Zavier Ellis | La République ou la Mort | 2018 | Oil, spray paint, house paint, pencil & collage on board | 200x300cm
The Discontents brings together five artworld protagonists who are recognised for their work in the industry including art criticism, journalism, running galleries and museums, educating and curating. Whilst establishing themselves in their respective capacities Matthew Collings, Tommaso Corvi-Mora, Zavier Ellis, Matthew Higgs and Max Presneill have refused to navigate a singular path through the artworld and have been insistent on maintaining a rigorous studio practice, developing successful careers as artists.
Including painting, collage, objects and ceramics, the exhibition will be diverse despite formal and thematic correlations emerging.
Matthew Collings presents impasto oil paintings where abstraction vies with figuration. They are narrative paintings that are deeply personal, referencing events and relationships from his early to current life.
Tommaso Corvi-Mora’s ceramics reflect his interest in the history and tradition of British Studio Pottery. Investigating the relationship between art object and functionality, there are also political undertones including deliberations on overpopulation and compulsive consumption.
Zavier Ellis will present a monumental 2x3 metre painting. Continuing his exploration into the historical, from where he draws an internal, symbolic logic, this recent series is inspired by research into revolutionary flags and events, and specifically in this case the French Revolution.
Matthew Higgs will exhibit archetypal work that draws directly on the history of the readymade. Continuously scouring book stores and markets to add to his collection, Higgs appropriates elements of found books and re-contextualises them. Engaging with notions of authorship, originality, typography and linguistics his work is resonant and nuanced.
Max Presneill’s large abstract paintings represent a labyrinthine, simultaneous enquiry into presence and mortality; masculine codes and gender; networks of understanding and cognitive associations; and sub-cultural references. They explicitly engage with the history of mark making, and by combining abstraction with collage elements Presneill seeks to undermine the hierarchy of visual signs and materials.
Together then, the artists in this exhibition engage with historicity; the personal political; the act of making; abstract versus figurative; found objects and materials; narrative; the disparate; and the interconnectedness of things.