Mike Pratt,Formal Shrubbery, 2016, wax, enamel, styrofoam, 154 x 215 cm (MP0287)
Love Songs Dedicated to the Back of Somebody’s Head
Preview: Friday 29 April 6 - 8pm
30 April - 28 May 2016
The Old Post Office
19 – 21 West Street
Tues - Saturday, 11am – 5pm
(and by appointment)
tel: +44 (0)191 4772200
WORKPLACE is pleased to announce Love Songs Dedicated to the Back of Somebody’s Head - the second solo exhibition of Mike Pratt at Workplace Gateshead.
Pratt’s new paintings occupy a typically duplicitous territory. Pertaining to painting, sculpture, interior design and home décor, these new works transverse various strata of taste and class. Constructed initially from wood and styrofoam, Pratt’s paintings are thickly coated in layers of casting wax and pigmented archival resin to create seductive semi-opaque, marbled glazes that shift the work away from their humble materiality towards a sensuous luxuriousness. Adorned with oversized reproductions of sea shells, bunches of grapes, or cascading arrangements of coloured watering cans, Pratt’s semi-decorative utilitarian forms (those of the vacu-formed plastic garden pond or the decorative fountain) are enlarged and pimped with all the cornocopean baroque excess of a Rubens allegory painting. Hung on vertical steel scaffolding support poles the works reveal both their front and reverse, taking on figurative connotations of both builder and pole dancer.
Pratt’s works maintain echoes of Art that has been rescued from a process of aesthetic cultural assimilation: The curvilinear forms of ‘Modern Art’ appropriated by the once fashionable designers of extravagant 1950s Miami hotels and pools, and endlessly re-appropriated since. Eventually trickling down to the aspirational forms of the garden centre or diy warehouse. His stickily saturated glazed surfaces oscillate between high finish and a scatological methodology; embodying the erotics of disgust through their equal propensity to repulse and entice.
"When I first saw these paintings I thought they were like dried out fountains that once contained liquid but now have become colourful relics with no real purpose. Mike said he wanted to make a bunch of things that looked like they could be mistaken for musical instruments - I guess they do all have a home made folky quality to them, and this makes me think they all produce a particular sound that maybe in some way joins together. Either way - I cant imagine that if they did in fact produce a sound, that it would be anything nice - maybe just a background noise to play on the other end of the phone or in a hotel lobby. Now when I think about them - I enjoyed the colourfulness." Helen Pratt (Mike's Mam), 2016
Mike Pratt was born in 1987 in Seaham, North East England. He graduated from Northumbria University in 2009 where he was awarded the Paul Mason Sculpture Prize, and in 2014 he completed a two-year postgraduate programme at De Ateliers in Amsterdam, Netherlands where he currently lives and works. Solo exhibitions include Deep Pond, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam, Rubberhead/Rubbernecking B.M.W. Edinburgh, Good Mourning Bell Workplace Gateshead, Cumberland Sausage Extraspazio, Rome, and HUBBA HUBBA, Satellite, Newcastle. Group Exhibitions include Satellite Satellite Workplace London, 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, Jesmonite on Paper Malgras Naudet, Manchester, Nice Paintings Grundy Art Gallery, Captain of all Pleasures EMBASSY Gallery Edinburgh, Some people deserve everything they get The Royal Standard, Liverpool.
Agnes Calf / Alex Frost / Clive Murphy / Eric Bainbridge / Hayley Tompkins / Jack Lavender / Jo Addison / Kevin Hunt / Leo Fitzmaurice / Oliver Tirre / Peter Amoore / Richard Wentworth / Ryan Gander / Ruth Proctor / Sean Edwards / Susan Collis / Vanessa Billy
Blink and you'll miss it. The words conjure up a kind of panic of not wanting to lose sight of the protagonist 'thing' by keeping it locked into view. This 'thing' could be small, it might even be tiny (and therefore easy to miss) yet once found, the inevitability of time means that sooner or later you'll have to give in and blink.
good things come... proposes a scenario that contradicts this quandary by suggesting a world where the size of an object and our attention upon it (as artists and spectators) is intrinsically linked to time.
Pursuing a dual concept governed by the multiple readings of this well-known phrase, good things come... presents small-scale selections and scaled up collections. Complex objects of varying ages fuse history with form, implying that the more time we have to spend with a thing (and therefore the longer we wait) the greater the reward (perhaps even in the smallest of ways).
Curated by Kevin Hunt in collaboration with Hannah Jones
Image: Marcus Coates, Finfolk, 2003, Single Channel Digital Video, Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK
Hanover Project Hanover Building University of Central Lancashire Preston PR1 2HE
Marcus Coats | Faye Spencer | Cassie Douthwaite
Exhibition: 7/4/16 - 29/4/16
We get our stories from TV, books, and film. We find more stories on the Internet. Stories about everything, given to us in ways we understand, translated by soft wear or dubbed in to our language. Communication now is at such a point that we can connect with people and exchange stories with almost anyone in the world if we wish. However, there are other ways to tell a tale; through a dance or a song or a story told to one person who then tells it to another and then to another and so the story goes on.
These stories are provincial, building up mythologies around places and events that are local, they are past on through generations. These stories may become dormant but they are there to be picked up and told again. This alternative method of communication is slower and older, it is more inward looking. Folklore is about a common history specific to a place and the people who live there.
This exhibition examines the way artists use the traditions of Folklore in the construction of new objects and ideas to make contemporary visual art. British folklore in particular has a rich and subversive tradition which has perhaps in the past been marginalised, dismissed as irrelevant or unfashionable in terms of today's art world. This Exhibition takes a different position and brings together artists who explore some of the themes and processes associated with Folklore and folk traditions, and represents them in a contemporary art context.
The show acknowledges the resurgence of Folklore and interrogates its facilitation in terms of artists making direct connections with the world of today and celebrating Folklore's subversive nature, and by doing so continuing the tradition and becoming part of it.
Image: Marcus Coates, Dawn Chorus, 2007, 14 Channel HD Video Installation
Installation image courtesy of Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK
THIS IS A VOICE
Wellcome Collection 183 Euston Road London NW1 2BE
14th April - 31st July 2016
THIS IS A VOICE creates an acoustic journey through art, sound and film to capture the elusive nature of the human voice. From its origins within the body, to the sounds ringing in our heads, this exhibition celebrates the oral and the aural, with live performances in the gallery each day.
The exhibition features the work of artists and vocalists including Joan La Barbara, Imogen Stidworthy, Sam Belinfante, Enrico David, Meredith Monk, Marcus Coates, Anna Barham and Emma Smith, and visitors can add their own voices to the mix as part of an interactive new commission by electronic musician Matthew Herbert.
THIS IS A VOICE is the latest in Wellcome Collection's established and growing programme of contemporary art displays, supporting the creation of experimental work relating to health, medicine, life and art.
Laura Lancaster, Untitled, 2016, Oil and acrylic on linen, 60 x 50 cm (LL0723) Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery
61 Conduit Street
London, W1S 2GB
Tel: +44 (0) 207 434 1985
Preview: Wednesday 6th April 6pm - 8pm
Exhibition continues: April 7 - May 27 2016
(open Thursday - Friday 10am - 5pm and by appointment)
“Abjection is above all ambiguity. Because, while releasing a hold, it does not radically cut off the subject from what threatens it - on the contrary, abjection acknowledges it to be in perpetual danger.”
Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: an Essay on Abjection, 1980
Workplace London is delighted to announce a solo presentation of Laura Lancaster’s new paintings, ‘Shapeshifter’, that runs concurrently with her exhibition at the New Art Gallery Walsall. Lancaster’s dense grayscale paintings take further her ongoing investigation of the uncanny and the abject - both concepts preoccupied with the idea of the boundary and the blurring and destabilisation of the categories it creates - and their relationship to aesthetics.
First explored psychologically by Ernst Jentsch who described it as a product of ‘intellectual uncertainty’, the concept of uncanny was further developed by Sigmund Freud in his seminal essay Das Unheimliche in 1919 in which Freud argues that we experience the uncanny when a certain trigger brings back repressed childhood conflicts and primitive beliefs that suddenly receive renewed affirmation. The objects and individuals that we project our own repressed impulses upon, become a threat causing extreme mental discomfort, unconsciously reminding us of our forbidden, infantile, impulses.
Lancaster’s paintings with their distorted mask covered figures and almost mutilated features, precipitate this particular sense of unease by setting up a chain of associations for the experiencing subject. The paint has been scrubbed, smeared, scraped, and painted with fingers, leaving the viewer with the sense that the figure in the painting has emerged from a violent collision between the artist, the paint and the image. The scale of the work refers to Lancaster’s own body whilst addressing the viewer’s own interpretative body in the process. In Powers of Horror Julia Kristeva describes the subjective horror one’s body experiences when confronted with one’s ‘corporeal reality’, a breakdown in the distinction between the self and the other. Lancaster’s paintings exemplify the abject by challenging the borders of the self as we perceive them and revealing an incompleteness, or lack, in ourselves.
Influenced by the palette and the expressive markings of the paintings by Philip Guston and Albert Oehlen, the black and white paintings further efface the boundaries between the subject and the background as the forms appear to emerge and dissolve simultaneously. This game of presence and absence serves, by nature, to further confuse and attract the viewer by erasing the distinction between the imagined and the real. The layer of paint becomes a mask in itself and as such adds further ambiguity to the work, whilst the subjects in the paintings, being far removed from their original context, seem simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar.
Lancaster explores the way in which the image transforms itself during the painting process whilst embracing the physicality of the painted surface whilst revealing how this process distorts and destabilises the order of the photographic image they result from. The gestural marks themselves become imprints of the performative action as they self-consciously explore of the idea of painterly gesture, its significance and the myriad ways it can be interpreted. As we are confronted by this new information that conflicts with our existing beliefs, ideas, and values, or what Kristeva describes as disturbing ‘identity, system, order’, Lancaster’s work forces us to rethink the ways in which we experience the world and ourselves, whilst questioning painting’s capacity to emote or express.
For further information regarding the works exhibited please contact: email@example.com
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.