Still Dark: In the depth of winter, obscurity transforms

Still Dark: In the depth of winter, obscurity transforms

31 January - 2 March 2013

Lucy Bainbridge, Helen Cass, Sally Haworth, Jason Hicklin, Tom Henderson, Rachel Shaw Ashton, Patricia Swannell

Lucy Bainbridge captures the changing skyline of London in her new series of screenprints on graphite. They depict an instant, not just of London today, but at the very moment that the light rises or falls over the city. Each day there is a unique viewpoint different aspects of a building are illuminated or cast into darkness. The newly built Shard, elegant but uncompromising is depicted here with great subtlety. Battersea Power Station, about to embark on new era as a residential development, is shown emerging through the mist of the Thames. Lucy graduated from Camberwell and has exhibited with jaggedart since 2010 as well as recently exhibiting in Kyoto.

Helen Cass describes how her work draws “from the habit and repetitive structures of daily life, yet refrains from the dreary repetitions of habit and look toward the profound repetitions of memory.” Helen works with folded and layered materials with increasing subtlety. In earlier work folded swathes of linens and cottons were replicated across their stretchers. Helen has developed ideas of working with repetition and brings the inherent nature of the materials to the foreground. The paper is quilted and collaged; remarkably evocative layered bold monotone pages, creating repeated forms in both texture and composition. “I enjoy the idea of toiling hard, using a time-consuming, repeated activity in order to make something that is barely there or hardly visible… there at the threshold of invisibility, one toils to see.”

Sally Haworth has created a series of paintings entitled Light in darkness which explores the exquisite qualities of light, majesty and monumentality of landscape forms, ranging from the Northern Hebrides to London’s Hampstead Heath. In the midst of darkness, shafts of radiant light clothe voluptuous natural forms, defining their beauty and highlighting the grandeur and delicacy of the natural world. Meticulously rendered in acrylic and watercolour on panels of aluminium, these small, intimate works combine the techniques of painting, photography and printmaking to produce jewel-like, intense images evoking a profound sense of the precious. Wilderness is a series of photographs that seeks to convey the beauty of nature while simultaneously highlighting the increasing fragility of a rapidly diminishing natural realm.

Tom Henderson’s wall based sculptures are dark and elegant and combine an unusually high level of understated detail for works on this large scale. Continuing to work with contemporary materials, including Perspex, spray paint and aluminum as well as oil paint, he softens these hard materials through thoughtful detail. Between large colourful blocks runs a hairline of red; the back of the sculpture is painted to throw a hint of colour onto the wall. Slight curves between panels soften the formal geometric influences, while elsewhere oil paint breaks into the flawless and highly polished surfaces. A series of small studies accompany these works. Tom has exhibited with the gallery since 2006.

Jason Hicklin’s depicts the costal landscape of Britain, weathered and battered by storms, then resting calmly in the aftermath. A highly accomplished printmaker, a triptych of etchings, printed on three separate plates, are arranged so that they almost touch. Jason creates a remarkably painterly quality with this work. Puffin Sound is a single work in charcoal. The movement of the charcoal across the paper evokes the buffeting winds fighting over the landscape. His works are highly dramatic, drawing in the viewer into tempestuous landscapes. Jason studied at St Martins College followed by the Central School of Art. He was elected to the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers in 1993 and is currently the Head of Printmaking at the City and Guilds of London Art School.

Rachel Shaw Ashton‘s work has moved into an exciting new arena as she has begun to use the meticulously hand cut paper forms to draw. Densely arranged to denote shadows, and in areas, so thin as to entirely expose the paper, a figure emerges from the page. The collaged paper does not describe a silhouette, but draws the figure itself. Tiny cut-outs of swifts or swallows flying across the page, themselves constitute larger forms. Rachel depicts a human figure, diving or jumping, made up of a hundred parts all flying in different directions. Rachel has exhibited with jaggedart since 2007.

Patricia Swannell’s new watercolour and pencil painting follows the works of her Marking Time exhibition at the gallery in 2011. "Spending time in a coastal marshland where the boundary between land, water and sky is uncertain and constantly moving, the idea of the threshold has occupied me. Whether a boundary between spaces, concepts or effects, the threshold is a place rich with new possibilities. Below the lowest intensity at which a stimulus becomes perceptible and above the limit below which a stimulus ceases to be perceptible, rests a moment of stillness filled with potential". Patricia's work is subtle, evocative and enigmatic, where the exquisite layer upon layer of watercolour mysteriously obscures what lies within.