Thursday, 19 May 2011

'It's a Long way back'

Its been a while since my last post but ive just arrived back from Malmo, Sweden were I was kindly asked to exhibit by Krets gallery.
The show, titled 'It's a long way back' was made up of mostly new work , with some older key pieces supporting the ideas. Below are some photos of the space, and some notes about the work and process. more photos of the work can also be seen here

In ‘ It’s a Long way Back’ I took its starting point from a plaque I saw in Portland a couple of years ago. It was commemorating a flood that occurred in 1800’s.

‘Softly, silently the waters crept up, inch by inch giving ample time for the removal of goods and other precautionary measures and then gradually receded. There was no raging waters, no sweeping destructive currents. Nothing but a gradual submersion’ - Oregon Historical Society file 1532.4

I had a replica of this made for the show, placed beneath the ‘surfers’ image This alongside another small piece of text within the show hopefully gave clues, encouraged the viewer to find narratives, connections within the work.

Another consideration for the exhibtion was to use materials and methods that would not reproduce well and only work when seen in the flesh, Graphite on graphite, neon paper stock,etc

In the initial drawings I was trying to use different marks, forms, building up an image then covering it, trying to eradicate areas, getting rid of information. Not really any different to how I work digitally but the whole process remains visible, each part informing the next more directly.

It’s been an interesting process because of the shift in thinking about the construction of an image. Perhaps more formal, basic concerns- line, composition, tone come to the surface and the 'communication' aspect, that is rightly important in my illustration work, is less director clear within these pieces.

This is especially true with the larger pieces. Often starting with an idea in how to combine certain pictorial elements. For example, the following image first contained a whale’s tail hanging by a noose from an iron American streetlamp from the early 1900s. This seemed like a simple way to comment on some of my references, the hunting of whales for oil to fuel the lamps and later the use of these street lamps for lynching but visually became too obvious, clunky, a punch line. All the elements, references remain simmering below the surface

Rightly or wrongly, the viewer engages with the work differently when its in a gallery space rather then pages of a magazine, asks more questions of an the work perhaps? Im not sure but a phrase I heard and liked during the exhibition in Sweden, which didn’t really have a direct translation but roughly meant ‘don’t write it on my nose’, I guess saying ‘don’t spell it out for me, I can decide.’


Nick White said...

Lovely stuff Luke. Fascinating too, to see and hear about the various methods and ideas behind them. Especially like the fact they were made to be seen in the flesh and specifically can't be reproduced that well. Be great if you could find somewhere to show this in the uk.

spencer wilson said...

Fella,this looks fanstastic, briefly had a glimpse, but I'm returning for a complete read later. Big pat on the back from me squire.

rwj said...

this work is f ing great luke.