Located in the Great Western Arcade, Birmingham, from 04.12 to 08.13
Terrace's last show at this site finished in mid 2013. Soon after this Terrace took part in Sluice Art Fair in London, showing a collaborative assemblage of work by
Ian Andrews, David Miller and Paul Newman, entitled 'Babelling'.
In the Bleak 2013
Graham Burquest, David Miller, Paul Newman, Paul Langford, Fred Hubble, Hollingworth & Davie
In Terrace's window gallery Hollingworth and Davie's abstract tonal work surrounds the viewer. A tear runs around the space creating an incidental horizon-line. This line shifts the arrangement from abstract to representational, providing a sense of structure or space. Upon this perceived vista a series of imagined landscapes by Graham Burquest, Frederick Hubble, Paul Langford, David Miller and Paul Newman will appear over the course of the show. These predominantly sparse and 'natural' landscapes are created from the studio practice and imagination of city-based (Birmingham) artists.
It was during a generation when the West experienced the rapid growth of cities that a new attitude of appreciation for landscape and the 'picturesque' in painting emerged. In the late 18C to early 19C Romantic landscapes portray the vast, untamable reaches of the wilderness, a wild nature inspiring terror and awe, conjuring 'the Sublime'. The timing of this could describe a yearning of the city populations for the open expanse of the countryside left behind. John Martin's apocalyptic visions of the same era show a dramatic re-claiming of the world by nature with the spectacular destruction of civilization.
"The moving about that the city multiplies and concentrates makes the city itself an immense social experience of lacking a place […] a network of residencies temporarily appropriated by pedestrian traffic […] a universe of rented spaces haunted by a nowhere or by dreamed-of places." (de Certeau 1984)
De Certeau goes on to relate the imagined landscape to childhood memories needing places in inhabit. "To practice space is thus to repeat the joyful and silent experience of childhood; it is, in a place to be other and to move toward the other" (de Certeau 1984) It is in this guise that Surrealist artists often used the imagined landscape as a location/ setting for objects or occurrences.
The fictional landscape is frequently used as tool for describing the psychological state of the artist/ author, or to reflect the situation of the characters populating it. This can be seen in literature such as Browning's 'Childe Roland' where a landscape of "grey plain all around/ Nothing but plain to the horizon's bound", is described. This countryside appears as a vast desolate, wasteland. From the sinister and fiendish qualities attributed to the landscape his own anger and despair are made physical.
The bleak landscapes in this show could be describing a nostalgic vision of English scenery or a distant memory, they could be a way of mentally breaking through the city into a 'natural' psychological space of air and distance, or perhaps the phantasising of post-apocalyptic wastelands of silence and emptiness.
Rummage Out 2013
A personal exploration of how the mind works, interprets and remembers experience informs Ian's practice. With underlying references to witnessing his mother's mental decline through dementia and his own ME the work in this show resembles a decaying museum exhibit. Dusty fire damaged cabinets filled with half-remembered disintegrating artifacts, drawings and sculptures reworked over-and-over to the point of destruction, moments of clarity removed from context or spill out of their containers. Sometimes absurd, sometimes monumental, Ian's work creates and destroys links between objects and moments, the assemblages become a visualisation of a struggle to recollect, to make sense.
"My work is driven by ideas of how we think, respond and make sense of the world. How we process this information that bombards us on a daily basis and how this ability changes over time or can be disrupted by illness, and the problems and opportunities that this creates.
When my mother died I was glad that the dementia and the gradual decline expected had been limited to a few months. The greatest shock was not the physical decline or the failure of bodily functions but her inability to remember who I was and what had happened to her in the past. It became clear just how much our memories make us who we are. Allowing us to make connections between the past and the present and help us create the future. Surely our greatest fear as human beings is not the decline of our physical capacities but the failure of our mental processes.
My own medical condition of ME/CFS means I'm unable to function properly for periods of time and have to manage the production of artwork in different ways. The change in my working methods to accommodate the overwhelming tiredness and mental confusion necessitated small bursts of activity, creating a gathering of fractured, unresolved elements, which have to be assembled and connected at times of increased energy.
My mother's death and my own illness have led me into considering how the mind works and how connections and associations are made in our thought processes. The fluid and flexible openness of creative thought, the continual making and unmaking of links and connections to discover meaning and significance, became my subject. I was intrigued how this "circulation" can become clogged and rigid over time, by habit and convention, or disrupted and destroyed by illness.
To discover new connections I reuse old work or deliberately leave pieces lying around until the original intention has been weakened or lost and rather than view the pieces as useless, I see them as providing opportunities. These "found" objects bring their own past histories to the piece, memories of previous uses scratched and battered into their surfaces. Some recent and relatively clear, others buried under layers of refurbishment and additional use.
The dictionary definition of "rummage out" is 'to find by violent searching'. The image of rummaging around in a container, a chest of drawers or a cupboard desperately trying to find something one imagines is contained within, struck me as an appropriate metaphor for my creative processes. Where things neatly arranged are thrown into confusion by the frantic activity, creating new arrangements and associations.
My work is underpinned by the notion that drawing as an activity shows most directly the workings of the mind. The constructions are a form of drawing, in that they allow ideas to remain open and possibilities to be undecided, creating a space for thought and just as drawings can be easily erased and redrawn, my constructions are rebuilt depending on circumstance or context."
See more of Ian's work at ianandrewsfineart.tumblr.com
Paul's practice is an exploration of an internalised world through painting, performative installation and photography. The importance of gesture, surface and the habitual intimacy of the studio space has seen the trimmings and debris from that environment increasingly creep into the imagery and work itself. Paul's work is at a cross roads, having moved through cycles of the figurative with imaginary characters, to imagined landscapes exploring a contradictory push pull of pictorial space and abstraction. The work increasingly oscillates between these areas. Occasional live performance works explore notions of stillness, repetition and unpredictability. The photographic works can be a document of these, but often the allusion to a performance is fabricated. They explore the solitary figure merging into their surroundings and figure ground relationships within the field of painting. The work references a specific type of artist's studio and the mannerisms, privacy and behaviour associated with it. The notion of a type of squalor purveys, with the sensual tactility of a gestural mark and debris; the most obvious example of this was Francis Bacon's studio. Conscious not to throw away the residue from the painting process, Paul places equal importance upon it; now merging with canvasses or forming new works. In the Terrace window Paul has transported the evidence of this process from his studio space. The installation is both matter of fact detritus and contrived as a three-dimensional painting. The print, Still Life in Yellow is a painting as a photograph and vice versa.
For more of Paul's work see paul-newman.net