Matt Roberts Arts, 25b Vyner St, London, E2 9DG
28th June – 7th July 2012
I visited the inaugural opening of ALAS at Matt Roberts’ Gallery. This group show will become a twice yearly event on Vyner Street, happening in June and November. This is an exciting addition to the Matt Roberts Gallery annual Salon exhibitions, consisting of a mixed media show, (painting, sculpture, installation and any 2-D media) as well as the two additional salon prizes, which specialise in photography and video.
The salon shows and now ‘ALAS‘ are great platforms for contemporary artists to gain valuable exposure of the work and forge new links with other practitioners, galleries and art collectors in London. I spoke to Matt Roberts that evening about his idea behind the current show. He seems to have a real understanding and commitment in supporting artists to develop their career as successful practitioners. I really liked his idea of getting artists to work collaboratively in the gallery environment prior to the exhibition, sharing and discussing their development to make a cohesive show. An artist tends to have an isolated lifestyle, so the making of ALAS was a return to the college atmosphere, where peer assessment could be implemented to support the making process, as opposed to merely commenting on finished work. In addition, each Saturday, a talk or visit was arranged where artists would meet different organisations in the art world to gather contacts and advice.
“After five years of providing artists’ professional development support Matt Roberts has launched ALAS, as a means of sharing knowledge about ways in which artists can gain exhibition experience and exposure for their practice. The ALAS professional development residency consists of over 100 hours of lectures and one-to-one tuition from our team and guest lecturers over a five week period. Successful applicants will be asked to bring 1-2 works in progress which will be completed in our studio facilities and exhibited at the Matt Roberts Arts gallery spaces.”
Exhibiting artists are:
Catrine Bodum, David Chalkley, Hannah Futers, Caro Halford, Kirsty Harris, Karolina Magnusson-Murray, Susie Mendelsson, Hana Melley, Julia Miranda, Moorland Productions, Laurie Nouchka, Araba Ocran, Jane Oldfield, Charley Peters, Paul Stanley, Susanna Thornton, Ventiko, Jemma Watts, Sarah West
Here is a small selection of images from the group exhibition.
“Lying awake in my bed as a child I listened to the trains going by on the track that ran behind our street, hoping to make sense out of the white noise of a world that extended endlessly beyond my understanding.”
“Through my more recent ‘Pulling at Threads’ series I have been looking closely at how we develop relationships with the images that are personal to us; for example how we understand our own image captured at a point in time such as childhood.”
Jemma Watts “My current work is concerned with the psychogeography of cities, exploring the idea of the sacred and mystical in the modern world, and specifically urban environments. It seems to me that something that is shaped by the will of so many human minds over hundreds of years must have a higher significance.”
Black and white photo from the exhibition of Jemma Watts drawings on paper
My work flows between drawing, painting, photography and constructing sets. These all feed into one another, and are concerned with surface and texture, creating and documenting landscapes, and using time as a medium.
The image above shows a photo of a film by Hannah Futers, except you can not see anything. Her film was in an enclosed space at the entrance of the gallery. In reality, the film is so delicate and faint, you can barely make out the footage of shimmering of light. I could not capture it properly to illustrate Hannah Futer’s work, but it was so interesting I wanted to mention it in more detail. A visitor was telling her friend about it, so I listened in. She had recorded the flickering colours of light, reflected on the shiny surface of a gallery floor. At first, the film was abstract and unidentifiable, then a gallery visitor’s feet cross over the reflection. It was subtle, a sublime light, a trace of something, then reality hits you. It feels like the gallery visitor is breaking the silence or the beauty of the piece. It feels destructive and intrusive, except this recording is just an unintentional by-product of an artwork. Futer’s work seems to play with the idea of authorship, capturing interest in the peripheral areas of an artwork, that the original artist has no control or claim over. Is it now hers for the taking?
An artwork by Kirsty Harris on small sanded down oak panel. The detail in phenomenal. She uses a 10x 0 brush to get some of these lines, which I never knew existed! Her oil paintings are created using traditional miniature painting techniques and show a contemporary and comical take of paintings from history. They remain faceless, so that the work refers to compositional elements as opposed to making an identifiable portrait of someone.
David Chalkley- a photo I took of his work in the gallery with a visitor looking at it- seemingly impressed.
David Chalkley- Creating the piece for the ALAS show
“With this piece I am exploring how time acts upon objects. The objects were mass-produced from identical moulds but time has afforded them different histories. Only when viewing these items as a collection of individuals do the effects”
Araba Ocran- My work has evolved from an exploration of monumentalism. Monumental sculptures are traditionally permanent objects which denote a deed or a person worthy of record; a memorial, celebrated in sculpture and painting.
My work aims to challenge this concept by my choice of sculptural medium and subject matter
Catrine Bodum- extract taken from her statement- In 2009, during her MA in London Catrine Bodum found her influence in the music of Steve Reich and the Poems of Robert Lax. Bodum felt that there was a dialogue in their work that she could continue into her own work. They worked as a springboard into new ways of building up her compositions. Catrine Bodum has since moved on from working directly in reference to their work.
This is a detail from Catrine Bodum’s work. The painting was made of two parts and this photo shows just the right hand side of the artwork.
Much of my work is motivated by an exploration of personal memories and the expression of psychological states of trauma and anxiety. Though the sources of my imagery are often autobiographical, my work communicates universal concerns and emotions, especially from a woman’s perspective.
I systematically scavenge the vast array of imagery within magazines and newspapers; consuming, analysing and reacting to chance shots of unpredictable subject and composition.
Detail from Sarah West’s painting.
I really enjoyed the exhibition and you could see that a good friendship between the artists had also been created at the opening event. The artists came from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, experiences and disciplines. The exhibition runs until the 7th July so go check it out. More info can be found here.