A Rainbow’s Edge brings together an eclectic selection of artists and playfully revisits the historic and much adored parlour game known as Cadavre exquis or ‘exquisite corpse’, which was invented in 1925 by Parisian Surrealists and is played much like Consequences, with folded over pieces of paper, but with drawings instead of words.
The exhibition also marks the London debut for two world-renowned former RCA graduates, children’s author Catherine Anholt and fashion designer Deborah Milner, who are returning to their first love—fine art.
Never afraid to try new things, TIN MAN ART asked six artists with oblique links - none of whom had ever met before - to pair up and respond to each other’s work. They were free to talk to their partner (or not) and asked to submit one or two works of their choosing in the hope that this artistic experiment would help give the viewer greater insight into the artist’s headspace and encourage positive dialogue between artists who usually work alone.
Deborah Milner is one of the most important figures in eco-fashion of the last 30 years, during which she has designed for Grace Jones, Isabella Blow, Daphne Guinness and Olivia Colman, including a decade-long stint heading Alexander McQueen’s couture atelier. Her inspiration as a maker of clothes has always been art and she has pushed her concepts and medium to their very limit in its pursuit. She is paired with another RCA alumnae in Jacob Wolff. Wolff has long been dedicated to the search for pure abstraction, using fractured glass as a template to build fluid, geometric forms with spray paint, on glass or paper. Beyond their RCA education, both Milner and Wolff have spent years battling artistic principals with medium and public perception.
Catherine Anholt (whose son is Berlin-based artist Tom Anholt) is best known as a children’s author, but with the demands of child raising behind her, she has returned to her first love, painting. She is paired with Freya Douglas-Morris, a maker of magical figurative paintings and herself the mother of two young children. Douglas-Morris brings wonder, light and darkness with an otherworldly quality while Anholt’s work feels more grounded and psychological. Both women studied at the RCA and both have personal connections to the south coast of England.
While the painting styles of Lee Johnson and Florence Reekie are very different, both place high value in excellent composition and share a sense of joy. These two have clear confidence in their conceptualism, the ease and humour of the names of each of their pieces, and the firm but friendly references to popular culture that light up their work (Johnson’s Cherry Cola and Reekie’s depiction of Billy Porter’s Golden Globes outfit, for example).
TIN MAN ART director James Elwes says: ‘We wanted to use this show to again try and explain what being an artist is for people who may not have picked up a drawing pencil since school. Slightly experimentally, we set three pairs of artists (with few, if any, connections) the challenge of responding to each other’s work. Thankfully, it worked.’