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ON THE FLOOR
JOHN GIBBONS
NATHANIEL RACKOWE
MARCH 3RD – APRIL 23RD 2011

John Gibbons’ sculptures in this exhibition, have an interesting relationship with the floor. Despite their obvious stillness, they are not rooted as permanent stationary objects. For example, ‘Transition (Monks Song) 2002’ meets the floor with sled-like runners. ‘Breath, 2001’ sits on a trolley with castors, and both pieces imply movement in the same way that a car standing still, tells us everything about its potential for motion. This ‘potential’ is also seen in Nathaniel Rackowe’s low lying piece ‘LP27, 2010’, which hugs the floor, concertina-like; hinting at its capability for lateral expansion and contraction.

The supposed intangibility of space and light and the consequential description of volume rather than mass, is a connecting concern for both artists. Nathaniel Rackowe encloses light, or allows it to emit in organised, particular ways, inside and outside of the work. For example, as it spreads across the floor ‘LP27’ squeezes out bright slithers of light from between its black, corrugated layers. ‘LP22, 2009’, is upright, has slatted wooden sides and a lattice of orange netting. It is the container for a fluorescent bulb, which as an object itself, is presentationally offered diagonally inside the work. Light from the bulb, leaks out from its insufficient container, into the space around it, onto the walls and floor, taking away with it, some of the colour belonging to the container. John Gibbons’ pieces both enclose space and set it free; there is a duality of space that presents us with the dilemma of deciding what is contained, and what is container; what is inside and what is outside.

There is a sense in the work of these two artists that intended meaning is secondary to any received/perceived meaning; that meaning is negotiable. In fact it could almost be said that there is no single purpose, no singular meaning or projection of the artists’ wills. More an understanding that the viewer will bring his or her own perspective to the work, never-the-less, and with some reasssurance, that it will be based on some common ground. For example, materials are industrial - in Nathaniel Rackowe’s case, specifically urban; building materials, that assume architectural significance. In the case of John Gibbons there are echoes of the ‘being made’ and the process of making. It is through the viewer’s further analysis, extended emotional response, and own identity, using a variety of perspectives (emotional, intellectual, visual ….) that the work completes its journey and rounds off the edges of our experience.

Born in Ireland, John Gibbons studied at Limerick School of Art, Crawford Municipal School of Art and St Martins School of Art. Solo exhibitions include: ‘Light/Listen’, Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin, Ireland; ‘Art In Focus’, Charing Cross Hospital, London; 'John Gibbons, Portraits', National Portrait Gallery, London'; ‘The Mayo Drawings’, Jesus College, Cambridge; 'Endless Sky/And Other Stories', Flowers Central, London. 'John Gibbons', Canem Galeria, Castello, Spain; 'North, South, East and West, John Gibbons' New Work: Sculpture in the Workplace’, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London; 'John Gibbons, Charles Tyrrell' , Taylor Galleries, Dublin Ireland; 'Being', Nograd History Museum, Salgotarjan, & Endre Horvath Gallery, Balassagyarmat, Hungary; 'Signs of Passage', Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; 'Form and Metaphor' Kettles Yard, Cambridge & The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester 'Small Sculptures 1981-87', Madeleine Carter Fine Art, Boston, Mass, USA; Galerie Wentzel, Koln, Germany; John Gibbons, Sculpture 1981-86', Serpentine Gallery, London and ‘John Gibbons Sculpture’, John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton

Gibbons’ work is in numerous public and private collections around the world, including: Tate, London; Arts Council England; Edmonton Art Gallery, Alberta, Canada; The Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain; The Czech Museum of Fine Arts, Prague; The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Jesus College, University of Cambridge; Syracuse University, New York; The University of Limerick, Ireland; Nograd History Museum, Salgotarjan, Hungary; Contemporary Arts Society, Dublin; Contemporary Art Society, London; The Cass Foundation, UK; Imperial College Healthcare Charity Art Collection, London; The Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ballycastle, County Mayo and The Bank of Montreal.

Nathaniel Rackowe studied at Sheffield Hallam University and UCL, Slade School Of Fine Art. In 2010 he completed a Delfina Foundation Residency in Beirut. Solo exhibitions include: ‘Legacy I’ - An outdoor sculpture exhibition, LIU gallery, London; ‘What the city left behind’, BISCHOFF/WEISS, London; Solo Show, Delfina Foundation, London; Art Basel Miami Beach, Positions with BISCHOFF/WEISS; Miami, USA; ‘Divisions’ Centro Colombo Americano, Bogota, Colombia; ‘Pathfinding’, Galerie Almine Rech, Paris; ‘Preverberation’, Siobhan Davies Studios, London; ‘Luminous Territories’, BISCHOFF/WEISS, London; ‘RP3’ at The Economist Plaza, London; ‘First Floor’ Galerie Almine Rech, Paris; ‘Shift’, BISCHOFF/WEISS, London; Stanhope Solo Exhibition, Serpentine Pavillon, London; ‘Captive Light’ installation at Timebase Gallery, Hull, UK and GardenFresh Gallery, Chicago.

Recent group shows include: ‘Il Faut Etre Absolument Moderne’, Istanbul; ‘London Calling’, British Art Show, Total Museum, Seoul, Korea. ‘CITIES METHODOLOGIES’, UCL Slade Research Centre, London. ‘Take Away’, curated by Maria Nicolacopoulou, 33 Portland Place, London; ‘BREAKING NEW’, Five Hundred Dollars, London; Contemporary British Art , Art-Issue Projects, Beijing, China. ‘Superposition’, Two Person Show. Duve Gallery, Berlin and ‘Natural Wonders: New Art from London’. BAIBAKOV art projects Moscow, Russia

 

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