Soft Formalities

Soft Formalities

Susie Green, Emmet Kierans, Kari Stewart and Christian Newby with Ana Martinez Fernandez and Drew Liverman

19 January – 24 March 2017

Monday – Friday 11:00 – 17:00

Private View: 18 January, 17:30 – 20:00

Admission Always Free

Soft Formalities considers the place of formalism within the contemporary practices of Susie Green, Emmet Kierans, Kari Stewart and Christian Newby (in collaboration with Ana Martinez Fernandez and Drew Liverman), particularly in relation to the legacy of Modern Art. Formalism refers to the arrangements of form, colour, line, and composition in a work of art. While these elements are fundamental building blocks in the creation of any image or form, during modernity these traits often became the content of the work through experimentations with ‘pure’ abstraction. Decades later, in our contemporary moment, artists still contend with that additional historical weight; a legacy where whole shapes and colours and lines feel already claimed and colonised. The artists featured in this exhibition work through these layered complexities in a series of paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and a hand-tufted rug.

Throughout these works there are direct and indirect references to artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Barbara Hepworth, Kasimir Malevich and Gustave-Henri Jossot. The modernist lexicon of primary colours, pared-down forms, and grids make frequent appearances, and yet these familiar strategies are subverted through the introduction of non-canonical art materials, collaborative practices, unruly and unpredictable elements, and longer historical references stretching from the present back to the Decameron. As the artists in this exhibition all have practices firmly rooted in their studios and the processes of making, these allusions are not encountered through the ironic detachment of pastiche, but instead through genuine curiosity and a spirit of inquiry.

Image: Emmet Kierans, Tangible Thoughts 3, Wood and Plasticine, 2016. Courtesy of the Artist