Encompassing ideas of the infinite, the absurd, and ‘the virtual’, Tom Dale’s exhibition is ultimately interested in what lies beyond the surface, the speculation of this and all the dichotomies and contradictions this brings. For Dale, this means engaging sculpture specifically with the question of how we activate objects and ideas, and consequently, how we are activated by them ourselves. Sculptures’ greatest strength, according to the artist, is its capacity to make visible the forces of the present, something that Dale places under constant investigation throughout his practice. Like the recent discussions around terms such as Forensic Aesthetics and Object Orientated philosophy, which propose new roles for the object in relation to technology and language, Dale is interested in making a clear distinction between the object as a kind of active knowledge and something that is simply a form of data.
Over recent years Dale has produced a body of work for both galleries and public spaces, bringing to both the same dexterity and questioning vision. Terminal Blue will concentrate on the following pieces, two of which are important works in the development of his practice that are for the first time, to be fully realised, as well as one set of works that have been commissioned especially for John Hansard Gallery.
Terminal Blue - the title work of the exhibition - forms the first part of the show, uniting art specifics, as much of Dale’s work does, such as questions of scale and definition with more phenomenological ones. The piece is partially participatory, consisting of a banner being flown across the sky by plane in the form of a giant-sized colour swatch that details the shift from dark blue to light blue. Seen across the skyline at a specific time, details and a copy of the colour swatch, including the commercial paints names of the colours, will be printed in the local press giving people in the city the opportunity to make a comparison with the swatch and sky that day.
Another work is Infinity Wall, an apparatus that enables the gallery space to continually record, produce and destroy its own memory in real time. The printed images, which will emerge from one of the gallery walls, only to be shredded minutes later, will accumulate in the space over the duration of the exhibition leaving the detritus of its own memory to mingle with the other works in the show.
Key to the exhibition will be an important new body of work which will occupy the central gallery space. A series of sculptures will take their cue from an earlier series of digital images, Vision Machines, and apply the digital rationale of these images to actual objects, intersecting and erasing the assumed logic of construction and recognition.
Like the two central commissions, these objects will in their own way seek to make sense of the changing dynamics between interior/exterior space which Dale sees as something born primarily out of the impact of digital and virtual space, allowing us to examining anew our relationship with what surrounds us and the sense of the infinite.
Over recent years Tom Dale has exhibited widely across the UK and Europe, including solo exhibitions at Poppy Sebire Gallery, London; CAN, Neuchatel, Switzerland; and CCA, Warsaw, as well as group shows at Anthony Reynolds Gallery; Kunst Museum Bonn; Getty Museum, LA; The Whitstable Biennale and within the Hayward Touring exhibition Outrageous Fortune.
A fully illustrated publication produced in partnership with Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre in Cyprus will accompany Terminal Blue, with a contribution from the writer Brian Dillon, curator of the recent Ruin Lust exhibition at Tate Britain, and Jon Wood, Research Curator at The Henry Moore Institute. The publication will be available in summer 2015.
Tom Dale: Terminal Blue is a John Hansard Gallery exhibition supported by The Henry Moore Foundation.