Abstracts for a Cascade Garden
October 6th - October 28th 2012
For the exhibition Abstracts for a Cascade Garden Sheffield-based artist James Clarkson draws upon the working relationship of Victor Pasmore and Poole Ceramics. Focusing on Pasmore's mural for the 1951 Festival of Britain Clarkson presents a series of tiled ceramic works that investigate how Pasmore, whilst working as a public artist, developed his work from painting into sculpture, alongside exploring the wider scope of influence that British art in the 1950's had on the designs and concepts of Poole Ceramics.
The Festival of Britain was a key moment in post war Britain, taking the form of a national exhibition centered around a site on the South bank of the Thames. Designed to unite the country and to demonstrate Britain’s contributions to science, art and technology it became synonymous with Clement Attlees’s Labour government. It was rapidly demolished by Churchill’s incoming Conservative government who had described it as ‘three dimensional socialist propaganda’.
Pasmore’s mural at the South Bank site, made in collaboration with Poole Ceramics depicted an abstract cascade of water and was designed to go from an upper level, descending a staircase into an outdoor garden. Clarkson’s exhibition takes this work as a starting point to look at the moment where painterly gesture becomes sculptural.
James Clarkson works primarily with ideas of assemblage, his works often being entirely constructed from found objects and material. The materials he uses are selected for their resemblance and relationship to specific moments of art history. This investigation becomes a means of identifying the slippages in time and meaning that occur when an object or idea assumes its own formal language outside of its original context. Clarkson’s work negotiates the definitions of painting and sculpture, refusing to settle upon clear categories. Each work occupies a precarious position, ever liable to shift and change.
James Clarkson (b. 1987 Liverpool, lives and works in Sheffield). Clarkson studied at Sheffield Hallam University and is a member of S1 Artspace, Sheffield. Recent exhibitions include Easy Living, Less is More Projects, Paris; Colasel, Van Horbourg, Basel, Switzerland; A Painted Sun as a Yellow Spot (solo), Rod Barton Gallery, London; Comedian Corinthian Caricature (solo), Public House Projects, London; A Chance Encounter Between an Umbrella and a Sewing Machine (solo), Rhubaba, Edinburgh; and a collaboration with Haroon Mirza for his solo exhibition /|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|, Spike Island, Bristol. (All 2012)