Exhibition

Benjamin Deakin: Seeking News From Nowhere

23 Mar 2018 – 21 Apr 2018

Event times

12pm - 6pm Tuesday - Saturday

Cost of entry

Free

London
England, United Kingdom

Travel Information

  • 1, 42, 47, 78, 188, 343, & 381 (1 & 188 Stop right by Spa Road)
  • London Bridge, Borough
  • London Bridge (Rail and Tube) - 15 minutes walk through Tooley & then into Bermondsey Street, finally down Grange Road

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'Seeking News From Nowhere' an exhibition of works by British artist Benjamin Deakin. The show explores the notion that search for a utopian environment for living is possibly a dystopian one in itself.

About

Deakin's work with its complex composition and blend of environments is laced with architectural sensibilities reflecting a world that may seem dystopian or halfway to utopia depending on your perspective from a threshold. This is the main interest of his practice and here lies the contradiction in the quest for the idealised utopia. There is a reference to the work of the nineteenth century English architect, poet and writer William Morris' novel 'News From Nowhere' in the research for the paintings. Exploring the hybrid of the built / artificially constructed and the natural environment at the very intersection which they collide or rather fuse. The suggestion of nature's struggle and turn against the humanly constructed environment or even its reclamation through the ruins is avoided. We are presented with the point at which there is a momentary equal partnership - hybrid, threshold and land of nowhere. This intersection between the urban and the natural is highlighted with Deakin's signature dissolving effect. It is the re-imagining of a utopia of ruins rather than the expected dystopian viewscape

The technique and tonal sensibility employed in these works serves to draws in the viewer with a palette of pastel tones, mellow, soft and soothing hues that conjure up a sense of near-neutral yet heightened Romantism of nineteenth century traditional landscape paintings. Even with observations and investigation into the so-called 'edgelands' of abandoned railways, industrial scrubland or retail parks, Deakin attempts to dissolve these in his painting by creating spaces with a sense of vulnerability.

In the painting 'Navigator' we witness the state of an artificial giant cube juxtaposition against natural rocky planes as that very volume dissolving through a secondary plane creating an oscillation in the perceived distance and depth. This conflicting vanishing points lends itself to Deakin's continued exploration of thresholds. On the other hand, in the 'Multiplier' the perception of distance constantly shifts through the destabilisation of the flat illusionary surface. The entire environment seem to be melting or dissolving into a single matter as the internal wasteland ruin merges with the external natural environment. Nature providing the draping melting curtains over the artificial man-made intervention of brick wall and interior ruins. This paradox is a consistent strand in Deakin's paintings. As in previous works where we have seen mountain scenes reminiscence of nineteenth century paintings of Yosemite National Park or the Rocky mountains juxtaposition against debris and gravel piles of the Canadian gold-mines that the artist observed first hand.

Overall, these pictures of hybrid spaces seem to suggest that what is perceived as reality is only a projection of our imagination, alluding to the fact that the quest for utopia is one that can probably never be realised.

Curators

KB Stowe

Exhibiting artists

Benjamin Deakin

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