Jamie Shovlin: The Nature of Our Business

2 Jul 2009 – 21 Jul 2009

Event times

Open 12- 6 daily

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Outpost Gallery

Norwich, United Kingdom


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OUTPOST is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Jamie Shovlin. The Nature of our Business consists of six pieces which draw to a close several strands of work explored by the artist over the past five years. In recent years, Shovlin's work has examined personal experiences of, or reactions to, 1960s America, a decade that has perhaps globally saturated other cultures more than any in recent times. Responding to the imagery of key events followed by the media and the stories associated with them, the artist has produced an impression of how this period's history has shaped our society to the present day. Shovlin's work often takes on the appearance of highly- researched projects offered as anthologies that encourage the audience to question their preconceptions. The Nature of our Business loosely takes on the shape of an archive, drawing on modern American history and events and their influence and absorption into our media culture, offering its audience a selectively placed group of works each with it's own subtext. A large weather-beaten sign, leant casually against the wall, reads ‘It's The Nature of Our Business', referencing the ongoing clean-up of the Hanford nuclear testing site, famed for the development of the Nuclear Bomb and criticised for its legacy of inadequate waste disposal and safety practices. A couple of works are placed on the floor in front of this; two heavy-looking, black glossy arms lie with gloved hands tightly balled into fists, and a pair of trainers, commemorating the athlete Tommie Smith sit in the centre of the space. Along with John Carlos, Smith was banned from the 1968 Mexico Summer Olympics for his political demonstration and show of the Black Panther salute. In relation to these works, the artist has produced an image printed on mirror depicting the logo for the 1968 games as a public sculpture. On the wall opposite hangs a large monochrome drawing representing a press image of the social and political activist Abbie Hoffman who came to prominence in the 1960s. Shovlin has also concluded a series of drawings depicting foreign newspaper articles on American Presidential election results with a work showing Obama's in USA Today. The Nature of Our Business is decisive in its choice of subject matter, with works seemingly acting as points of reference in mapping out the basis of current day America. A tangible feeling of misrepresentation runs throughout the show, as American culture is summarised in memorials to the ideas represented. In presenting an abbreviated view of American culture, Shovlin allows his audience to gradually realise their own background. Jamie Shovlin currently lives and works in London. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2003, Shovlin has exhibited widely in the UK as well as internationally. His solo shows include ‘Naomi V. Jelish' (Riflemaker Gallery, 2004), ‘In Search of Perfect Harmony' (Tate Britain, 2006) and most recently ‘The Evening Redness in The West' (Haunch of Venision, 2009).


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