Tuesday, 29 March 2016

DECAPOD - Meet the Artists - Dave Evans and Alex Dipple

Ten years ago, as AirSpace Gallery was opening its doors for the first time, Stoke-on- Trent was a very different city. David Bethell and Andrew Branscombe opened the gallery as a space for artists to make and show new work, and as the city’s first non-commercial visual art gallery. Since opening, AirSpace has worked with hundreds of artists, both within the gallery and in the buildings and streets of the city and beyond.

Here we take the opportunity to reconnect with some of the fantastic artists and curators that we have built relationships with over the years, by asking them to nominate a rising star for inclusion in the Decapod exhibition. In this way we are continuing with our ethos of supporting the next generation of artists, something which has always been at the heart of what we do.

Ten Years, Ten Selectors, Ten Artists.

Dave Evans - selected by Sevie Tsampalla (2013)

Dave Evans’ mixed media works explore how simple, unadorned materials can be processed to produce evocative and unpredictable results – even to the artist himself. Learning lessons from the history of science fiction and its inability to correctly predict the future (and it’s on-going attempts to try), Evans eschews the usual projective way of trying to ‘realise’ ideas in favour of the uncertainty of repetitive manipulation of blank, passive materials over indeterminately long periods of time. Evans is interested in how we are part of a uni ed whole, carrying with us internalised complex versions of these things, behaviours buried deep in the geology of our chromosomes, constellations of memories, all of which continue to shift in new and unique ways.

 A Piece of the Action (Section), 2014, paper, dimensions variable.

‘A Piece of the Action (Section)’ is made from a 4.5m2 sheet of Fabriano paper that was folded, creased and hammered over a period of 2 weeks during the winter of 2013/14. This process was an attempt to access the unique qualities of paper by repeatedly crumpling and flattening a massive sheet over a long period to release the hidden delicacy and pliancy of the material. Evans work often deals with basic units of creative practice, in this case blank paper, and examines the established tempo of our interactions with these materials.

Selected Preload Animations (Round), 2016, single channel video. 4’51”
‘Selected Preload Animations (Round)’ is a compilation of circular buffering animations filmed by the artist in early 2016. By focussing on this ‘blank moment’ in the flow of digital experience, the video explores how these hypnotic animations offer a miniature visualisation of the movement of data and provide a singular affective unit that perhaps represents how consciousness is totally colonised by digital media. The work reflects Evans’s on-going interest in the tempo of our consumption of materials, and artistic practice as a test site for constructing alternative temporalities. 


Alex Dipple - selected by Campbell Works (2014)
Brighton-based Alex Dipple works with collage, painting, print and performance, making work which questions the intelligibility of the everyday in contemporary experience.

My work explores the tensions between text as pure form, and text as a vehicle for meaning. Failure of language in my own history means that I have a need to challenge the authority of the text. If we accept that images also have to be read, it follows that I want to question the status quo of images, especially in news media.

In a newspaper there is a fluidity, of image into text and back again. Images are complex forms of communication, full of signifiers, which can be absorbed in direct ways. In a newspaper images are underwritten by text in the form of a caption; images illustrate the text and, in the Tabloids, images themselves become the text of the news.

I have started experimenting with blurred images as a way to bypass familiarity and create an alternative view of the news. By adapting the non-narrative potential of abstraction. I am taking a position against the newspaper and replacing the seeming clarity of news events with a confusing opacity.

I believe it is in the interface between the self and the external world, through the medium of vision, that middle ground between artist and viewer is most powerfully experienced. In a blur the whole aparatus of sight comes to the fore, the image fails to convey the meaning expected and the viewer is forced to search within or around for clues. The black, disturbance lines, stand in for text and the confusion of signals found in the juxtaposition between the two proposes an absence of meaning that locates the news in an elusive state.

Printmaking allows me to be present in every dot of the image transferring ownership of the image to me. This transference directly undermines the objectivity of the newspaper, effectively positioning me as the source of the information. And there is something satisfying, and circular, that the laborious process of screen printing is utilised to make such vague images.

My performance work goes even further to question the viability of words as conveyers of meaning. The newspaper page is broken down into scripts, which are spoken at the same time, in direct antagonism with the structure of the page. The idea of the voice as a conduit for meaning through language is entirely challenged and the text descends into pure noise.

“Instead of occupying literal space, we now live in media space, a state that lacks specific formal, territorial or social definition. Narratives are developed which run through society and it’s cultural products. News media is a dangerous blind spot of understanding in which deeply enfolded information slips past, largely unchallenged“. Alex Dipple

Have a Laugh, 2015 
191x180cm Eight screen prints on newsprint and Southbank paper (310GSM)

This work comprises a combination of eight screen prints. The black and white op lines reference text. The horizontal bands form a frame or support for the images, which are roughly tacked on top. Conflicting images overlap or surround the central image, a split screen blur, which, despite its bright colour, has a sinister feel to it. This central image acts as a conundrum to the viewer, who has to search for clues within herself to interpret its content. The surrounding images are logos, advertising images and cheesy graphics. These images speak for themselves, even if their original context is lost.

Untitled, 2015

Screen printed wallpaper and four colour screen print on aluminium
Install dimensions variable 168x106cm

This piece inhabits a fold, or join between two walls. Printed on wallpaper, the strobing of the
op print creates an unheimlich, literally un-homely feel, which is at odds to the standard uses of interior decoration. Two crumpled fragments of image push into the corner. The images are almost legible: billowing smoke from a fire, a pushed up sleeve: visual references that describe material in flux, burning or temporarily fixed. But these actions happen at a remove. Printed on aluminium the objects have a unique signature of graphic bounding boxes and bitmapped surface, which gives away their source as print media. The wallpaper causes an immediate effect on the eye, but the news, abstract and distant, takes shape deep in the imagination.

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