Shadowlands

Shadowlands

1 November - 24 November 2012

Katherine JonesKazuhito Takadoi

Trees reach out to the sky, roots embrace the ground, a bridge between two worlds

Private View: Wednesday 31 October

Shadowlands draws together new work by Katherine Jones and Kazuhito Takadoi, exploring light and shadow through exquisite prints and three dimensional works made from grass, twigs and woods. Trees, branches and their shadows are integral, either as material or as content, bridging the natural and man-made.

Katherine Jones has created a new body of work following her series of prints depicting a recurrent structure, which is simultaneously protected and stifled by the surrounding forest. In these new prints the viewer is shown strange landscapes of a child’s playground. Katherine sees the playground as a place of shelter; a playful environment where a child is protected from the outside. This is reflected in the strong use of colour, enlivening and radiating from otherwise dark and macabre prints. Katherine uses traditional forms of printmaking combined with drawing, watercolour as well as three dimensional works.

Threads of branches spread across the page, while whole parts of the playgrounds are rearranged; sections don’t connect as one would expect, giving the impression that the artist returns to the same place time and time again, and stitches these memories together. Light is obscured, leaving shadows to fall over the ground. More disconcerting is the light emanating from these slides, climbing frames or rope swings, which have no shadows of their own. We see distorted silhouettes; there are no children playing here, yet the natural and man-made materials provide shelter in an external space.

In this series, there is an increased awareness of the boundaries between the natural and man-made world. A belisha beacon is seen through the branches of a great Cedar tree, casting a strange dappled light through the shadowy conifer’s branches, evoking French lace. The perception of depth is distorted and the fence seems to pass through the very hollow of the tree. In these collographs and etchings, the playground structures take on the role of the house. Conflicting ideas of nurture, protection and collaboration, which are prevalent in Katie’s work, become comparable to ideas of returning or leaving the figurative or actual home.

Kazuhito Takadoi’s work is deeply involved with nature, light and shadows through both the medium and his subject, inspired by the rich woodland surrounding his birthplace of Nagoya, Japan.

In this new work, he introduces blocks of wood and paper string to his existing materials of hand picked, hand grown grasses, leaves and twigs from his garden. Unframed sculptures of paper string, stitched through circular oak disks are mounted directly onto the wall, giving a greater sense of three dimensionality, allowing the viewer to engage more directly with the materials. Kazuhito uses a range of wood including Cedar of Lebanon, Oak, Elm and Walnut. The titles of his works allude further to the natural world, not only to the woodlands and materials he uses, but also to the weather and the cosmos, with titles such as KIRI (fog) and HOSHI (stars), written in English and Japanese. Apparently abstract, each piece has a story behind it.

The exhibition also includes framed works with hand sewn grasses, stitched over gold and silver leaf. As the grasses dry and mature they embark on a subtle colour shift, comparative to seasonal change. The visual result is a subtle interplay between the grasses and their shadows. Kazuhito describes his fascination with shadows, “from the deepest black in midsummer to pale silver grey in the weak winter sun. I take joy in the slow decay when everything eventually returns to the earth, only to be re-born.” Kazuhito’s exquisite works are full of dichotomies: His work is both minimal, yet opulent. It is simultaneously fragile yet has strength, and combines the formality of Eastern discipline with abstraction from Western art.

Katherine Jones has been awarded the Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust Award for the artists book High Light Bell at The London Book Art Fair 2010 and is now in the collection of the National Art Library at the V&A. Other selected recent awards include the Northern Print Biennale Solution Group Prize 2009, the London Print Studio Award 2009, the T N Lawrence and Son print prize 2009, the Oriel Wrexham - Intaglio Printmaker Award 2009, and the East London Printmakers Great Art Prize 2009. Her work is in the collections of the V&A Library, the V&A prints and drawings collection, University College Hospital and the House of Lords. Katherine has exhibited in the UK and internationally and has been represented by jaggedart since 2009

Kazuhito trained in Agriculture and Horticulture in Japan the US and in the UK, before studying Art and Garden Design. Having studied at the Hokkaido Agricultural and Horticultural School at Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, The Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley, England, Longwood Gardens,