Jacob Cartwright, Nick Jordan and Stephen McNeilly
Projektraum exex, St. Gallen,
installation views click here
exex presents individual and collaborative work from three UK-based
artists: Jacob Cartwright, Nick Jordan and Stephen McNeilly. The
exhibition highlights the different approaches, connections, discords
and dialogues that operate between each artist's practice, and illustrates
an irreverent multiplicity at the centre of their work.
Cuttlefish figure prominently in Jacob Cartwright's I Told You
So, part of three new paintings. One cuttlefish is squeezed
purposefully by a dark hand, another lies dissected and discarded.
Armed with a quill pen, another dark hand has drawn something in
the middle of the painting, a conflation of malformed mouse, ear
and mushroom cloud.
In a new set
of drawings, Nick Jordan has singled-out three of Jacob Strutt's
oaks, from his illustrated book Sylva Britannica, or Portraits
of Forest Trees (1830). The twisted oaks have been modified
with some exaggerated features, such as stag-headed branches and
elongated withered boughs. Into each drawing, Jordan has added caricatures
of himself, Cartwright and McNeilly; whimsically re-presenting and
personalizing each fictional, bespoke tree portrait.
McNeilly's Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker are images
of plasticine lumps, mauled and squeezed into ridiculous anthropomorphisms.
Before being digitally animated, the plasticine becomes degraded
in the quagmire of the artist's office. Stored in a desk draw they
co-exist with McNeilly's personal detritus; acquiring material traces
that are visible in his macro photographs and crude, lo-fi animations.
exex will premiere a new collaborative film by Cartwright, Jordan
and McNeilly: Descriptions
and Sketches of Some Remarkable Oaks. The film depicts
three protagonists (the artists themselves) climbing, measuring,
photographing and documenting some aged or dead oak trees, dramatically
revealed in the birch-coppiced clearings of Sherwood Forest. The
soundtrack comprises of three mechanical/distorted voices, each
with a different pitch, reading William Cowper's epic unfinished
poem Yardley Oak, written in
1791. Cowper presents the twisted and ancient oak as a totemic monument
to a shared English identity, through which the inevitability of
time's dissolution and decay is brought home to roost.
exhibition is titled after a traditional English nursery rhyme,
which depicts the scurrilous behaviour of three audience members
at a fair's bawdy side-show attraction:
Three men in a tub;
And who do you think they be?
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick maker.
Turn 'em out Knaves, all three!
on the artists:
and Jordan regularly produce work together, with their on-going
project, Würstundgritz, highlighting the contingencies and
encounters of collaboration. Their book, Alien Invaders, was recently
published (Book Works, 2006), and exhibitions together include Godwottery,
Transition Gallery, London; The Goose Fair, Castlefield Gallery,
Manchester; Künstlerhaus, Castle Plüschow, Germany. They
are currently undertaking a fellowship at The Manchester Museum.
The exhibition expands their collaborative practice with McNeilly,
who currently works with plasticine, photography and animation.
McNeilly recently exhibited at Vertigo Gallery, London and Redux,
London; publications include In Search of the Absolute (2004); Between
Method & Madness (2005); The Commonplace Book (Dedecus Press,
exex. Oberer Graben 38, CH-9000 St.Gallen, Switzerland
Cartwright, Nick Jordan and Stephen McNeilly