Work by Jann Haworth, Kent Christensen, Kelly Jenkins and The Dada Factory
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEST MEETS WEST AT THE BRISTOL GALLERY
Saturday 19 June to Sunday 25 July 2010
Pancakes, donuts, Spiral Jetties and Love Hearts, The Bristol Gallery is proud to present West Meets West an exhibition that brings together original contemporary art from America’s West Coast to audiences in the West of England. Brand new work by legendary Pop Artist Jann Haworth will be exhibited in Bristol for the first time since 1980, together with Kent Christensen’s Pop-inspired paintings and video work by The Dada Factory. UK based textile artist Kelly Jenkins will also be showing new work. The exhibition promises to be an exciting exploration of the legacies and transformations of Pop art for a new age.
Pop Art erupted in both Europe and America during the early 1960s and developed in parallel on both continents. It was marked by a fascination with popular culture reflecting a new affluence in post-war consumer society. It was in Britain where Hollywood born Jann Haworth temporarily became one of its leading lights around the circle of Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton, amongst others, in London. By celebrating everyday objects such as soup cans, washing powder, comic strips and soda pop bottles, Pop turned the commonplace into icons. It was a direct descendant of Dadaism in the way it mocked the established art world by appropriating ‘found’ images from the street, the supermarket, popular culture and the mass media, re-presenting it as fine art.
The works brought together for this exhibition owe their origins to the legacies of Pop but have transformed it for a new era.
About the Artists
Jann Haworth, an American-born artist and sculptor, was raised in Hollywood and trained in England. She became a leading member of the British Pop Art Movement in the 1960s, and one of its few visibly successful female members. She participated in the exhibition Young Contemporaries in 1963 and as a result the ICA London selected her to exhibit as one of their Four Young Painters for that year. This early exposure led to a spate of high profile solo exhibitions at the Robert Fraser Gallery (1966 and 1969), Gallerie 20 in Amsterdam (1966), Studio Marconi in Milan (1968), and Sidney Janis in New York (1971). In 1967 she co-designed the iconic Sergeant Pepper album cover for The Beatles with her then-husband, Peter Blake, for which she was awarded a Grammy. In the 1970s she and Blake were members of the artists’ group, the Brotherhood of Ruralists, until their separation in 1979. In 1997 she returned to the USA with her second husband, the writer Richard Severy, where they continue to live and work today.
Growing up in California, Haworth spent much of her childhood on Hollywood movie lots with her production designer father. It was here that she gleaned an early familiarity with mass culture: sets, props, giant objects, costumes, stars, back-drops, fakes, story-boards and faux theatrical objects were all part of her emerging visual vocabulary. She also benefitted from strong female role models within the family who encouraged her creativity in design, art history and textiles.
Haworth is not afraid to experiment with techniques, materials, content and form to produce her quirky sewn cloth soft sculptures and comic book storyboard-inspired artworks. Fast food, film stars, cheerleaders, cartoons, cowboys and comics are entwined with histories of modern art in unique textile-based objects that become an address to time.
The passing of time is etched onto the faces of her elderly ‘cast in cloth’ sculptures and time is the sub-text of her use of double layers in a brand new series of works entitled CUTZ, made especially for The Bristol Gallery. The works from the CUTZ series are a POP counterpoint to the conventional medium of the fine art canvas. The frames are wrapped in vinyl, a mass produced material of the everyday and both canvas and vinyl interact creating a delicate surface tension when sewn or painted. The works, including Lightman, are constituted from a dialogue and tension between canvas and vinyl. This manipulation of different materials allows for double or sequential imaging, under-painting and over-painting and shifts in what the viewers see as they pass the work. The stretching of vinyl over separate frames is used to suggest the sequential narrative of the comic or graphic novel, combined with elements of patchwork quilt made from scraps of material gathered and reused over time. The vinyl also recalls Animation acetate cells and the celluloid film of Hollywood movies, key overall concerns in Haworth’s oeuvre.
Jann Haworth has works in public and private collections worldwide, including the Arts Council of Great Britain; Charterhouse School, Surrey, Great Britain; Wolverhampton Art Gallery; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. U.S.A; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, U.S.A.; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Sao Paulo Museum, Brasil; Ludwig Collection, Germany; Bernardo Collection, Sintra Museum of Modern Art de Belem, Lisbon, Portugal and many others
Los Angeles born Kent Christensen currently divides his time between New York City and Sundance, Utah. He grew up in the orange groves of California, where he acquired a fondness for orange crate labels, popular culture and local fast food. Raised in Mormon culture, with its strict prohibitions against vices such as smoking and drinking, he gained an appreciation for the substitute vice of sugar — an indulgence so zealous that he refers to sugar as 'Mormon Heroin.' His work functions as both celebration and satire of this 'Mormon folly' for sweets. He is quick to point out that it also operates in the larger context of America's corresponding insatiable appetite for ‘just about everything; with its greed, materialism, rising obesity levels and contradictory obsessions with fast food, over-indulgence, fitness and body image.’ In Christensen’s hands, the humble candy becomes a means to embrace and critique American society against the backdrop of the iconic American landscape.
Christensen’s elegant and humorous drawings, prints and oil paintings embrace and combine the different traditions of still life painting, religious iconography and Pop Art in their explorations of the cultural, personal, emotional and psychological associations of food, place, time and mass culture. He is particularly interested in the associations with the power of food imagery in art through the ages and his works are designed to reference both modern and classical art. The Praise of Pancakes is an ironic combination of religious triptych and fun food fetish; Red Jell O and Twenty Four Jordan Almonds recast the innocence and sheer enjoyment of inessential children’s food as both sacred treasures to be worshipped and new objects of minimalist sculpture, whilst Spiral Taffy Triptych is a witty homage to the iconic Utah absent/presence of Robert Smithson. Landscapes and cityscapes call up specific biographical references and add contextual layers of meaning that are at once specific and ambiguous. Personal and spiritual icons are sometimes included or hidden in the pictures, creating totems that evoke a sense of ritual and intimacy. Cultural and social satire is also a large factor in works that playfully satirise modern life, where indulgence is the new God. With humour and affection, Christensen uses sweets as a device to picture a country enmeshed in its own contradictions.
Kent Christensen’s previous solo shows include The Trouble with Sweets and SUGAR, Eleven Gallery, London, 2007 and 2009; SUGAR, Kimball Art Center, Park City, Utah, 2008, HIGH(calorie)ART, Sundance, Utah, 2006, HIGH(calorie)ART, Alta Club, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2006 and One Man Exhibit, McKay Library Gallery, Libby Gardner Hall, University of Utah, 2004.
Kelly Jenkins was awarded an MA in Constructed Textiles from the Royal College of Art in 2004. Since then she has contributed to numerous international group exhibitions including Sugar and Spice (2007) at the Vegas Gallery, London, Strikk 7 (2008) at West Norway Museum of Decorative Art, Norway and Knitting Worlds (2009) at the Audax Textiel Museum, Tilberg in the Netherlands, amongst others. For Jenkins, it is the stereotypes that heavily shroud knitting and those who practice it that are the main sources of inspiration in her work. The darker side of her knits touch on feminist issues, sexuality and the fashionability of the craft but these are expressed through satire and humour to deliver her powerful political messages.
Jenkins’ work operates in a dialogue with our social norms and expectations. Foregrounding the stigmas that have attached themselves to knitting such as gender, age and use, we are asked to question the social perception of this 'taboo' craft for the general working-age population. Jenkins’ knits play on the standard trope of using sex to sell to an audience, not just of women but also of men. She transforms knitting from a domestic hobby into a naughty but thrilling ‘must have’ and above all laughs with and not at knitting, appreciating its status and its potential for subversion.
Jenkins’ methods of working also seek to challenge preconceptions about the creative potential of the knitting needle. Technology plays a vital role within the work, from concept to design and to the final piece. The entire process of production demonstrates how technology can be deployed to enhance a formerly purely domestically conceived craft. Above all, her work is also about celebrating the kitschness of knitting and emphasizing that it's not the knitting which is dated but the stereotype.
Kelly Jenkins lives and works in London. She has a number of works in public and private collections including the Crockery Collection, Garrards, London; Design Heroin(e), London and Toonhound Animation, London. She was Artist in Residence at St Joseph’s Academy, London in 2006.
The Dada Factory
The Dada Factory was founded in January 2007 by Alexander H. Johnstone and David E. Davis. The factory is an independent production studio located in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. The factory is a fully equipped HD production and post-production facility specializing in Documentary production, Narrative film production and TV advertising. With advances in modern technology, it is no longer necessary to have large, unwieldy and obtrusive crews so over the last year the Dada Factory have been mastering the two- man shoot - a style of filmmaking where the required quality is successfully achieved whilst retaining the simplicity and honesty needed for good documentary production. Using Sennheiser and Audio Technica sound equipment high fidelity sound is achieved and with the Panasonic HVX-200 stunning HD footage is captured with minimum setup time. With such small equipment needs The Dada Factory can travel easily anywhere in the world with minimal costs.
For the duration of West Meets West The Bristol Gallery will be showing The Dada Factory’s film Afterimage: The Art Of 337 . 337 was an unprecedented art project in downtown Salt Lake City. A boring office building was given over to 150 community artists for a complete and fleeting revamp, walls, windows, floors, and doors painted, mangled or ripped out and redecorated, no surface left untouched. After a quick two weeks of exhibition, where thousands of locals and visitors thronged to the art, the building was forever shut down, to be completely demolished in March 2008. The Dada Factory was there from the beginning to document the event. Afterimage: The Art of 337 is the definitive project DVD which takes in as much of the art as possible and considers all of the aspects that made the event such a success in Salt Lake.
A number of short films by The Dada Factory are available online at vimeo (Everyday Apocalypse and The Myth of Iris ) and You Tube (Smog Lake City) and their film The Deep was selected for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. More information about all of The Dada Factory’s projects can be found at: www.thedadafactory.com.
The Bristol Gallery
The Bristol Gallery, located on Millennium Promenade, Harbourside, Bristol, is a contemporary art gallery representing international, national and regional artists working in a wide range of media, making their work available to new public audiences in Bristol and the South West.
WEST MEETS WEST runs from Saturday 19 June 2010 to Sunday 25 July 2010 at The Bristol Gallery, Building 8, Unit 2, Millennium Promenade, Harbourside Bristol BS1 5TY.
Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 5pm
For Further Details:
Telephone: 0117 930 0005
Email: [email protected]