CRAIGIE AITCHISON SUSAN ALDWORTH OLD BIG SCHOOL OLIVER BASS ALEXANDER BENJAMIN PAUL BUSH CHARLOTTE CHISHOLM ELEANOR CROOK JO DE PEAR STEVE DILWORTH 24 JANUARY - 9 MARCH 2014 TOBY DUNCAN TRACEY EMIN HELEN GANLY DEBORAH GLASS EMILY GLASS ANTONY GORMLEY GONKAR GYATSO ROMILY HAY YAN HUANG HITOMI KAI YODA VIRGILE ITTAH PATRICE MOOR HENRY MOORE SIDNEY NOLAN CHRIS OFILI CORNELIA PARKER THOMAS PARKHOUSE MAJOR POWELL-COTTON VALENTINE SCHMIDT SALLY SPINKS NORIHIRO USUI ATALOGUE OF ORKS LEE WAGSTAFF WAYNE WARREN BRONWYN WAUGH TIM ZERCIE
IN THE FLESH
In the Flesh is a snapshot of the way artists have used and continue to use the body as a starting point to explore themes and ideas; the frailty and joy of existence, the need to make sense of our lives through religion and ritual, the relationship between body and mind, and the sensual pleasure the body can give us. And yet there is a huge diversity of interpretation within these themes. There are images of death as visceral and shocking as well as part of the natural cycle of existence; the child in need of protection but also eager to push the boundaries of that safety; a celebration of the body in movement alongside striking portrayals of its disintegration. What draws them together are the ways in which the hand of the maker is very much present within these artworks. There is a strong emphasis on their materiality; the ooze of wet clay, the warmth of melted modelling wax, the energetic stroke of a brush or the heave of the crank of a printing press. These works have been made by the bodies of artists examining their own physicality. This is the first major exhibition in OBS Gallery and it is open to students, staff and the wider community. We hope that In the Flesh will create thought and discussion as well as a space for reflection; inviting you to find within these walls, artworks that make you feel, as well as think. We are very grateful to the Art Collector Wayne Warren for lending us so many wonderful pieces from his collection and to all the people, within and outside the school who have helped make this exhibition possible. Emily Glass In the Flesh Curator 2
Craigie Aitchison 3
Craigie Aitchison untitled. 2000 Screenprint Imaage ÂŠ OBS Gallery
Craigie Aitchison’s work is characterised by the use of intense, pure colour to describe shape and form in extremely spare compositions. His subject matter is traditional, featuring religious themes, landscapes, portraits and still-lifes. In 1955 Aitchison was awarded the British Council Italian Government Scholarship for painting and travelled to Italy, where the clear light and natural ‘Biblical’ landscapes had a profound influence on his work. Aitchison’s religious scenes are not of an ecclesiastical discipline, but have a timeless, poetic and mysterious atmosphere reminiscent of 15th-century miniatures. In his portraits colour and composition are key; Aitchison has often shown a predilection for black models, enjoying the way colour reflects against dark skin.
Susan Aldworth 5
Susan Aldworth Reassembling the Self 5, 2012 Lithograph made at the Curwen Studio Image courtesy of the Artist
Aldworth’s lithographs reflect on the general condition of schizophrenia. As anti-portraits, their use of found imagery – generic anatomical prints from medical folios, the ear as a visual shorthand for schizophrenia and hearing voices – at once interrogates individual identity and situates individual consciousness within a provocatively depersonalized symbolism... They explore and celebrate the fragility of identity in its relationship with and dependence on the physical self. They ask questions – of who we might be and of what we are made – in a voice at once spiritual and sensible, philosophical and profane; and they steep us in a conversation as old and elemental as consciousness itself. Julia Beaumont-Jones, Print Curator, Tate Britain, 2012
Susan Aldworth studied Philosophy at Nottingham University and Fine Art at Sir John Cass. She has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and her work is held in many public and permanent collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, The British Museum, The Wellcome Collection, Williams College Museum of Art and the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. Reassembling the Self 5 is one of the prints from a suite of lithographs made at the Curwen Studio with the printer Stanley Jones in 2012. This was during Aldworth’s residency at Newcastle University where she carried out research into some of the scientific, clinical and personal narratives of schizophrenia.
Oliver Bass 7
Oliver Bass Shango, 2011 Oil, acrylic and pencil on Canvas Image courtesy of the Artist
â€œCan we trust the painter who paints nothing? On painting formless mass, one is encouraged to analyse the flesh to its minutiae. With a practice that has long since had an interest in form I have over time nurtured and distilled a passion for this visceral subject. On exploring this in parallel with a long standing interest in abstraction and materiality, drawing influence from artists including Philip Guston and Hans Josephsohn, I have come to realise that often this is the best means of portraying this endlessly varied form. In the painting Shango, we see a dichotomy forming between the gestural and intuitive, off-set by the hesitant and considered. This acts to intersect the natural rhythm of the painting, mirroring the awkwardness of the body - the economy of mark further compounding this feeling. The paintingâ€™s two elements sit uncomfortably together, as if forced onto the same canvas.â€? Oliver Bass, 2014 Oliver Bass graduated from Tonbridge School in 2012 and enrolled on the CCW Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. He is currently reading Fine Art at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford.
Alexander Benjamin 9
Alexander Benjamin Enka, 2013 Pencil on Paper Image courtesy of the Artist
Alexander Benjamin graduated from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford in 2013 and has since exhibited in London with the Society of Graphic Fine Art, and in Kent as Tonbridge Schoolâ€™s Artist in Residence. During her degree she was awarded several prizes, including the John Farthing Prize for Human Anatomy and the Vivien Leigh Prize, awarded by the Keeper of Western Art of the Ashmolean Museum.
Enka (2013) is part of a series of drawings that she has produced intermittently over the past few years. They are small sections, usually of no more than a square centimetre, of human forms taken from found images which she has isolated and transformed. She severs these fragments from their original context, so as to create highly ambiguous, sculptural drawings which adopt curious new qualities from the majestic to the uncanny.
Daniel Bragin 11
Daniel Bragin Glossy Matter, 2013 PVC, sand and metal Image courtesy of the Artist
Daniel Bragin No Cure No Pay, 2013 PVC, sand and metal Image courtesy of the Artist
Daniel Bragin graduated from the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in 2011 and recently completed an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London. He has exhibited extensively in London and the Netherlands and has work in the Saatchi Gallery Collection. His artworks come from an enjoyment of making in a realm “where boundaries are hidden far away from the human eye... without any limitations or rules.” Bragin describes Glossy Matter as an experimental development of an earlier work entitled Lady, made in 2010. He pursues an interest in the physical synthesis of black PVC as a material together with the chosen shape and volume. Its relationship with the gold-coloured chains which are draped smoothly over the surface creates an unsettling and somewhat fetishized sculptural landscape. He finds a ‘poetic liquidness’ in their forms, and is interested in the viewer’s understanding and interpretation of their nature; ominous and predatory or feeble and compliant. No Cure No Pay is a piece made during his BA for which Bragin proposes a double-edged interpretation. On the one hand its dripping skin is the sickly-sweet temptation of thick caramel and on the other, a repulsive and toxic mutation as disconcerting to behold as the painfully awkward posture of the figure.
The secret preoccupation of these films, finally, is beauty. It may be the case that the film-maker, in focusing so relentlessly on issues of time, narrative, history, the intersection of the graphic and the cinematic, and the question of clarity of presentation, doesnâ€™t himself see it but the viewer does. As if beauty were a necessary by-product of these investigations, beyond the intention of the artist, yet an inevitable result of his rigorous control and passionate pursuit of meaning. Leslie Dick, Artist and Writer
Paul Bush still from Lay Bare, 2012 HD Video Image courtesy of Paul Bush and LUX, London
Lay Bare is a composite portrait of the human body assembled from details captured by close-up photography of over five hundred men and women of all ages and from all over the world. The surface of the human body is revealed as it is rarely seen except in the most intimate relationships we have with our family or our lovers; a portrait of the body that is both sexy and tender, elegant and witty. Paul Bush studied Fine Art at Central School and Goldsmiths College, London. He taught himself how to make films while a member of the London Film-makers Co-op and Chapter Film Workshop in Cardiff.
Charlotte Chisholm 15
Charlotte Chisholm Ghost, 2014 Liquid Emulsion on Somerset paper Image courtesy of the Artist
“This photograph is part of a series that I shot from old super-8 cine film. The original film was a 30-second snippet of me and my sisters charging around our garden in the summer of 1969. I don’t think I remember the event in itself but thanks to our annual Christmas showings throughout the 70s and into the early 80s it crept into my visual lexicon. The film was shot by my parents - shaky, hand-held, direct, innocent… intended to be nothing more than a personal record of a time and a place. I took the photographs from a projection of that film thirty-five years later: images of myself as a child, taken by myself as an adult. Displaced from time and context, they belong nowhere; they become like ghosts.” Charlotte Chisholm, 2014 Charlotte graduated from the University of the West of England in 1995 and is currently Head of Art at Tonbridge School.
For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things... One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings which one had long seen coming; to days of childhood that are still unexplained, to parents that one had to hurt when they brought one some joy and one did not grasp it (it was joy for someone else); to childhood illness that so strangely began with a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars... Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
Eleanor Crook Think back to partings which one had long since seen coming, 2014 Wax and mixed media Photograph Antonio Perricone, Image ÂŠ OBS Gallery
Eleanor Crook is a contemporary British artist and an expert on anatomy. She was trained in sculpture at Central Saint Martins and the Royal Academy of Arts, and subsequently studied under Richard Neave, who taught her the techniques of forensic facial reconstruction modelling. â€œThink back to partings which one had long since seen coming takes its title from the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke and is a meditation on the inevitability of change and loss, both of loved ones and also the final parting that is death, the separation from oneself. Wax is a symbol for the impermanence of flesh, with its translucency, liquidity, fragility and pallor; it can be consumed by flame, weakened by heat, and has the greasy and tactile surface of a feverish skin. Its tints can be imparted from inner staining or external maquillage, Historically it has been used to make vividly lifelike medical models and images of saints, because of its affinity with the body and illusory human presence. Sculpting with it has the feeling of a sĂŠance, as the substance coalesces slowly and, with apparently little guidance, assumes a form and personality. The source or origin of the character the effigy becomes during making is obscure to me, but unfailingly a character does emerge, some remembered or yet to be encountered individual, summoned perhaps from the ancient clothing and furniture which I gather to generate an ambience.â€? Eleanor Crook, 2014
Jo de Pear 19
Jo de Pear Be Still, 2013 Etching Image courtesy of the Artist
Jo de Pear
Be Still is a series of etchings taken from an old medical journal. Each of the carefully selected images were a personal response to specific ailments affecting family and friends over a short period of time. Jo de Pear is a professional printmaker. She studied for her BA at Edinburgh College of Art and her MA at Chelsea College of Art, London. Her work can be seen in several publications on contemporary printmakers. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has a selection of prints in the collection of the British Museum.
Steve Dilworth 21
Steve Dilworth Dance of Death, 2007 Bronze Photograph Steve Russel, courtesy of Gallery Pangolin
Steve Dilworth studied at the Maidstone College of Art and has spent the majority of his working life in the Isle of Harris; a remote region of Scotland where he is surrounded by a sublimely beautiful and ancient landscape. He uses a vast range of natural materials within his work, which have mostly been found there. Dilworth is known to have used ‘once-living’ objects in his work, sometimes to the point of actually encasing natural objects within his sculptures, instilling them with a mystical quality and emphasising the importance of both interior and exterior.
Dance of Death is a bronze sculpture which Dilworth describes as two bodies “frozen forever in a dance of death on a white bronze moon”. The cat is over one hundred years old; a gift to Dilworth from a museum in Vienna. Its demise was the consequence of eating a vast quantity of rats poisoned with arsenic, which also served as a preservative for its body, so enabling Dilworth to turn it into a remarkable work of art.
Pressure falls. A pendulum pauses to return. The imperceptible kick, between in-breath and out-breath, as a wave lingers at the shore and again; they contract. Toby Duncan, 2014
Toby Duncan Diastole, 2013 Earthenware clay, glazes and hand-painted enamels Image courtesy of the Artist
Toby Duncan studied Fine Art Painting at Norwich School of Art and Kingston University, graduating in 2001. He has since exhibited regularly in the UK, Finland, Argentina and Spain. His work examines our relationship with entropy, and the rich, confused nature of our everyday perception of reality. Each piece purposefully avoids direct representation or illusion as an attempt to harness the viewer’s mind and ‘make’ the piece afresh each time it is seen. He has developed an assemblage process where pre-fired ceramic elements are combined with raw clay before being re-fired. Each piece is fired several times and may be cut, ground, sand-blasted, or re-assembled into a new piece. This cyclical process allows the work to evolve from offcuts and fragments, and also acts as a simile for the process of ‘re-membering’ the world at the moment of perception. His recent pieces combine the raw, gritty, ceramic materials of stone and mud, with delicately hand-painted enamel and precious metal lustre.
Most public sculptures are a symbol of power which I find oppressive and dark. I wanted something that had a magic and alchemy, something which would appear and disappear and not dominate. Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin Roman Standard, 2005 Bronze with wooden plinth Image ÂŠ OBS Gallery
Tracey Eminâ€™s art is one of disclosure, using her life events as inspiration for works ranging from painting, drawing, video and installation, to photography, needlework and sculpture. Emin reveals her hopes, humiliations, failures and successes in candid and, at times, excoriating work that is frequently both tragic and humorous. Tracey Emin was born in London and studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. She has exhibited extensively internationally including solo and group exhibitions in Holland, Germany, Japan, Australia and America. In 2007 Emin represented Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale, was made a Royal Academician and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art, London, and a Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent and Doctor of Philosophy from London Metropolitan University.
Helen Ganly 27
Helen Ganly Rabbit Bones, 2011 Acrylic on Glass with handwritten text Image courtesy of the Artist
Helen Ganly graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 1962. She has since won numerous awards and exhibited extensively throughout the United Kingdom and mainland Europe, including a solo show at Modern Art Oxford in 2008, and the 2013 group exhibition Co-Pozostaje (What Remains) in BWA SokĂłl, Poland. Her insatiable curiosity regarding the fragility and unrelenting flux of the world around her is a huge part of what informs and inspires her work; what can be seen of it today spans across a broad range of disciplines including painting, printmaking, installation, and writing. The loss of her studio in the 1998 made the destruction of much of her work necessary, and Ganly burned her large scale pieces. This prompted ten years of making ephemeral work, during which she excluded colour in favour of light and shade on white. Rabbit Bones (2011) comes from this period; it is a sensuously executed drawing accompanied by Ganlyâ€™s handwritten account of the events that led to her discovery of the bones. It is part of a record of events spanning many years in which strange incidents, often witnessed by others, had coincided with the making of new work.
deborah Glass 29
Deborah Glass untitled, 2000 Watercolour on Paper Image ÂŠ OBS Gallery
Deborah Glass was born and raised in North Carolina in the United States. She studied at the Art Studentsâ€™ League, New York, before moving to London and attending St Martins College of Art. Depicting the figure in a range of media proved to be a life long passion and she was known for her striking use of colour and extensive drawing skills. This was evident in the exhibition of her paintings Way down south where I was born in, which took place in the Tunnel Gallery at Tonbridge School in 2011. This painting is one of a series based on found photographs. It won the Royal Watercolour Societyâ€™s own prize in 2000.
emily Glass 31
Emily Glass Waiting, 2013 Wax and mixed media Image courtesy of the Artist
â€œI am interested in exploring the world of in-between; animal and human, real and imaginary, appealing and disturbing, life and death. My ideas are often developed through the process of making and Iâ€™m inspired by experimenting with new materials. I create site specific installations in places that have a very particular atmosphere and lend themselves to a multi-layered reading of the work. Recently I have been studying the specimen collections in the Royal College of Surgeons and I was intrigued by the vervet monkeys. Vervets have often been used as a model for understanding human behaviour as they share many of the same characteristics. These include anxiety and strangely, alcohol consumption.â€? Emily Glass, 2014
Emily Glass studied Art History at Edinburgh University and Fine Art at Middlesex University and Goldsmiths College. She is an artist, teacher and curator.
Antony Gormley 33
Antony Gormley Untitled, c. 1999 Steel Image Â© OBS Gallery
Antony Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space. His work has developed the potential opened up by sculpture since the 1960s through a critical engagement with both his own body and those of others in a way that confronts fundamental questions of where human being stands in relation to nature and the cosmos. Gormley continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise. In this work the artist challenges traditional ideas of sculpture as being composed of masses and volumes. The use of steel dipsticks soldered together creates a sense of weightlessness and creates interconnected spaces. The artist invites the audience to consider the work from different views in order to discover the relationship between purely abstract shapes and the depiction of a human head.
Gonkar Gyatso 35
Gonkar Gyatso Buddha@hotmail, 2006 Mixed media Image ÂŠ OBS Gallery
Gonkar Gyatso was born in Lhasa, Tibet and undertook a BFA in Traditional Chinese Painting in Beijing. Following this, he moved to London, where he completed an MA in Fine Art at the Chelsea College of Art. Also founder of the Sweet Tea House, a pioneer project mainly dedicated to promote Tibetan artists in the West, Gonkar Gyatso´s innovative and irreverent work tackles the issues of identity, culture and mass media, and has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Buddha@hotmail playfully considers the popularisation of Buddhism in the West. Gyatso presents the silhouette of a Buddha made using hundreds of brightly coloured stickers from popular culture, presenting an image that blends commercialism with spirituality and causes his audience to consider two diverse notions of iconography at once. As Gyatso’s previous work has often done, Buddha@hotmail subverts stereotypical ideas regarding Tibetan culture by combining mass media ‘noise’ with traditional craftsmanship.
romily hay 37
Romily Hay Trap, 2009 Oil on Canvas Image courtesy of the Artist
Romily Hay was the Artist in Residence at Tonbridge School in 2009. She completed her BFA Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, and her MFA at the Slade School of Art. She has exhibited in London, Kent and New York.
I try to find and depict a singular, contained image that marks a crossover between human form and an aspect of nature, or machinery, or a built structure for example. I find starting points in literature and mythology, and in the natural world, in trees such as the ancient bristlecone pine and the weighty baobab; in fallen, broken or burnt trees; in woods, and the forest floor; in gardens and dry-stone walls, fences and railings; in rocks and rubble; and in animals. Romily Hay
Yan Huang 67
Yan Huang Bamboo Tattoo, 2004 Digital colour print Image Â© OBS Gallery
Yan Huang graduated in 1987 from Changchun Normal University in Jilin. Currently living in Beijing, Yan is a multimedia artist particularly known for his series of landscape on body works. He has exhibited regularly since the early 90s in Asia, America and Europe. Although the face presented in Bamboo Tattoo was delicately painted by the wife of the artist, Yan dislocates the idea of authorship by a declaration that it is the photographic print which is the work of art. He does this in order to critique the commodification of art, as well as emphasise the power of the symbol over the object.
The landscape itself comes to symbolize ancient and the intellectual values of the erudite class. Painting these landscapes on his body or on objects of modern culture then becomes an avant-garde revisionist exercise of rebirthing a traditional art form in a modern context. By choosing to have the painted landscapes on human skin or commonplace objects he marries the elite symbolism associated with landscape juxtaposed against mediums of the working class. Charlie Schultz, White Hot Magazine, March 2007
Virgile Ittah & Hitomi Kai Yoda 39
Virgile Ittah & Hitomi Kai Yoda Daniel, 2013 GiclĂŠe print on Baritha paper Image courtesy of the Artists
Virgile Ittah & Hitomi Kai Yoda
“The series ‘Daniel’ is a meditation on the nature of power and control, playing with various levels of clarity in relation to the image and the viewer. We created installations and photographed them with a large format camera and expired 10x8” Polaroid instant film. The images became like infinite deserts surrounded by water and played with the notion of representation by the continual suggestion of human presence. These portraits respond to each other in a dreamlike atmosphere, whilst the watery landscape suggests a constant flux between presence and absence, questioning whether it is ever possible to reach a common ground. The process of damage and error is saturated through the use of expired polaroids; in not having the total control over the final outcome, each image becomes a unique piece and finds its own life.” Virgile Ittah & Hitomi Kai Yoda, 2014
Virgile Ittah and Hitomi Kai Yoda are recent graduates of the Royal College of Art, whose collaborative work addresses issues related to hybrid identities through moments of physical and psychological shifts.
This is a space where a spirit has dwelt. The skull is silent but a story has been lived inside, one that will remain a mystery to the viewer... Patrice has reflected all her life on the subject of death, and more recently she has had in mind the spiritual discipline, common to many traditions, of studying a skull as a reminder of oneâ€™s own mortality. Some Buddhists take this further and meditate on the decomposition of their own bodies, picturing the decay of the corpse, the cleanness of the bones and finally their disintegration into dust. Patrice has arrested this process at the point where the skull in all its stillness and beauty is an object of contemplation.
Patrice Moor TĂŞte de Mort, 2010-11 252 paintings, Oil on Canvas Image courtesy of the Artist
Marjorie Brown, 2011
The practice of Patrice Moor habitually encompasses an engagement with life and death, particularly the cycle of life, visualised overtly through the recurring motif of the human skull, which she has spent the past four years investigating in paint, and implicitly through her latest investigations of the natural life cycle of plants for a residency at the Royal College of Physicians. Her working process is organic and unplanned, with no definite preconceived idea in place prior to beginning. It is a process reliant on feeling and intuition that develops over time. From immersion in the process an artistic path emerges. Typically the focus is close, with attention to the tiny details of an object, whether a skull, plant or human foot, or, as in TĂŞte de Mort, a large ensemble of 252 small paintings of the same skull, an attempt is made to draw nearer to an object through repeated observation over time.
Henry Moore 43
Henry Moore Family Group, 1950 Lithograph Image Â© OBS Gallery
As far as my own experience is concerned, I sometimes begin a drawing with no preconceived problem to solve, with only the desire to use pencil on paper, and make lines, tones, and shapes with no conscious aim; but as my mind takes in what is so produced, a point arrives where some idea becomes conscious and crystallizes, and then a control and ordering begin to take place. Henry Moore, The Sculptor Speaks, 1937
Henry Moore was a sculptor in stone, wood, plaster and bronze and also a draughtsman. Non-western art was a majour influence on his early work and he has said that his visits to the ethnographic collections of the British Museum were more important than his academic study. Later, artists such as Picasso, Bancusi and Giacometti became influences. He returned again and again to the motif of the mother and child, in both sculpture and drawing. This lithograph shows a clear connection between both these ways of thinking, as the interior contour lines of the figures create a sense of mass and volume.
Sidney Nolan 45
Sidney Nolan Untitled, (from the Ned Kelly Suite) c. 1950 Pen on Paper Image ÂŠ OBS Gallery
Sidney Nolan was an Australian painter best known for his series of works depicting the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. He was influenced by the ‘primitive’ style of the French painter Henri Rousseau and admired his strikingly naïve execution. He told the writer Colin MacInnes that the main ingredients of the Kelly series were: “Kelly’s own words, and Rousseau, and sunlight”1. This also reveals the importance of the Australian landscape upon his work. In 1880 in a battle with the police, Ned Kelly dressed in a home-made plate metal armour and a helmet, which gave him a terrifying appearance. In this sketch we can see the outlines of this armour and Nolan’s trademark depiction of the helmet as a box with a tiny slit for the eye holes. Rather than being literal illustrations of the life of Ned Kelly, Nolan’s work was more of a reflection on the world of violence that had taken place during the Second World War.
Kenneth Clark et al, Sidney Nolan, Thames and Hudson, London, 1961, p 30 http://sidneynolantrust.org
Chris Ofili 47
Chris Ofili Celestial, 1998 Screenprint with fluorescent ink Image Â© OBS Gallery
Chris Ofili is an English painter currently living and working in Trinidad. He is internationally renowned for his huge, richly coloured and emotionally loaded paintings and his work is exhibited in permanent collections around the world. In 1998 he won the Turner Prize for No Woman No Cry, a stirring portrait of the grieving mother of the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence. Ofiliâ€™s first prints were published in 1996 and were a significant contrast to his larger paintings. They stripped the sensitive and lyrical nature of his oeuvre down to its bare bones, revealing abstracted impressions of European cities in meticulously worked and deliberately Afrocentric patterns. Made two years later, Celestial is a strikingly beautiful exploration of the use of fluorescent ink. The same attention to detail runs through this work and the pattern exists as much more than a backdrop; its aesthetic and cultural importance emphasised as it is made one with the gloriously sanguine woman looking proudly outwards from the foreground.
Cornelia Parker 49
Cornelia Parker Bullet Drawing, 2009 Lead from a bullet drawn into wire Image courtesy of Frith Street Gallery
Cornelia Parker graduated from Wolverhampton Polytechnic in 1978 and undertook her MFA at Reading University. She is an internationally recognised artist who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1997, elected to the Royal Academy in 2009 and made the subject of an episode of the BBCâ€™s recent documentary series What Do Artists Do All Day? She works in a variety of mediums and is best known for large, site-specific works in which she explores, destroys, resurrects and metamorphoses objects that have long since outgrown their use-value, or which she has herself made redundant. When Parker began to produce her Bullet Drawings, she was making a clear and playful reference to early Minimalism. These bullets, once so unsettling and laden with stigma, have been unreservedly stripped of their authoritative power, dragged out to their material limit and forced along a new trajectory: winding and bending in a way so utterly contrary to their nature. The fragile grid of the 2009 Bullet Drawing shown here is trapped between two layers of glass; arrested for a silent contemplation.
Thomas Parkhouse 51
Thomas Parkhouse A complete failure of the electrical impulses which keep the heart beating (detail of shirt), 2013. Ceramics & the artistsâ€™ shoes. Image courtesy of the Artist
Thomas Parkhouse A complete failure of the electrical impulses which keep the heart beating (detail of insoles), 2013. Ceramics & the artistsâ€™ shoes. Image courtesy of the Artist
We cannot help but leave traces of our presence on any space that we occupy, or object that we interact with. I am intrigued by the materials that are marked with this kind of poetic history, such as shoes that bear the scars of their wearer or a plaster stained by bodily fluid; both have become an extension of the body. I wish to make manifest these unconscious deposits – stains, tears, scratches, creases – and explore the human experience at a corporeal and intimate level. Thomas Parkhouse, 2014
Thomas Parkhouse was a student at Tonbridge School from 2008 until 2013, and is currently at Oxford Brookes completing an Art Foundation Diploma. He is applying to read Fine Art. The objects which he has cast in clay are those designed to be worn on, or with, the body. They are also objects that he himself has worn or used and are consequently marked with his own residue, formed over a period of time. He has aimed to capture and solidify this process by casting the unstable materials of leather, cloth and adhesive bandage into fixed ceramic. With their initial function torn from them; it is instead their history that becomes the ‘function’ of the work - a ‘passport’ for their wearer, manifest in the folds and cracks that have been shaped over time.
Major Percy Powell- Cotton 53
Major Percy Cotton-Powell Skins drying, Giraffes 24B & 250 Taken beteen 1902 and 1903
Major Percy Cotton-Powell Tusks of Elephants 141 & 142 at my house Zuga, West of Lake Albert
© The Trustees of the Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens.
© The Trustees of the Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens.
Taken on 8 June 1905
Major Powell- Cotton
These photographs were taken by Major Percy Powell-Cotton during his expeditions in Africa from 1899 to 1939. He conducted his expeditions in order to collect the skeletons and skins of exotic animals which he then took back to England to be mounted by the taxidermist Roland Ward. He also collected cultural artefacts. Major Powell-Cotton has been described as the epitome of a Victorian collector. When his collection became too large to hang as trophies on his walls he built a gallery to house it. He had extraordinary dioramas created so that visitors could visualize the wild animals in their natural habitats. Visitors can still see these at Quex House, near Margate. He documented his expeditions with diaries, journals, photography and film. As his collection expanded, he became more scientific in his approach and believed he was creating his collection for scientific research.
Valentine Schmidt 55
Valentine Schmidt Elevate (Jack), 2004 C-type Print Image courtesy of the Artist
Following a career in music, Valentine Schmidt completed an MA Photography from the London College of Printing in 2002. A major early theme was a fascination with water in all its different manifestations, particularly the ambivalent and often challenging relationship people sometimes have with it: most evidently illustrated in her portraits of Finnish ice-dippers and those of female prisoners and prison swimming pools. In the series Elevate, child divers stand on the end of Crystal Palaceâ€™s highest diving board with the expanse of the sports center as their backdrop. The high board - normally forbidden - is the ambition of most young divers; during this first visit, however, the boys look nervous and exposed. Elevate explores this combination of aspiration and vulnerability.
Sally Spinks 57
Sally Spinks Random Acts of Kindness, 2009 Wool on card Image Â© OBS Gallery
In an age where the cult of narcissism is more prevalent than ever before, Sally Spinks became intrigued by the notion of strangers doing good deeds for others without the expectation of a reward. She has produced three series of works called Random Acts of Kindness - the works presented in this exhibition are from the first in the series. Sally Spinks makes work that is predominantly textiles-based, and explores the changing nature of class and commercialism. She completed her MA Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2008 and continues to exhibit in the UK and the US.
Norihiro Usui 59
Norihiro Usui Ex-friend, 2012 Mixed media Image Â© OBS Gallery
Norihiro Usui is a painter based in London. After studying Fine Art in Japan, he continued to study Painting and Sculpture at Central Saint Martins, London. Many of his works use the cherry blossom flower as a motif. It is a reference to his Japanese heritage and a symbol of lifeâ€™s fragility and transcience. Ex-friend is a synthesis of the passion and joy of life contrasting with its inevitable counterpart, the familiar and tragic fate of death. The vanitas, an important concept in the history of art and widely represented in European Baroque painting, is here vigorously reactualized. Norihiro Usui blends the beauty of cherry blossoms with the reminders of mortality.
Lee Wagstaff 61
Lee Wagstaff I Baptism (from the Baptism series), 2002 Lithograph Image courtesy of the Artist
Lee Wagstaff creates performative self-portraits which pursue Lee an alliance between faith, space, geometry and anatomy. He has studied printmaking and sculpture since 1987, and completed his MA at the Royal College of Art in 2000. His work draws upon complimentary processes from photography and drawing to tattooing and yoga He has spent five years in collaboration with tattoo artist Barry Hogarth, acquiring a full body suit of tattoos with designs based on cross-cultural geometrical symbols; taking particular religious influence from his Catholic-Baptist upbringing and Indian heritage.
I use my body as an arena for investigation, experimentation and exhibition; a means of supplication and contemplation. Through repetitive technical processes and abductive reasoning I seek a deeper understanding of my faith and scripture by exploring an aesthetics of theology as part of my own Christian journey. Lee Wagstaff
Wayne Warren 63
Wayne Warren Ship of Fools (detail), 2013 Mixed media Image courtesy of the Artist
â€œShip of Fools is a group of singular human beings in various shapes, sizes and colours travelling through life. Derived from Medieval images, Ship of Fools is a potent reminder of the hazardous, often futile and frustrating route mankind steers for himself.â€? Wayne Warren, 2014 Wayne Warren is a contemporary British artist and collector. He was educated at Exeter University and has exhibited across the globe.
Warren is a passionate collector. His studio has been described as hung salon-style with paintings and objects rubbing shoulders indiscriminately. One might even describe it as a contemporary version of the 16th century Wunderkammar, those room-sized collections of exotic objects whose categorical boundaries had yet to be defined. Gina Fairley, The Vernacular of Display, 2013
Bronwyn Waugh 65
Bronwyn Waugh Bath Time, 2013 Digital colour print Image courtesy of the Artist
â€œAs a child I would listen to my grandfather talking about his childhood and the war, and would exchange ghost stories with my cousins at the end of the garden. I loved gruesome tales about saints, and the way these were told through religious paintings and relics. The spookiness attracted me, while the blind faith repelled and fascinated me at the same time. My work in recent years reflects my interest in darker themes which might stem from these early experiences. I like working with dark and light to emphasise shape and pattern while creating a mood of ambiguity. I am not concerned with sharp focus, more a hazy recording. Since having children I have become more prolific in taking photographs to record fleeting moments. I often set up a staged situation and let my children play within this scenario, recording them while being constantly aware of light, gesture and composition. This love of childhood is common enough but I think my work also reflects my interest in the darker side of our nature. The muted tones of this picture create a sinister image but in reality my daughter is listening to the sound of the water.â€? Bronwyn Waugh, 2014
Bronwyn Waugh studied Fine Art at Auckland University, New Zealand and teaches in the Art Department at Tonbridge School. 66
49 WARATAH BLOSSOMS Seven are the veils of the dancing girl in the harem of It. Seven are the names and seven are the lamps beside Her bed. Seven eunuchs guard Her with drawn sword; No man may come nigh unto Her. In Her wine-cup are seven streams of blood of the Seven Spirits of God. Seven are the heads of The Beast whereon She rideth. The head of an Angel: the head of a Saint: the head of a Poet: the head of an Adulterous woman: the head of a Man of Valour: the head of a Satyr: and the head of a Lion-Serpent. Seven letters hath Her holiest name; and it is BABALON This is the Seal upon the Ring that is on the ForeFinger or IT: and it is the Seal upon the Tombs of them whom She hath slain. Here is Wisdom. Let Him that hath Understanding count the Number of Our Lady; for it is the Number of a Woman; and Her Number is An Hundred and Fifty and Six Aleister Crowley, Book of Lies, p108
Tim Zercie Seven Letters Hath Her Holiest name and it is BABALON (detail), 2013 Acrylic, oil, spray-paint, lacquer, salt, fabric & glitter on canvas Image courtesy of the Artist
“I find inspiration in varied esoteric, mystical and religious sources, such as Kabbalah, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, alchemy, Tarot, and Enochian & Thelemic magick. These texts contain many symbols that are deeply associated with rituals to help one connect with the Higher Supreme Being. Within this investigation I interpret this literature and symbols into physical entities, conjuring out deities, angels or demons from a personal realm into the work, whether it be, painting, drawing, performance or installation. During the time I was painting this piece, I was reading Aleister Crowley’s Book of Lies, in the studio. After completing the painting, I resolved to title it after one of the the poems.” Tim Zercie Tim Zercie completed an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in 2013. He has exhibited in the USA and the UK, and is a Visiting Artist & Lecturer at Wimbledon College of Art, London
12:10 to 12:35
Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhu seyyathāpi passeyya sarīraṃ sivathikāya chaḍḍitaṃ ekāhamataṃ vā dvīhamataṃ vā tīhamataṃ vā uddhumātakaṃ vinīlakaṃ vipubbakajātaṃ. So imameva kāyaṃ upasaṃharati: ‘ayaṃ pi kho kāyo evaṃdhammo evaṃbhāvī evaṃanatīto’ ti. Again, monks, a monk, when he sees a dead body that has been thrown in a charnel-ground, dead for one, two or three days, swollen, blue and festering, regarding his own body considers thus: “Indeed, this body is of the same nature, it will become like that and cannot escape it.”
“This text is from one of the most important and widely recited Buddhist sutras, the title of which translates as Sutra on the Four Ways of Establishing Mindfulness. Dating from around the 3rd Century BCE, it is still learned by heart by Buddhists in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma. Whilst secular mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular in the West as a mental health training, Buddhist mindfulness has a different ambition: nirvana. Buddhists define nirvana as the ultimate liberation from greed, hatred and delusion. To do this requires a complete unbinding from the “I, me, my” construct which roots us in selfishness by unashamedly confronting the inescapably perishable nature of our own flesh. In this section of the sutra, a monk brings to mind everything which makes up our body, reflecting on its impermanence. He then considers, stage by stage, how the body decomposes after death. Such reflections help release a monk from more trivial, selfish concerns.” Richard Burnett, 2014
I would like to thank the following people, without whom tis exhibition would not have been possible. Tara Benjamin-Morgan Ignacio Casado Georgina Ferns Nicola Masters Wayne Warren Jonathan Wright
Catalogue design by Tara Benjamin-Morgan Printed by Tonbridge School Reprographics Department ÂŠ OBS Gallery 2014
OBS Gallery January - March 2014