A well-known Morse code rhythm from the Second World War period derives from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, the opening phrase of which was regularly played at the beginning of BBC broadcasts. The timing of the notes corresponds to the Morse for "V"; di-di-di-dah and stood for "V for Victory" (as well as the Roman numeral for the number five).
The V sign has various meanings, depending on the cultural context and how it is presented. It has been used to represent the letter "V" as in "victory". It is also used by people as an offensive gesture, and by many others simply to signal the number 2. Since the 1960s, when the "V sign" was widely adopted by the counterculture movement, it has come to be used as a symbol of peace.
DOT DOT DOT DASH brings together work by five artists working across media whose individual enquiries deliberately tread a complex and polarized line in terms of subject, intention, and potential interpretation.
Jennifer Douglas’ recent paintings reference the found working environments of heavy and light industry and their equivalents within art history. 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.
Joel Kyack’s performance Your Optimism Fills Graves took place at Workplace London in October 2015. Re-presented as video documentation with sculptural objects; Kyack’s work explores the hand of the maker through the use of traditional and non-traditional materials and processes. Clay, wax, plastic, ceramics, wood, power tools, pumps and liquids share a stage in the creation of sculptures, fountains, drawings, and sounds. Questions of individual agency are introduced, considered, transformed and destroyed, as a sea of options builds into a carefully constructed chaos.
Rachel Lancaster’s new paintings continue her interest in B Movies and in particular the recurring presence of Blobs. Isolated from their original contexts these strange forms act as an absurd stand-in for a human presence that is simultaneously sinister and comedic. Through careful economic representation in oil-paint Lancaster’s seductive paintings invite contemplation of fragments or moments within uncanny lifeless objects whose original function was to engage audience through the dark and surreal abstractions of the body and the malevolent.
Paul Merrick combines painting with sculpture and the made with the ready-made. Investigating colour, materiality, and architectural and spatial arrangement in relationship to the history of Painting. Under The Line is an installation comprising of a series of used playing card tables arranged to create a horizontal plane of interconnecting accidental marks, tones, lines, and surfaces. Each weathered object invites speculation into what may have been won or lost through chance, a complex and anonymous metanarrative buried in a complex abstracted composition.
Mike Pratt’s series of headless, vibrating, bikers form a confrontational fleet in the gallery. Their frayed hair extensions (garnished with seashells and feathers) allow a non-verbal declaration towards the quintessential outsider, describing their characteristics through materiality. Pratt’s carefully selected worn out leather jackets hold a close relationship to painting, with each layered, graphic, surface revealing actions and incidents. Pratt’s objects are presented as portraits, emulating an experience whilst also allowing the push and pull of the making process to make space for his own intuitive remarks.
Jennifer Douglas was born in 1975, in Amersham, UK. She studied at Newcastle University and Glasgow School of Art. Exhibitions include Crab Walk, NGCA, Sunderland, SO, Workplace London, Confusion in her eyes says it all, Maria Stenfors, London, Satellite Satellite Workplace London, Jennifer Douglas Workplace Gallery Gateshead, UK, Surface The Civic, Barnsley, UK, BCN Collection Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, UK, Out of Sight Out of Mind Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, Exit Strategy Tramway, Glasgow, UK, The Short Score DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery, UK,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. She was the winner of Salon Art Prize 2012, and Northern Futures 2010. Douglas lives and works in Gateshead, UK.
Joel Kyack was born in 1972 in Abington, Pennsylvania, USA. He received his BA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1995, studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 2004, and received his MFA from the University of Southern California in 2008. Recent solo exhibitions include Old Sailors Never Die, Francois Ghebaly, Los Angeles; Superclogger, a public project produced in collaboration with The Hammer Museum and LA>River / Stream / In-Between, Kate Werble Gallery, New York; Point at The Thing That's Furthest Away, Praz-Delavallade, Paris; Terms / Proposals / Demands, SSZ Sued, Cologne; The Knife Shop at Kunsthalle LA; Recent performances include: All The Instruments Agree at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and at the CCA Wattis Institute in San Francisco. As well as Workplace Gallery, Kyack is represented by François Ghebaly in Los Angeles and Praz-Delavallade in Paris. Kyack lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Rachel Lancaster was born in Hartlepool in 1979. She graduated from an MFA at Newcastle University in 2011. Exhibitions include Rachel Lancaster, Workplace Gateshead, Omnia Mea Mecum Porto: Works on Paper/ Arbeiten auf Papier, kotti-shop, Berlin, Step Sequence: Treacle pixel.palace,Newcastle, UK, Double, Double, Workplace Gateshead, UK, ROTATE, Contemporary Arts Society, London, Graphite,Gallery North, Newcastle, UK, Morphic Resonance, PSL, Leeds, UK, TOMORROW THE FUTURE, Fishmarket Gallery, Northampton, UK. Alongside her art practice Lancaster is a musician and performer. She has been a member of numerous bands and musical projects including Silver Fox, BIG FAIL and Gravenhurst. She also regularly performs experimental solo guitar based material under her own name. Lancaster lives and works in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Paul Merrick was born in 1973 in Oxford, UK. Exhibitions include unpainting\ /resurfacing, UH Galleries, Hatfield, UK RIFF, Baltic|39, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, Tip of the Iceberg, Contemporary Art Society, London, UK, SURFACE, The Civic, Barnsley, UK, Paul Merrick, HIVE Gallery, Barnsley, UK, MALEREI Painting as Object, Transition Gallery, London, UK and NewBridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, ROTATE, Contemporary Art Society, London, The New Domestic Landscape, NGCA, Sunderland, UK, Northern Futures, The Civic, Barnsley, Yorkshire, UK, Brut, Brut, Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh Annuale, UK, Blue Star Red Wedge, Glasgow International, UK, Playing Fields, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, UK. Merrick lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Mike Pratt was born in 1987 in Seaham, North East England. He graduated from Northumbria University in 2009 and completed a two-year postgraduate programme at De Ateliers in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2014. Exhibitions include Deep Pond, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam, E1027, Joe Sheftel, New York, Rubberhead/Rubbernecking B.M.W. Edinburgh, Good Mourning Bell Workplace Gateshead, Cumberland Sausage Extraspazio, Rome, Zamboni for the Moose, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam, Offspring de Ateliers, Amsterdam, Riff/Rift Baltic39, Newcastle upon Tyne, Right Eye, Left Eye V8 Plattform für neue Kunst, Karlsruhe, Germany, Theatrical Dynamics Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles, USA, Nice Paintings Grundy Art Gallery. Pratt lives and works in Amsterdam.
Kindly supported by Arts Council England and Gateshead Council.
Also in Gateshead Tonight:
CIRCA Projects presents:
Mario Pfeifer Approximation in the digital age to a humanity condemned to disappear
CLOSING EVENTS - Friday 20 November 2015
5pm: Meeting place outside BALTIC for guided walk to Mario Pfeifer exhibition
5pm-8pm: Mario Pfeifer Exhibition Late Opening (John Joyce Building, Saltmeadows Road, Gateshead)
9pm-12am: CLOSING PARTY at ¡VAMOS! Social Nightclub (Market Street, Newcastle upon Tyne)
As a celebration of CIRCA Projects’ presentation of Mario Pfeifer’s Approximation in the digital age to a humanity condemned to disappear, we are pleased to present a special closing evening in partership with ¡Vamos! Social Nightclub.
The evening will begin with a final chance to view the exhibition at a special late opening from 5-8pm and there will be a guided walk meeting outside BALTIC at 5pm.
The evening will conclude with a closing party at ¡Vamos! Social Nightclub, featuring a specially arranged set on turntables by Composer and DJ Mariam Rezai. Rezai’s set will be specially constructed around the soundtrack for Mario Pfeifer’s film Approximation in the digital age to a humanity condemned to disappear. Expect the mix to include: Chilean folk, techno, hyperdub and mumbaton! The music will begin with sets by Alx Alfaro (9pm) and Nik Barrera (10pm).
Mariam Rezai opened Tectonics Festival Glasgow 2015, with Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, Members of BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Turntables, and worked with Ilan Volkov as a guest improviser for the BBC Proms 47 2012, the John Cage Centenary Celebration.
The soundtrack to Approximation… is available on Vinyl Lp from Sternberg Press. Written by Kamran Sadeghi, New York-based musician and member of the Soundwalk Collective. Creating a digital composition, Sadeghi, in dialogue with Pfeifer, samples field-recordings made in 1923 by missionary and anthropologist Martin Gusinde of Yaghan chants. The use of these samples paired with minimal electronic instruments and programming, gives this archival material a contemporary reappearance.
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.