Tom Henderson: Wandering Lines
Tom Henderson: Wandering Lines
Private view and Frieze Week party, Tuesday 15 October from 6:30pm
"The works' main aim is to blend sculptural materials with painterly intentions to such a degree that it is impossible to decipher in which realm they truly belong."
jaggedart is delighted to present Tom Henderson’s third solo show at the gallery.
Tom Henderson’s works bridges his three main interests of material objectivity, three-dimensional optics and twentieth century abstract art. The works’ main aim is to blend sculptural materials with painterly intentions to such a degree that it’s impossible to decipher in which realm they truly belong. His work is predominantly made up of wall-mounted objects that continue his ongoing investigation into ideas of the picture plane and spatial optics while questioning the very essence of materials.
The principal material common to every piece is Plexiglas. It is an extremely versatile material that possesses two qualities that inspire the work – form and light. Unlike a flat canvas, a sheet of Plexiglas is a multifaceted object that is able to support itself in space as well as absorb, reflect and permeate light. It is the combination of these two qualities, and innovative processes, that inform the work.
The large-scale works consist of cut and reassembled sheets of Plexiglas. The process starts with a simple line drawing on paper, which is then transposed onto the Plexiglas. The lines are then cut creating several segments, each one with edges that can be coloured and surfaces that can be altered for effect. These sections are carefully reassembled but with borders that permeate colour within the surface of the painting. Natural light reflects off the internal painted edges to create a soft diffusion of local colour on either side, allowing each section to resonate with subtle and alternative hues. Joseph Albers had a name for this; he called it ‘film colour’, like the green of a lawn outside reflecting onto the white wall of an interior. Colour itself maybe a fixed, ready-made element but its effects are dependent entirely on the light.
The light within each piece is influenced through varying the surfaces and coloured edges. A dark shiny surface can give depth to flatness by reflecting the actual environment in which the work is situated, but it is an inexpressive and mechanical depth that lacks any deep emotional feeling. A matt white surface, on the other hand, absorbs the light, trapping it within the shallow picture plane, enabling colour to bleed across each separate section, which in turn, draws the viewer towards the inner world of the artwork itself. This creates a tension in the very fabric of the work between the outward, reflecting sections and the softer ambient areas of elusive colour.
The shifting perception in an encounter with the works is crucial to the central idea that these perfectly flat ‘paintings’ are in fact thin sculptures. Movement in every axis reveals a diverse range of colours, edges and surfaces that draw our attention to the painting as an object and its relationship to the room in which it is situated. Indeed the paintings demand resolution not only in perceptual terms but also in the physical space of the viewer who has to move about the work to make sense of it.
In the absence of elaborate pictorial arrangements, the paintings appeal to a heightened awareness of chromatic shift. The lines, which are cut through the panel early on in the process, provide formal composition but also establish the physical attributes of the work. When painted and reassembled each section is susceptible to the colours that radiate from the adjacent lines. It is this interaction and diffusion of colour that gives each work’s simple compilation of sections its surprising complexity and richness. Through a process of deconstruction and reconstruction, the key qualities of form and light succeed in creating objects which focus our attentions on some of the mysteries of the world around them, while maintaining their own remove and self sufficiency from it.
Alongside the large-scale sculptures, there will be a series of smaller paper works, The Folded Paper works consist of a series of coloured and translucent papers folded over a slice of Plexiglas. This thin sheet gives the piece its practical physicality but also enables light and shadow to play amongst the sheets of hanging paper. A surplus of edges, corners, layers and veiled forms contribute to assemblages that tease the eye and please the mind.
Tom studied at Newcastle and lives and works in France. He has made several large- scale private commissions and has exhibited with jaggedart since 2006.