Shade, space, colour and form beyond the surface
jaggedart is delighted to present the work of Rory Gardiner and Tom Henderson in The Unseen, which will run during Frieze week 2012. This exhibition draws together photographs and sculptures with a minimalist aesthetic which relate to structures, form, space and colour beyond the landscape. Rory and Tom each explore the relationship between two and three dimensionality; through Tom’s wall based sculptures and layered works on paper and Rory’s architectural photographs.
As if floating on the gallery walls, Tom Henderson’s works are composed of coloured Plexiglas panels, partially covered with oil paint, each supported by an aluminium armature which projects through the surface. His work blends painting with sculptural materials and processes to create objects that explore the concept of the picture plane and its relationship to the wall and immediate environment. Hovering before the wall, Tom’s translucent angular objects are beautifully complex abstractions.
Tom’s series Corners has been developing since his second solo exhibition at jaggedart in 2011. His wall-based works are three dimensional, but they are presented like a painting on one plane. However, unlike a conventional painting, the works break free from the restraints of the frame, by inviting the viewer to perceive the piece as a sculpture from the front, the sides and through the translucent sections of Perspex. Tom creates a relationship between the shadows of the work as it hangs on the wall, and the highly polished surface of the Perspex which reflects the viewer and the space they inhabit. Unlike a traditional frame, the structural steel armature which supports the work, follows, not the outside corners and edges of the work, but also bisects each piece and is an integral aspect of the work itself. The armature simultaneously divides the piece into its constituent parts, and joins the painted and Perspex sections together.
Paint is applied to sections of the Perspex, on the surface and on the inside and outside edges. Thus the viewer is invited to move along the work and discover the different colours on the edges and the back of the work, transforming a two-dimensional work into a three dimensional piece. There is a contrast between the textures of the materials, such as the gleaming, polished, reflective surface of the Plexiglas and the areas of gestural oil paint that are applied to counterbalance the hard edge minimalism and lend the work a sense traditional painterly craftsmanship.
Tom has created a series of new works on paper, which are an extension of the main ‘Corners’ project, using different materials to achieve similar aims. The thin Plexiglas laid over the studies, enable these works to remain multi layered but the intimacy of scale means the emphasis here is more concerned with creating arrangements through the delicate juxtaposition and layering of tracing and coloured textured papers.
In The Unseen, Rory Gardiner presents photographs from two distinct series, which convey corners, angles, arcs, light and surface, sharing many of Tom’s concerns of three dimensionality and form, structure, composition, light and painterly qualities.
Rory’s photographs of structures in Hokkaido, Japan have an unexpected beauty and still quality. Intently photographed forms emerge from the winter landscape; structures amalgamated by the snow which envelops the surroundings entirely. Compositionally, the edges of the angular structures and buildings mirror the armature that simultaneously dissects and supports Toms’ sculptures. The very act of photography is to translate the three dimensional subject into a two dimensional medium, and Rory’s innate understanding of architecture, structure and form seems to oppose Tom’s work process.
Jacob Weiss writes, “Hokkaido explores the ulterior spaces outside the throng of Japan’s social epicentres; the non-spaces that are more closely aligned with the Japanese unconscious than the accessible prosperity of the cities and townships… Mostly void spaces, these photographs erase the subject literally, subconsciously heightening the tension of human absence. Indeed, the snow covers and absorbs everything – a white and featureless vacuum.”
Nineteen Eighty Four, Rory’s second body of work retains a concern with structure and form, but these grey images resonate with a painterly quality. The buildings photographed in this series and their functions are unknown, which is compounded by a perceived lack of subject or relatable contexts, creating a disconcerting void of scale. Once scale is removed the images become less about conveying space and more about layering of surface, texture and light to create an almost painterly quality. Using a de-saturated blue pallet, texture becomes more apparent as the rough concrete corners become moody and lonely, yet immensely charismatic. An emergent purity and simplicity also comes from the images through photos with a focus on light, shadow, flattening the three dimensional space. Concrete architecture is often perceived as cold and hard, yet these photos convey the opposite. Despite the use of cold colours the shadows and textures, combined with worn and bevelled concrete edges exude warmth. Composition is equally apparent in this body of work; there is a large depth of field combined with a long focal length removing the depth from the images and flattening the space. There is often little distinction between the separated foreground/middle and background with the thrust of focus leading away from the viewer, to an obscured destination.
While not immediately identifiable from the works themselves, there is a strong relationship with both artists to a sense of place. When Tom moved from England to live in the south of France, his work took on a new vibrancy of colour using rich gold and azure tones. Rory travels extensively, however these photographs have a timeless quality created by isolating the subject entirely.
The artists share an innate understanding of structure and composition, compounded with exceptionally presented work, which are deceptively complex and impart a powerful sense of calm. Both artists have created works, which evoke and explore the unseen colour, shape and form beyond the surface of the landscape.
Rory Gardiner studied at RMIT in Melbourne and lives and works between London, Australia and Japan. He was finalist in the 2012 Sony World Photography Awards, Youth Award; Winner of the 2011 Emerging Photographer Of The Year, Landscape Capture Magazine, Australia; and Runner-up as Emerging Photographer Of The Year, Architecture Capture Magazine, Australia, and exhibits internationally.
Tom Henderson studied at the University of Newcastle and lives and works in France. He has made several large scale private commissions, has exhibited with jaggedart since 2005 and exhibits internationally.