“I am the sea, you’re surrounded by me!” *clap clap*
Clad in royal blue, the Sea Squad chant; pom poms wave and a call for climate justice is issued. Convened by the artist Liam Geary Baulch in 2016, Sea Squad: Cheerleaders Against Climate Change is a multilingual performance, in which Geary Baulch and crew take on the molecular structure and (hypothetical) voice of the sea.
Taking the Sea Squad‘s chant as a point of departure, You’re Surrounded by Me considers that which surrounds us, yet frequently goes unnoticed or unquestioned. Bringing together new and recent work by 5 artists, this exhibition seeks to direct our attention into the corners of our eyes, alerting us to that which has been consigned to the periphery; rising sea levels, the proliferation of stock imagery, skeuomorphic fallacies, the atomisation of communities and the privatisation of the commons.
In the popular musical drama, The Sound of Music, a chorus of nuns ponder the conundrum; “how do you catch a cloud and pin it down?” This exhibition is driven by a similar question; how do we develop a solid notion of a ubiquitous occurrence, which somehow eludes our attention or grasp?
The un-pinnable cloud – sung of by the Sisters – is somewhat paradoxical. Whilst it’s outward appearance is that of solidity and visible mass, a pin would pass straight through without record. The cloud’s apparent firmness is reflected in the word’s etymology; it is derived from the Old English clud or clod, meaning a hill or a mass of rock. Due to the visual similarities between a rocky mass and a cumulus cloud, the volumes of evaporated water in the sky came to share a name with a material of contrasting physicality, producing a degree of cognitive dissonance.
The artists featured in You’re Surrounded by Me seek to hone in on similar areas of incongruity and tension, instances where; appearances are deceptive, attention is misdirected and the information presented only serves to produce confusion. This exhibition seeks to shine a torch into the encroaching fog, before being surrounded becomes being engulfed.
// ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Chris Alton‘s (b. 1991, Croydon) recent commissions include; ‘Adam Speaks’, The National Trust, Croome, Worcestershire (2017); and ‘Keeley Round’, Turf Projects, Croydon, (2016). Recent exhibitions include; ‘Of the Sea’, The Historic Dockyard, Chatham; ‘Under the Shade I Flourish’, xero, kline & coma, London (both 2016); ‘Outdancing Formations’, Edith-Russ-Haus, Oldenburg; and ‘each other’, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire (both 2015). Recent curatorial projects include; ‘Once More with Feeling(s)’, with Rachel Hill, Lewisham Arthouse (2015). He has been awarded the; Edith-Russ-Haus Award for Emerging Media Artists of the Sparda Bank 2015; Lewisham Arthouse Graduate Studio Award 2015; and Collyer Bristow Graduate Award 2014. He was selected for the Catlin Guide 2015. Alton is currently participating in Syllabus III (2017-18) and is a graduate of Middlesex University, London (2014).
Liam Geary Baulch (b. 1993, London) has exhibited or performed at TEDxEastEnd, London; ONCA Gallery, Brighton; The Nunnery Gallery, London (all 2017); The benevolent association of excellent solutions, London; The Averard Hotel, London; Fat Relic, London; La Fête des Chants de Marins, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec; La Biennale de Sculpture, Quebec; Limbo, London; The PAD, London (all 2016); Lewisham Arthouse, London; Royal Academy of Arts, London (all 2015). Recent publications include; Love Dance More: Dancing Ecologically, USA (2017). Recent awards, residencies and programmes include; Into the Wild, Chisenhale Studios, London (2016-2017); Est-Nord-Est Residency, Quebec (2016); Space, City, Land, Sea: Performance Residency, ONCA, Brighton (2016); The Elke Lacey Award for Textiles (2015). Geary Baulch is a graduate of Goldsmiths, University of London (2015); and Camberwell College of Art, University of Arts London (2012).
Naomi Fitzsimmons (b. 1989, London) has recently exhibited her work at Slade School of Fine Art, London; Chalton Gallery, London; (both 2017); UCL Culture Launch, London; UCL Art Museum, London; MeetFactory, Prague (all 2016); GEMAK, The Hague; The Austrian Cultural Forum, London (both 2015); Chelsea Arts Club, London; HaHa Gallery, Southampton; Atelierhaus der Akademie der Bildendie Kunste, Vienna; Mile End Pavillion, London (all 2014). She was the recipient of the UCL Art Museum residency 2016, the Acme/Chelsea Studio Award 2013-2014 and GloguAiR Chelsea Award 2013. She was shortlisted for the Felix Slade Scholarship at Slade School of Fine Art 2015, The Travel Boise Scholarship at Slade School of Fine Art, 2017 and the UAL Future Map Exhibition 2013. She is a graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art (2017) and Chelsea College of Art and Design (2013).
Jasleen Kaur’s (b. 1986, Glasgow) recent commissions and projects include; ‘The Learned Society of Extraordinary Objects’, Somerset House, London; ‘Collecting Europe’, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; ‘Objects of Transcendence’, Watermans, London, (all 2017); ‘The Tending of Something’, Solo Show with FCA&C, St. Andrews; ‘Crafting the Line’, Art on the Underground, London; ‘The Thing With Maltasingh’, Gallery SO, London; ‘Floor, Wall, Garage, Magazine Rack’, Solo Show, Hantverk & Found, Margate; ‘100 for 100’, Ben Uri: Past, Present & Future, Christie’s, London; ‘Jasleen Kaur at my mum’s house’, Sunridge Avenue Projects, Luton, London; ‘Unexpected’, Ben Uri Gallery, London; ‘Baltic39 Figure Three’, Baltic 39, Newcastle (all 2016); ‘Jerwood Makers Open 2015’, Jerwood Space, London; ‘Migrations’, KANEKO Centre, Nebraska, NCAD Gallery, Dublin, ADspace, Sydney (all 2015). She is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art (2008) and Royal College of Art (2010).
Katherine Midgley (born 1992, Lancashire) has recently exhibited or performed at: CHAIN at 15, Nunhead (2017); A.P.T Gallery, Deptford; LIMBO, Peckham; The Laughing Bell, Bermondsey; Turf Projects, Croydon; BALTIC39, Newcastle (all 2016); The Pioneer Centre, Peckham; LIMBO, Margate; Edificio Axa, Porto, Portugal (all 2015); Arkadia International Bookshop, Helsinki, Finland (2014). She has been awarded the William Coldstream Memorial Prize and Anthony Dawson Printmaking Prize. She is a graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art (2014).