23 May - 15 June 2013

Sara J BeazleyCharlotte Hodes – María Noël

A variety of sources given new contexts

Sara J Beazley, Charlotte Hodes and María Noël have been inspired by different source material found through art, literature, history, landscapes and textiles. Amalgamating their respective sources, Sara, Charlotte and María respond using collage, married with a range of different techniques including a variety of printmaking techniques, intricate paper cuts, painting and ceramics.

The works in the exhibition step deftly through the plethora of art history. From one of María’s paintings, an image of Bernini’s travertine angel that guards the Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome exists alongside Sara’s print of the jostling restaurant signs of Kowloon, Hong Kong. The figures dance across the rounded surface of Charlotte’s ceramic vessels, with women dressed in Grecian robes, corsets and hooped skirts, or flapper dresses, side by side. The exhibition has a distinctly international flavour with artwork responding to found materials from the UK, Europe, Hong Kong and Argentina. In addition to a contemporary aesthetic, each artist has embraced a modern way of working, which is combined with more traditional techniques. Sara sources vintage postcards from ebay, María scours the internet for source material and Charlotte utilises laser cutting techniques to render minute detail.

Both Sara and Charlotte are particularly interested in textiles, which they use to different effect in relation to collage. Sara J Beazley explores change in urban landscapes layering collographs and intaglio printing techniques to incorporate elements of colour, pattern, textiles and texture. Combining found images from architectural drawings, textiles, old postcards and stamps Sara creates elegant unique prints. Sara has recently reverted to a more immediate process in the studio, by making collograph plates, which was the first printing technique she learnt. This intaglio process is often described as a more simple form of etching and uses a card or mount board as a printing plate instead of a metal. These complex, layered and visually intense images reflect the densely populated area where Sara had her studio in Kowloon. In other prints, lace is layered over the top half of the page, mimicking the clouds which hover over Victoria Harbour. Azure blues reflect the colours of the sea and the bay. Traditional junks are replaced with 747s as Sara depicts a city of contrasts.

Sara J Beazley earned a Masters Degree from Camberwell College of Art in 2002, and has since lived and worked in London, Hong Kong, New York and Paris, exhibiting in London and internationally. Embracing the flexibility of printmaking, Sara has secured high profile commissions and collaborations with Shanghai Tang, Selfridges, Liberty of London, the Pedder Group, the Harilela Hotel Group, Japanese fashion label FurFur, and Coco Ribbon. Sara has been a visiting lecturer in the Printmaking Department of London Metropolitan University.

Collage and textiles are principal elements of Charlotte Hodes’ work; both in the installation of ceramic vessels in the gallery window, and in the paper cuts and works on paper on display in the gallery. The labour and detail within each work belies the playful nature of the figures. The work questions the position of the female figure as represented in art history, as a decorative motif and as being inextricably linked to the domestic. Charlotte’s work centres around the female figure within a contemporary context depicted as a silhouette with motifs loaded with feminine associated references such as the vessel and skirt. She draws upon the decorative and applied arts, fashion and costume, often using archives and collections as a source for projects. She works by hand and digitally both with drawing, through which she builds an 'archive' of usable visual imagery and with collage. Her work addresses how the fragmented and tactile nature of the ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ of collage can embed meaning. Charlotte's work is informed by her experience as a painter and is investigated through large scale papercuts which have been both digitally collaged and intricately hand cut, as well as ornately decorated ceramic vessels and glass. Collage is a constant element of her work, both the digital of ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ of the computer and hand cut and paste in the studio. The depiction of the female figure, drawn from contemporary and historical sources is the overriding and recurrent theme. The work evokes sensuousness and a sumptuous feeling of celebration, simultaneously questioning the position of the female figure as decorative motif.

Charlotte Hodes lives and works in London. She studied Fine Art as an undergraduate student (1978–82) and Painting as a postgraduate student (1982–84) at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London. At the Slade School under the Professorship of Lawrence Gowing, she was a student of Paula Rego, Stanley Jones and John Hoyland. Charlotte was Associate Artist at the Wallace Collection, London from 2005-2007 and Winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2006. She is Professor in Fine Art at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.

A daughter and granddaughter of Argentinean writers, María Noël responds to literature, rather than textiles, as the main influence in her paintings and works on paper. María considers her new series entitled "What do we talk about when we talk about art,” as a homage to Art itself, a collage of ideas, quotes, and references which invite the viewer to discover and play, making free associations. María explains that “Collage, one of the techniques I apply the most, relates to a spirit that defines me: that of taking a bit of everything and everywhere, of giving new meaning to the discarded, of generating chance meetings.” The process of drawing together, from different sources, deconstructing and reconstructing, is important to María, through collecting old photos, wrapping paper, pages of old books, manuscripts, letters and other documents. Parts of the text have been underlined to emphasise different elements, arrows swirl around the figures. Ordinarily, arrows denote direction, but here, it seems as if they give us a glimpse of María’s working process. In "What do we talk about when we talk about art " Maria explores the notion of originality in art. María’s appropriations and amalgamations of varied source material into her own works reject the notion of the impossibility of original thought, and celebrate the cultural influences which shape our learning and our lives. The title of this series in itself is a nod to contemporary Literature, paraphrasing the title of the short story by American writer Raymond Carver. María’s work is imbued with visual and literary puns. Fragments of Picasso’s Suite Vollard are reproduced, a series of prints in which Picasso reflects on the artistic process, drawing scenes of the artist and the model in the studio. The series became a way of recognising that some authors continue to hold interest and others do not, and of confirming her belief that Beauty, with its multiple facets that artists continue to discover, is, for María, an absolute value.

María Noël lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. María studied Fine Art and Philosophy and Art History at the University of Buenos Aires. She studied with influential Argentine artists, Aurelio Macchi, Alberto Delmonte and Luis Barragán. Her work is in private and public collections globally.