JARILAGER Gallery is pleased to present our inaugural exhibition Weeds Won't Wither, featuring Olivia Bax, Bob Baxter, Bea Bonafini, Kim Booker, Simon Burton, Spiller+Cameron, Florence Hutchings, Nick Jensen, Galina Munroe and Benjamin Murphy.
Xavier Spiller-Cameron of Spiller+Cameron conceived the exhibition alongside Jari Lager and new gallery director William Gustafsson, with each chosen artist taken in response to the work of Spiller+Cameron. The exhibiting group of artists, who are all based in England, deal with the line between abstraction and figuration and work in a varied yet complementary process of making.
A 'weed' is general term for any plant growing where it is not wanted. Ever since humans first attempted the cultivation of plants, they have had to fight the invasion by weeds into areas chosen for crops. This parallels to the artist's featured with their way of producing; many layers and through a process of failure, taking away, adding, build up, retraction. The artists strive for their ideal landscape of a final image and form.
Spiller+Cameron's practice is one that is multidisciplinary. Their work is a culmination of parts in what comes from a process of trail and error, matching made and found elements collaged and sewn together, to create an abstract composition which in it's final form reveals a face, a totem head confronting the viewer.
Relating to the heads of Spiller+Cameron, Simon Burton's head shapes are purged of anything that is unessential, separated from the body, becoming a primal structure. They look crumpled, abandoned; the bodies have left the heads separated, alone, discarded and helpless. They are in the position of rest, rejuvenation, dream and convalescing.
We question what is a head, the many forms it takes, through growth, life, death, and thereafter.
Bob Baxter's work is the simplification of subject matter, painting figures with minimal marks or features, reducing figures to shapes and forms with featureless outlines. The text included, is linked to the historical painting that, usually using just one word: 'fruit', 'horse', 'tree', features that at one point existed on the canvas but have disappeared and been obliterated within the painting process.
Coming back to Simon Burton, his Stele paintings, again totem-like, sit on the threshold of figuration and abstraction: Infused with reminders that the work is deeply figurative in its origin; always longing for the figure to appear. The series, presented is ultimately more figurative, of the Stele works, presenting the encounter and the presence of an encounter with text and what their meaning holds, however abstract, UTOPIA, GARDEN, THINGS.
Benjamin Murphy's uses the medium of charcoal to make dense yet airy works. Flowers, leaves and plants fill his canvas; these items of beauty have an uneasy nature to them. Born from the unforgiving medium of charcoal, they question life and death, beauty and chaos, representational depiction and abstraction, all giving a district portrayal of existence.
Florence Hutchings and Galina Munroe both work on abstracting the real.... what they confront in the everyday. Floral motifs are prominent in their works, but it is the subtle yet bold use of collaged paper and canvas, which fills their works creating a rich, textured canvas.
This additive process is mirrored in a different way whereby Olivia Bax's sculptural work is a build up of various materials. These combined to make a work that appears to have a use—a vessel for generating, carrying or storing liquid.
Bea Bonafini's Scissor ceramics featured, tie the collage and practice of cutting with many of the artists included. Bonafini's scissors are loosely based on ancient roman objects along with the nerikomi, a Japanese technique used to make agateware (the marbling of mixed clays, vulcan stoneware and porcelain).
Nick Jensen' canvases are built-up through multiple mixed media ways of painting, via applying and taking away from the canvas. Dense areas of painting medium and collage are greeted with the airiness of bare canvas and areas of stained canvas. Figurative at its root, holding an ambiguous narrative, his works are also full of an abstract way of making.
Kim Booker's work involves the human experience, more especially her own. Bold expressionistic backgrounds fill Booker's canvases, with instinctual mark marking and floods of "collaged" colour painted onto the canvas. Light, airy, almost ghostly drawn figures lye, stand and float in the canvas evoking numerous emotions.
Press release courtesy JARILAGER Gallery.