This week Jonathan Gabb’s SYSTEM opened at WW Gallery and after months of waiting (sneaking glimpses of plans and teasing maquettes) I was finally blown away by Jonathan’s work and his transformation of the space. The gallery has become something entirely new; adorned, decorated and more than that, metamorphosed by the installations.
Although the works have Sci-Fi titles like ‘deep sequence 8’ and ‘prime titanium 4’, they are playful subversions of the Baroque and Rococco of Jonathan’s influences. It’s possible to feel like you’re moving through a surreal, contemporary re-imagining of a grand stately home. It’s depth and shadow which provides the greatest feeling of awe: everybody wants to stick their head inside these incredible installations, it’s difficult to resist.
I also did an interview with Jonathan Gabb for Jotta after the announcement of the SOLO Award winner which you can read here.
a solo exhibition of new work by
the winner of the WW SOLO Award 2012
9th January – 2nd February 2013
PV Tues 8th January 2013, 6 – 9pm
Open Weds – Fri 11 – 6pm; Sat 11 – 4pm
WW Gallery, 34/35 Hatton Garden EC1N 8DX
“With a painting, people expect paint on a canvas or pigment in liquid on a flat surface, I’m trying to do something different. I want to stretch the material value of paint in a 3D form to transform it into something else – the paint is freed from a fixed surface and can be viewed as an object.”
After a 3 month residency in the studio at the Gallery, WW is pleased to present SYSTEM, a solo show of new works by Jonathan Gabb.
Gabb’s three-dimensional paintings combine acrylics with PVA glues to make unique forms which allude to drips and sweeping paint strokes but confound traditional expectations and techniques. Created in the gallery, these new works respond to the natural light of the space as well as the architectural structures of the former jewellery workshops.
With influences as diverse as Baroque and Rococco architectural adornments, Wayne Thiebaud’s Refrigerator Pies where paint comes to resemble frosting on a cake, and Damien Hirst’s abstract yet arbitrary spot paintings, Gabb’s work reminds us of the transformative powers of pure materials. Through the manipulation of paint, these installations invite the viewer to question and engage with the colours and forms presented.
“I enjoy the optical element of the work; viewing the work becomes more of an event. The viewer can move around the work; from a side angle it might resemble a pen and ink drawing, then it merges into denser three dimensional forms at another point.”
Jonathan Gabb’s residency with WW Gallery was a result of winning the WW SOLO Award 2012. From over 300 entries, 37 artists were longlisted for an exhibition at the gallery in August. A panel of judges including Sheila McGregor (Chief Executive, Axis, the online resource for contemporary art), Helen Sumpter (Art writer and Deputy Visual Art Editor of Time Out London ), Kate Davis (Artist & Tutor in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art) and Deb Covell (Artist & Co-founder Platform-A Gallery, Middlesbrough), shortlisted six artists, from which Gabb was selected as the winner of the £1000 prize money, three month residency and solo exhibition.
Alongside SYSTEM, the WW Shop will showcase newly commissioned works from each of the other 5 shortlisted artists: Wendy Nelson, Emma Cousin, Calum James Crowther, Dexter Dymoke and Elly Thomas.
WW SOLO Award 2012 was the first of an ongoing annual award which seeks to support emerging artists. The WW SOLO award offers a structured opportunity for artists working at all stages of their career. With a focus that stretches further than new graduates, WW believes that artists can be ‘emerging’ at any age. Details of WW SOLO Award 2013 will be announced to coincide with Jonathan’s exhibition in January.
“The show uncovered such a range of interesting work from artists all over the UK and I very much look forward to seeing what comes of the winner’s residency with WW.”Sheila MacGregor, Chief Executive, Axis and judge for the WW SOLO Award 2012
“The standard of the work was particularly high and it was a pleasure to be one of the judges for the first WW SOLO Award.” Deb Covell, Artist and Co-Founder, Platform A Gallery, and judge for the WW SOLO Award 2012
“There are many ventures like this but WW’s SOLO Award feels like it has the right structure to harness and support the energy of new creative talents.” Kate Davis, Artist & Tutor in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art and judge for the WW SOLO Award 2012
About the artist
Jonathan Gabb is an artist based in New Cross, London who has been exploring the idea of paint as object since graduating from Cass school of art at London Metropolitan University in 2008. He has participated in a number of group exhibitions at the Islington Arts Factory, the Royal College of Art and took part in a residency at the College of Art, Zagreb, culminating in a show at the Gallery Miroslav Kraljevic.