Jonathan McCree: High Folly

4 Feb 2021 – 20 Mar 2021

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Save Event: Jonathan McCree: High Folly1

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Sim Smith

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Nearest Bus Stop: Camberwell Green (F), bus numbers 35, 40, 42, 45 and Warner Road (J and H) bus numbers 36, 185, 436, N136
  • Nearest London Stations: Oval (Northern Line), Denmark Hill (London Overground and Thameslink) or Loughborough Junction (London Overground and Thameslink)
  • Denmark Hill
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Sim Smith is pleased to present 'High Folly', a solo exhibition by British artist Jonathan McCree. The exhibition is an exploration of spatial ideas and qualities through new sculptural installations and paintings.


Architectural in scale yet light enough to be moved, the sculptures offer new possibilities for engagement and reconfiguration.

It has been suggested that the definition of a folly "lies in the eyes of the beholder" and this is where the power of these sculptures live; in their ability to shift and diverge depending on the viewers perspective. The word folly is underpinned by the notion of play and playfulness, it is characterised by a lack of good sense or foolishness and is also used in reference to a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, or a purpose which is intentionally disguised. Traditionally associated with extravagance; an abundance of pleasure and scarcity of function, a folly can hide something more sinister, mysterious and self-reflective.

These often-misunderstood structures undoubtably offer up an abundance of ornamental splendour, they are enticing and beautiful, but McCree is keen for the viewer to not be so easily taken in by their eccentric virtues.

Offering up a different relationship to that of his paintings, they are comprised of ambiguous shapes arranged into towers, which change and alter as the audience moves around them. Sculpted in cardboard and occasionally produced in metal, the painted shapes are built alone but operate together to become more than the sum of their parts. They are in collaboration with their audience, a tangible addition to their environment, providing a personal connection between the two, shifting and altering depending on the viewer’s perspective. Walk around, peer in and potentially move. These are structures that are put together only to be unfixed again, giving literal agency to a performer or spectator with McCree consciously passing on and actively encouraging our ability to make changes.

Peer in and see painted insides initially concealed by lively external pigments. They relate to the body, to our bodies, our encounters and the complexities of our psychology; to disguising or supressing, covering up and holding back but also to the possibility of rebuilding, un-masking and starting again. They live between the realms of lightness and play and intense critique but at their heart is the possibility for change. Exploring lived experience in the body, these works serve not only as a visual medium, but as a performative one, a study of the physical across space and time.

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Exhibiting artistsToggle

Jonathan McCree


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