Leon Kossoff, Jacqui Hallum
25 August - 22 September 2018
PV Friday 24 August 2018 6-9pm
It goes without saying that painting is a time-based medium. Not simply in the studio-based actions which constitute its making, and the material record of these actions (which become its surface). Nor is it in the sense that the paint-matter that embodies the trace of these actions is itself incrementally in flux, tending slowly toward the same dust that all matter eventually becomes. But painting is time-based because of the relationship it insists upon with the person looking at it. While it is (often) perfectly possible to take-in the full expanse of a painting in one glance, only when looking at the poorest painting is that ever sufficient. No, painting’s essential mechanics (composition, colour relations, dynamic forms, line and field, fast and slow marks, figure and ground, etc) mean that the looker’s eye wanders in and out, around and across a painted surface repeatedly, continually nuancing the way that painting is understood.
This movement-in-time, so integral to painting, is sought by Kossoff and Hallum from the very start in the dynamism of their chosen subjects as if to re-state painting’s inability to be remain static. Through their processes as well as in their resultant works, everything is in constant change.
Between 1979 and 1984 Leon Kossoff worked and re-worked a single copper plate etching of Kilburn Underground Station. Working closely with printmaker Ann Dowker Outside Kilburn Underground was proofed in 14 stages, each time the plate was (in parts) burnished smooth and re-inscribed. The artist witnessed the rush of a crowd entering and exiting this busy station on a particular day when he chose to install his easel across the Kilburn High Road. Through the next 5 years this motion became slowed – not to a standstill – but to a pace so protracted that the weight and form of each figure is minutely altered, and the image affected, with each iteration of the drawing-etching-inking-wiping-pulling of the print.
Jacqui Hallum’s paintings begin with stains of coloured ink being applied across multiple loose sheets of paper and fabric. These elements then move repeatedly between the studio at the front of her flat and the garden at the rear. In these places they are seen differently, receive marks differently, and are subject to different contingent factors (such as weather, or interaction with other works-in-progress). Images, chosen because of their own potency as well as their being untethered to our present time (medieval woodcuts, leaded glass windows, Art Nouveau children’s book illustrations, Tarot cards and Berber carpets) are partially transcribed onto the stained surfaces throughout the process of their making. In the gallery these multiple-part paintings are pinned and hitched up into a provisional state, in relation to the light and architectural conditions of that room.
This exhibition includes 4 published states of Outside Kilburn Underground by Leon Kossoff: 1st state (1979); 5th state (1980); 6th state (1981) and 11th state (1983), all kindly loaned by Arts Council Collection. Leon Kossoff (b. 1926) is a painter of London. In fact it is fairer to say he is a painter of specific places in London: Dalston Junction; Christchurch Spitalfields; Arnold Circus; Willesden Junction; Kilburn Underground Station. Returning again and again to these same motifs, drawing energy- and light-filled records of the experience of being there, and making slow paintings from this gathered evidence, Kossoff’s works are held in all of the world’s major public museums. Kilburn Underground station is 600m from Kingsgate Project Space.
Jacqui Hallum lives and works in Totnes, Devon. Her paintings have long embraced slow change. For many years she cultivated crystal-forming sulphates to grow up the surface of the paintings such that they would bloom and shift hue in direct response to local atmospheric conditions, and so alter the rhythms and dynamics of the painting. More recently Jacqui’s process has included the use of unstretched fabric or large paper sheets that are hung in careful arrangements so as to conceal and reveal vital passages of colour stain or loosely transcribed images. In 2018 Jacqui won the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize.
This is the first of a series of exhibitions in which a large series of sheet works by Jacqui Hallum are installed in the context of an object or small series of works by another maker. After this show, Jacqui will exhibit works alongside a collection of antique Berber rugs; a specially commissioned vessel by Phil Root made with no pre-ordained form or function; work by Dieter Roth; a Wabi-Sabi pot in galleries across the UK. A book will be published to mark these exhibitions.
Past Event: Ann Dowker in conversation
Friday 21 September 2018 at 6:30pm
Between 1979 and 1984 Leon Kossoff published his etching ‘Outside Kilburn Underground’ in no less than 14 states. Throughout this process, and in many of his other print works, Kossoff worked closely with artist Ann Dowker. It is so easy to think about etching as a static and stable form – an image bitten into sheet metal, to be reproduced over and over – but what happens when the artist fails to see it that way? To make and re-make again and again on the same metal plate through 5 years suggests that in the pursuit of meaning (or a greater knowing), etching is as malleable and fluid as other media.
Taking place within the exhibition Leon Kossoff, Jacqui Hallum, we will discuss process, changing minds, material limits and stubbornness, and we will reflect upon ideas of liveness as it resonates in the recent works by Jacqui Hallum.
Ann Dowker is an artist and educator. She is a painter, draughtsman and printmaker. She taught at Chelsea School of Art and the Byam Shaw School of Art for 10 years, is a freelance tutor at The National Gallery and has tutored at the Royal Drawing School since it was founded in 2000. She printed for many years for and with Leon Kossoff and was involved in the curating of his show at the National Gallery. Ann has exhibited with Theo Waddington, Angela Flowers and Art Space Gallery and has been in many mixed shows. She now works between London and Egypt.
Jacqui Hallum was educated at Coventry School of Art (BA Fine Art) and The Slade (MFA Painting) and lives and works in Totnes, Devon. In 2018 Jacqui was awarded the John Moores Painting Prize at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Selected group exhibitions include Nightswimming, Mission Gallery, Swansea (2018); In this soup we swim, Kingsgate Project Space, London (2016); Uncommon Chemistry, Observer Bld, Hastings (2016); Natural Staking (with Tamara Van San), Standpoint, London (2015); I Cheer a Dead Man's Sweetheart: 21 Painters in Britain, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (2014); April is the cruellest month, breeding, LIDO, St Leonards-on-Sea (2011). Between 2003 and 2005 Jacqui served on the committee of GENERATORprojects, Dundee and in 2010 she co-founded the peripatetic exhibition project LIDO.
Leon Kossoff (b.1926) lives and works in London. He studied at St Martin’s School of Art, and during this time attended twice weekly evening classes at Borough Polytechnic, London, with David Bomberg. In 1962 Kossoff was elected into the London group, and later represented Britain in the 1995 Venice Biennale. Other major exhibitions include: Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes, Annely Juda Fine Art, London, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, & L.A. Louver, Venice, California, 2013–14; Leon Kossoff: Drawing from Painting, National Gallery, London, 2004–05, Leon Kossoff: Selected Paintings 1956-2000, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland & Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, 2004-05; as well as six solo exhibitions at Beaux Arts Gallery, London, between 1957 and 1964.
This exhibition has been supported with loans from the Arts Council Collection. Founded in 1946, the Arts Council Collection is a national loan collection of modern and contemporary British art. Operating as a ‘museum without walls’, the Collection includes important examples of the UK’s prominent artists acquired at an early stage of their careers. For more information visit artscouncilcollection.org.uk
Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London on behalf of Arts Council England.