Friday, December 07, 2012

Jennifer Douglas: 'Would You Care For Anything?' 36 Lime St Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

Jennifer Douglas

Would you care for anything?

Friday 7th November, 6pm - 8pm

Open: Saturday 8th - Sunday 9th, 11am - 3pm

Through a dialogue between an informal and chance methodology of sculptural arrangement and a purposefully codified register of materials, Jennifer Douglas explores the relationship between installation, incident and its implied significance. Her most recent body of works employ the inherent properties of materials that are combined as constituents to echo linguistic syntax creating a sculptural phraseology that conspires to an allusion of narrative structure and points reflexively to the irreconcilable dynamics between social conformity and individual ambition.

A series of works based upon the 1990 film Misery Directed by Rob Reiner and adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name, utilises cut sections of found VHS tape of the aforementioned film. Thrown randomly against large sheets of black acrylic, the tape is attracted to, and held in place upon the surface of the acrylic by the static charge between the acrylic and the videotape. Playing upon the strategies of Modernism (post-Cage), Douglas refers to the reductive formalism of Minimalism, whilst also toying with clich├ęs of Expressionist painting through both the dead black mirror-like finish of the plastic, an indolent disregard for compositional arrangement, and the emotive titling of the works: Misery.

"I am purposefully making things from mediums that tell a story or communicate, and I seek to mis-communicate this: to twist it, and disguise it. I think that often there is a sense that the works create a scene where something has happened, or is just about to... That the materials are reduced to a base-state and then re-presented is both destructive and sinister."   Jennifer Douglas - 2012

A similarly dark scenario is pointed to in Still Got It (2012) with its tangled mess of household electrical cords coiled into 'hangman's' knots, that dangle sporadically flashing tungsten Light bulbs into cans of coloured paint. Powered via a sequencing component they intermittently spell out a looped excerpt of the first line from the film Misery:

_ _ _S_ _T_ _I_ _L_ _L_ _ _ _G_ _O_ _T_ _ _ _I_ _T_ _ _ _

Spread across a modest area of floor space, the vertiginous linearity of the mass of cables draws upon Douglas' interest in the inter-relating shared origins of her drawing and sculpture. The relentlessness of the Morse message and the tension between the electrical elements of the light bulb, the liquidity of the Paint, and the household ubiquity of the electrical cord evoke a tormented sense of the Unheimlich and a ciphered disclosure of the autobiographical. A territory divided and negotiated between the humdrum obligations and responsibilities of ordinary domesticity, and with the mode of 'Artist' as autonomous and authoritarian visionary.

Jennifer Douglas was born in 1975, in Amersham, UK; and studied at Newcastle University and Glasgow School of Art. Recent exhibitions include Salon Art Prize, Matt Roberts Arts, London, UK; Collecting Contemporary Art, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead; The Short Score, DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery, Durham; FANTASTICA, Grundy Art Gallery & Museum, Blackpool; ROTATE, Contemporary Art Society, London; Northern Futures, The Civic, Barnsley, UK. She was the winner of 2D Salon Art Prize 2012, and Northern Futures. Jennifer Douglas lives and works in Gateshead, UK and is represented by Workplace Gallery, UK