THE ROOTS THAT CLUTCH | 2nd-14th OCTOBER 2018 | THE GARDEN MUSEUM
Click here for the catalogue of works
Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London, SE1 7LB
(Image: Aviary (detail) by Suzy Moxhay)
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images
T.S. ELIOT - THE WASTE LAND
Having the opportunity to show contemporary artists emerging into their careers in this place rich in history has been a real privilege. The “roots..” from Eliot’s epic poem The Waste Land and the premise of the show have reached beyond any of our original imaginings, permeating the histories that ground the Garden museum quietly and firmly in its rightful place; the resting place of maritime legend and botanical explorer Captain Bligh, plant safeguarder and collector John Tradescant and their families, the recent discovery of the tombs of sixteenth century archbishops beneath the museum during renovations and the calm of the new cloister space and visionary planting throughout.
Plants and weeds creep through the cracks into Suzanne Moxhay’s derelict places, whereas for Juliette Losq they are the protagonists, reclaiming the marginal urban spaces depicted in her watercolours. For Bartholomew Beal, the museum’s narrative roots and plethora of stories are the focus of his paintings. Sculptor Amelia Sampson deals with a futuristic anthropology, her oft-organic forms being imaginings of a post-human period.
The Violet Hour, September 2018
JANE WARD | WATCHER OF THE SKIES | 4th JUNE - 11th AUGUST 2018
AT THE HOSPITAL CLUB, 24 Endell Street, London WC2H 9HQ
View catalogue here: JW List of works.pdf
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN | 21st-24th SEPTEMBER 2017 at the Hospital Club
The Road Not Taken, 21st-24th September 2017, in association with The Hospital Club, featuring paintings by Wonje Kang, Catherine Leon, sculptures by Philip Rae-Scott and works on paper by Felicity Warbrick.
Inspired by Robert Frost’s poem of the same name. The Road Not Taken explores the infinite possibilities that the concept of the journey presents to the individual, be it an artistic, political, physical or psychological one. Perhaps now, more than ever, societal change is forcing us to the point where well trodden ways converge or diverge in such a manner that the impact of our decisions has become harder to decipher.
Furthermore, in a universal sense there is the idea that the continued existence of humanity is dependent on our collective decision-making. If our choices become a matter of existential significance, then with every left or right turn we are transformed and there is very little chance of returning to where we were before.
Currently: Royal College of Art, MA Fine Art, Painting
Wonje Kang is from Seoul, Korea. His work is reminiscent of his roots in its figurative elements but punctuated by abstraction. Between the layers in his compositions one is occasionally offered glimpses of places, fragments of memories collected along the way.
1994: Chelsea College of Art, Public Art & Design
2011: Jerwood Drawing Prize, Shortlisted
Felicity Warbrick's work is inspired by a lifelong connection with wild landscape; its architecture, history and significance to her as a creative resource. These surroundings; bothies, barns and farm buildings - as well as den and treehouse building - fed her imagination as a child growing up on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
2015: Wimbledon College of Art, Fine Art, Painting
Catherine Leon prefers to leave control out of her artistic process, remaining completely in the present and therefore letting go of inhibition and not planning beforehand. In this sense she is free of artistic constraint, nothing is predetermined, she simply follows the artistic path as it opens up before her.
Philip Rae Scott
For this sculptor, the functionless is the driving concept. Growing up passionately concerned with well-built, useful objects, art took precedence when he realised that he could achieve closer to an idea of perfection. Whereas the mechanical object is either improved upon or worn out, there is a sense of finish to a sculpture: the artistic journey is complete.
A MIRACLE OF RARE DEVICE | TUESDAY 17TH - SATURDAY 21ST MAY 2016
Our most recent show focused on the potency of the artist as storyteller, with particular reference to one of the great works of Romantic poetry: Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
BRILLIANT CREATURES | TUESDAY 3RD - SATURDAY 7TH NOVEMBER 2015
The show’s title was taken from a Yeats poem, The Wild Swans at Coole. Melancholic and pertinent to autumn, a season of dramatic natural change, the poem is a beautiful lament on our powerlessness to intervene in the passing of time and all that its entails. The artists on show differ in the manner that they treat time as both a destructive - and constructive - process.
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
The Wild Swans at Coole, by WB Yeats
David Degreef-Mounier’s installations encapsulate process, over all else. Held in a moment, fire catches in veins on the surface of raw wooden shapes, cut to precision, yet never uniform. Each new work he makes is a development on the last: his chief intention being the journey that links concept with result.
Biddy Hodgkinson’s painting celebrates the truism that the process of time is unstoppable, no matter what we are taught. Far from being a cause for alarm, Biddy’s abstraction reminds the viewer of the beauty in natural decay, through her use of various organic elements alongside paint on her canvases, as well as earth and mineral ores.
Catherine Leon’s extrovert pieces, rhythmic with colour and light, are lyrical to the extent that they leave the viewer with a visceral sense of abandon. They speak a subconscious language of a longing to experience the elemental truths of nature, form and time.
Suzanne Moxhay’s works are a deliberate manipulation of scale, matter and time. Her frozen, filmic scenes are representative of a present that seems in itself artificial, eerie even. Nevertheless, they include visual references which root them in present events or versions of some kind of future.
The ordered, geometric precision in Bronwen Sleigh’s architectural etchings and drawings belies the conflict the artist feels over the impact humanity has on its environment: on the one hand a marvel, yet nonetheless inevitably destructive.
'ISLANDS OF THE BLEST'
TUESDAY 26TH - SUNDAY 31ST MAY 2015
The Violet Hour took inspiration from London’s Adelphi quarter for their latest exhibition of five emerging contemporary artists. The title ‘Islands of the Blest’ is an excerpt from Lord Byron’s ‘The Isles of Greece’ and plays with the idea of permanence and transition.
The figure of Pythia, the oracle priestess at Delphi, weaves into the motifs that permeate Nicholas Johnson’s oeuvre; vision-inducing reflective pools, heady vapours and the underlying promise of decay, reclamation and repurpose. A closer look at the surfaces of his paintings reveals physical detritus and relief.
The feverish hues in Michael O Reilly’s works appear to ooze and weep from the canvases, whilst beneath the surface the works throb with a heat that hums and buzzes. Islands set in salty, swampy backwaters stand still amongst calamitous yet considered brushstrokes and motifs melt in a close, steady process of decay.
Another variation on mortality, Blaze Cyan portrays ancient trees as decaying and eroded landmarks, totems holding a sense of time within themselves. Appearing half dead, some are completely hollowed out and yet still live, this ambiguity between life and death seems to transcend mortality, something that exists outside the normal parameters of reality.
The observations of the odd and out of place in Kathryn Maple’s layered works seem to grow from the paper. Again, the surfaces change in rhythm, with areas of clear translucency and worked, near-woven pockets.
Like the unattainable, fleeting ideal of paradise, Jane Ward’s pieces are composed of fragments of prints, repeatedly broken down, collaged and scratched away again, creating a state of place that is constantly in flux, like a digital sand dune that shapeshifts and eludes us.
THE isles of Greece! the isles of Greece
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.
The Scian and the Teian muse,
The hero’s harp, the lover’s lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse:
Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west
Than your sires’ Islands of the Blest.
BIDDY HODGKINSON - MAKES ME WONDER
4TH DECEMBER 2014
curated by The Violet Hour
Exhibition continues by appointment
at Bentley's the Collection, 6 Square Rigger Row, Plantation Wharf SW11 3TZ
ANN MACKOWSKI: ALL THAT'S BEST OF DARK AND BRIGHT
3RD - 12TH DECEMBER 2013
Gallery 8, Duke St, St James's, London SW1Y 6BN
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)
MEMORY & DESIRE PART II : 27th JUNE - 4th JULY 2013
1st Floor, 37 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JF
Open: Daily 10-6 Saturday 10-2 Sunday closed
MEMORY & DESIRE | PART I : 25TH - 30TH APRIL 2013
1st Floor, 37 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JF
Open: Daily 10-6 Saturday 10-2 Sunday closed
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire
T.S. Eliot – The Wasteland
Painting and Poetry
Both poet and painter depict subjects
As they record them to be - MEMORY
As they would wish them to be - DESIRE
But primarily it is a combination of the two. Neither art form can be wholly objective in its representation. This is the essence of Memory & Desire: the mind’s eye and the heart.
Poetry and painting are alike in that they appeal primarily to a specific sense. Furthermore, mastering devices specific to their craft; for the poet pace, sound and meaning; the painter, form, definition and stroke, they aim to direct and influence our reaction.
The Violet Hour, April 2013