Exhibition

On These Magic Shores: An Exhibition of Contemporary Illustration At O3 Gallery, Oxford Castle Quarter in association with Comma

4 May 2013 – 16 Jun 2013

O3 Gallery

Oxford, United Kingdom

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  • 10 Mins walk from Oxford Train and Coach Station

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The O3 Gallery, in association with Comma, presents On These Magic Shores. Featuring the work of a selection of the UK's leading illustrators, this group exhibition will consider visual language and aesthetic tendencies in contemporary illustration. On These Magic Shores will delve into the distinctive panoramas and enter the idiosyncratic domains conjured by contemporary illustrators, and explore the shifting uses of line, colour and form at the intersection of traditional draughtsmanship and digital imaging. Visual language at the point of this intersection is characterised by a profound emphasis on line, a flattening of form, depth and volume, and an interest in geometric patterns as apparent in the work of Yee Ting. One could read in these concerns a reaction against figurative naturalism and illusionism; a sustained dissociation from ‘traditional' draughtsmanship and representation in illustration, a championing of ‘pure' forms of expression, and an appeal to the visual lexicon of childhood nostalgia. Jo Cheung's reimagining of Goldilocks can be seen as being emblematic of this stylistic impetus. Concurrent throughout these nevertheless diverse and distinct visual languages is a concern with folkloric techniques; particularly evident in the extensive use of anthropomorphism. The personification of animals, often woodland animals, serves to locate many of these works in relation to a tradition of fables and fairytale narratives whilst providing a thematic pivot upon which these traditions can be refashioned and reworked for a contemporary audience, perhaps perfectly exemplified by Isobel Kho's enigmatic pigeon. Focusing on and celebrating the playful, imaginative worlds portrayed by these illustrators, the exhibition will explore the witty narratives and contemporary visual twists on traditional folklore imagery found in these works. On these magic shores children at play are for ever beaching their coracles. We too have been there

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