Author Archives: wordsforpictures

Student Review: George Eksts: Casual Cursive

George Eksts: Casual Cursive

12 August 2015 – 3 October 2015 (Admission free)

Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury

George Eksts (b.1978) is a British artist who lives and works in London. He works across a range of media from: drawing, printmaking, photography, installation, video, painting and sculpture exploring ideas and connections between progress, completion and the temporary passing of time.[1]

Having completed a BA in Photography at Falmouth College of Art, Eksts went on to the Royal College of Art, London, to study an MA in Printmaking. When he is not busy creating new artworks, Eksts works for the V & A, London as a photographer documenting the archives.[2]

Influences from Francis Alys (b. 1959, Belgium) can be seen in Eksts’ preoccupation with the flâneur’s element of chance from observing society, and the cyclical repetition in his video installations. Similarly, the wit in Eksts’ video loops can be seen to have inspirations from Marcel Broodthaers’ (1924-1976, Belgian poet and film maker) humorous approach to creating art works, as in Falsework, 2012 which documents scaffolders at work. Like Mike Kelley (1954-2012, American artist), Eksts is also drawn to working with found objects such as road signs he discovered taped up in the City of London for Don’t Stop 1 & 2, 2012 and the flagpoles he acquired from outside a town hall in Manchester in Three State Solution, 2012.

Reflecting on his work Eksts explains: ‘I’ve always been fascinated by placeholders, variables, lacunae, support structures, anything that is not an end in itself but suggests interchangeable and unknown possibilities. The grey silk of Three State Solution seems to absorb colour and light from its surroundings.’[3]

Casual Cursive is a selection of pre-existing works such as Three State Solution, 2012 and the 5 channel video installation, Roman Holiday, 2012. Sitting comfortably alongside these earlier works are four new works such as mixed media diptych, Wandering by Night, 2015 and the 3 channel video installation, Well, 2015, commissioned for exhibition during a month’s studio residency. Eksts’ new works link to previous works through their structures even though they look quite different on the surface. For example, the text paintings seen in Wandering by Night, 2015 are of palindromes which read the same forwards and backwards, like some of the videos which loop by going forwards and backwards in time, back to the beginning point.

Speaking about his studio residency Eksts reveals his intentions, ‘I wanted to make temporary work (mostly directly on the wall) and document the process through photography, which would then hopefully feed into other forms, like animation. I tried to work quite quickly and not be too precious about the results. By photographing every stage, I’m able to make decisions later through an editing process.’[4]

To make the wall drawings, Eksts connected a projector to a drawing tablet. He then drew/wrote while looking at the wall where it was being projected, in order to get an idea of how the architecture of the studio interacted with the drawing. The drawing part is very gestural with a quick and loose hand movement, to produce a dynamic and unpredictable line. He repeated this process over and over again, deleting it until he was happy with the form. Then, he carefully traced a pencil line around the projection, turned off the projector and painted inside the outline. This process was utilised for the panel drawing, Wandering by Night, 2015.[5]

The title refers to cursive handwriting where not all of the letters are joined up. Eksts sees his practice as a language, where each of the individual pieces is like a letter which can be joined together in varying sequences to produce meaning. In this sense, Casual Cursive is about making those connections between the pieces of work, and sometimes breaking the connections too. In many ways, it’s the connections and sequences that are as important as the individual works themselves.

Upon entering the gallery, these connections and breaks can best be seen in Wandering by Night, 2015. This mixed media piece was created through experimentation by creating a large cursive palindrome in paint. This was then transferred onto wooden sections that were broken up and moved around to create the blue-edged diptych. On closer inspection, light pencil lines can be seen breaking the cursive flow of the paint. This is followed by one of his previous works, ink jet prints, Don’t Stop, 2012 (inkjet prints). The contrast with Duchampian found objects (road signs) followed by newly produced mixed media is a good balance.

A hexagonal wooden structure situated in the centre of the gallery screens five video loops of Roman Holiday, 2012. Here, viewers can stand and become mesmerized by the repetitive looping present in each non-narrative video whilst searching for the similar time structures within each one.

Sidney Cooper Gallery’s curator, Hazel Stone, describes Eksts’ work: ‘There is a wonderful sense of play in George’s work. The fluidity and fabric of the everyday re-presented, edited, looped or reversed into a new state of being. The gallery has been delighted to host George as artist in residence and to be able to showcase new works produced during the residency to the public. The mix of existing and new works gives the viewer insight into the interplay between concept and fabrication and the constant drive to create works which side step preconceived endpoints whilst maintaining the ongoing possibility for revision, refabrication and endless outputs.’[6]

This show sheds light on the creative thought processes that Eksts has followed to produce the variety of artworks on display. Seemingly simplistic, yet deeply thought-provoking his work will provoke visitors to search for how these works are linked, possibly deciding to look for different perspectives and connections of the everyday.

Frances Chiverton, Curating MA Student



[1] – accessed 11 August 2015

[2] 1st interview with artist George Eksts 15 July 2015.

[3] Correspondence with Sarah Grant for Ornament prints and Contemporary Art, V & A blog, London 12 March 2012

[4] 2nd interview with artist George Eksts, 12 August 2015

[5] 2nd interview with artist George Eksts, 12 August 2015

[6] Interview with Sidney Cooper Gallery curator, Hazel Stone, 11 August 2015

Beautifully Obscene: Concert, Talks and Tours

Couple - detail

After a fantastic opening night, we are thrilled to announce our season of events for Beautifully Obscene.

All events are free and will be held in Studio 3 Gallery. As space is limited, we would ask that you book tickets to ensure your place.

Please note, this exhibition contains very graphic of a sexual nature and may not be suitable for all audiences.

#EarBox: Operatic Arias

#EarBox, Studio 3’s collaboration with the Music Department, returns for a third time. In this instalment the University Music Scholars will take the audience on a journey through the tempestuous world of love and lust at the opera including arias by Mozart, Gluck, Dvorack and Saint-Saens.

May 27th, 13:10 PM

Student-led Exhibition Tours

Beautifully Obscene has been curated by students from our History of Art department. Join us for a tour and hear them discuss both key works in the exhibition, and their experiences of curating this show.

May 27th, 14:00-15:00

June 3rd, 15:00 – 16:00

Beautifully Obscene: Lectures

“Beautifully Obscene: Shunga in Focus”

Louise Boyd, PhD Candidate, University of Glasgow

Do you want to know more about the artists who created shunga and how it relates to the rest of their work? Or do you wonder who bought shunga and why? Come along to learn more about the beauty and humour of the prints on display, and hear about how shunga was created, cherished, and occasionally censored in Edo Japan. There will also be the opportunity for questions.

June 5th, 13:00 – 14:00

“Beautifully Obscene: Uses of the Erotic and Pornographic in Feminist Film”

Sara Janssen, PhD Candidate, University of Kent

Taking the paradoxical conjunction of “beautifully obscene” as a starting point, this talk will discuss the troubled relationship between feminism, erotic art, and pornography. I will discuss some of the issues feminists have raised against the representation of the female body and female sexuality in erotic art and pornography, as well as arguments that have been brought to the fore in favour of an appropriation of erotic art and pornography in order affirm female sexual agency. Discussing different examples of feminist art film as well as recent examples of alternative pornography, this talk highlights the central role of female sexuality in feminist theory and art from the 1960s to the present day.

June 8th, 15:00 – 16:00

Coming Soon – Beautifully Obscene: The History of the Erotic Print

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Beautifully Obscene: The History of the Erotic Print

15th May – 12th June, 2015

Private View: 15th of May, 2015, 6 PM – 8 PM

Studio 3 Gallery is pleased to present Beautifully Obscene: The History of the Erotic Print. Featuring over 50 works from across Europe and Japan and spanning the course of 500 years, the exhibition incorporates the different approaches used by artists in order to explore themes of sexuality, gender roles and power.

The show explores Sir Kenneth Clark’s famous distinction between the socially-acceptable ‘nude’, and the socially-pejorative ‘naked’ body, with the majority of the works included arguably belonging to the latter category. Beautifully Obscene will not only present viewers with a comprehensive study of the aesthetics of the human form and sexuality, but will also challenge our deeply ingrained discomfort with erotic visual representations, and suggest that beauty can in fact be found in the obscene.

Prints have historically been affordable ways to rapidly and economically reproduce and disseminate images, and this has created a rich legacy of erotic art. As well as showing how these themes have evolved across centuries and continents, this exhibition will also document how the viewers’ relationship to the image has shifted over time. Many of the older examples in the show come from books or pamphlets where they could be viewed intimately and privately. More recent and contemporary works were intended to be shown in a gallery setting, so expand the scale of the body, confronting the viewer directly.

The featured artists have represented motifs such as the classical nude of Western Antiquity, modern French eroticism, through to the 30 explicit prints of 18th and 19th century Japanese Shunga, and contemporary meditations on the human form and sexuality. This exhibition explores what we reveal and what we conceal, and the hidden educational and religious connotations that the erotic can harbor. It questions societal fears of the explicit and the pornographic, tackling themes of sexuality, gender and the role of the erotic in a diverse range of cultures and eras.

The exhibition will include works from Pietro Aquila, Pietro Santi Bartoli, Monika Beisner, Jan de Bisschop, Emma Bradford, Simone Cantarini, Stephen Chambers, Marianne Clouzot, Gabriel Dauchot, Angele Delasalle, Roland Delcol ,Amandine Dore, Tracey Emin, Brad Faine, Henri Fantin-Latour, Valentin Le Fevre, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Othon Friesz, Frans de Geetre, Paul Guiramand, Sarah Hardacre, William Hogarth, Katsushika Hokusai, Anita Klein, Rudolf Koch, Antonio Lafrery, Martin Van Maele , Albert Marquet, Henri Matisse, Patricia Nik-Dad, Pablo Picasso, André Provot, Felicien Rops, Berthommé de Saint-André, Kitagawa Utamaro, Alex Varenne, Marcel Vertes , Denis Volx, Lucas Vorsterman, and Shane Wheatcroft.

This exhibition has been organised by students from the Print Collecting and Curating Module at the University of Kent’s School of Arts. This course gives students the opportunity both to curate a museum-quality exhibition of their design and to acquire prints for the Kent Print Collection. In thinking about this exhibition, this year’s students wished to address the lack of erotic art in the permanent collection and to explore the rich and varied history of sensuality and eroticism depicted in print.

For more information and updates, follow our Facebook event page.

#EARBOX meets Palindrome: Q&A with Ian Massey, Brian Rice and Richard Rome

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Working Drawing (circa 1965), Richard Rome. Courtesy of the Artist.

Working Drawing (circa 1965), Richard Rome. Courtesy of the Artist.

Studio 3 Gallery is pleased to announce that our upcoming event in Palindrome, a Q&A session with Brian Rice and Richard Rome with Ian Massey, will now be preceeded by the next installment of #EarBox, a collaboration with the Music Department. Join us from 4pm for Glassworks. Daniel Harding, Deputy Director of Music will be playing a selection of piano music by Philip Glass. The recital programme will include two of Glass’ Etudes, and sections from his soundtracks to The Truman Show and the BAFTA award-winning film, The Hours.

Tickets for both #EarBox and the Q&A are free, but booking is recommended due to the limited capacity of the gallery. Please book your place by following this EventBrite link.

The itinerary for the afternoon’s events will be as follows:

Thursday 26th February

  • 16:00 – #EARBOX – Glassworks, Philip Glass performed by Daniel Harding
  • 16:45 – Intermission
  • 17:15 – Refreshments
  • 18:00 – Brian Rice and Richard Rome in conversation with Ian Massey
  • 19:15 – Close

Studio 3 Gallery,  Jarman Building, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7UG

Keep up to date on future #EARBOX events by tracking #EarBox both at the Studio 3 Gallery blog and the Kent Music Department blog.


Rome 10

Studio 3 Gallery is delighted to announce that artists Brian Rice and Richard Rome will be in conversation with the curator, writer and expert on British art, Ian Massey on 26 February. This is a great opportunity for lovers of 1960s art to hear more about the art on display in our current exhibition Palindrome: The Sixties Art of Brian Rice and Richard Rome.

Refreshments will be available from 17:30, and the talk will begin at 18:00.

Tickets are free, but booking is recommended due to the limited capacity of the gallery. Please book your place here:


Call for Proposals: Studio 3 Takeover

Takeover FPDuring the month of July, Studio 3 will be programming a range of student exhibitions, events and performances. If you are a current University of Kent student and you have an idea, we want to hear about it!

In order to apply, email Katie McGown, Studio 3 Coordinator, for an application package (

Deadline: Monday March 30th, 17:00 PM

All successful applicants will be informed by Friday, April 10th. Workshops will be held during the Summer term to develop all projects.


#EARBOX: a Studio 3 and Music Department Collaboration

earbox banner

We are very excited to be launching #EarBox, a new collaboration between the School of Arts’ Studio 3 Gallery and the Music Department.

#EarBox is a series of events exploring the meeting-point between visual art and music, where visitors can experience the latest Studio 3 exhibition, or listen to the unfolding musical performance – or wander the new emotional landscape mapped by the intersection of art and music, where the experience of one medium informs and influences a response to the other.

For our first event, visit Palindrome, our new exhibition of the 1960’s paintings of Brian Rice and sculptures of Richard Rome while Daniel Harding, Deputy Director of Music, performs piano works by Philip Glass, Erik Satie, John Cage and Amy Beach.

Event Details:

Wednesday January 28th, 13:00

 Studio 3 Gallery, Jarman Building, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7UG

Admission to all these events is free; make sure you’re following @Unikent_music or @Studio3Gallery for event details, or visit the Music department’s What’s On or the Studio 3 blog page from early January to find out what’s coming.

Launch of My Generation: A Festival of British Art in the 1960s


On January 21st, we will be holding the inaugural event for ‘My Generation: A Festival of British Art in the 1960s’. This series of exhibitions, events, and accompanying catalogue has been organised to mark the 50th anniversary of the University of Kent and to celebrate this rich and inventive period of creativity

We will be kicking off proceedings with a public lecture, the launch of the catalogue, and a private view for Palindrome: The Sixties Art of Brian Rice and Richard Rome.

This event is free to attend, but we would recommend booking tickets to ensure your place:

The itinerary will be as follows:

16:00 – 18:00

Public Lecture

Studio 1, Jarman Building

Down Tools: Lee Lozano versus the Art World

Dr Jo Applin, Senior Lecturer (History of Art), University of York  

This lecture will address Lozano’s ten-year long career as an artist working in New York City from 1961 until her final departure from the city–and art world–in 1971. From her earliest drawings of workshop tools to her final decision to down tools and stop working (she went on general strike from art world in 1969) Lozano’s practice circled around questions of work and the refusal of work and it is to this aspect of her work this paper turns.

18:00 – 20:00

Catalogue Launch and Private View

Jarman Reception and Studio 3 Gallery, Jarman Building

Following the lecture, we will host a reception to launch the accompanying catalogue for My Generation, a new publication featuring essays from Professor Martin Hammer and Dr Ben Thomas and richly illustrated with images from all three associated exhibitions.  

We also invite attendees to the Private View of Palindrome: The Sixties Art of Brian Rice and Richard Rome. This show exhibits works made by the artists during the mid-1960s and will feature a number of bold paintings and prints from Brian Rice, as well as Richard Rome’s impeccably finished sculptures and humorous and elegant working drawings.

This festival will subsequently feature exhibitions at Mascalls Gallery (Paddock Wood) and The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, both opening later in 2015. More information about these shows and other My Generation events can be found on Kent’s 50th website:

Image Credit: Richard Rome, Working Drawing


Student Review: ‘Constable: The Making of a Master’ at the V&A

This article comes to us from Laura Desouza, who is a curator currently studying MA Curating at The University of Kent. She holds a BA hons Degree in History. She currently voluntarily works for The East Grinstead Museum and is involved with creating a new exhibition at the University of Kent’s Studio 3 Gallery. 


‘Constable: The Making of a Master’

Laura Desouza

The spellbinding and headlining exhibition; ‘Constable: The Making of a Master’, recently opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum following on from a successful tour of Constable’s oil sketches in 2012. Its curator Dr Mark Evans has adopted a fresh new approach to the artist and his works.  Until this point it has always been presumed that Constable worked directly from nature and in some circumstances he did, however, this new reassessment of Constable’s work challenges the notion that he was just a ‘natural painter.’ The exhibition demonstrates the extent to which his artworks were shaped by artistic tradition and influenced by the art of ‘The Old Masters’. In the words of the exhibitions curator Dr Mark Evans, the exhibition ‘seeks to dissipate the illusory aura of autonomy’. It undertakes this by showing that Constable acquired his mastery through mimicking and imitating works, rather than from a straightforward encounter with nature.

The V&A have brought together over 150 works of art for the exhibition including oil sketches, watercolours, drawings and engravings. Included in these are numerous paintings by Gainsborough, Turner and Claude Lorrain, and all of these on their own are worth visiting. These artworks neighbour a number of Constables, in order to denote how Constable replicated certain elements of their work such as brush stroke and light and shade techniques. These comparisons were very astute but I often found myself desperately trying to prosperously compare Constable’s work to those of the other artists, unfortunately sometimes to no avail. An example, of these comparisons is Rubens ‘Landscape by Moonlight’; Constable simulated this with a big emphasis on the need to reciprocate the impact of light falling on figures in the night in his own adaption, but it was not in my opinion as successful as Rubens’ original.  From my point of view, Constable failed to capture the light and shade within his version, his use of broken brushstrokes, often in small touches, which he glazed over the lighter passages, were not as successful as Rubens’  brushstrokes which created an aura of a sparkling light enveloping the Landscape. Claude Lorrain’s ‘Landscape with Hagar and the Angel’, on the other hand was depicted by Constable as ‘Dedham Vale 1802’ and Constable’s technique of allowing the brown ground of the canvas to show through and his style of painting the foreground with thin strokes and dabbing of paint made this artwork stunning .  Constable’s imitations are good at getting an innovative approach into how light, weather and atmosphere are put onto the canvas, but if you are looking for like for like art work then this will not be the case asstable does bring his own emulation into each artwork with his brushstroke technique.

Alongside his paintings, in some of the rooms are numerous glass cabinets, harking back to the old ‘cabinets of curiosity’, and featuring a number of Constable’s sketchbooks. The detail in these sketch book drawings are definitely worth a viewing as the work within them was second to none; Constable’s detailing within them is a great testament to his work and studies of his surroundings.

Many of Constable’s most renowned artworks including ‘The Hay Wain’, ‘The Leaping Horse’ and ‘Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds’ are shown  towards the end of the seven meandering sections, taking viewers through a journey of the training and development of the young artist to his most acclaimed pieces.  The V&A exhibited these famous artworks alongside the preparatory work that Constable had put into producing them. This work included sketches and first drafts of each of his famous works of art, demonstrating the depth of composition, colour, and light that went into each piece. By the end of this section you will admire him for the amount of work he put into all of his preparation.

This exhibition encouraged me to reconsider my assumptions of Constable, that his art work was dry, clichéd and in some cases lacked any interest in anything other than the trees and sky that were in the forefront of his vision. The exhibition has instead left me in awe of Constables work and the preparations that went into all of his art works.  The work that has gone into bringing together this detailed, eye opening and wide-ranging exhibition is also incredible. Whether you think this exhibition is ‘good’ or ‘great’ will come down to whether you actually like Constable’s paintings but for me, Constable: Making of a Master is a great exhibition. My exhibition experience has made me fall in love with Constable’s work and I encourage everybody to visit it.

 ‘Constable: The Making of a Master’ is at the V&A until 11 January 2015.

Student Review: Rose Hilton’s Quiet Still Life

Another writer in our series of student reviews, Christine Buckley has been at the University of Kent for four years where she studies History and Philosophy of Art at undergraduate and Masters level. She hopes to continue her studies at PhD level and eventually hold a career in academia.


‘Quiet Still Life’

Christine Buckley

Quiet Still Life, Rose Hilton (2010)

Quiet Still Life, Rose Hilton (2010)

Quiet Still Life (2010) immediately caught my attention because I felt it was different from the other pieces in the exhibition. Hilton’s style in this piece uses muted colours and artistic skills to create a visually outstanding art work. The greyish blue tone of the piece which incorporates hints of white and includes colouring the frame in the same way works very well and creates a piece which is coherent. It is also one of the pieces in the show that really showcase Hilton’s abilities as an artist. What is depicted is quite clear and expertly executed. I feel that a lot of thought went into making this piece an artwork that needs to be looked at deeply to intrigue thoughts within the viewers as it did with me. This is a stand-out piece in the show that is a testament to Hilton’s skills which uses subtlety and precision. Quiet Still Life has the elegance to steal the show.