Exhibitions Archive

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  • Aaron Angell
    'The Year of the Left Hand' / 'Folkal Point'
  • 12 September to 22 October 2011

Focal Point Gallery is pleased to present Aaron Angell’s first solo exhibition. Taking the form of a project in two parts, and divided between the gallery’s main space and project room, ‘The Year of the Left Hand’ / ‘Folkal Point’ includes a range of new material from the young artist’s burgeoning practice, such as wall collages, video, sculpture, ceramics and painting – all made especially for Southend.

The title of the first series of work, ‘The Year of the Left Hand’ refers to the artist’s joy at producing deliberately skewed hand-crafted works, and links to Alastair Crowley’s idea of following ‘the left hand path’ as a method for practical magic. In this respect, Angell's objects are formed via unexpected textural amalgamations and contain a pleasurably incorrect form of beauty.

The starting point for the second new series of work, ‘Folkal Point’, connects the artist’s interest in obscure folk music, rural and craft-based activities, ecological concerns and the marginal or radical-regional context of the gallery within which

his work is situated. Here, ceramic braids, terracotta coins, back-painted Perspex paintings of face jugs, coins and mushrooms, together with four large wall drawings made with torn paper, two large black metal wells and a video of lava lamps, combine in the gallery to form a rumination on utopian activities from the past and present.

One could say that these two installations and Angell’s current work in general is influenced by a diverse set of cultural reference points from the early 1970s; aside from the aforementioned British folk scene, two popular films from 1974 act as examples. Contes immoraux (Immoral Tales) directed by Walerian Borowczyk starring Paloma Picasso, which in Angell’s view is the ‘ultimate 70s erotic medieval movie,’ and Zardoz, the famous science fiction fantasy directed by John Boorman starring Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling, both form a link to the artist’s current way of thinking.

We might also say that Angell’s work links historical genres such as Brutalism and bricolage with contemporary collage, a subject that the theorist Hal Foster has dwelt on in his recent essay for the journal October. In ‘Savage Minds (A Note on Brutalist Bricolage )’ Foster writes ‘“It’s no longer necessary for us to individually dream,” J.G. Ballard once remarked to [the artist Eduardo] Paolozzi; “the fiction is all out there.” In this light, we might relate Brutalist collage not only to avant-garde precedents in art but also to contemporaneous models in adjacent fields concerned with the interconnection of the social and the subjective.’ Similarly Angell’s eclectic web-specific works, installation, photography, performance, and collaborations might represent a tendency where collage explores an intermingling of social issues and aesthetic explorations with his fellow young British artists.

As the artist Ryan Gander has recently said of Angell ‘Many of Aaron’s works appropriate the device of colliding unexpected components

that make you sit up with a jolt, but chosen with such ingenuity that when they collide they make a clang loud enough to leave your ears ringing.’

A unique multiple has been produced by the artist in an edition of ten to accompany his exhibition at Focal Point Gallery. Rough Copse Serenade, Glazed ceramic desk organiser, Approximately 300mm x 300mm, 2011 is available for £250 from the gallery.

Aaron Angell was born in Kent in 1987 in lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include ‘Young British Art’, Limoncello, London, 2011; ‘Outrageous Fortune: Artists Remake the Tarot’, Focal Point Gallery / Hayward Touring, 2011; and ‘If I could sing only one song’, Aaron Angell, Anna Hodgson, Isabel Mallet, Sassoon Gallery, London, 2010.

For further press information please contact Lib Fox at Focal Point Gallery on 01702 534 108 libfox@southend.gov.uk

Aaron Angell ‘The Year of the Left Hand’ / ‘Folkal Point’ is generously supported by Arts Council England, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and The Elephant Trust.