A Trick of the Light
There are three ways in which we interpret colour: Impression – our visual response, Expression – our emotional response and Construction – our cultural response. However objects in the world do not posses colour; it is the light reflected from these that generates colour.
The exhibition A Trick of the Light uses this familiar expression to bring together a group of seven London based contemporary artists whose concerns examine the phenomenological relationship between the eye and brain, and the way in which the mechanisms behind perception shape our world.
According to Tom Lubbock (The Independent, Monday, 5 October 2009), "... For most of the 20th century, modern art was considered a secular thing. Modern man didn't believe in God and spirits. Modern art didn't either. But recently the story has been turned around. More and more, modernism has been linked to the supernatural – to myth, ritual, visions, the occult ..."
A Trick of the Light explores this multifaceted nature of the artists to draw attention to their role in shaping the world. Not only are they magicians, optical illusion and shadow play makers, but through their trompe l'Oeil windows of the world, they become, culture makers, taste makers and style 'gurus'. 1
A Trick of the Light is not strictly speaking an exhibition exploring optical illusions or the mirage. It exists somewhere between the two and attempts to capture a mood or a feeling surrounding these phenomena. The exhibition title aims to set an atmosphere, rather than a strict curatorial rationale and although many of the works in the show parody this idea, its content, in the words of Wiliam de Kooning, is more “a glimpse of something, encountered like a flash".
As in previous exhibitions A Trick of the Light is an eclectic mix of disciplines and artistic backgrounds. James Hopkins practice is concerned with the role of judgement connection to the process of vision; optically adapting objects and imagery in order to create sculptural interventions which momentarily knock the viewer’s perception off-kilter. Hopkins transforms familiar objects, imbuing them with the power of self-reflective commentary, converting them into different items and nudging them towards an ‘impossible’ state that produces an astonished incredulity in those who behold them. He is represented by Max Wigram Gallery and recent solo exhibitions include Galleria 1/9 Unosunove, Rome (2008) and Max Wigram Gallery, London (2007). In 2010 he will be carrying his first major public commission.
Gary Simmonds’ practice is concerned with Geometric Abstraction's relationship to domestic ornamentation. He makes paintings that flirt with decoration and disorder at the same time as setting out possibilities for ‘abstraction’. He studied Fine Art at UCE, in Birmingham and at Goldsmiths College, London and has exhibited widely nationally and internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include: Laure Genillard, London 2000; De March and Solbiati, Milan 2000 and One in the Other, London 2002 and 2004/5.
John Stark graduated from the Royal Academy Schools in 2004. His practice attempts to trace how myths and legends have been used to make sense of the world and understand human nature through metaphysical investigation. In what the artist describes as a 'call to the wild’ he attempts to return to a perennial wisdom of imaginative insight. His paintings utilise techniques of the past; a mixture of Romantic landscape painting and the Dutch still tradition, to comment on the societal impact of an increasingly secular world. Stark's first major solo exhibition at Carlhie Smith London 'Meliora Silentio' (2009) was received to wide acclaim (Rebecca Geddard, Time Out. 22 - 28 October, 2009)
Pam Richardson and Kevin Smith both studied Fine Art at Norwich School of Art graduating in 1996. Since 2001 they have collaborated on the animation series 'Splinter'; to date producing 13 episodes. The animation series follow the main protagonist, Splinter, on a continuous journey through environments and happenings resembling a theatre of the absurd. 'Splinter' has no narrative as such; in the word of the artists the work is "an exploration of inner human feelings", often strange, humorous and usually melancholic. Episodes conclude without seeming moral or resolution, and although aspects are often repeated through out the series, they never continue thematically from one to the next. In 2005 they presented a show real of all episodes to date at 1 000 000 mph Project Space. Their work has been exhibited widely nationally and internationally and will feature in Dawnbreakers (John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton, Southampton, 2010)
Beginning in the late 1980s as a design assistant to John Galliano, Julie Verhoeven has since collaborated with Louis Vuitton, Mulberry and has been chief designer for the Italian brand Gibo. Her whimsical, drawings, installations and sculptures, blur the lines between, fashion, design and Fine Art, appropriating imagery and using references from 'high' and 'low culture'; mischievously questioning this hierarchy in the process. Recent exhibitions include; Man Enough to be a Woman, MU Gallery, Eindhoven (2009), Ver-Boten, Ver-Saatchi, Ver-Heaven, Rifflemaker Gallery, London (2006), Garden Party, Deitch Projects, New York (2006)
Leon Woolls graduated from London College of Communication (formerly LCP) in 1996. His photographs portray the architectural uncanny and filmic pastoral scenes. Some times these are interrupted by unexpected interventions; a human trail or urban landmark discarded altering our perception of these and reminding us that all is not what it seems in these romantic and urban landscapes. He is a co-publisher of Alaska, a limited edition publication, surveying international contemporary photography.
Freya Wright is currently undertaking post-graduate studies at the Royal College of Art, London. In 2009 she was selected for Bloomberg's New Contemporaries and the Catlin Art Prize. Freya Wright makes small oil paintings from movie stills that have a shimmery light quality to their surface. Her paintings go beyond the genre of photo-realism; using recognisable movie stills to express something more personal, and occupy a hinterland between our memory of these movie stills and our imagination.
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