The exhibition offers a new conceptual perspective on the Nocturne. The representation of light is a defining feature in the exhibition - as the works of art concerned with the transformative quality of the night, they traverse the elements of visual notations and movement, treated akin to musical composition.
Nicholas Hughes’ photography examines the space between the world that people inhabit and that which nature still claims as its own. In this intermediary space between the two, the photographer examines the essence of the human spirit and its relationship with nature. By focusing on boundaries, plains and surfaces he acknowledges the limits humanity have imposed on the natural world and contemplates the future for both.
Guy Haddon Grant’s sculptures teem with contrasts; emptiness and visibility, and ideas of presence. Harnessing and transforming the vitality of our atmosphere, then steeping it in a sense of our own environment, Haddon Grant captures a dark and complex story fit with our times. His use of monochrome is key to this shifting presence of his Cloud Totems sculptures, making them dense, ominous, heavy but ethereal, flattening at a distance like ink blots and emerging up close, to be at the stark opposite end of the tonal scale to the surroundings. The artist’s charcoal drawings are almost pre-photographic in essence. Rather than direct marking, he coaxes candle soot across the paper, responding to it in an expressive, meditative process, in which external contexts are removed, building up the darks by allowing it to accumulate and creating the space in which the white takes form in stark contrast light and without; representative of a void of darkness.
Dean + James have a visionary sense that exists within a frisson of duality by focusing on time and spirituality, light and dark, objectivity and emptiness. Their work represents circuitous change and often recalls to the cycle of life and death in which the material world is bound. Their elemental works combine contemporary techniques with fine art traditions and a minimalist approach. Using the oldest artistic medium - charcoal - like the asphalt dust upon the surface of their paintings, there is a diffusion of the image as with the sense of a nocturne scene. The aesthetic of the veil in their work is a principle of composition - it is the dissolution of formal clarity achieved by the placement of this abstracted ‘veil’ between the subject and the observer. In their exploration of such evanescence, the artist’s visual language emphasises the transformative experience of light and darkness allowing the viewer to interpret one's subjective experience of the world.
In these pieces, the artists convey a sense of beauty and tranquillity with nature as a score realised through the process of observation and act of creation. The qualities of these moments - the sense of grace, momentary movement and repose - and their artistic rumination often turn to a more complex impression. Some of the pieces bring to light hidden depths of one's consciousness; for what is done in the dark, must come to light. For all the artists, the visual sensations of art are in symbiosis with the classical renditions of a nocturne - rhythm, harmony, accent, graphic chromatic counterpoints, and cadence - are employed here for expressive purpose.