passage between gesture, body and voice, and the shift from Chinese into English and back again, is reflected in Echo’s creative relationship between performance and prints. “Always movement across surfaces, entering and exiting backwards and forwards therefore I cannot settle on any one point. I am in flux, restless.” Echo. Growing up in ChengDu, South-West China, Echo moved to London when she was 19. For her last show at the RCA on Howie Street, I am a Brush (3 hour 30 minute live performance) she transformed her body in to a brush. Having discovered in silkscreen class that the first ever screen for printing was made from Chinese women’s hair, she connected to this history by turning her own body into a tool and an object. Taking on the role of director, performer, narrator, and filmmaker, during live performance, Echo transform’s the surface of her body into symbols: Chinese national flag, blue and white porcelain, gold fish, Chinese landscape painting, rice balls and jade. She manipulates contemporary meaning into traditional iconography. Echo often invites viewers to participate, drawing strength from the audiences’ emotional vulnerability, and feelings of uneasiness, to complete the performance as a whole. Her emotions become entwined with the audiences’… she gets under you skin. Echo Morgan (b. 1981, China - real name Xie Rong) studied at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute High School before moving to London where she gained a BA in Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins and a MA in Fine Art at Royal College of Art. Since 2011, She has been collaborating with photographer Jamie Baker on photographic interventions within her performance work. She lives and works in London.
Lotus Flower, 2018 Series of 9 - edition of 6 Digital Print on Hahnemuhle FineArt Paper 50 x 35 cm
At Sea I, 2018 Unique Cyanotype on PaperÂ 29 cm x 29 cm
Irish based artist Ginny Pavry describes her process as a form of “deep mapping.” Anthropological and penetrating, she is seeking beneath the surface of things (waves, sand, earth) uncovering lost histories. “I am particularly interested in the previous life of objects… how they have come to be there, weathered and aged… what remains of them and the space they continue to occupy after their useful life is over.” Found objects are given new meaning in her imagined narrative, one that runs like an undercurrent through each collection. She absorbs these objects into the stream through a variety of mediums from early photography processes such as cyanotype, to drawing, monoprint, watercolour and oils. What emerges is another layer - a new surface to read - of the place in which they were found. “Voyage Notes” is a collection that is based around a sea voyage, inspired by a box of 15 old inter-war magic lantern slides that came with a magic lantern she bought on eBay. “I had no idea what they were of, but after researching I have traced a ship’s voyage around the South American continent via the Falklands around Cape Horn, Terra Del Fuego, Chile and through the Panama canal.” The photographer, ship and date were unknown but as part of the Hindenburg airship was visible above the masthead in one slide, Ginny worked out the time to be around 1934/5 as that is the only time the Hindenburg went to South America. “There is a ‘selfie’ of the photographer in one as his own shadow is visible against the side of the ship. So these are like voyage notes I have imagined - ‘snapshots’ if that’s the right word - of the unknown mystery photographer’s voyage.” Ginny Pavry (b.1969, Ireland) received a BA in Visual Art from the Dublin Institute of Technology on Sherkin Island in 2012. Pavry lives and works in Baltimore, Cork. Recent group shows include The Blue Edition at Art Wynwood, Miami, Bastion Gallery and Siar, (west), Doswell Gallery, Cork.
Night Storm, 2018 Unique Cyanotype on Paper 29 cm x 29 cm
Far South, 2018 Unique Cyanotype on PaperÂ 29 cm x 29 cm
Composition 4, 2018 Wood, Gesso, Cotton Mesh, Rabbit Skin Glue, Gypsum 60 x 55 cm
HelenA Pritchard HelenA Pritchard is putting things together again. Objects that have been abandoned, tossed aside, or forgotten (embroidery, plywood offcuts, wool, fabric, mesh) present an opportunity for the artist. What was considered worthless by its previous owner, has a value to HelenA as something that inspires - a substrate that will carry, support or guide her. A new beginning. She then invests these found elements with significance, like talismans, through her own creative energy, “defunct objects are transformed through processes of high art, like bronze casting, gesso, gilding and various painting methods; from the quotidian into art object.” Perhaps she is drawn to these things because they key into her own sense of loss, being so far away from home (HelenA was born in South Africa), but more likely it has to do with an underlying feminism. Repurposing and appropriating what is considered junk or without value, lies at the heart of the feminist discourse (think Louise Bourgeois), one that challenges the hierarchy of things, and by extension people who use them. “I am trying to eliminate distinctions of high and low art by using materials that have a vernacular to craft/folk art like clay, sticks, stones, seeds…” Through a process that is deeply sensitive to the aesthetic potential of something found - a good line, an interesting curve, or pattern - she turns meaningless or worthless materials into objects of desire and value. This happens in a succession of layers, in which a new skin - new surface - is created. In her constructed forms rhomboid, Composition 1(girls work), and isosceles, Composition 5 (Girls Work), HelenA covers the shapes in a cotton mesh traditionally used for embroidery and paints over this with gesso. Made from rabbit skin glue and gypsum bound together over a low heat, gesso is a tactile, organic material which creates a pixelated pattern on the surface of the mesh. It also leaves the surface porous, which results in a beguiling optical play of light and shadow on the gallery wall. Shape and shadow, real or imagined? Led by the material, during this process of high grading, or up-cyling, HelenA finds that as each new work begins to form, she intuitively references movements in art history, such as Arte Povera, Constructivism, and Mingei. These connections to an existing history of art, although imagined, further a sense of importance she is bestowing on each work. It is as if she is saying, “you were overlooked, but I see you.” Her works are a prescient reminder that value, which is something created, can also be taken away. HelenA Pritchard (b. 1975, South Africa) earned an M.A. from the Royal College of Art as a Stanley Spencer Scholar, in 2011, after her B.A. from the University of East London. Recipient of the Evening Standard Hiscox Painting Prize in 2017, she has had numerous solo exhibitions most recently, Not the Actual Size, at the Hospital Club and HelenA Pritchard at SHOw, Studio, London.
Composition 1, 2018 Wood, Gesso and Cotton Mesh, Rabbit Skin Glue, Gypsum 80 x 60 cm
Barrier System, IV, 2017 Paint, Construction Timber, Plaster and Photographic Transfer 45 x 55 cm
Alice Wilson Alice Wilson is an artist who disrupts the linear. Hyper awareness of how her mind is shaped by education, environment and cultural stereotypes, fuels her impulse to take it all apart. The story, the space, the walls, the doors, everything one might take for granted in any given space, is deconstructed and then reconfigured. Off cuts become a ladder that becomes a chair, which seeds a performance. Walls are rearranged, windows taken out and floated in space, sheds are turned inside out, doors unhinged, and sticks are collected. This demolition throws up materials - sticks, planks, cloth - which then seed new works. Raw surfaces ready to be painted or hammered or jammed together. Alice calls this “acknowledging the situational” in her work: how the process of making in her studio in Streatham Hill - colour tests, image transfers, and pours of plaster - is also itself the “open source material” for her work. Like the collateral offcuts Anne Hardy uses in her reconstructions of deconstructed things, Alice is present to the accidental discoveries and serendipitous directions that her process offers her. Her appropriately titled Barrier System series of paintings has been made from happy mishaps. This method is rooted in a desire to find a way of breaking free from the pre-programmed and the learnt, of dismantling the received canon of art history she has so diligently assimilated on her journey to becoming an artist (Alice has also worked in education in a variety of roles from institutions to secondary schools). This vigorous process is also applied to her own memory of place, in particular the landscape most familiar to her, Scotland. Here on a canvas we see an image recollected in chaos, its frame like the four plywood walls of her London studio. “What allows me to keep coming back to this is the unattainable task of depicting the sublime, it’s the unattainable that mainly interests me.” Deeply subversive, her tendency to rip everything up comes from a feeling of nihilism “I like entertainment where a central female protagonist suffers and by the end all hope is lost, Lars von Trier and Doris Lessing are very good at this.” One diminutive woman in a big male London landscape... and yet precisely because she acknowledges this, her work rises above it, as do we when we step up to see it. Alice Wilson (b. 1982, United Kingdom) received an M.A. in Fine Art, in 2011 from the Wimbledon College of Art, UAL, and her BA in 2005, from the Loughborough University School of Art and Design. Currently on residency in Aarhus, Denmark supported by the British Council, her recent exhibitions include DOLPH, Solo Exhibition @ DOLPH projects 47c Streatham Hill, September ’17, and Recreational Grounds, a public intervention in a disused South London carpark, curated by Fiona Grady and Tim Ralston, April 2018.
Untitled, 2018 Construction Timber, Acrylic Paint and Oil Pastel 240 x 300 cm
SURFACE 7 June - 21 July, 2018
7th June - 21st July, 2018