Appeto: Public Art & Private Worlds
Appeto is a Latin verb meaning to strive after or grasp after a thing. The concept applies equally to the work of sculptor Dave King and painter George Sherlock. Although their approach and backgrounds are distinctly different, surface and water are common concerns in the art of both, as are the seen and unseen.
In King’s drawings, prints and sculpture the imagery is largely metaphorical so, for example, the roof of the house becomes a watery wave carrying improbable and impossible objects together with balanced figures or sailboats. In a key anecdote from a favourite book, The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard relates how Gustav Courbet, looking out from the top of the Sainte Pelagie prison, felt an urge to depict Paris “the way I do my marines: with….. all its houses and domes imitating the tumultuous waves of the ocean.”
In the past an excitement at the prospect of making larger sculptures led King to an interest in public art with several works produced, sometimes on a temporary basis. But the dilemma for an artist with such idiosyncratic and personal interests is how these concerns translate into an art with common meanings for the public space.
A recent kidney transplant encouraged King to think of the longhouse as akin to the body, where surgical intervention requires repairing skin with needle and thread to close up after the operation.
King was born in Birmingham in 1946 and studied at Leeds College of Art and the Slade. His distinguished career includes mixed and solo gallery exhibitions, commissions and opportunities to build large sculptures abroad, notably in Ireland and North America.
King and Sherlock first met in 1991 as visiting lecturers in fine art at Coventry University and have subsequently exhibited together, with others, in Porto and Coventry after Sherlock was instrumental in establishing exchanges of art, students and staff between the cities.
George Sherlock was born in Liverpool and studied at Liverpool College of Art 1959-63. He has a lifetime association with the sea and has crossed the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Pacific by sailing yacht.
The paintings in Appeto are from his current series of smaller works. “They grew out my experience of water: its energy, transformation, flow, pollution and relation to global warming. The amazing images nature creates by the reflection of light on its surface are well known through the genre of marine painting and works such as Monet’s Water Lilies. There is a historical reference to Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of water and my previous series Deluge and Tamesis.”
Deluge I was the main prizewinner in the Royal West Of England Academy’s historic Open Painting Exhibition, the first “open” in 157 years eliciting over 1,300 entries. It was made by the transfer method, which evolved from experiments in mixing acrylic with domestic chemicals and polymer house paints. Deluge I was executed with large brushstrokes but current work is more informal; paint spreads out and settles in structures over several weeks.
“Images are painted on the studio floor where polythene is turned into a shallow bath in which paint is allowed to mix and separate according to the quantity of water used. The process allows for extraction and addition of water and new paint which generates unexpected configurations. The image is reversed through printing onto a surface or viewed through the polythene.”
Exhibitions have included the John Moores Painting Prize 1969 & 2010, I/Am/Is/Are – a solo show in Porto in 1998, RWA “Open” in 2001, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2010, RWA Autumn Exhibition 2012 and Rugby School Drawing Prize 2014.
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Below: Daniel’s Bay by George Sherlock and maquette for Coventry Canal Basin proposal by Dave King. The title of Sherlock’s painting comes a bay surrounded by high rocks with a near-hidden entrance, on Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas Islands.
INAUGURAL EXHIBITION – SEPTEMBER 2017 TO EASTER 2018
SCULPTURE AND DRAWINGS BY DAVE KING, PAINTINGS BY DIANA KERSWELL
Dave King’s sculptures include references to literature and history as well as the everyday. In early work he explored the impossibility of clouds captured on stalks. These were large works with a surrealist streak that was also played out in his drawings and prints of the early 1970s.
It is the unlikely combination of imagery in his sculptures that marks his work out as being highly individual, and which carries a message beyond its literal appearance. He uses association and metaphor to great effect. The house motif, and rooftops in particular, recur frequently in his mixed media sculptures.
Architectural elements are used for the messages or stories they can convey. Rooftops may support a dancing figure, a boulder or plates and bowls – simple domestic appliances that reflect information about the interior – but it is the other strange forms that test the viewer.
Wood, found objects and metals in all manner of construction techniques give a rich flavour to King’s work. Some are painted, others exist in their raw state; all are finished with skill and precision.
From the Cass Sculpture Foundation website
Dave King was born in Birmingham in 1946, studied at Leeds College of Art and the Slade, has exhibited widely since the 1960s and has works in international collections.
Diana Kerswell is a painter/printmaker who was born by the sea in Hampshire and now lives by the moors in Matlock, Derbyshire. She studied Fine Art at Middlesex University and the Sir John Cass School of Art in Whitechapel. Since moving to the Peak District her paintings have been inspired by topography, prehistoric sites and industrial history both there and elsewhere in the British Isles.
“I try to convey through my paintings the subtle changing light, atmosphere, moods and the weather on the land and my response to these. I often draw in Chatsworth Park, landscaped by Capability Brown, and also in wilder locations – Dartmoor and the Lizard.”
The Shippon Gallery has The Duke of Devonshire’s Trees, based on drawings made in Chatsworth, Listen to the Land, inspired by Wistman’s Wood on Dartmoor, and Over the Hill and Under the Hill, whose source was the Peak District limestone geology.
Recent exhibitions include Cill Rialaig, Co Kerry, Eire (2017), British Contemporary Art at the Millinery Works Gallery, London (2016) and “One story is not enough” at the Salthouse Gallery, St Ives (2015).
Website: DianaKerswell.com Email: email@example.com