Paper Matters 2018

Works on paper: cut-outs/collage/drawings

Art First in residence at Eagle Gallery
159 Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 3AL

6-30 June 2018

Wednesday to Friday: 11am–6pm • Saturday: 11am–4pm
Bus routes: 19; 38; 63; 341 • Underground: Farringdon
Simon Lewty, Ages of Sun and Rain, 2017, ink on paper, 40 x 94 cm Christopher Cook, DMZ Still Life, 2017, graphite on paper, 72 x 102 cm Bridget Macdonald, The Midsummer Mare 2, 2017, charcoal on paper, 81 x 122 cm Will Maclean, Homage to Gerrard Winstanley, 2017, mixed media collage, 30 x 20.5 cm Jack Milroy, Flowerfall III, 2018, cut & constructed book pages, 205 x 30 x 10 cm

Exhibiting Artists
Christopher Cook / Simon Lewty / Bridget Macdonald / Will Maclean / Jack Milroy

This is the second exhibition in our planned series, Paper Matters, and once again it takes place in the form of a ‘Residency’ at the Eagle Gallery in Clerkenwell, where Emma Hill directs her programme of museum quality independent exhibitions.

Bookish could be an alternative title for this gathering of works, and indeed it is an adjective that can be applied to all five artists in different ways. ‘Art and Literature’ is another shared category. Perhaps the underlying common denominator is the implication of narrative, for every piece tells a story of some kind, leaving it wide open for our interpretation, the way poetry does.

A further characteristic is that every participant has taught in a national art school and they each have work in distinguished museum and other public collections in the UK and abroad. Over the past two decades they have formed connections and enjoyed dialogues while exhibiting at ART FIRST and we would like to share the quiet resonances between them, with you, the viewer and the collector.

This year we are including the work of two ceramicists: Molly Attrill and ffolliott Fisher and we hope you will see at once and enjoy their formal correspondence.

Christopher Cook won the coveted New Light Art Prize (The Valeria Sykes Award) for his graphite work Forbidden Fruit which is from the series we are exhibiting. His research interests include contemporary poetry, phenomenology and systems texts.

Simon Lewty has produced a pair of tall, thin texts comprising evocative, vivid poetic phrases, repeated as in a litany, line after line, like a formula, or a musical chorus. A Timeless Litany and Pages from a Beach Diary exemplify forms of visual thinking that relate to musical notation but which offer an additional aesthetic pleasure, an intuitive visual understanding beyond language or formal knowledge.

Will Maclean’s intimate collages include his Homage to Gerrard Winstanley, one of the heroic ‘True Levellers’ (or ‘Diggers’) of the 17th century, who opposed enclosures. Maclean’s admiration clearly stems from the Lewis Land Raiders whose history he has been intimately involved with for over two decades while working on the remarkable stone land memorials placed throughout the Isle of Lewis. He is currently engaged on a fifth monument, to be unveiled in 2019, and we are in the process of producing a book on the subject.

Bridget Macdonald‘s latest charcoal drawing is The Midsummer Mare, a hauntingly beautiful scene set in the Malvern countryside where she lives. Her sources are a blend of observation, memory and imagination, and her love of poetry often generates the titles of works, if not the inspiration drawn from delicate descriptions of nature and the sense of timelessness beyond the immediate scene which poets such as Edward Thomas evoke.

Jack Milroy’s recent cut book constructions are a re-presentation of distinguished books on South African wild flowers, in the form of towering Flowerfalls. Milroy repaginates the books, releasing the Cape Sandveld flowers in one, and in the other, the flowering plants of the Tsitsikama Forest (illustrated by M Courtnay–Latimer, the same person who, in 1938, discovered the great Coelacanth). They escape their definitions, in English, Afrikaans and Latin, through his virtuosic interventions with a scalpel, and give endless pleasure revealing in a new, slightly subversive way, the very beauty that the scientific and careful botanists sought to catalogue and preserve in the first place.