At a Tangent

Tuesday 17th August - Saturday 2nd October
Concourse & Malt Room

At a Tangent At a Tangent At a Tangent At a Tangent At a Tangent At a Tangent At a Tangent At a Tangent

At A Tangent

1. a straight line or plane that touches a curve or curved surface at a point, but if extended
does not cross it at that point
2. a completely different line of thought or action

You can view the install here

There is something profound in the simplicity of a tangent. The point of contact is fleeting, the arc of the line dynamic, the precision of the geometry elegant. A Euclidian echo that is not only a mathematical tool of tremendous utility, but an aesthetic convention of great poetic richness. It is a casting-off point for this exhibition which explores the enigmatic and pivotal nature of linear interactions through the rigorous and exacting practise of the eleven artists assembled.

For the past three decades, Jane Harris has investigated the geometric form of the ellipse – an elastic shape that lends itself to allusion and can take on multiple identities. Her elliptical forms have a slippery kind of ambiguity and through her handling of paint she proposes various possibilities for how we perceive them. They can be apprehended as shapes which appear flat on the surface of a support, while simultaneously carrying a sense of recessional depth. Harris’ paintings operate within a far-reaching pictorial heritage – including the spatial complexities of the early Renaissance, the flamboyant ornament of the Baroque, through to the development of Modernism.

Interference patterns arise through the chance meeting of lines in the drawings of Maribel Mas. Using cut-out cardboard templates as a guide, she traces lines that are taut as strings and vibrate like those of a musical instrument. The repetitive patterns of serial music have indeed been influential in her work, in particular the minimalistic compositions and “phase music” of Steve Reich, with its almost identical phrases overlapping
and slowly shifting out of sync. A similar approach has led the artist to experiment with the possibilities of a “phase drawing,” using only the simplest of materials: paper and ink.

The practice of Wendy Smith is rooted in drawing for three main reasons. First, economy of means:
provided she has a pen or pencil, a straightedge and a surface of some sort, she can work almost anywhere. Second, drawing allows her to be almost self-sufficient (even if it also entails that no part of the working process can be farmed out to anyone else). Third - but most important - the line, which is fundamental to her drawing, is an endless source of fascination. The drawn line is not merely a mark on a surface, it is the trace of an action: the line embodies physical movement. People are often surprised to learn that her drawings are made by hand and that the imagery is not, nor could it be, computer-generated. For her, the actual activity of drawing is vital; drawing is the equivalent of thinking and not merely a way of transcribing ideas into
visual terms.

The scored work of Ben Gooding lies at the boundary between drawing and sculpture. Each line is scored by hand using an etching needle directly into a metallic surface creating a kinetic movement of light that follows the curvature of the line. Each line begins as a carefully drawn mark transcribed onto a sheet material. This linear “profile” is then cut out to make a tool which acts as a guide for the score. He then methodically repeats this line for as many times as is required in order to fill the entire picture plane. The result is a mercurial surface that is determined by the geometry of the line but reacts to the movement of the viewer.

Daryl Brown’s practice is explicitly construction led. He uses repetition and rituals of making to create complex forms through additive extremes, which are then subjected to more traditional and tactile processes of cutting, carving and sanding to reveal exquisite geometric abstractions on the surface. For this exhibition he is presenting two new works: 'The In' and 'The Out'. These are two fragmented spherical forms created from one another.

Robert Currie works with nylon monofilament across the mediums of sculpture and installation to produce work that explores the inevitable emergence of order from disorder and the mercurial transitions between these states. His compositional decisions are informed through the implementation of rigorous mathematical theories that allow his sculptures to achieve a seductive kineticism. Although determined by a numerical system, one conversely discerns the unmistakable presence of the human touch in the physical production of his work, and it is this tactile quality that makes his sculptural output so alluring. Currie constructs each piece meticulously by hand, precisely positioning, drilling, wrapping and threading the filaments to realise artworks that are simultaneously static and fluid, both fixed and temporal.

The drawing practise of Duncan Bullen operates on the edge of perception. Viewed from close up, each drawn point, each mark is visible as a small action, stepping back from the drawing, each separate mark dissolves in our field of vision leading to a deceleration of perception. Underpinning his work is an interest in reductive and systems-based approaches to drawing, aligning with meditative practice. He sees each drawing as a process to focus on present moment experience. This is neither self-expression nor conceptually led (although it does not preclude either) but rather experiential and meditational, as a means of accessing presence –
the here and now of the perpetual perceptual present.

Geometric principles are explored in an experimental way in the work of Brigitte Parusel. She is currently working with a particular geometric pattern composed of intersecting circles that are spaced at regular integers. This two-dimensional graphic compositional device forms the basis for her metallic sculptures, which undergo a process of cutting and folding re-imagining the initial drawn pattern in elegant curved forms that reflect the surrounding space in kaleidoscopic distortions. These folded works are “test pieces”, which investigate the behaviour of simple elements and their potential to form complex structures.

Tony Blackmore's folded reliefs are created from a process of drawing, scoring and folding using a single sheet of a matt translucent polyester film, which has a very particular material quality in its reaction to light. The compositions he devises are based on and bounded by grids that have evolved from the intricate numerical sequencing of lines and angles. These often create unexpected results and evolving quadrilaterals where no two quadrilaterals are same.

A close studio practise has developed between Patrick Morrissey and Haz Hancock which has led to an ongoing and productive collaboration over the last decade. They produce two- and three-dimensional works that explore tangential structures formed by a close matrix of lines that coalesce and dissipate, and which are metaphors for the transient nature of geometric form found in the natural and built environment. Morrissey and Hancock employ rudimentary codes, rules and systems to assist in this process, allowing cumulative error and intervention to play out in the process of creation. They co-founded and currently run Saturation Point, an online editorial and curatorial project in London, with the objective of contextualising dialogue around systems, reductive and related practice within the broader framework of contemporary British
non-objective art.

The work presented in this exhibition is concerned with the liminal quality of line, the architectural curvature of space, the coalescence of form from intersecting planes, accreted points and poised vectors. Ever present is a highly considered geometric operation that distils and defines the work, making explicit the beauty and elegance of an underpinning mathematics. It is in the draw of a brush, the cut of an edge, the tension of a thread, the pressure of a score that this exploration of tangential possibilities manifests itself.

Exhibition is free. 

Open Tues - Sat 10am - 2pm.

Private View - 12-2pm Saturday 21st August.