Appeto is a Latin verb meaning to strive after or grasp after a thing. The concept applies equally to the work of sculptor Dave King and painter George Sherlock. Although their approach and backgrounds are distinctly different, surface and water are common concerns in the art of both, as are the seen and unseen.
In King’s drawings, prints and sculpture the imagery is largely metaphorical so, for example, the roof of the house becomes a watery wave carrying improbable and impossible objects together with balanced figures or sailboats. In a key anecdote from a favourite book, The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard relates how Gustav Courbet, looking out from the top of the Sainte Pelagie prison, felt an urge to depict Paris “the way I do my marines: with….. all its houses and domes imitating the tumultuous waves of the ocean.”
In the past an excitement at the prospect of making larger sculptures led King to an interest in public art with several works produced, sometimes on a temporary basis. But the dilemma for an artist with such idiosyncratic and personal interests is how these concerns translate into an art with common meanings for the public space.
A recent kidney transplant encouraged King to think of the longhouse as akin to the body, where surgical intervention requires repairing skin with needle and thread to close up after the operation.
King was born in Birmingham in 1946 and studied at Leeds College of Art and the Slade. His distinguished career includes mixed and solo gallery exhibitions, commissions and opportunities to build large sculptures abroad, notably in Ireland and North America.
King and Sherlock first met in 1991 as visiting lecturers in fine art at Coventry University and have subsequently exhibited together, with others, in Porto and Coventry after Sherlock was instrumental in establishing exchanges of art, students and staff between the cities.
George Sherlock was born in Liverpool and studied at Liverpool College of Art 1959-63. He has a lifetime association with the sea and has crossed the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Pacific by sailing yacht.
The paintings in Appeto are from his current series of smaller works. “They grew out my experience of water: its energy, transformation, flow, pollution and relation to global warming. The amazing images nature creates by the reflection of light on its surface are well known through the genre of marine painting and works such as Monet's Water Lilies. There is a historical reference to Leonardo da Vinci's studies of water and my previous series Deluge and Tamesis.”
Deluge I was the main prizewinner in the Royal West Of England Academy’s historic Open Painting Exhibition, the first “open” in 157 years eliciting over 1,300 entries. It was made by the transfer method, which evolved from experiments in mixing acrylic with domestic chemicals and polymer house paints. Deluge I was executed with large brushstrokes but current work is more informal; paint spreads out and settles in structures over several weeks.
“Images are painted on the studio floor where polythene is turned into a shallow bath in which paint is allowed to mix and separate according to the quantity of water used. The process allows for extraction and addition of water and new paint which generates unexpected configurations. The image is reversed through printing onto a surface or viewed through the polythene.”
Exhibitions have included the John Moores Painting Prize 1969 & 2010, I/Am/Is/Are – a solo show in Porto in 1998, RWA “Open” in 2001, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2010, RWA Autumn Exhibition 2012 and Rugby School Drawing Prize 2014.