Katrina Blannin with Kate Terry | Maurice Carlin with Jade Montserrat | Sue Cohen with Shona Davies and David Monaghan | Stephen Chambers RA with Simon Burton | Richard Ducker with Hannah Patching | Bella Easton with Juliette Losq | Zavier Ellis with Florian Heinke | Karl England with Daniel Devlin | Rebecca Fortnum with Beth Harland | Marcus Harvey with Edmundo Arigita | Bill Howard with Melanie Clifford | Keran James with John Summers | Reece Jones with Alex Gene Morrison | Stephen Lee with Christopher Barrett | Iavor Lubomirov with Daryl Brown | Janette Parris with Neal Tait | Artemis Potamianou with Wolfgang Berkowski | Julie René de Cotret with Robert Hengeveld | Carl Slater with Tom Lovelace | Benet Spencer with Tim Ellis | Peter Suchin with Julian Wakelin | Mark Titchner with Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan
Exhibition Dates: 16 December 2014 to 11 January 2015
Tuesday to Saturday, 12-6pm (Closed Sunday 21 December to Monday 5 January)
Talk: Sunday 11th January
Address: Londonewcastle Project Space, 28 Redchurch St, London E2 7DP
Nearest Station: Shoreditch High Street (National Rail and Overground)
“Many artist-curators, curators and artists began their careers in artist run spaces; initially these spaces were established as an alternative to museums and galleries. In recent years Project Spaces have become part of the established art system and have been incorporated into large-scale exhibitions and biennials.” - Birchall & Mabaso, ONCURATING Issue 19
Artists choose art in a particular way, arguably their choices and interests are motivated or coloured by concerns within their own practice. Conversely, when curators or writers are practising and exhibiting artists in their own right, there is a potential opportunity to discover - through the medium of their art - curatorial and critical motives which are either consciously or subconsciously unavailable in an exhibition itself, nor in its supporting materials, such as press releases and articles. The Opinion Makers series of exhibitions is conceived as paired juxtapositions; each pair comprising one work by an artist who curates or writes, together with one work by an artist of their choice. It is a pragmatic attempt to use artist-curators as an explicit tool for understanding curation. It is also a statement about the significantly expanded presence of the artist-led approach in the contemporary art landscape. The Opinion Makers is organised by Iavor Lubomirov and Bella Easton – artists, curators and directors of the ALISN network and the LUBOMIROV-EASTON Project Space. The first Opinion Makers exhibition took place at Enclave Gallery in 2013. The second in this evolving series, presents at Londonewcastle Project Space the work of international, as well as UK artists, curators and critics, to give a glimpse of a rising global trend of artists devolving new organisational, curatorial and critical roles upon themselves.
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Katrina Blannin is a painter, curator and contributor to Turps Banana. She was also a co-director of the Lion and Lamb - a gallery for painters ran by painters. For The Opinion Makers she will collaborate with Kate Terry, to explore possible systematic or chromatic (visual) connections in their work. Their motivation to collaborate stems mainly from a desire to find out more about the way the other artist works and creating a dialogue between their painting and three-dimensional practices.
Artist Maurice Carlin’s work is an exploration of structures and processes, emerging from an independent peer-led educational structure he co-founded in 2007 (Islington Mill Art Academy), which has been acknowledged as one of the first of the recent slew of alternative art schools set up in response to student fees and the debate around the relevance and usefulness of mainstream art education. For the Opinion Makers, Maurice will exhibit a new work, ‘Study for a Phantom Demographic, No. 7’ alongside a new work by artist Jade Montserrat, from her ‘Misunderstood Dedication’ series, print-objects taking the form of books, scrolls and performance props.
Sue Cohen is an artist, curator and director of OCCUPY MY TIME. Her practice as an artist explores ‘othering’ within the political, economic, social and psychological connotations and implications, through a fictitious character called ‘Gilda’ and her narrative. Cohen has curated the the work of Shona Davies and David Monaghan on a number of occasions and has chosen them for connections in their practices such as social histories, engagement, narrative, and the manifestation of a sombre and sometimes dismal existence, which has an ability to show a glimpse of humour.
Stephen Chambers is an artist who works predominantly in paint and print. Recent work involves collections of individual images harnessed together to form a singular piece; not sequential narratives, but ignition points for imagined journeys. In 2010 he curated the Summer Exhibition at the RA, and more recently Mrs Darling's Kiss, at Arch 402. She being Peter Pan's mother, whose husband is unable to locate the point for the perfect kiss. Similarly, Stephen's interest is in the work that is hard to place. For Opinion Makers he has chosen Simon Burton, whose “highly visceral and heavily worked surface becomes something akin to Braille, forming a reality that is not solely reliant on the visual; creating a tension between material and image.”
From 2006 - 2008 Richard Ducker ran Fieldgate Gallery in Whitechapel and has since curated under its banner in a variety of venues. For the Opinion Makers 2, Ducker will show a pair of sculptures from his 'Blockhead’ series titled ‘A Right Pair of Blockheads’, 2013, alongside new a work by Hannah Patching titled ‘Nice Iced Tea’, 2014. Fieldgate Gallery had a tradition of giving younger artists a platform to exhibit, and it is in this spirit that he has asked Hannah.
Bella Easton is a painter, printmaker who co-directs LUBOMIROV-EASTON and ALISN. Easton transforms the image into twisted reality through a system of geometry, repetition and mirroring. Hand-painted or printed fragments establish a connection between images of architectural spaces and the pattern of the work itself. It's about discovering order through controlled spontaneity. She has chosen artist Juliette Losq, whose work calls its ideas forth from the notion of 'The Clearing' - where wilderness and chaos oppose civilization and order. Juliette Losq has shown a number of times with LUBOMIROV-EASTON, both at their project space and at off-site projects.
Zavier Ellis is an artist, director of CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, and founding curator of THE FUTURE CAN WAIT. His practice is based on the expressive use of materials (often found) and text, and is a response to his intellectual interests, either fleeting or ongoing – this enables him to work with any given subject: religion, madness, the occult, revolutionary politics, the city, nationalism etc. Interest in subjects such as these feed into his work as a gallerist and curator – he responds to work that investigates big human and historical themes and in all mediums, but also looks for a high level of technique. Florian Heinke is a German artist whose interests relate directly to Ellis’, and who also uses collage, albeit it digitally, as well as a combination of image, text and symbols.
Karl England is an artist and co-founder of Sluice__. Sluice__ strategically adopts structures in order to showcase artist, curator and emergent discourse, projects and galleries. To date this has included art fairs, expositions and exhibitions. For The Opinion Makers he has chosen the work of con artist Daniel Devlin. Together they have made work referencing the slippery nature of cultural value.
Rebecca Fortnum’s recent work has used paired drawings to explore the formation of identity, dreams and the power of the gaze. She has curated a number of exhibitions at Gasworks gallery and elsewhere, most recently The Imagination of Children at the V&A’s Museum of Childhood. She is showing with Beth Harland, with whom she has worked on many projects, including Behind the Eyes an exhibition, publication and Symposium held at Gallery North last year, which explored the transformation of a found or captured image, into a picture, through material process. Beth Harland is interested in the haptic quality of painting, its particular form of temporality, and how this is related to, yet distinct from, that of film and photography.
Marcus Harvey is an internationally renowned YBA painter and editor of Turps Banana – a magazine about painting, made predominately by painters. He is a mentor at the Turps Art School – a studio and correspondence-based artist-led painting programme. For the Opnion Makers he presents the work of a Turps Art School student Edmundo Arigita.
Bill Howard is currently working on a short road movie, drawing, collaging, curating shows in collectives, and directing The Lab Film Festival projects team, a collection of artist’s film and allied practices. He has chosen Melanie Clifford because he finds many interesting inter-relationships between both her mode of observation and intentions, and those of his own work, and her composition and perception of surfaces is always inspiring. Clifford's moving image work is lyrical, emotionally charged, exhaustively researched, and assembled with precision. Her work has been shown by and with Bill Howard in a number of contexts including with the film group he runs, and performance/screening events they collaborate in.
Keran James (co-curator at studio1.1, London, a not-for-profit artist-run space set up in 2003) works with the screen, the lens, the space between theatre and cinema, a framed reality. John Summers brings into sometimes painful birth sculptures that directly mass themselves from the material world and its detritus. Both artists have shown internationally, both live and work in London, Keran James born Cardiff 1957, John Summers born Colorado U.S.A. 1974.
Reece Jones and Alex Gene Morrison were co founders of the artist run project space Rockwell in 2002. Along with a few other artists emerging from The Royal Academy and Royal College they hosted 25 exhibitions, featuring in excess of 100 artists. It was here that they realised they had much in common and that their superficially divergent practices would continue to explore occasionally complimentary lines of enquiry
Stephen Lee is a sculptor and critic who contributes regularly to Art Monthly. He has chosen Christopher Barrett – an artist and a scholar, whose work relates to his scholarly study of Medieval Wall painting. Through this coupling of a painter/ scholar with an artist/critic, the two aim to set up a dialogue about the relationship between scholarship and critical engagement.
Iavor Lubomirov is a sculptor, curator and organiser. He co-directs LUBOMIROV-EASTON and ALISN. Lubomirov’s work typically searches for small imperfections in thin materials such as paper, card, canvas, or film, through accumulations of minute repetitions. From his earliest forays into curation, Lubomirov has repeatedly come back to the work of Daryl Brown, whose sculptures are painstakingly assembled from shaped pieces of scrap wood, to create shapes with a precise sense of their positive and negative spaces. Daryl Brown is autumn artist in residence at LUBOMIROV-EASTON through November and December 2014.
Janette Parris is a multidisciplinary artist interested in the unexpected – mixing conventions and seeing what new things come from the mix, often utilising a site specific and collaborative approach. A recent combined curatorial and artist project for Museums At Night 2014 at the Cardiff Story Museum featured on the BBC’s Culture Show. She has chosen Neal Tait because she finds his work and his thoughts interesting and she recently collaborated with him on a project for Deptford X 2014 – Neal explains “What I make comes out of a comingling of thoughts; some of which I don’t necessarily agree with but harbour because they interest me in their difference from my own. In this dissonant echo like chamber it is my hope and intention to form something that might somehow be of use to myself and others” but Janette really likes him because he plays the guitar really well and has good taste in music.
Artemis Potamianou is an artist and curator. She organises the Platform Projects section for artist-led organisations at the Art Athina Art Fair in Greece. She has also curated private and institutional exhibitions in Greece and Eastern Europe for artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Damien Hirst and Mark Titchner. Potaminaou’s work explores the ways and mechanisms of presenting art, particularly the ‘shell’, the venues, the conditions, the roles required of those who ‘play’, who participate in this chain of events, which is why she often uses the triptych of Venue-Artist-Art. She has chosen to exhibit alongside painter Wolfgang Berkowski, whose work plays exactly with both the logic of repetition and of difference or relation.
Julie René de Cotret in a visual artist, independent curator and writer. Her artistic practice uses the associative properties of popular culture, combining or de-contextualizing its elements to create new perspectives on human conventions. She is co-founder of the artist residency program at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph, ON, Canada (2009-present). Julie René de Cotret curated the work of Robert Hengeveld, the second SES artist-in-residence, in the exhibition Promised Lands, at the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre. Hengeveld and René de Cotret have created new works in dialogue for Opinion Makers. Their practices both demonstrate a curious investigative appetite for human conceptions of “nature”.
Artist Carl Slater works across a range of media incorporating collage, sculpture and video that enquire into the formalities of image and object making by appropriating and re-categorising subjective data. As a founder and gallery director of KARST in Plymouth, he has also developed independent and collaborative curatorial projects. Carl Slater will be showing alongside Tom Lovelace whose practice sits at an intersection of sculpture, photography and performance that reconsiders and reinvents objects of the everyday, presenting sites of construction that manifest solely for the camera.
Benet Spencer is a London-based artist, curator and lecturer, whose architectonic paintings are produced through various processes ranging from oil painting, to digital imaging and collage. His recent curated exhibitions include ‘Reconstructing the Old House’ at the Nunnery Gallery, and ‘The Thing is the Thing’ at the ASC Gallery. For the Opinion Makers, Benet has chosen to present the emblematic ‘banner’ paintings of Tim Ellis, who also works as both an artist and curator. Tim is currently a director of exhibitions at Horatio Junior.
Peter Suchin is a painter and art critic, whose writing appears regularly in publications such as Art Monthly, The Guardian and Turps Banana. He has chosen to show alongside Julian Wakelin, whose paintings are at first glance very different to his own: compact, precise, tightly defined, while Suchin’s somewhat labyrinthine painterly mosaics border on the baroque, no single visual image dominating the field. But the following remark, from an article he wrote about Julian for Turps Banana No. 5 (October 2008), could equally apply to himself. In both their works “the slippage between structured and unstructured, or ordered and disordered is, in the end, a form of resolution, a controlled tension between the various elements out of which the work has been produced.”
Artist Mark Titchner’s main collaborators over the last couple of years have been the musicians Alexander Tucker and Daniel O'Sullivan. Both make solo work and also perform in groups such as Sunn O))) and Ulver. Together they perform as Grumbling Fur. They have worked on a variety of projects, such as 'Protogenesis' (Pictured above: video still from 'Protogenesis' by Grumbling Fur. Mark Titchner 2013), and most recently they produced the surround sound for Titchner’s show at Dilston Grove, while he made the album cover for their last record. Both Tucker and O’Sullivan are visual artists, so Titchner has decided to reverse the logic and for them to present artwork, while he produces an audio-visual element.
Artists Talking About Their Experiences as Curators and Organisers
"I have no doubt that most artists would consider themselves organisers, given the volume of administration required to maintain a practice today. If I had to settle on a self-definition, it would be ‘artist/organiser’ over ‘artist/curator’. I don’t curate exhibitions as such, instead I work on group projects, which often address the structures and systems I find myself working within in order to continue to make art." Read more from Maurice Carlin
"When Art criticism occurs the Artist is vulnerable, the critic is vulnerable and the patronage system is vulnerable and this creates a space, a clearing...." Read more from Stephen Lee
"I wholly reject the idea that artists work in isolation, as we are part of a social world. I have frequently worked in collectives, and sometimes these can achieve more than the sum of their individual parts . As an artist and curator, I sometimes have the opportunity to engineer experiences with greater insight..." Read more from Bill Howard
"We used exhibitions as an opportunity to challenge our own protocols and to test our thinking against the work of people we respected. Shows were a yardstick against which we saw our studio work emerging..." Read more from Reece Jones
...my hunch is that the professionalisation of the curator has opened up an arena for a kind of curating that is both about peer support, but also about configuring exhibitions that address concerns with an immediacy relevant to their own practice, or what they observe around them in the practice of others. Mostly, they don’t aspire to a ‘career’ as curators, and they are not bound by market expectations nor by any one given critical discourse..." Read more from Richard Ducker
As an artist and organiser I'm not a cheerleader. I wholeheartedly support the arts whilst reserving the right to question its validity in any and all circumstances. This dual position of promoter and critic plays out in the exhibiting platforms I instigate, and in the art I make..." Read more from Karl England