Tangram25 October - 2 December 2023
JGM Gallery presents Tangram, an exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Dominic Beattie and Olly Fathers.
The aesthetic tools of both artists are pattern, shape and colour. Their conceptual approaches, however, are almost exact inversions of each other. Using an overtly organic medium - timber - Fathers meticulously arranges his compositions into geometric iterations. Beattie, on the other hand, uses an artificial material - acrylic paint - to create loose configurations that might seem to have developed organically.
In combination, the artists blur the line between shape and shapelesness and, by extension, chaos and order. In front of these paintings, one might ponder the extent to which we are uniform products of the universe, or individual deviations from its structure.
Fathers work is, in some sense, analogous to The Ship Of Theseus, a paradox that asks whether an object remains the same if all its original components have been replaced. By example, Fathers repeats his geometric arrangements dozens of times, however their constituents - colour, composition and the grain of the timber - inevitably vary. His geometry will always rhyme but never repeat itself.
If pattern is the repetition of the same shape at regular intervals, then one might struggle to define Beattie's work in these terms. A rectangle may precede another, but its dimensions fluctuate because of the artist's gestural application. He draws inspiration from folk quilts and stained glass windows, objects which we are used to viewing within meticulous matrices. Beattie, however, leads these shapes astray and encourages them to defy their algorithmic essence. This approach culminates in the modular installation on the gallery's eastern window. The work extends from the corner like an organic growth, pushing colour, shape and pattern outward from the rigid right angle of its origin. The acrylic and spray paint used to render its components are also at odds with the textiles and stained glass windows that inspired them, suffusing the work with a subtle dissonance. There is here an intriguing contradiction between form and content.
Tangram questions the definitions of chaos and order, and uses pattern work as the vehicle for this thought experiment. Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi (Director of JGM Gallery) says that "In Dominic and Olly's work there is a delightful sense of play, which manifests in a chromatic feast for the eyes. Theirs is the type of work that not only invites conceptual discourse, but inspires one to create and produce work of their own."
Within this theme of creative production, the exhibition title, Tangram, takes its name from two-dimensional dissection puzzles, originating in China during the 18th century. Valued for their aesthetic merits, the objective is to create minimalist designs, thereby heightening one's understanding of spatial relationships. Often made from wood, both the material and inherent geometry of the Tangram speaks to the work of both artists.
The JGM Review Vol. III is now available to purchase at the gallery.
Vol. III of the JGM Review contains essays by Katherine Jones RA, Antonia Crichton-Brown and Julius Killerby, as well as conversations with Juan Bolivar, Keith Wikmunea and Gabriel Waterman, Manager of the Wik & Kugu Art Centre.
To purchase a hard copy from the gallery please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.