"I want to expose the spirit of our times" - Raoul Hausmann 1919
In March 2009 we exhibited Miles Bodimeade's "Lycanthropy" series of bath stone sculptures in which he explored the phenomena of people believing they were an animal (most often, but not exclusively a wolf); in this new body of work he develops the theme of identity with concrete Masks (many named after South Coast place names) and bronze and cedar sculptures outwardly expressing inner feelings/thoughts/emotions.
The "Mask" sculptures have an immediate visual impact, they have strong forms, rich colour which is made more complex by relief cast shadows.
Some are wall mounted allowing them to be seen against an uncluttered background, rarely the case for sculpture in the round. Wall mounting also enabling more shadow to come into play- enhancing object quality. Nature of the subject matter encourages reading - viewers understand the language of faces, masks, expressions etc.
So not art that makes people feel stupid or that they have no understanding.
Miles Bodiemeade says "The Masks play with viewpoint, sometimes you are looking at the masks, sometimes you are through the mask to a landscape or from an aerial view. Sometimes a combination of of viewpoints and layers of meaning."
Further back in 2005 we exhibited the then recently graduated, Ian Woodard's figurative sculptures showing people alone or in groups. The subjects were drawn from everyday life, somewhat voyeuristic. Since then he has moved to Bologna, forging ties with local artists and exhibiting throughout Italy. His work continues to look at the human form, but more in the way of portraiture based on the philosophy of existentialism, where all thinking is based on the human subject. His current series of paintings are based on media images that he has abstracted and in some cases overalaid with others. Any meanings in the work Ian Woodard wants the viewers to infer, rather than be imparted by him.
In the work of these two artists I can see some parallels with Dada: Nearly a hundred years ago Dada was an expression of disgust, anxiety and despair in the face of the post WW1 world. Indeed Hans Arp said "the cycnicism of the Dadaists is a mask". Later artists such as Raoul Hausmann and Hannah Hoch aimed at "satirical hyper-realism" rather than moving to pure abstraction they created photomontages, whereby a theme could be represented from various vantage points. These devices changed reality so much that the shocked viewer was confronted with the mundane transformed into the extraordinary, even surreal.
So in our exhibition, Humanity, we present visitors with an opportunity to look and both themselves and others around them in the face of a constant barrage of sometimes shocking 24 hour news.