Supporting Material is an exhibition that explores the correspondences, synergies and fractures between two artists, filmmaker Amanda Loomes and painter Ian Parker.
The stretched canvas, or support, is a load bearing material. But ‘support’ also alludes to advocacy, corroboration and encouragement. Initial conversations between the artists explored shared contexts and meanings leading to the exchange of words, objects and things - an iterative process of production, response and further production. The exhibition includes some of these explorations, reflexively foregrounding the architecture of the works production - cognisant of the educational context of the gallery.
Journeys were made to Belgium where flax is grown for linen canvas, leading to the morphing and shaping of ideas, in particular their inflection with a sense of the quickening of history. The linen industry is located in Flanders, a landscape marked by the period 1914 - 1945, with memorials to what some historians have termed the ‘European Civil War’. Demarcation lines, just a few meters apart, are inscribed on the surface of the earth and it is possible to walk in landscapes made by massive explosions. Historical and contemporary conditions resonate. Paul Nash fought and painted here as a war artist. Perhaps the canvas he used was made from flax grown here?
Taking the idea of supporting material literally, Amanda Loomes has filmed with the linen industry and Claessens Artists’ Canvas to consider the labour that haunts the canvas. Working with ideas of production, mechanisation and repetition, Loomes attempts to imbue the supporting material with some of the humanity that is integral to its making. Both projection and screen are deployed to play with ideas around the frame as both container and edge.
Ian Parker has produced a body of work where found historical material, photographic imagery, map colour keys, diagrams and moving image screen grabs are subject to chance digital manipulation which is then transcribed through the act of painting. Parker sees this process as a means of bringing extrinsic material into the arena of painting, however obliquely, and without a defining narrative. He sees these paintings as acts of re-presentation taking place within both intrinsic medium specific considerations, and in dialogue with the extrinsic source content.
With thanks to Amy Owen for curatorial support and her text, ‘Reflections on the frame: medium and process’, and to Claessens for their kindness in providing canvasses.
Amanda Loomes works with the digital experimental documentary form, imbuing materials and places with the abstracted stories and personalities of the people they where made by, whilst reflexively drawing attention to the works digital construction. She graduated from the RCA in 2006 and was shortlisted for Jerwood Open Forest in 2013 and co-commissioned by HOUSE and Photoworks in 2015. In 2016 she was invited to work with the National Trust, producing Keepers, a multi layered digital documentary of the estate workers at Lyme. She has recently completed a collaborative audio artwork, Spiky Black, with artist Alison Carlier and Metal, hybridising the British rose growing industry and punk. Website: amandaloomes.net
Ian Parker was born in Wolverhampton and lived in England, Guyana and Nigeria as a child. Educated at Wimbledon School of Art, Kingston Polytechnic and the Royal Academy Schools, on graduating he undertook fellowships and residencies at Cardiff Institute of Higher Education and Newcastle Polytechnic. Primarily a painter, his work references the vocabulary inherited from 20th century non-figurative practice within an expanded notion of the nature and practice of painting. He has exhibited regularly since 1977 at venues including the Hayward Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and Guildhall Art Gallery, London. Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh and Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include: ’Brute’, ARTHOUSE1, London. ’The Mesh’, Watermans Arts Centre, London. ‘Personal Relations’, London, Netherlands and Italy. He was elected member of the London Group 1998. He held full and part-time academic posts from 1980 until retiring as Head of School, School of Fine Art, UCA in 2015. Website: www.ianparker.org.uk
Amy Owen is an artist and curator based in Guildford, Surrey. Graduating with a BA Fine Art in 2012, she is now studying for a MA in Curatorial Practice at the University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury. Owen’s curatorial practice is concerned with the relationships between painting, surface, structure and the architectures of space. How the extended surface and the physicality of material can manipulate the perception and experience of painting. She has recently curated Material Environments, an exhibition series of UCA 2017 Fine Art graduates, exploring the relationship between space and the human condition. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org