A British Art Show
Curated by Joseph Buckley. October 23–November 13, 2015.
Simeon Barclay, Kitty Clark, Jess Currie, Ruth Angel Edwards, Georgia Lucas Going, Ashley Holmes, Francis Lloyd Jones, Hatty Nestor, John Henry Newton, Hardeep Pandhal, Liv Preston, Alex Rathbone, Leon Sadler, Harlan Whittingham & Benjamin Slinger, David Steans, Issy Wood, and Josh Whitaker.
"I've attached a text I wrote for the show. It serves as a works list/release of sorts. The show sort of began out of some thinking, that I had been doing for a while, about the nature of the genre of the survey show and it's simultaneous and competing engines of canonization and erasure... though I suppose the show really began to happen when I began to think about those processes alongside the type of curation I 'grew up' around... the do-it-yourself-ish attitude of the Leeds art scene (despite whatever guise of professionalism projected externally). In between those two poles, of a downward glancing faceless authority and of upward looking institutions of friends, the show began to happen... In putting it all together I also felt the need to reflect on all the other shows I had curated or been involved in, whether my role in those endeavors was justified or ethical. Now, in the aftermath, I doubt that the show really solves any of the problematics that led me to try to do such a show in the first place, nor have I even really answered any of the questions that I had for myself, nevertheless I am contented – at the very least – to have had a facilitative role in the culmination of an exhibition of artists that I admire and respect. I am ok, if only for now (and if only in the exhaustion that immediately follows any large exercise such as this) for this exhibition to sit as a blip, or a checkpoint, in an ever developing series of considerations about what we do and how we are presented. I think I like the idea of a survey show being about 'becoming' as opposed to being about being 'done'. Anywho, here's what I wrote:
"In Meyohas there are three main spaces. The first is a corridor, which the main entrance opens into, it is roughly five metres long and opens out into the main space. The main space is a room with two walls of windows that is roughly three and a half metres by seven. The main space leads to a kitchen area, this itself is three metres by five.
There are twenty five artworks in the exhibition. Curated by the artist Joseph Buckley, the exhibition features the work of Simeon Barclay, Kitty Clark, Jess Currie, Ruth Angel Edwards, Georgia Lucas Going, Ashley Holmes, Francis Lloyd Jones, Hatty Nestor, John Henry Newton, Hardeep Pandhal, Liv Preston, Alex Rathbone, Leon Sadler, Harlan Whittingham & Benjamin Slinger, David Steans, Issy Wood, and Josh Whitaker.
Upon entering the Meyohas, one is immediately confronted by a wall of vinyl lettering. This is the work A British Art Show - Text, by Hatty Nestor. Mimicking the form of an interpretive wall text, of the type most commonly found in a museological context.
Next to Nestor’s work is The Beam at Ogleforth, a 4 x 6 inch c-type print by the Francis Lloyd Jones. The photograph features a domestic interior with black tudor beams. As one finishes reading the text and looking at the photograph they might turn to their left and look up.
If they did so they might see the video Kappa Girl by the artist Georgia Lucas Going. Mounted above a doorway, the video features a claustrophobic left to right pan of a bedroom. Upon the bed in said bedroom is a ‘live sculpture’, covered in empty weed bags, the ‘live sculpture’ affects the pose of the Kappa Sports group logo. The video is sound tracked by 90s hit ‘With A Little Bit Of Luck’ by DJ Luck & MC Neat.
From here, if one were to make a 180 degree turn, further down the corridor they would see a living human hand, clutching a grey candelabra replete with flickering fake candles, emerging from a wall at a height above the human head. This is the work R U Next by the artist Kitty Clark.
Opposite R U Next is the work Cannibal’s (remnants) a pair of reupholstered folding chairs. The chairs are works by Harlan Whittingham & Benjamin Slinger and are props the video Cannibals (which is in another room in the gallery).
Next to Slinger & Whittingham’s sculpture is a small stack of 8.5 x 11 inch laser-jet prints. The prints feature Untitled, a text by Ruth Angel Edwards. In Untitled, Edwards ‘performs’ a series of critiques on both North American Culture, the repackaging of youth culture, and the commodification of experience.
From here, one leaves the corridor and enters the main room of the exhibition. The main room has two walls, one north wall and one west wall, and a curved wall of windows that faces both south and east.
Upon the north and west walls of the space there are, in black paint, large replications of Lloyd-Jones’ The Beam at Ogleforth. This is not a work of art and is, in fact, a manifestation of Buckley’s curation: a (clumsy) attempt to build continuum between the walls of the gallery and the walls with the beams in Ogleforth.
On the west facing wall are three works. Hardeep Pandhal’s Empyre State of Mind, is a A0 sized digital print on polyester. The work features a bizarre conflation of an NYPD cop car and a taxi (with a pair of buttocks for a front bumper) on fire. From the fire emerge the severed heads of Sikh warriors.
Next to Pandhal’s work is, on a video monitor, is Ashley Holmes’ Screwface Means I’m Not Amused (V.I.P. edit). The work, which is soundtracked by a V.I.P. edit of Wiley’s Morgue, features crudely photoshopped images of classical and renaissance sculpture, which have been edited to appear as if they are simultaneously staring each other down, whilst suffering from acute attacks of anxiety.
Above Pandhal and Holmes’ work, in the ‘rafters’ of the wall painting, is another work by Ruth Angel Edwards. This is the work Kandi Poems/I Want You To Know. The work features a series of lines of text rendered in a string of Kandi beads. The strings of beads hang loosely, forming a loose smile perhaps. Another iteration of this work is on the North wall, also in the ‘rafters’ of the wall painting.
On the north wall there is another iteration of Edwards’ beads. Below these beads is a video monitor featuring David Steans’ Villages of Britain. The work features a series of voice actors reciting a text written by Steans that is based on the narration of ‘Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages’ a Channel 4 documentary. The visual component of the video consists of found images featuring images of English villages, culled from Readers digest, and presented on a black background.
Next to Steans’ video is a small Marshall guitar amp knob, inserted into the wall. Behind the know there are letters arranged in a dial formation, from 0 to 9, a reference to the moment in the 1982 Film Spinal Tap wherein a character proudly displays his guitar amp that ‘goes all the way up to 11’. The work is Volume Knob by John Henry Newton.
On the windows opposite north wall and hung on a column is the work A Shield, a painted trellis offcut, featuring a painted image of Brooke Shields by the artist Issy Wood.
On the floor in front of Wood’s painted trellis is a small black ball upon a sheet of A4 paper in a plastic sleeve. The black sphere is Liv Preston's SCREAMING HEAD, a reproduction of artists first ever sculpture, a screaming black plasticine head about the size of a small child’s fist. The black ball rests upon ANDERSON CLAN HISTORY (SUBJECTIVE) a summary of the artist’s family history, typed by her blind Grandfather.
Opposite this, also on the floor, are two grey plastic cargo containers, nestled within each other. Inside the boxes are two photographs and a photocopied laserjet printout of a scanned book, upon which is placed a plastercast of a Caribbean dumpling. This is the work An Arrangement On Grey (incorporating a 3 dimensional object formed from the hands of a first generation swamp monster as nourishment for her first born) by Simeon Barclay.
Next to the painted trellis, to the right, is a trio of manuscripts. Each is titled CHAOS A MANUSCRIPT. They are the works of Jess Currie and, despite their shared title, the manuscripts are of different lengths and are composed of different texts, content-wise: each is vaguely related to processes of chaos.
On the wall of east facing windows, are four works.
Three terracotta frieze like reliefs, are hung beneath the windowsill. They have been daubed black, it mostly covers their surfaces but the red of the terracotta still peeks through. Each of these works, all by Alex Rathbone, is titled Orbital.
Above them, in the top corner of the room, where the window and the ceiling meet, is placed three large blue back posters, of the type traditionally used for commercial wheatpasting. They are the work Angel’s Share – Sola Fide Opening by Josh Whitaker. The piece advertises a opening at a fictional club called ‘Angels’ Share’. The club is owned and operated by the character St. Paul in a screenplay the artist is writing which tells tthe story of the life of Saint Paul in a contemporary context and and acts a a possible prequel to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s ‘Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom’.
If one, currently standing in front of Whitaker and Rathbone’s works, were to turn to their left, they would be facing the final room of the exhibition.
This room, the smallest of the three connected spaces in the exhibition, contains three works. Most conspicuous is the second work a wall drawing rendered in emulsion and acrylic paint. It illustrates what appears to be an unfolded cardboard box with a meandering handwritten text written up on it. The nature of the line breaks of the text conform to the logic of the box but make little sense outside of it. The text deals with mosquitoes, there is the bottom three quarters of a fish upon the front of the box. The work is In Every Buzzing Aisle... by John Henry Newton.
To the right of this work, is a small video monitor, crudely monitored attached to the windows the video features two men, teeming with passive aggression, pacing around a kitchen table whilst casting tense glances at each other that alternate between desirous and hostile. The video is Slinger & Whittingham's collaborative work Cannibals. The chairs they two men sit upon are featured earlier in the exhibition as Cannibals (remnants).
If one were to turn 180 degrees from Whittingham & Slinger’s work, past Newton’s, they would come to face the final work in the exhibition. Upon a ladder a person sits facing the exposed interior of a false wall, their arm disappears into it. They wear a large fleece tracksuit, with the phrase ‘Somebody loves you’ affixed to the posterior of the tracksuit. Blond extensions spill from the tracksuits hood. This tracksuit, worn by the person on the ladder, is Kitty Clark’s second work in the exhibition, New Scum... Somebody Loves You.
On the evening of the opening reception Ruth Angel Edwards conducted the work Baepecestre, a twenty(ish) minute long A/V performance, wherein Edwards shamanistically inhabited the role of DJ.
Leon Sadler drew Group Portrait of British Artists as Cartoon Characters Commissioned by Joseph Buckley a group portrait of all the artists, which serves as the press image for the exhibition."
October 23 - November 13, 2015.