Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Grand Finale before the Summer Break

What a varied and surprising morning we had at Saturday's meeting thanks to Ed Boxall and Kim Pace.  It certainly was stimulating - and enthralled us all!

Firstly, Ed Boxall related how he had followed a Degree in Printmaking followed by an MA Illustration at Central St Martins (now University of the Arts, London).  He sees all his work as a continuation of the art work he had been developing since he was about 14.  His practice includes story telling in schools and festivals, often with his own poetry or as a performance, or both, and self-published books.  After his MA - which saw him fascinated with 'incompleteness' in art, including ruins and derelict buildings - he then entered the world of commercial book publishing.  However, he felt much like a small cog in a big wheel, part of a big machine, so he now concentrates on his one person book operation, as Ed Boxall.
A selection of Ed's books
Ed then treated us to a magical performance piece where he projected his beautiful images alongside eloquently communicating his poem, accompanied by a piece of music he had written.
After the performance, he explained that the hand-made and 'dream-like' quality is his aim, and that he uses monoprint, collage, pen and ink drawings and photocopies on to acetate to achieve this. The artwork is also published as a book.  When he exhibited at the Quay Arts Centre on the Isle of Wight recently, they referred to him as a 'Multi-disciplinary Artist' and he rather likes how that description encapsulates his work.
The acetate drawings used in the projection performance by Ed
Ed's previous publications and a page spread from his sketchbook

We then moved on into the Phoenix Gallery to see Kim L Pace's exhibition of works on paper, inlcuding sequential drawings and watercolours, and two vitrines holding 3D physical characters. The 3D works are part of a larger collection of sculptures and had also featured in an animated film.
Kim's work: detail of 'Marzipan Band - No.2 of 5', Ceramic.
During her Talk, she explained that she usually works in Installation, and this collection was rather different, being (almost) solely paper-based work.  The images combined the uncanny with humour and the mythical with references from contemporary culture: some have directly influenced her animations and 3D works, whilst others are independent works that are reminiscent of film stills or comic-book panels.

Kim talked about her interest in puppets and especially puppet theatre as a genre - indeed, the costumed and masked characters that filled the walls of the gallery had a distinct theatricality about them. Kim mentioned how puppets, often associated with children, can and have been used to make salient points in adult contexts, especially, for example, in repressive political regimes where they had been used to deliver powerful and subversive critiques about power.
Gallery talk - Kim L Pace's 'Works on Paper'
She also spoke about ideas of anthropomorphism - for example, how monkeys had been used in art as far back as Medieval times, as a metaphor for humans. Her series 'Monkey Parade' - an exploration of gender masquerade - featured beautifully drawn hybrids combining monkey/tarsiers and women, and reminiscent of Hollywood starlets, in 1950's saccharine colours.
Works on Paper - exhibition view
After returning from the Gallery to see Ed and Kim's books, we could see how they are both captivated by the process of drawing, and whilst Ed is interested in story-telling, Kim is interested in evoking narrative without telling specific stories. 
A really inspiring session!

The Book Arts Collective is now on its Summer Break, so look forward to seeing everyone again on 3 October 2015, back at the Phoenix Gallery in Brighton.  Have a good summer.

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