Trading as the collaborative duo STATIC,
artists Tom and Craig present their latest exhibition, Moments of
Clarity, at Whisper Gallery. This young, private
contemporary art gallery was opened by Jamie Wood in June last
year, and is conveniently located directly opposite Because HQ.
Your dear Culture Editor popped downstairs to meet the artists as
they set up their new show.
The artists' backgrounds in Fine Art and
Graphics are well reflected in their new body of work, on display
here for the very first time. These pieces are layered mosaics,
merging screen-printing, stencils and paint across glass, Perspex
and aluminium. These reconstructed portraits sit at head height;
mirrored on their canvas, the effect is kaleidoscopic.
Moving to London from university, Tom and
Craig set up their first studio six years ago and have been working
in printing, paint and design ever since. Having uploaded to
Facebook pictures of their experiments into the newly conceived
layer works last year, Whisper Gallery invited the artists to
present a body of this work. Having worked flat out to complete a
series, STATIC display over forty of these objects in the gallery;
the first time that even they have seen the entire body of their
work in a gallery.
Each piece takes up to two or three weeks to
create, and that doesn't include cutting the stencils required for
each pattern, with both Tom and Craig working on a number of works
simultaneously. The stencils are all hand-cut and can take a few
weeks alone, particularly for the larger pieces. Their largest work
contains over two and a half thousand individual, stencil-cut
stars. "Cutting it was a nightmare, spraying it was a nightmare and
cutting each one down to perfect size to make it neat was a real
nightmare," they say. It's a time consuming process, presumably you
can only spray one colour, for example, at a time? "The designs are
the main thing, that's the most important thing, bouncing the ideas
off one another."
It's not just in London where STATIC's
idiosyncratic approach to design and fine art are becoming noticed.
They were invited last year to exhibit in Japan, where they
participated in a day of live, in-gallery painting, "People could
bring anything they wanted and we would paint it. There was
supposed to be just one or two stencils but people just kept
coming; two hours turned into five. Come midnight the place was
still packed and everyone was out of it on the fumes. I don't think
the gallery owner was very happy but people just kept coming." Tom
and Craig will be indulging in a spot of in-gallery, live
screen-printing, as part of this exhibition, on Tuesday 08 May. A
friendly PR tells me that details are as yet embargoed but the
enthusiasm that STATIC show for it give the impression that they'll
be looking forward to it as much as any of the visitors will. It'll
be a chance to get your hands on a piece of work by these emergent
artists. Following this solo exhibition they're off to Milan for
participation in another show, then there's Japan again, and
they're finishing the year in Las Vegas. STATIC are anything but,
and their works are objects of an almost tangible desirability.
Hand-crafted, there's a weight to them which doubles as a signifier
of value, both in a financial and cultural sense.
A video of STATIC in action can be found here.
of Clarity by STATIC is at Whisper Gallery until 26 May.