A B S T R A C T H O U S E
15 between 1 and 26
Since graduating with a Master’s degree from Birmingham University in 1994, British artist Caroline Taylor has mainly worked in the fields of drawing and sculpture, constructing work from a range of materials including wood, plaster and concrete; in addition to this she has been instrumental in setting up a number of artist groups and projects including The Staffordshire Experimental Sculpture Workshop and, more recently, New British Art. As a founder member of New British Art Caroline Taylor has been a driving force in a number of high level projects such as Blue Bell Hangar and Sal Venezia (the collective’s shortlisted entry for Wales at the Venice Biennale 2011).Taylor’s own sculpture emerges from her drawing practice. The exhibits on show here examine form and space and will inform sculpture while remaining discrete works in their own right.
15 between 1 and 26, a reference to the file numbers in the body of work from where this selection arrives, extends a particular notion central to the collection; a quality of pragmatism broad to foster ideas, poetry and humour (15.jpg). Open-ended drawings, wonderfully bleak in places, point beyond themselves to a number of cultural loci, architecture and shadow, redundant machinery in post-industrial landscape, secret military science, technology generally, communication systems and surveillance; in short, the collection conveys a genuine compassion for the brutal scale of heavy industry, which becomes manifest in the drawing through touch, sensitivity and patient understanding; the more we look, the louder the noise becomes; the drawings think; they whirr, hum and vibrate in silence. All realised with watercolour, pencil and ink.
Caroline Taylor lives and works in the UK, based in Carmarthenshire, Wales.
Philip Smith (1962)
Phil Smith is a British abstract painter who studied at Middlesex University in the late 1990s and Camberwell College of Art 2007/8; he exhibits widely in Europe and South America and lives and works in East London. Smith spent a period working as a professional cartoonist prior to art college and a filtrate of this time remains in the self-conscious humour embedded in complex compositions afforded colour and shape often surfacing in a number recurring motifs; clouds (or speech bubbles?), mountainous swells. soft architecture, scribbled grids; allusions to real and invented spaces, nearly-recognisable forms, elusive shapes. In harmony, a palpable fascination for the diagrammatic: flat-pack furniture instructions, technical diagrams and the language of information graphics.
Smoke Signals is a collection of snapshot paintings, which seem to point at memory and everyday experiences deconstructed and recomposed as a kind of journey; drive by compositions rather than landscapes, which transport us from table to continent through ruin and beauty; a platform upon which all thingamajigs and obsessions become equal.
amanhã não hoje
Cornélio Lambert (1882-1962)
Nossa Senhora Do Carmo De Cambuí became a parish on 1st June 1850 and the town we know as Cambuí in 1892. With 'the square', it's point of origin, frame for church and civil buildings, as locus for urban sociability and procession, Cambuí began when Cornélio Lambert was 10 years old.
Although still unclear how he accessed photographic equipment, which was not common place at the time, a young Lambert began to record Cambuí from the age of 20 and continued for the next 50 years. His is the only consistent record of the town developing and as such this portrait of a man on the periphery of a deeply religious, highly conservative community, is priceless heritage.
Lambert like Walker Evans was able to understand the value of subject matter and how to preserve it as art form. The principal focus for both was the character of time and place; the story of people, their setting and the things they believed in.
Unlike Evans, Cornélio Lambert recorded Cambuí from distance only; there are no portraits, no close-ups although there are people; for the most part however he seems invisible to them; in fascinating angles too high to be ground too low to be building, Lambert seems to float unseen; safer at distance unimpeded by the town's folded arms; in one image a small child ventures close ; as she clings to a concrete baluster for assurance she watches as she attempts to establish what kind of a man this is.
It would be almost impossible to know how aware Lambert was of Modernism, his subject was (still is) routed in a very particular realism, which nevertheless speaks of the spectator’s role, the artists' place and the beautiful potential of ordinary things.