8 DECEMBER 2016 - 2O JANUARY 2017
YOU AGAINST YOU
William Benington Gallery is pleased to present You Against You, a solo exhibition by Tim Sandys the winner of the Royal British Society of Sculptors “Spotlight 2016” competition.
Tim Sandys' work explores the societal and civic structures that we take for granted. By using interventions, sculpture and animation, he carefully identifies points of strain, failure or tension in our experience and highlights them. His working method is that of an ethnographic or qualitative researcher, coming to neither conclusion nor judgement, but shifting our perception none-the-less.
In You Against You he focusses our attention upon the idiosyncrasies, assumptions and oddities of air travel. From the submission of the individual to airport security to the strapping-in of the air passenger, we literally surrender our personal freedoms at the gate. From that point we are entered into a suspension of reality where we accept terrorism paranoia, duty free shopping, concealed life-jackets and drinking at 30,000ft, as the new normal.
27 OCTOBER - 2 DECEMBER
William Benington Gallery is pleased to present Head, a solo exhibition of new work by Iain Hales.
Head is an exhibition of blurred lines and transition points, wherein painting meets sculpture, figuration emerges from abstraction, and classical ideas of masculinity are undermined by a contemporary frame of reference.
The exhibition will consist of an installation of wall based sculptural platforms which are reminiscent of theatrical stages. Throughout Head, Hales returns to leitmotifs that have appeared in his work previously. Most notable here are his references to classical architecture - we recognise stripes that echo the masonry of the Duomo in Florence, allusions to arched colonnades, and references to Grecian pedestals and plinths. Here though, Hales adds to this iconography. We encounter aspects of the human form that suggest Greco-Roman statues. The overall mise-en-scéne is of the Romantic vision of the classical ruin, or of the idealised Renaissance sculptor’s studio. There is an implied fallacy here though; these statues are hewn from foam, not marble, and the architectural features are a trick of perspective. The work thus behaves as a façade that obscures an insubstantial reality. The viewer can draw a parallel by considering the real issues facing modern-day society against the irony of our contemporary cultural obsession with body image, superficial beauty, and an outward illusion of wellbeing.
Iain Hales lives and works in London. He was the 2013/14 recipient of the ‘Mark Tanner Sculpture Award’
He completed his MFA Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2009 and gained a BA in Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art in 2005. He has made solo presentations at 9B Projects, Standpoint Gallery, m2 Gallery, COLE, and Hyperground (Edinburgh). His work has been in group shows at (It’s All) Tropical, Leeds; LeandaKateLouise, London; Turf Projects, Croydon; Two Queens, Leicester; and BALTIC 39, Newcastle (curated by Phyllida Barlow), among others
22 SEPTEMBER - 22 OCTOBER
Make-Shift will be Julian’s second solo exhibition at William Benington Gallery. Julian will be presenting a new body of work that was developed on residencies and journeys in the West of Ireland, Dorset and the refugee camps of northern France. He was inspired by the improvised constructions and man-made interventions in nature that he came across. In Make-Shift we find ordered geometric forms that shift, seemingly caught in the act of propagation or separation; solid forms that open out, pull apart and reveal their inner aspect.
For the first time, Julian will also be showing a selection of his drawings.
EXHIBITION DATES: 22 September-22 October 2016
FRIEZE WEEK ARTISTS TALK: Saturday 8 October 2016, 11am
19 MAY - 30 JUNE
“The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one's self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.” - Igor Stravinsky
At the centre of Will Nash’s practice is a concern with form, structure and quantity. His sculptures and installations are the result of ongoing explorations of mathematical forms and the relationships they have with one another. His different bodies of work fall into families of these forms that are connected by a particular geometry, repeating sequences of planes and angles to create similar variations on a theme.
The works in Element take as their starting point the Diamond Cubic; a repeated pattern of eight atoms that can be adopted by carbon based elements, and the rhomboid crystal structures they form as they solidify. Each sculpture in the show corresponds with the lines laid down by the Diamond Cubic, they all consist of a specific set of relationships between angles, lengths and vectors.
To create these specific forms, Nash works through a process of subtraction, or removal of imagined mass. Envisaging the Diamond Cubic as a grid, extending out from the sculptures flowing over and through the walls and floors of the gallery, he then works backwards – in much the same way as a stone carver – to reveal the shape of the sculpture inside. Each artwork is therefore in essence cut out from an endless grid, which is revealed by a series of steps – following, and sometimes breaking his own set of rules.
These complex, highly ordered and elegant sculptures are the artist’s attempt to explore, and wonder at how the world that surrounds us is put together.
31 MARCH - 14 MAY
Join us for the Private View, Thursday 31 March, 6 - 8.30pm
William Benington Gallery is pleased to present WALL, a solo installation by Luke Hart.
WALL is a single sculpture that fills and interrupts the gallery, forcing the gallery-visitor to engage physically with both the artwork and the exhibition space. This relationship between his sculptures and their surroundings is an on going concern of Hart’s practice. As a viewer we are impressed by the very mass of the sculpture, gravity appears to pull heavily upon it dragging it and distorting it as it twists to fill the space. There is a sense that Hart has pushed his sculpture right to the edge of its structural limitations, but ultimately has retained just enough control to hold it from the edge of collapse.
In a very real sense, Hart is wrestling with the capabilities of the production and engineering knowhow available to him, going so far as to invent new techniques. Since 2011 he has been developing his distinctive joining method, a vivid orange organic tangle of toughened rubber tendrils, that allows just enough flex while also giving his sculptures structural stability. Each of these joints is crafted in Hart’s London studio. The initial moulds are carved by hand, he then uses a self designed injection-moulding system to force the rubber into the moulds. Each stage of the process is overseen by the artist to ensure that his exacting standards are maintained throughout.
Ultimately Luke Hart’s practice represents a meeting point between the sculptural and the functional – that is not to say, necessarily, useful or practical. His sculptures exist beyond simple aesthetic or even representational concerns, they are without metaphor; their functionality challenges the idea of the traditional 'art-object', or perhaps their artistic endeavour is their function. In this instance, function is about more than use-value. There is a sense of the word, that the physical action performed by an object, can be said to be its function, even if that action is as simple as leaning or flexing.
WALL is a bold statement of artistic intent, it is an examination the sculptor's dual roles as artist and maker, and it confronts the assumed knowledge of the purpose of art, but in the end it is also a wall. It is a barrier, a separator of us and them, an obstacle to be scaled. It is a challenge. Perhaps, after all, it is a metaphor?
25 FEBRUARY - 25 MARCH 2016
JAMES BALMFORTH, CEDRIC CHRISTIE, MARK DAVEY & BEN WOODESON
Join us for the Private View, Thursday 25 February, 6 - 8.30pm.
ALL CHANGE brings together the work of four London based sculptors, exploring ideas of tension and release and of potential and spent energy.
3 DECEMBER 2015 - 24 JANUARY 2016
GARY COLCLOUGH - MATERIAL SYMMETRY
Join us for the Private View, Thursday 3 December 6 - 8.30pm.
“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of our eyes." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
There is a calmness in the work of Gary Colclough. His quiet, beautiful sculptures encourage us to pause for a moment and reflect on “seeing”. Our daily lives are so overloaded with visual stimuli that our brain finds shortcuts, filtering the relevant information so we don’t need to concern ourselves with the details. In most instances, this is a wonderful device, leaving our minds free to process the other worries and interests of daily life. Material Symmetry, however, offers us a chance to take stock of the missed moments and the spaces in between.
Until recently, Colclough’s practice has struck a balance between drawing and sculpture; fine monochromatic pencil drawings were housed in crafted geometric frames. Gradually the balance of focus has shifted away from the drawings and onto the geometry and wooden framework. In this latest body of work he has removed the drawings almost entirely. In their place sit complimentary and contrasting panels of flat colour inspired by the investigations of Josef Albers and Johann von Goethe before him. Reflektor (pictured) takes as it’s basis one of Albers’ colour triangles which Colclough has carefully colour matched using a range of domestic interior heritage paints.This has then been reproduced again in mirror image after going through a tonal colour shift. The resulting effect of this is to create an exaggerated corner that appears dramatically lit on one side from an unknown source. Elsewhere in the exhibition This Immediate Future, This Immediate Past draws our attention to the interior architecture of the gallery space; vertical wooden slats form a triangle that echoes the wedge-shape that the descending staircase cuts into the space. Positioned at either end is a drawing of a picturesque landscape - a window onto a pastoral idyll rendered lifeless in reproduction - highlighting our continued struggle to reconnect with nature through both art and interior design.
When discussing originality in art and design, William Morris spoke of the “habit of the hand”, the idea being that the history of everything that has come before is ingrained on the artist's consciousness. Much like the brain searching for visual shortcuts in pursuit of efficiency, an artist can rely on familiar shapes, colours and motifs as a foundation on which to innovate. In Material Symmetry we find beauty in repetition and reassurance in the familiar, while our expectations are quietly subverted and we are encouraged to give everything a second, closer look.
CLARE BURNETT - PINK
22 October - 28 November 2015
Join us on Tuesday 17 November 7pm to hear Clare Burnett discuss her current solo exhibition PINK with fellow WBG artist Julian Wild. Drinks will be served from 6.30pm.
William Benington Gallery are delighted to present PINK, a solo exhibition by newly elected President of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, Clare Burnett.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
As children we are unaware of the rules; we experiment and play as a way of trying to make sense of this new world. As we grow we are made to feel self conscious and we stop playing - instead we learn from being told. We learn that boys run fast, jump high and are independent and girls look pretty and behave well, we learn that blue is for boys and for girls it is PINK. Once we have been told that this is so, these lessons are hard to unlearn.
For a number of years Clare Burnett has worked predominantly on site specific sculptures and installations, each work a direct response to the history and visual language of its location. Her sculptures frequently appearing in clusters or groups which play with perspective and scale. Integral to these sculptures is her use of colour. In delicate lines or flat planes, she has explored how a colour or material - or rather our perception of it - changes with context, how small variations in tone will bring a line to the fore or settle it into its surroundings.
For PINK Burnett has developed a new process, almost a return to a more curious and childish way of working. A sense of play has entered her practice, replacing some of the formal minimalism of her previous works. Found and adapted items are arranged alongside carefully crafted objects, giving a sense of three dimensional collage. Chance and improvisation play a key role in these new sculptures, imbuing them with a sense of freedom and fun. Amidst this newfound freedom there is another exploratory narrative that weaves through the exhibition tying the works together: can pink, loaded as it is with context and stereotypes, ever be free of its associations? Can pink be considered on its merits as a complimentary or contrasting colour, to elevate a composition and communicate ideas beyond those of gender and kitsch?
In PINK Clare Burnett hopes to reawaken the playful and curious nature dormant in the each of us and encourage us to reengage with our assumptions and preconceptions, and allows us, perhaps to be a little bit childlike.
10 September – 17 October 2015
Private view 10 September 6pm
William Benington Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Amy Stephens. This exhibition comprises a new body of work made as a direct response from a residency awarded in Norway this summer. It is the artist’s second solo show with the gallery.
“Geologists have a saying: rocks remember” – Neil Armstrong
In Rocks Remember STEPHENS continues to explore how our personal and collective histories are etched into the world we have built for ourselves. What can the architecture of our cities tell us about who we are today and where we have come from? We are now more efficiently synthesising and manipulating the natural world than ever before, constantly striving towards an urban perfection. But is it bringing us closer as a society or are we increasingly isolated, detached from one another and the world beyond our cities?
The main gallery space is occupied by a series of angular metal structures each bearing an asymmetrical plaster form that makes reference to the crystalline structure of ilmenite: a rock native to Norway but also found in lunar rock, from which titanium is produced. These objects appear to rest precariously on delicate metal stands, their ordered alignment alluding to the patterns within nature's chaos. STEPHENS’ sculptures begin with a two-dimensional image that forms the underpinning skeleton from which to make architectonic structures. Each work evolves through a series of stages, with successive layers gaining density until the final form emerges, coherent and cogent.
On the gallery wall, a large photographic silkscreen depicts a Norwegian fjord famous for the giant geological platform known as the Pulpit Rock. The image was taken by the artist during her residency and appropriated to reference ilmenite’s molecular structure. Pieces of the ilmenite rock - brought back from Norway to the gallery - anchor the exhibition in the natural world, with the rest of the work extrapolating out from that axis.
MIKE ANDREWS & ANTHONY B. CREEDEN – EMPLOYEE/LOUNGE
28 May – 29 June 2015
Private view 28 May 6pm
“My hand resting idly atop my attaché case. My hand.” —Donald Barthelme, “Game,” 1965
William Benington Gallery is pleased to present Employee/Lounge, a two-person exhibition featuring work by Mike Andrews and Anthony B. Creeden, curated by Julia V. Hendrickson.
Mike Andrews (Chicago, IL) and Anthony B. Creeden(Austin, TX) share an affinity for the ways in which new technologies—as seen through the lens of futuristic film and television in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s—shape social and cultural perceptions of the male body. Employee/Lounge will consist of paintings, film, sculpture, and tapestries, all framed in relation to a large-scale structure loosely based on an early “supercomputer.” This object, bisecting the center of the gallery, serves as a touchstone for both artists, referencing office space; virtual space; Cold War-era bunkers; and sci fi television sets.
For this exhibition, Andrews will premiere a pair of surreal, kaleidoscopic animated films from his ongoing series Weird War; new figurative textile-based sculptures; and create two large-scale woven tapestries on-site. Creeden will showcase a new series of colorful abstract paintings in egg tempera and oil in tandem with his ongoing sculptural series using dichroic film, glass, collage, and cast aluminum.
Mike Andrews received his MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2004. Anthony B. Creeden is a current MFA in Painting candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. Julia V. Hendrickson is a curator, writer, and editor based in Austin, TX. She received an MA degree in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London in 2012.
Eva Masterman - Studio
9 April - 19 May 2015
Gallery residency: 9 April - 26 April
Exhibition: 28 April - 19 May
From the 9th of April, ceramic sculptor Eva Masterman took part in our first gallery residency. For three weeks Masterman based her studio practice in our London gallery space while she prepared for her solo exhibition STUDIO, running until 19 May.
The artist's studio has taken on almost mythical status in the minds of art lovers and historians: a private place where the alchemy of art happens away from the prying eyes of the uninitiated. STUDIO invites the viewer into this intimate environment, recreated in the gallery. During the Residency portion of the show we invited visitors to come and view the artist's process as she created a new body of work that explores ideas of repetition and perfection versus the flawed one-off. Masterman has established a rhythmic, repetitive manufacturing process, gradually filling the space around her with sculptures and the traces of their production.
From the 28th April, the resulting installation has been on show as an exhibition.
William Mackrell - Touch & Go
26 February - 2 April 2015
“The lamps will go out (as they should, no doubt)” – Dan Flavin
William Benington Gallery is pleased to announce Touch & Go, a solo exhibition of new work by William Mackrell.
There are certain experiences that are universal to us all. Perhaps foremost among them is the feeling of time marching on, unstoppable. We can all relate to lying awake and restless at night, feeling the clock creep towards dawn as the thoughts of the day race through our minds, or the sudden startling realisation that the city around us has changed without our noticing. In Touch & Go Mackrell explores these notions by creating a proposition which, once begun, passes out of our direct control and into the inevitable and unpredictable.
The floor of the gallery space is bisected from corner to corner by The lamps will go out (as they should, no doubt), a row of flickering and fading strip-lights sourced from artists' studios across London. The hum and cold glow of these halogen tubes were once synonymous with the converted offices and industrial buildings that often served, until recently, as artists' studios. These studios, like the dying lights, are blinking out one by one to be replaced with residential developments and transport terminals – they are becoming relics of the recent past.
The walls on either side are occupied by Sleep -negative- (16th September 2013) and Sleep -positive- (16th September 2013), a diptych of large perspex boxes containing works created by laying carbon paper under the sheets of the artist’s bed, tracing his nocturnal movements. The resulting positive and negative ‘drawings’ act as an intimate portrait, akin to automatic drawings; the true self is expressed in an unconscious moment.
The theme of sleep and restlessness continues with Soprano for Sleep Time App. For a period in the lead-up to this exhibition, the artist recorded his sleep patterns using an iPad sleep app placed under his pillow. The resulting data is expressed in a graph that has been overlaid with musical notations which will be interpreted in a live performance by a soprano at the private view and subsequently recorded.
As imprints of the artist that trace out his rhythms and cycles, the artworks exhibited in Touch & Go combine to become a self portrait. The personal scale of the works link them to our own bodies and our own experiences; we relate to them both physically and emotionally. In this lies the essence of Mackrell’s work: it is at once intensely personal and universally relatable, and in it we glimpse our own restless presence.
William Mackrell CV
FLAT ART. Featuring: Mark Davey, James Irwin, Amy Stephens & Julian Wild
15 January to 20 February 2015
“Sculpture is what you bump into when you back up to see a painting”
- Barnett Newman
William Benington Gallery is pleased to begin our 2015 program of exhibitions with Flat Art. For this group show we have invited four contemporary sculptors to explore the concerns of their personal practices while limiting them to use only the walls of the gallery to display their work. By being restricted to territory usually reserved for paintings and photography - or flat art - the artists are confronting both their own and the viewers' perceptions of sculpture's position within the gallery or home.
Flat Art features new work by Mark Davey, James Irwin, Amy Stephens and Julian Wild.
David Worthington: Experiments in Colour
20th November 2014 to 10th January 2015
“One should use common words to say uncommon things.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
William Benington Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by British sculptor David Worthington, examining the reciprocal relationship between fine art and industrial design.
The body of work displayed in Experiments in Colour explores, through a developmental series, the history of modern and modernist design, as well as that of what we have come to know as fine art sculpture. The conversation begins with Worthington’s choice of materials: luxurious white marble, synonymous with classical sculpture, interacts with the spray-lacquered colour commonly used in custom car jobs. The sleek, curvaceous sculptures have been gouged into, revealing bright wounds of colour that range from neon green to candy red. The implication is that underneath the simple form and perfect exterior there is something more to consider. Worthington’s forms, reminiscent of the high-end design of audio-visual products as well as the minimalist sculpture of the 1960s, explore how the historical canon of art communicates with modern materials and forms, while also confronting the issue of modern design’s relative struggle to find a place within the realm of fine art, and equally, the role of the sculptor to express this.
By reclaiming from design this familiar visual language, Worthington suggests that the everyday objects with which we surround ourselves can and should be re-assessed as beautiful; the sleek forms of modern design reflected in our home sound systems and desk chairs have been as carefully considered as the pediment of the Parthenon. Thus even the common language of the everyday should be granted consideration as uncommon and remarkable, and sculpture is in a unique position to highlight this. If design is a reflection of what we want and art is a reflection of who we are, then Experiments in Colour turns the mirror back onto these objects with which we surround ourselves.
Owen Bullett: Matter & Memory
14th October to 14th November 2014
“The truth is that we change without ceasing, and that the state itself is nothing but change.”
Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
William Benington Gallery was pleased to present an installation of new work by British sculptor Owen Bullett. Matter & Memory consists of large sculpted elements within the gallery space, each an independent form and yet intrinsically linked. Continuing an ongoing inquiry into the notion of volume and void, directional and opposite forces, the real and the imagined, Matter & Memory could be seen as a monument to the present. Inspired by the gallery's proximity to Sadler's Wells dance theatre, Owen is collaborating with performer Jamie Wood and sound designer Dominic Kennedy. For the private view they will stage an intervention within the gallery creating an environment of heightened physical awareness.
The gallery space is dominated by a giant sphere, the edges of which are sketched out using chainsawed sections of English oak, pinned using coloured pegs. Whether forming an open or a closed form, a protective structure or an overbearing net, the sections each exist as traces of a powerful physical action upon the wood. Beyond this is a stacked pile of rough oak spheres, carved from the inside of the larger spherical sculpture. The sculpture’s conical form is reminiscent of a cairn or way-marker suggesting a repeated journey and the passage of time.
“My mental state, as it advances on the road of time, is continually swelling with the duration which it accumulates: it goes on increasing-rolling upon itself, as a snowball on the snow.”
Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
This metaphor illustrated by Bergson has been lodged in Bullett's mind for a number of years, gradually gaining in relevance and coming increasingly clearly into focus. The idea of the present being an amalgamation of pasts is a potent one, and through his installation Bullett proposes a constant change of states: formal, physical and metaphorical.
Julian Wild: The Island
5th September to 10th October 2014
William Benington Gallery was pleased to present The Island: a solo exhibition of new sculptures by the acclaimed British artist Julian Wild, including his first works in bronze.
In 2012 Julian moved his home and studio from London to an isolated area of East Sussex. While researching local history Julian discovered that this small area where he now lives and works was historically know as The Island. Since then he has explored this transition in his sculptural work by combining the material aesthetics of architecture and urban development with forms inspired by the flora of the British countryside. Of particular interest to Julian are native perennials and pernicious weeds whose resilience and persistent growth draw easy comparison to the rapid regeneration and expansion of modern cities.
A leitmotif within the sculptures of The Island is that of a form splitting itself, like a plant searching out new territories, often to return back to the central form with renewed resolve. Rubus, titled after the latin genus for brambles, consists of a square of angry red welded box-steel that separates into a tangle of smaller tendrils before remerging into the trunk of the shape. Ilex, cast in bronze, initially appears to mimic the divided asymmetry of the Holly leaf after which it’s named. However on closer inspection the two sections cross one another before rejoining on the opposite side as if drawing the two halves closer together in an embrace. It is these often tender or sensual human moments that are revealed through Julian’s process of exerting industrial order onto nature’s chaos, that make his sculptures so exciting.
The Island runs in conjunction with Sculpture in the City 2014 where Julian Wild is exhibiting two major works; Salvia on Undershaft and Deadly Nightshade on Bishopsgate. Sculpture in the City runs until May 2015 in the Square Mile, London.www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/sculptureinthecity
Simon Linington: In Circles
27th June to 1st August 2014
“When a man in a forest thinks he is going forward in a straight line, in reality he is going in a circle. I did my best to go in a circle hoping to go in a straight line.” - Samuel Beckett
The work of Simon Linington is dominated by an exploration of two main preoccupations: The Artist and The Studio. In his practice Simon stages interactions and interventions, often performed repetitively by himself or upon himself or his studio space. These are designed to detach his consciousness from the act of making. The process becomes a mantra or a mediative act.
For In Circles, Simon presents work across a variety of media. Central to the exhibition are two standing sculptures, Circles 1 & 2, created by dragging his left side anti-clockwise around columns of clay. Over a number of hours Simon’s hair, face, boiler-suit, hands and boots were dragged across the surface of the clay, wearing it down. Through this process he has created a unique and intimate self-portrait of the artist in his studio. The resulting shapes have been cast in white jesmonite and installed in the gallery in the same positions in which they were originally placed in his studio. These beautiful low reliefs invite us to consider the contours created by Simon's body in relation to our own.
Every aspect of the act of making is considered and documented in Simon's work. The sculpted figures of Circles 1 & 2 are presented alongside “paintings” made by stitching together cotton studio rags that have been used to wipe clay and dirt from the artist's face and body, as well as to clean the space around him. Nearby is Souvenir, a glass tube containing layers of different-coloured dust, reminiscent of Victorian sand vials. The layers comprise six months’ worth of sweepings and scrapings collected from Simon’s studio floor and walls, which have been broken down and sieved to a fine powder, then divided and organised by colour before being poured in sections into the glass tube.
With In Circles Simon Linington has created a space, both physical and conceptual, in which the act of creating is exposed for us – in which we get a rare insight into the artist’s relationship with both his work and the place in which it is made. We are presented with action, reaction, repetition and development; a cyclical process within which the artist hopes to find a straight line.
Tom Jean Webb: Unseen Stars Still Shine Bright
16th May to 14th June 2014
For his first solo exhibition at William Benington Gallery, Tom Jean Webb presents an installation of new works. Unseen Stars Still Shine Bright is Tom's most in-depth exploration into the preoccupations that have dominated his work for some time: iconography, idolatry, and story-telling expressed through drawings and textiles.
Throughout our history Man has created images to tell stories, define collective cultural ideas and to express emotions. These images become imbued with a power that bears a relation to faith or worship, and has been used to great effect by religions (both ancient and modern) and by political parties, by advertisers and of course by artists. The impact of an image gains strength through simplicity and increases further through repetition. For Unseen Stars Still Shine Bright Tom has created a theatrical mise-en-scène with tapestries and drawings punctuated by his own lexicon of imagery. This imagery is heavily informed by the iconography and cultural symbols of Americana and the Native American people, which become leitmotifs linking the various artworks.
The craft of Tom's practice is as significant as, and in many ways echoes, the imagery. By choosing to work with the drawn line and simple tapestries he invokes memories of past cultures. The making becomes a performative act through repetitive action. Using techniques passed through the generations, the objects in this exhibition are imbued with an energy and a significance greater than the sum of their parts.
Mark Davey: GYM
4th April to 9th May 2014
For a generation of young adults there has been no experience of relationship-building without the assistance and intervention of technology. For all intents and purposes, they are unable to make meaningful connections without it – or so goes the accepted media narrative. The reality is that technology has become such a part of our lives that it is intrinsic to all of our interactions, as much as it is to our commutes and careers. Mark Davey explores this relationship between man and machine, using the language of industry and machinery to express intimacy as well as an increasing isolation and frustration.
Rather than focusing on the cold detachment of machines, Davey's sculptures are humanised, their motorised actions gentle and tender. Simple, intimate gestures are performed over and again, like a mantra. In Gaze a metal bar is driven towards a hanging bulb, stopping with precision just as it kisses the glass – turning the light on then returning moments later to turn it off. For all their simple elegance, these pieces give the viewer a sense of frustration, there is an impotence to their mechanical actions; we want the bar to smash through the bulb, we want the mechanical arm to push the tube light slightly further so it dashes to the floor. We want a climax.
In the GYM of the title, man and machine work together toward a very human end: to improve one's body, to make oneself more desirable. We sweat and we tone and we fixate, on our own bodies and those around us. In Mark Davey's sculptures the viewer is invited to reflect on male sex and sexuality; a red light flashes slowly and seductively in a simplified urinal form, long tubes move rhythmically back and forth. In the polished industrial finish of his designer pant cut-outs he fetishises the way sex is packaged and sold to us. Intimate and sensual these sculptures may be, but coy about their intentions they are not. The ways in which we find and make love are changing but our needs and impulses are timeless.
Amy Stephens: Patterns in the Chaos
20th February - 29th March 2014
[T]here will be a new form; and this form will be of such a type that it admits the chaos and does not try to say that the chaos is really something else. The form and the chaos remain separate. [T]he form itself becomes a preoccupation, because it exists as a problem separate from the material it accommodates. To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. - Samuel Beckett
William Benington Gallery was pleased to present Patterns in the Chaos, a solo exhibition of new works by London-based artist Amy Stephens. In December 2013, Stephens was awarded the Triangle Network Fellowship to Oman in association with Gasworks Gallery, London offering her a rare insight into Omani culture. The work on display is a direct response from her time spent in Muscat.
Stephens’ practice, while rooted in architecture and design, maintains the simple elegance of the drawn line. She describes the works in this show as “tracings that form the basis of an architectural skeleton.” The artist uses an array of architectural and industrial materials, including copper piping and perspex. These are inherently understated in isolation, but through Stephens’ intervention, the viewer is invited to reconsider the structure and surface of these familiar materials.
Manipulated copper tubing is used to portray the fundamentals of linear drawing on a human scale. Playfully brought together, these pieces create a geometric framework through a series of staggered mini portals. Each of these meditative adornments activates the others, contributing to the exhibition’s sense of balance and scale. There is a raw intimacy to Stephens’ work in the places in which the marks of the maker are revealed. Lines have been drawn, bent and polished to create an in-between space that encourages a natural exchange around and through the shapes.
10th January - 13th February 2014
William Benington Gallery London's first show of 2014 was a group exhibition of three of our favourite emerging UK artists, curated by Tom Esam.
For six months Josh Whitaker, Matt Welch and Tom Esam shared a space to make work. Through the exchange of ideas and materials their individual practices began to expand and overlap. After this six month period, the three artists have continued to make collaborative work alongside their solo practice. This was a show of work born from that period of open exchange.
“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way... things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keefe
William Benington Gallery, London is delighted to present a curated selection of Pia Wüstenberg’s exceptional Stacking Vessels. Consisting of all new work including the largest pieces she has produced to date, Stacked will be Pia’s first solo exhibition and the first exhibition to engage with the pieces as sculptural objects. Identity is central to many artists' work, but Pia has chosen to reflect hers within the manufacture of each Stacking Vessel.
The individual stackable sections of the Vessels are handmade under Pia’s direction by craftsmen in Finland, Germany and Britain (representing Pia’s parentage and where she now lives and works). When combined, the Stacking Vessels can be read as a self portrait of the artist’s cultural identity; when unstacked they transform into functional design objects.
The sculptures are a convergence of ideas and aesthetics, a push and pull balancing act. As much contemporary design as they are contemporary sculpture, they draw us in with vivid colour and elegant form, then ask us questions about identity, the role of the artist, and the decline (or resurgence) of skilled craft.
Nicholas Bellamy - Unresolved
10th October - 11th November 2013 - EXTENDED TO 15th NOVEMBER
Nicholas Bellamy's sculptural ceramics are three dimensional expressions of the artist's desire to understand his own mind. More than therapy or catharsis through art they represent Nicholas' exploration of how we communicate our emotions and desires to one another and particularly what place, if any, that art and the artist can have in this process.
Working out of his studio in Torbay, Devon, Nicholas creates forms that seem to be caught in the process of transformation - delicate organic masses growing and evolving or synaptic flashes reaching for a resolution. His sculptural ceramics are physical expressions of the artists desire to understand his own mind and by extension the existential anxieties that we all face.
Furniture Forward - Group Design Show
5th September - 5th November 2013
We are proud to present a group show of our favourite emerging British designers. For Furniture Forward we have selected Artist/Designers who pay tribute to the history of furniture design, whether in their technique or their material selection, but who are also challenging preconceived notions of how furniture should be constructed and presented.
The exhibition will be running throughout London Design Festival.
Michael Carroll brings to his furniture design an interest in engineering and a desire to conceive new structural and joining techniques. In the past this has manifested in a chair joined by poured pewter (melted down from old tankards) - “22 Tankards 2011”, and a bench inspired by the humble clothes peg - “Peggy Bench 2012”. (Top image - In-Tension Bench Detail)
Alex Chinneck is the founder of Sculpture House, an initiative that commissions sculptors to create furniture and design objects. As part of Furniture Forward we are very pleased to be showing “Whirlpool Table” a functional piece of furniture with a sense humour brought from the artists unique perspective in approaching a design object.
Charlotte Kingsnorth is an industrial designer with an Artist's vision, her work melding together the practical and the sculptural. In Charlotte's creations, familiar domestic furnishings are pushed out of everyday reality and are imbued with a new form reflecting her personal narrative and world vision. The biomorphic shapes of her Hy-Breed series spill out from the silhouettes of reclaimed pieces of furniture, fleshy and otherworldly yet sensual. Their functionality is never removed but they challenge our preconceptions of ergonomic form.
In Fred Rigby’s furniture he explores and re-imagines historic joining and decorative practices. For his latest pieces he is revisiting the Georgian decorative technique of marquetry (cut and inlaid wood), exploiting modern technology to contemporary designs based on the Dorset landscape in which he grew up.
Kim Thome - Works on Reflection II
16th July - 20th August 2013
William Benington Gallery presents Kim Thome’s first show with the gallery: Works on Reflection II.
Works On Reflection II is a spatial installation which is the result of a longer investigation exploring the 'reflective'. Using the gallery space as the canvas, the installation will use the 'reflective' as medium. Colour, geometry and patterns are central in staging a fictional space for these to merge, creating an ephemeral ever-changing environment.
Semi-transparent and reflective material such as two-way mirror allows Kim to manipulate the fore and background of the piece in such a way that the graphic aesthetic becomes something of a relational experience with the viewer.
Fascinated by the obscure reality projected in semi-reflective surfaces, these calculated interventions play with our expectancy of our surroundings and spaces.
Eva Masterman - 51.5301, -0.1062
12th June - 11th July 2013
William Benington Gallery is pleased to announce that the first show at our London gallery is an exhibition of new work by Eva Masterman titled “51.5301,-0.1062” (the coordinates of our new gallery at 20 Arlington Way).
In her first solo show for the gallery Eva continues to explore themes and relationships that have informed her work for several years; modern techniques and materials coalesce with traditional, in her forms a balance is struck between the physical, metaphysical and emotional. Her most recent developments relate to the Situationist idea of Physchogeography defined in the 1950's by Guy Debord as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behavior of individual.”
For “51.5301,-0.1062” Eva made several journeys through varying landscapes of cities and countryside of personal significance. These unplanned routes take on a similar form to automatic drawing or writing, a sort of ambulatory stream of consciousness. By using GPS technology and topographical tracking to aid the documentation of these walks she is able to explore the dynamic relationship between two and three dimensions, her work simultaneously inhabiting the flat line and physical form.
Small image: Eva Masterman - Movement to Another Place No. 2