In the current political climate where issues such as Brexit, notions of national identity and people’s choice are very much to the fore, this exhibition explores the interrelationship of collective identity, state/nationhood and the role of the individual. In the wake of the Russian Revolution’s centenary, and at a time where many nations are re-configuring these relationships, the exhibition places historic Soviet state posters in dialogue with the work of two contemporary artists, whose work also address these concerns.
Louis Bennett, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art in 2017, winner of the prestigious Stevenston Award for Painting at this year’s New Contemporaries at the Royal Scottish Academy, is a figurative painter who is concerned with British national identities, histories and politics. His paintings deal with colonial nostalgia, the dangers of nationalism and the contradictions of contemporary Britain. His work takes visual cues from diverse sources, from 19th century satirical cartoons to The Beano, helping situate his work firmly within British visual culture. These paintings exist within a dreamlike narrative space where elements of the real collide with fantasy, and the recognisable sits alongside the obscure. Louis is a selected artist for Bloomberg New Contemporaries, opening at the Liverpool Biennial in July 2018.
James Fox is a textile artist and printmaker. A beneficiary of the prestigious Muir Trust residency in 2017 for artists of national standing, and a past winner of the Textile Society development Trust Award, James has also exhibited at the People’s Museum, Manchester, as well as internationally and throughout the UK. His recent work has been guided by the political climate and his need to investigate and comment on the heady subjects of class divide, trade union history and the need for disenfranchised groups to have equality. Sometimes light heartedly and with gingham.. His work strives to convey ideas and questions about our expectations regarding gender roles, work, culture and other aspects of our social and personal lives. King Street Studios provide opportunities for local, regional and national contemporary emerging and established artists to exhibit their work to new and existing audiences.