A journey to a world where nothing is real, but everything is familiar @ Studio 19 Leigh
A journey to a world where nothing is real, but everything is familiar
With urban, brutalist aesthetics providing key design inspirations in both architecture and interiors, the ‘(absence of) remarkable geography’ exhibition launching on November 14th brings the two together to stunning effect.
Mixing large scale, concrete informed brutalist paintings with abstract topographical reproductions of mythical lands, Stuart Devoil (Once, We Were Giants) and Alex McHattie (The Isläanders) take you to a world where nothing is real, yet everything is familiar.
The pieces in the ‘Once, We Were Giants’ collection were formed when Stuart moved into a rented loft apartment and craved the appearance of exposed concrete on his walls, but could not alter the structure of the building. “It just seemed logical to me. I’ve always painted large scale anyway, so I thought I’d just re-interpret my usual, ethereal style into something a little more structural”. A life-long love of brutalist concrete structures shaped the idea, whilst a desire to incorporate light and reflection as an homage to Turner’s classic paintings keep the works on the visually pleasing side of bleak. Undoubtedly your initial impression is of concrete, but with the subtle shimmer of a misty, abstract seascape.
‘The Isläanders’ by Alex McHattie, is a collection of works inspired by a prodigious wanderlust, a fascination of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and an inherent obsession with taking things slowly and observing his surroundings. The artworks that make up the collection take the form of abstract maps, depicting mythical, rugged territories, their borders initially shaped by graphite rubbings from urban substrates such as rock, masonry, steel and glass, used to form the walls, floors and environments we see every day, but never consider. It is easy to see imagined outlines of recognisable countries and continents, however all the forms are purely abstract and are only prescribed by the edges, ridges and textures of the original rubbings.
When combined, ‘Once, We Were Giants’ and ‘The Isläanders’ present a unique exhibition of artworks reflecting a purely psychological interpretation of place and space.
Studio 19 Showspace is a dedicated gallery and performance space, forming part of the Leighcliff buildings complex, a creative hub situated within a converted ceramics factory, built in 1924. Whilst the studio space has been converted to gallery appearance, the greater complex retains many of the original features such as iron staircases, exposed concrete and block, machinery, girders, mezzanines, flaking paint etc.
(absence of) remarkable geography is open to the public on Saturday 14th, Sunday 15th, Friday 20th, Saturday 21st November. Late night (18.00-21.00) Thursday 19th. Opening times 10.30 – 17.00 unless stated. The gallery is open by appointment only at other times. Find us at at Studio 19 Showspace, Leighcliff Buildings, Leighcliff Road, Leigh on Sea, Essex, SS9 1DJ.