Jason Martin makes paintings about paint, its materiality, sculptural presence and transformative, alchemical nature. The titles 'Infinitive' invites contemplation and emphasises the inherent narrative of the work but the meaning is mutable. Along with his continued interest in material exploration, 'Association' illustrates Richard Deacon's fascination with the relationship of the individual component to the structural whole and new works in ceramic, aluminium and steel evidence this investigation.
52-54 Bell Street
Lisson Gallery is delighted to announce a major exhibition of new work by Jason Martin, his fifth at the gallery.
Martin makes paintings about paint - its materiality, sculptural presence and transformative, alchemical nature. The energy of Martin’s process is palpable in a new series of rich, dark, monochromatic oil on aluminium works. In Tempest (2011), the dense swathes of colour are applied in thick, fluid, overlaid brushstrokes. Light plays across the surface echoing the dynamism and vigour of its making. Sensual and tactile, each work in this group is definitively autonomous. The titles invite contemplation and emphasise the inherent narrative of the work but the meaning is mutable.
Pushing the boundaries of painting is at the core of Martin’s creative process. These continuing investigations are evinced in a series of vividly intense, jewel-like pure pigment paintings. Taking a basic sculptor’s medium as his starting point, Martin has molded, scraped, and gouged the material to create a dense, turbulent, worked surface. Intensely vibrant pure pigment is then applied in layers directly to the still wet medium. The resultant works appear mysterious, molten, capricious: the spinel black surface of Yaba is ominous and unknowable, the rich cadmium red of Valentine resonant and seductive.
These hand-worked surfaces form the basis for an exciting new series of cast works. As with the pigments, Martin manipulates the medium, which is then cast – in nickel, copper or bronze. The resultant mirrored surface of, for example, Titus (2012), is smooth and impenetrable, its nature discrete. The restless energy of the pigments has been hushed – the implicit movement frozen and a primordial gesture made concrete.
In a daring new work, Martin has dramatically transcended the two-dimensional. On arriving at the gallery, the visitor is confronted by the monumental, matt black, cubed block, Behemoth, measuring 3m x 3m at its base and over 2.6m high. Comprising layer upon layer of stacked virgin cork coated in pure black pigment, the squatting sculpture dominates its setting. The work is impossible to understand in a single perspective and the spectator is forced to negotiate its sides and edges, unable to access its top. Simultaneously awe inspiring and intimidating, elusive and alluring, Behemoth accesses a shared primal memory: the Kaaba of Mecca, a mausoleum to a long dead dignitary, an inviolable alchemist’s box. Initially solid and impenetrable, closer inspection reveals the gnarled, pitted unruly surface of the untreated, pigment-blackened cork, sourced from the area around Martin’s Portuguese studio. Its natural undulations and inconsistencies echo the raw, worked, sculptural surfaces of Martin’s pigments. The form of Behemoth, and its physical presence in the gallery space, echo the theatrical preoccupations of Minimalist sculpture but the ancient and organic nature of the material conversely alludes to an inherent human narrative that belies these conceptual concerns. Behemoth marks a radical departure in Martin’s oeuvre.
About the artist
Born 1970, Jersey, Channel Islands, Jason Martin has had solo exhibitions throughout Europe, the United States and Japan including: Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, Germany (1998); Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (2009), and Centro de Arte Contemporàneo de Malaga, Spain (2008). His work is held in numerous international public collections including the Government Art Collection, UK; Denver Art Museum, USA; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, Germany and the Museum of Modern Art, La Spezia, Italy. Martin lives and works in London, UK, and Lisbon, Portugal.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essay by Sue Hubbard.
29 Bell Street
Lisson Gallery is delighted to announce an exhibition of new work by British artist, Richard Deacon; one of the most important and influential sculptors working today.
Throughout his practice, Deacon has employed diverse materials including wood, aluminium, plastic, steel, ceramic, glass, rubber, resin, polycarbonate, leather and cloth: exploiting their potential to create complex and challenging forms. It is a radical vocabulary that encompasses the organic, amorphous, geometric, rectilinear, intimate and monumental. Along with his continued interest in material exploration, Association illustrates Deacon’s fascination with the relationship of the individual component to the structural whole and new works in ceramic, aluminium and steel evidence this investigation.
Installed in the gallery’s courtyard, Congregate (2011) is a large stainless steel sculpture comprising eight unique, skeletal, polygonal frames that interlock to create a single, complex unit. Drawing inspiration from collective organisations, Deacon has brought together individual elements to construct an intricate and challenging entirety: a sculptural congregation. Although whole, the sculpture emits a restless and pulsating dynamism, echoed in the highly worked steel surface. A myriad of shapes and angles invite multiple perspectives and act as a reminder of its individual parts. Congregate cannot be perceived in a singular moment and, rather, the spectator is forced to move around it, navigating its form.
Republic is a collective title for a series of small rectilinear ceramic works constructed from irregular prism-like shapes. Like bundles of firewood or piles of pick-up-sticks, these independent ceramic elements, placed on rubber and wooden plinths, feel only momentarily united: as if they might be broken apart and reconstructed at any moment. Ultimately bound by their sculptural whole however, each unit is brought together for a concrete and significant purpose - a societal analogy echoed in and reinforced by their title.
Deacon’s uncompromising and daring material exploration is exemplified with the monumental, glazed ceramic sculpture, Fold (2012). Comprised of 60 elements, this pleated clay wall, like of an oversized paravent or complicated game of Exquisite Corpse, is inherently contradictory. Like the word play and ambiguity implicit in the title, the work is simultaneously impenetrable and yet protective; at once foreboding and inviting.
A series of three stainless steel or aluminium wall-mounted Alphabet sculptures (E, F and G) explore the idea of the alphabet as a democratic form of organisation and the nature of signifiers as the basis of communication. Derived from a group of 26 drawings, (hence an Alphabet), the works are abstract and constructed: their forms simultaneously suggestive of meaning yet resistant to actual interpretation.
As with each individual work, where single units combine to complete the form, the exhibition is comprised of unique components conceived as whole: each sculpture essential to the totality of meaning, an association of forms and ideas.
About the artist
Richard Deacon (b.1949) lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions include Musee d’art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg (2010); Madison Square Park, New York (2008); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, (2007); Tate St Ives (2005), and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2003). Group exhibitions include San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) (2010); Tate Modern (2004) and Henry Moore Institute (2003). Deacon’s work is included in public collections including Tate Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Deacon has been awarded CBE by the Order of the British Empire and also a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et Lettres by the Ministry of Culture, France. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1987 and represented Wales in the 52nd Venice Biennale of Art in 2007
Image: Jason Martin, Untitled (Nickel), 2010. Cast Nickel, 42 x 30 cm. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery
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