Preview at Workplace London: 'Jennifer Douglas' Friday 22nd May 5pm - 8pm
Jennifer Douglas(above) Untitled 2015, Floor paint and carbon paper pigment on canvas, 240 x 150 cm (94 1/2 x 59 1/8 in). (below) Sculpture #7, 2014, Paint tin, expanding foam, wood, paintbrushes, gloss and emulsion paint, 30 x 30 cm (11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in) Courtesy of the art and Workplace Gallery
Preview: Friday 22nd May 5pm - 8pm
Exhibition continues: 23rd May 2015 - 11th July 2015
61 Conduit Street
London W1S 2GB
Friday and Saturday, 10am - 6pm
(and by appointment)
tel: +44 (0)207 434 1985
Workplace is proud to present SO the first London solo exhibition by Jennifer Douglas.
Douglas' new work references the found working environments of heavy and light industry and their painterly equivalents within the history of modern and contemporary art. In 2014, Douglas created a work entitled If walls had eyes. The small painting on canvas was painted blue and repeatedly punctured with multiple screw holes and Rawl plugs. Referencing both the Buchi and Tagli (holes and slashes) of Lucio Fontana's paintings and the romantic escape of the dusk sky, this work more specifically referred to a battered old industrial breezeblock wall (photographed by Douglas in a derelict building in Middleborough) that had been recurrently over-painted and drilled into without consideration for aesthetics or meaning. For SO, Douglas has made an entirely new series of monochrome paintings that extend this line of enquiry. The muted tones of industrial floor paint, all pervasive within the architectural modes of display that surround international contemporary art, create a tranquil and opaque surface on canvas. Douglas then repeatedly punctures and scratches the surface through sheets of carbon paper to make a constellation of marks that is both violent and painterly.
Douglas' paintings are interspersed by a series of sculptures assembled from objects and materials that exist both within the lexicon of industry and architecture and also the language of modern and contemporary painting and sculpture. Empty paint tins are filled with sticks used to stir the (now solid) paint and are inverted to become awkward and jocular tripods; or they are overfilled with blobs of expanding insulation foam, whilst breezeblocks become plinths for paintings liberated from the gallery wall. Her usage of carbon paper is continued in a series of A4 canvases in which the material is stuck directly onto the painting with varnish, part obliterating the painted surface beneath, but revealing the diagonally repeated regal imprint on the reverse of the carbon paper of Her (or His) Majesty's Stationary Office. The initials S. O. from which the exhibition takes its title are punctuated with a crown insignia, the carbon paper having previously belonged to Douglas' Grandmother who had worked in the British Civil Service. Douglas' choice of materials, those of the environments of industry, and of carbon paper (a now redundant labor-saving material used on a mass scale in the office industry to create copies of a typed original) speak of an era of physical production, when the hand and the machine maintained an equilibrium that was echoed in the social cohesion of society. They are testament to a social contract that once lay precariously at the heart of mechanical reproduction in a new industrial age. Whilst restating the immaculacy and autonomous authority of minimal abstraction by artists such as Kazimir Malevich or Ad Reinhardt, Douglas' work opens up the potential for a rich personal and social narrative imbued with vital humanity.
Jennifer Douglas was born in 1975, in Amersham, UK. She studied at Newcastle University and Glasgow School of Art. Exhibitions include Confusion in her eyes says it all, Maria Stenfors Gallery, London, Satellite Satellite Workplace London, Jennifer Douglas Workplace Gallery Gateshead, UK, Surface The Civic, Barnsley, UK, BCN Collection, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, Out of Sight, Out of Mind Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK, The Short Score DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery, You Shall Know Our Velocity Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK, FANTASTICA Grundy Art Gallery & Museum, Blackpool ROTATE Contemporary Art Society, London, Northern Futures The Civic, Barnsley, UK and Exit Strategy Tramway, Glasgow. Douglas was the winner of Salon Art Prize 2012, and Northern Futures 2010. She lives and works in Gateshead, UK.
Workplace Gallery is a contemporary art gallery run by artists.
Based in Gateshead UK, Workplace Gallery represents a portfolio of emerging and established artists through the gallery programme, curatorial projects and international art fairs.