‘Between reality…and the point where the mind strikes reality, there’s a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not.’
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
A Rainbow’s Edge
54 Shepherd Market, London W1J 7QX
31st August – 4th September 2022
Public Opening Hours:
Weds 31st August, 11am – 6pm
Thurs 1st September, 11am – 6pm
Fri 2nd September, 11am – 6pm
Sat 3rd September, 11am – 6pm
Sun 4th September, 11am – 5pm
TIN MAN ART founder James Elwes describes the upcoming exhibition:
TIN MAN ART touched on the strength and resilience of artists in our last exhibition (‘Between the bliss and me’ 2021) and I wanted to use this show to again try and explain what being an artist is for people who may not have picked up a drawing pencil since school. Somewhat gingerly, I set three pairs of artists (with few if any connections) the challenge of responding to each other’s work. They could choose to communicate (or not) and each was to provide one or two pieces only – there was no margin for error.
This idea is not without precedent – it has its roots in the much-adored parlour game known as Cadavre exquis or ‘exquisite corpse’, which was invented in 1925 by Parisian Surrealists and is played much like Consequences, with folded over pieces of paper, but with drawings instead of words.
On the one hand, my hope was that the results would give the viewer greater insight into the artists’ mindset, encourage positive dialogue between artists who I felt might complement each other and, through that dialogue, help me get a clearer understanding of their respective processes. On the other hand, I hoped this would not be seen as lazy. Would I piss everyone off? Thankfully not.
Catherine Anholt is best known as a children’s author but, with the rigorous demands of child raising behind her, she is now focussing on her first love - paint. She is paired with Freya Douglas-Morris, a maker of magical figurative paintings who has two young children. Freya brings wonder, light and darkness with an otherworldly quality while Catherine’s work feels more grounded and psychological. Both women studied at the RCA at different times and both have connections to the coastal parts of England; Freya was brought up on the Isle of White and Catherine lives and works in Devon.
I was introduced to fashion designer Deborah Milner by a great friend. Deborah is one of the most important figures in eco-fashion of the last 30 years, during which she has designed for everyone, including a decade-long stint heading Alexander McQueen’s atelier. Her first love is art and we discussed her time at the RCA at length. By great good fortune, she had recently rediscovered her life drawings from college and the unrolling of these was like an electric shock for both of us. Deborah is paired with another RCA alumnae in Jacob Wolff. Jacob’s work has been dedicated to the pursuit of pure abstraction, using fractured glass as a template to build fluid, geometric forms with spray paint. Beyond the education, both Deborah and Jacob have spent years balancing artistic principals with medium and public perception.
Since being introduced a few months ago, Lee Johnson and Florence Reekie have embarked on a fascinating cross-continental dialogue, with Flo and her husband having recently moved to Kenya. I felt lucky to be copied into their emotionally intelligent conversations. While their painting styles are very different, both place high value in excellent composition and share the sense of joy in painting. They also have clear confidence in their conceptualism and the ease and humour of the names of their works, with firm but friendly references to popular culture (Lee’s playful Cherry Cola and Flo’s subtle depiction of Billy Porter’s Golden Globes outfit, for example).
I think the experiment worked. All of the artists communicated and seemed to enjoy this unusual process. Interpretations are for the viewer, but we enjoyed helping to bring stories and people together and the results are some 10 glorious pieces of art. My deepest gratitude goes to all the artists for their generosity, dedication, open-mindedness and patience.