Joel Tomlin 'Spoke Eye'

10 Jul 2019 – 6 Sep 2019

Event times

Monday-Friday 9:30-18:00
Thursday 9:30-19:00

Cost of entry



London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Bond Street

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Belmacz is pleased to present Joel Tomlin’s second solo exhibition
at the gallery.


Spoke Eye proposes art as a type of technology
— something that crafts our becoming. Its forms could be those of
ancient tools, odd relics or childhood toys. They sit as monuments
to a fantastical weightiness, before all that was solid melted
into air: Bonfire’s smoke plumes solidify to be more like cartoon
speech bubbles than vapour; Machine Gun sprouts a second pistol
head, posing itself as more absurd than fatal. Weaving together
the lyrical impulse of folk objects and personal mythologies,
the artist works across the mutable borderline between the comical
and the sacred.
Joel Tomlin continues to refine his practice. Whilst canvas has
transfigured into sculpture, Tomlin has maintained a steady focus
on the anthropological events and humble objects that populate our
crude imagination: a life size chariot, a bow and arrow, a billowing
bonfire, rising embers, and a flowering shrub. Yet these are
neither the creatures of the huntsman’s forest or the shaman’s
sky. These are models of ideal forms mediated through ritual and
desire. Tomlin’s works suggest their status as a priori gestures
— effigies without which the history of humankind would be rendered
Primarily working with cherry wood, oak, copper and bronze, Tomlin
produces modular sculptures from raw and recycled materials.
Introduced to England by Henry VIII’s fruiterers for its sweetness,
the straight grain and tight pore structure of the cherry
tree allows the trunk’s wood to moves easily against the knife,
especially within the wood heart. Yet it is rare that Tomlin uses
a pristine cut of wood. Instead, the artist gleans the discarded
debris of post-industrial landscapes which retain vestiges of a
previous life. Tomlin establishes, like the vernacular craftsman,
an aesthetic of necessity and renewal: he bends a rusted nail into
a gun trigger in one sculpture, pinning the arrow to the bow with
a match stick in another.
Within his work there is a tension between ferocity and care; both
making and propagation necessitate a small terror to cut-back,
whittle, shape, and carve. A second glance, however, discerns an
inherent sensitivity to form and responsibility towards the lives
of nonhuman kith. As the hand tool carves the wood, the knife
handle shapes the hand in turn. Through the grain of wood, stained
pigments bleed bearings of age and regeneration into the works.
Against the grain, profane histories of materiality and
civilisations converge.

Art form Toggle

Exhibiting artists

Joel Tomlin


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