Iain Hales, Robert Phillips,
Cecilia Sjöholm & Sarah Kate Wilson

Threshold, curated by Iain Hales

21st September - 6th November 2019

Threshold brings together the work of four artists, each of whom can be said to be working at the threshold of image and object, exploring the liminal space between painting and sculpture - each artist sharing an interest in the physicalityof colour, manifesting itself in their work in differing ways.

For Threshold the artists were asked to consider the entirety of their individual window/gallery, subsuming, in some way, that contained space into their work – some are responding by painting the interior of the gallery a specific colour, exploring the juxtaposition between that and their work, others by skinning the walls, elements emerging from these surfaces – the walls and the work becoming one.  Each artist is forced to address the glassy threshold that separates the inside of these unique spaces from the environment outside that the viewer occupies –  the work as if held in aspic, suspended as in a petri dish, out of reach of the spectator. 


One of the central concerns of Iain Hales’ work is the conceit, “what would a painting look like if it were made by a sculptor?”

This manifests itself through his use of colour (Hales is particularly drawn to materials where an interesting colour and texture are combined),layering, composition, framing and ‘point of view’ and his sometime use of false perspective.   With the work made for Threshold, Hales continues his exploration of the liminal space between painting and sculpture. The works show here, Eclipse, shown in the gallery, and The Conjunction of Two Bodies Moving at Speed, shown indoors – alluding to the cosmic and the sub-atomic respectively – demonstrate a curiosity beyond the sensual qualities of his chosen materials, he is also interested in their semiotic associations; these play an important role in prompting a response to the works, each suggesting a range of connotations.

Iain Hales received his MFA Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2009 and was the 2013/14 recipient of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award. He has made solo presentations at William Bennington Gallery, 9B Projects, Standpoint Gallery, m2 Gallery and COLE.  His work was included in the m2 Gallery anniversary show, m2(at)15, and has been included in group shows at The Royal Society of Sculptors, London; (It’s All) Tropical, Leeds; LeandaKateLouise, London; Turf Projects, Croydon; Two Queens, Leicester; and BALTIC 39, Newcastle (curated by Phyllida Barlow).

 

Looming in the window Robert Phillips sculpture looks like it is sweating.  Formally it consists of a reflected pyramid making a diamond shape, however, the rigor of its form is undermined by the inaccuracy and lack of control in the surface; sprayed colour wraps the surface like graffiti and resin whose only masters are gravity and friction clings to the surface in places and washes down in others creating an uneven though slick and glassy surface sealing the wood grain, marks and pigment.  Like ancient tree sap swallowing a prehistoric insect and forming amber over millions of years the resin swallows this dirty polyhedron petrifying it in a matter of hours.  The geometry combined with the layering and the depth of the surface gives the object a history and an enigmatic quality, is this genuine or artifice?  Flipping between the sacred and irreverent; as soon as it could be a precious artefact or relic, it could be a prop from a sci-fi or superhero film. 

Robert Phillipsgained his MFA Painting from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2009.  Recent exhibitions include Skins, London (2019), The Nomenclature of Colours, The Slade Research Centre (2019) and Abstracted Mythologies 4, Parasol Projects, New York, USA (2018).

 

Central to Cecilia Sjöholm’s work is an ongoing exploration into the notion of perception and a relationship between volume and flatness and the liminal space that exists between these categories.She is particularly concerned with themultiple interpretations of abstract form, including considerations of how the content negotiates the borders of the picture frame or the physical dimension of a wall, a room or a space.

In Threshold, she continues this investigation by creating an object as a drawing in space. Using light and reflective colour to suggest potential spatial volume, viewing is confined to flatness due to its “shop window” location. This particular situation has encouraged a framework for questions into the materialboundaries of both object and the room around, seeking to blur the distinction between “artwork” and its physical situation.

Cecilia Sjöholm’s recent / ongoing work includes site-specific internal and external art pieces in Gothenburg, Sweden (Trapphus and Threshold, as SjöholmPhillips).  She has taken part in a number of group exhibitions including Creekside Open 2017, selected by Alison Wilding, at APT Gallery (2017), monoChroma at the Crypt Gallery (2016) and What is the Point? at Mall Galleries (2015). Sjöholm recently participated in the London Creative Network artist development programme, run by SPACE. 

 

Over the past year, Sarah Kate Wilson has been collecting silver emergency blankets from the streets of London. She often finds them discarded after a ‘fun run’, used only once for a matter of minutes to warm up the body as it rapidly cools down. Elsewhere these blankets are used by the homeless sleeping on the streets, used in real emergencies to survive the night. Earlier this year, whilst on a research residency at the Bauhaus, Dessau and inspired by Annie Albers unconventional use of materials to produce her weavings  Wilson began to cut up these blankets into ‘yarn’ to make a weaving. 

Wilson’s weaving acts as a shimmering portal to a new world, and offers a new plan of action, a new working method that asks us to weave ourselves together to form a network to restore our planet. We are at the end of civilisation as we know it, we are in the 6th mass extinction, the extinction rate is 10,000 times faster than normal, and we think 200 species of animals are becoming extinct each day. We must work together, we must ACT, we must do something, it is crucial to our planets survival. 

Wilson lives and works in London, teaching on the BA Painting programme at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL. She received her MFA (Painting) at The Slade School of Fine Art, London (2010) and PhD from the University of Leeds (2017). She has staged large scale painting performances with choral collective MUSARC at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2018) and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2017) and has had solo exhibitions at BALTIC 39, Newcastle and the Armory Centre for the Arts, California, USA. She is currently undertaking a research residency at West Dean College, developing a ballet, to be staged in 2020, inspired by Roger Caillois’ writing on insect mimicry and the laws of magic.