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] www.tintypegallery.com/artists/george-eksts – 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

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 (k.m.mcgown@kent.ac.uk).

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.

 

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

Rome

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: https://eventbrite.co.uk/event/15176584573/

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: http://www.kent.ac.uk/50/celebrate/projects/my-generation.html

Image Credit: Richard Rome, Working Drawing

 

WINTER JOURNEY – VISITOR COMMENTS

SMALL By the Black Window 21 - Marcus Rees Roberts

 

There are still 4 more weeks to see Winter Journey by Marcus Rees Roberts, an exhibition that visitors have described as:

 

Very expressive and unique

 

Deeply moving

 

Deep, beautiful…

 

Moving and provocative

 

Fantastic!!!

 

A poignant and moving presentation of images, text and video…

 

A very sophisticated and literary show. Wonderful.

 

Deep, dark and moving

 

Very, very, very good. Quite haunting really…

 

Dark yet pertinent!

 

Intense and moving

COMING SOON – UNDEREXPOSED

 

Underexposed poster1a

 

Underexposed. The exhibition that aims to challenge opinion.

Exposure isn’t exclusive to photography. In fact, when it comes to the arts, lots of things are ‘underexposed’ but none more so than female group exhibitions and the medium of the fine art print. That’s according to the curators of a forthcoming exhibition at Studio 3 Gallery in Kent, Frances Chiverton and Lynne Dickens.

Underexposed will survey the ways in which over 40 prominent female artists have used the medium of print over the last two centuries (and beyond). It will feature painters and sculptors, and highlight how print relates to their primary focus. It will also look at those who are or have been printmakers first and foremost, and why they have chosen to work in that particular artistic medium. At the same time, the exhibition will examine the different types of prints – from more traditional wood or metal engravings, etchings, lithographs and linocuts to more recent methods such as screenprints, photogravure and digitally produced work – as well as the different subject matter chosen by the various female artists represented.

The exhibition concept has received a lot of support from professional curators in both national and local institutions and in higher education, including Gill Saunders, Senior Curator (Prints), Victoria & Albert Museum, who says: “Many of the terms which have traditionally been associated with prints – small-scale, modest, private, intimate, personal – have been applied to the work of women artists too. This exhibition sets out to challenge the often dismissive and derogatory implications of such terms by bringing together a diverse mix of works which demonstrate the originality, innovation, skill and ambition to be found in the printed work of female painters, sculptors and printmakers from the 19th century to the present day.”

The curators, who are in fact two mature art history students at the University of Kent, feel it is an opportunity to educate both the art-going public (and other students) on the importance of the print medium in western art history, and to celebrate the artistic achievements of female artists overall. There seems to be a lot of consensus in this idea, as during the exhibition there will be a series of free lectures for the general public given by leading experts including: Gill Saunders, William Pryor, grandson of 20th century artist Gwen Raverat who was a founder of the Society of Wood Engravers, artists Paul Coldwell on his time working in the studio of Paula Rego, Anne Desmet RA RE, Anita Klein PPRE Hon RWS and Kent alumna Dawn Cole.

Anita Klein, one of the contemporary artists – and a fellow and past president of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers (RE) – whose work will be exhibited at the show explains why she is supporting the ambitious students, “Like many artists I became addicted to printmaking for the variety of marks the various techniques allowed me to make. The immediacy and domestic scale of printmaking has always felt appropriate for my subject matter, the celebration of daily life. Like many women artists, my artistic style has often been at odds with prevailing fashions for large-scale grand statements and masculine bravura. So when I was invited to participate in this interesting exhibition I was delighted to accept. I commend these students on their bravery in bringing together such a diverse range of artists and in perceiving our underlying connection.”

Similarly artist Charlotte Cornish is equally enthusiastic about the exhibition. She reckons, “Making prints has always excited, engaged and intrigued me – the mastery of techniques and the handling of materials; the exploration of the infinite and varied forms of mark making; building images layer upon layer; the satisfaction of process; the potential for multiples; and the thrilling element of the unexpected. I feel that printmaking has deeply informed my practice as an artist, not only through creating editions of prints and making monoprints but also by influencing and shaping my approach to painting.”

But Klein and Cornish are just two of the many 20th and 21st century contributors to the exhibition, which will include high profile artists such as Alison Wilding RA, Anne Desmet RA, Barbara Hepworth DBE, Beryl Cook OBE, Bridget Riley CH CBE, Cornelia Parker OBE RA, Eileen Cooper RA, Elisabeth Frink DBE RA, Lill Tschudi, Sandra Blow RA, Sonia Delaunay, Tess Jaray RA, Tracey Emin CBE RA and Valerie Thornton, and a long list of others. “Our aim is not to generalise but to focus on a specific category and exploration,” explain Frances and Lynne, adding, “the exhibition is partial, a snapshot, but in our opinion addressing a gap.”

Underexposed takes place at Studio 3 Gallery within the School of Arts building at the University of Kent in Canterbury from 16 May to 19 June 2014 (except 23 May and bank holiday 26 May).

Coming soon – Marcus Rees Roberts Q&A

Marcus Rees Roberts, 'By the Black Window', 2013 (detail)

 

Q&A with Marcus Rees Roberts

The artist behind Studio 3 Gallery’s current ‘darkly poetic’ exhibition will be in conversation with curator Ben Thomas on Monday 24 February 2014, 5-7pm, in Studio 3 Gallery. Do come to find out more about the sources of inspiration – including such writers as Brecht, Benjamin, Celan, Lorca, and Radnoti – for this rich and compelling show.

All welcome. Wine will be served.

Marcus Rees Roberts catalogue available now!

 

Rees Roberts book cover

The catalogue for the current Studio 3 Gallery exhibition Marcus Rees Roberts – Winter Journey is now available. Beautifully produced by Pratt Contemporary, with full colour reproductions throughout, it has an introduction by Edward Winters and an essay by Ben Thomas. The catalogue costs £5 (discounted to £2.50 for students).

COMING SOON: WINTER JOURNEY

MARCUS REES ROBERTS – WINTER JOURNEY

 ECHO SONG

 

Monday 20 January – Friday 11 April 2014

 

There is an expression in French to describe dusk: ‘entre chien et loup’. At the end of the day, in the dying of the light, it is hard to distinguish ‘between dog and wolf’ and objects take on an indeterminate menace in this state of perceptual ambiguity. This is the moment inhabited by the art of Marcus Rees Roberts.

 

Working together with Pratt Contemporary, Studio 3 Gallery presents an exhibition of the darkly poetic work of Marcus Rees Roberts. The focus of the exhibition will be recent short films from The Winter Journey cycle, and related work in diverse media including By the Black Window (2013) – a work consisting of 24 drawings conceived for Studio 3 Gallery – and paintings from the Echo Song series (2012-13). Also exhibited are the book works Ash to Dark Water (2005), The Sad Sea (2009) and Night of Four Moons (2009), and the sets of prints Between Dog and Wolf (2008), Memory’s Wound (2010) and Echo Song (2012).

 

In his current work Rees Roberts has taken inspiration from the poetry and writings of Miklós Radnóti, Federico Garciá Lorca, Paul Celan and Walter Benjamin: all of whom were victims of fascist persecution. Underlying his concern with modernist stylistic experimentation is the insistent political question of how the artist should bear witness to the atrocities of our times. Rich in poetic connotations and thematic leitmotifs, it is uncertain whether the Winter Journey envisaged by Rees Roberts is Radnóti’s forced march, Schubert’s Winterreise, or Odysseus’s voyage to Hades’ ‘dark shore’.

 

Between Dog and Wolf II

 

Marcus Rees Roberts studied English at Cambridge, before moving to the Slade School of Art where he studied Film Theory and Printmaking, and was awarded the Slade Prize in 1977. He lectured on printmaking at Edinburgh College of Art from 1980 until 1995 when he moved to London. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer at West Dean College in Sussex. His work is represented in leading collections throughout the UK including the British Museum, the V&A, UCL Art Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, Scottish Arts Council and Pallant House Gallery.

 

Marcus Rees Roberts – Winter Journey is on display at the Studio 3 gallery from Monday 20 January – Friday 11 April 2014. The gallery is located on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus, within the School of Arts’ Jarman Building, Canterbury CT2 7UG. The gallery is open to the public, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

 

Website:

 

http://www.prattcontemporaryart.co.uk

ALFRED DRURY – LAST 2 WEEKS!

17.tif

 

Alfred Drury and the New Sculpture will close in Studio 3 Gallery on Friday 20 December at 5pm. After that it will move to The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds where the exhibition will reopen on 15 January 2014.

 

Here are some of the comments left by visitors to the exhibition so far:

 

Very Good

 

Beautiful –definitely worth repeat visits

 

Very beautiful works – fascinating sculpture

 

Simply stunning. Extremely impressive work and a joy to view in this space.

 

Superb!

 

Beautifully arranged and lit.

 

Absolutely astounding exhibition!

 

Wonderful! So pleased to be here.

 

Great exhibition!

 

What an achievement. So many different mediums…

 

Fantastic work. Quite inspiring!

 

I love how elegant and dignified Alfred Drury is!

 

What a treat! Thanks. Drury & Rodin to boot.

 

Always nice to look around these exhibitions. Personally I preferred his paintings to the sculpture.

 

Truly a wonderful experience.

 

A lot of interesting things to look at not just the sculptures but the use of other materials as well. Really enjoyed the attention to detail. Like the fireplace.

 

Wonderful! The most inspiring and professional show on in Canterbury!

 

A really impressive fulfillment of a long maturing project!

 

Well done – another fantastic and inspiring exhibitions. They just get better.

 

Positively inspiring: Drury really is due for a reassessment!

 

Excellent!

 

Inspiring – love the recreation of the studio.

 

Captivated by Head of a Young Man by Dalou…

 

Very refreshing and interesting exhibition as part of the Festival week.

 

A really engaging and eye-catching hang. Great selection of works. Really enjoyable exhibition…

 

Worth revisiting many times.

 

Beautiful and inspiring.

 

Really interesting.

 

Illuminating!

 

Excellent exhibition – good to have something like this on campus.

 

So enlightening. I wish there were more to see…

 

A wonderful exhibition. Stunning.

 

Most impressive.

 

Fantastic exhibition of an underrated artist.

 

Learnt a lot!

Alfred Drury, The Age of Innocence (1897)