Ten artists have explored the ideas of ‘Lost’ and ‘Found’ over the last year. The ‘Lost & Found’ exhibition, showing for two weeks at Espacio Gallery (2 – 14 May), fills the two floors of the large, bright space with impressive historical sculpture, colourful painting, beautiful printmaking, skilful drawing, poetic installations, interactive games and augmented reality.
Lost and Found – the first thing you think of is Lost and Found Property. But take a moment and you’ll quickly see how often the idea of losing and finding is a part of our everyday experience. You can lose – your mind, your temper and your keys. You can find – inner peace, the strength to go on and your keys. At first glance ‘lost’ is usually negative while ‘found’ is generally positive. But most of us relish it when we lose ourselves in the moment and you can find a worm in your apple.
Ten artists have explored the ideas of ‘Lost’ and ‘Found’ over the last year through painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and interactive installations. The artists are: Graham Asker, Julie Caves, Esperanza Gomez-Carrera, Nick Hazzard, Martin Howard, Ruth Kathryn Jones, Peter Lang, Chris Mercier, Matt Smith, and Liz Whiteman Smith. Most of the artists have shown together before in the highly acclaimed exhibitions ‘Artists in Wonderland’ and ‘Quantum: A Journey Through the Standard Model”, both at Espacio Gallery. Though structured around a universal concept, each of the artists has approached the idea from a very different perspective and this broad range of responses has resulted in a thought-provoking, engaging exhibition.
The organizer, Liz Whiteman Smith, feels that the strength of the exhibition lies in the fact that the group of artists meets once a month to discuss their ideas and support each other to create work that is well developed and professionally executed. She says “Visitors will find a wide range of mediums from painting to 3D printing, a pin ball machine to installations. Our artists are moving forward and embracing new technology in their artwork.”
Graham Asker, an engineer and graduate of Cass School of Art, has hand made a pinball machine to explore the idea of lost and found souls using the Parable of the Lost Sheep.
Julie Caves, a painter with an MA from Camberwell College of Art, has used veils of colour to obscure part of her paintings to show that if one thing is lost another is usually found.
Esperanza Gomez-Carrera, a sculptor and graduate of Wimbledon College of Art, uses a sculptural installation based around a stolen instrument to demonstrate that sometimes losing is winning and not finding what you are looking for is finding yourself.
Nick Hazzard, a graduate in Fine Art from Sir John Cass, works in a process that involves alternately applying and scraping back layers of paint – the marks and gestures are buried, or “lost”, beneath areas of paint, then uncovered, or “found”, when those layers are partly removed. He has combined his process-driven approach with his interest in recent research looking into the recovery of lost memories in those with Alzheimer’s.
Martin Howard, a graduate of Slade School of Fine Art, has made black and white mixed-media drawings that record the area of East London situated around the gallery. Howard has engaged with the lively and energetic surroundings, his figures emerge and disappear, in and out of the shadowy areas around Brick Lane.
Ruth Kathryn Jones
Ruth Kathryn Jones, an artist with an MA from Colchester Institute of Art and Design, is exploring the losses that may not be refound. She is interested in the gentrification that has removed women’s access to public spaces and services in her local area. Covering one thing with another, the redacted sanitisation of imagery creates a loss of part of the image; Jones asks if the loss of visibility is indicative of a loss of identity?
Peter Lang, an artist and animator who graduated from Hornsey College of Art, has created an illustrated picture book for children called ‘Tincap and the Lost Sock’, that combines illustration and Augmented Reality – when viewed through a smartphone or iOS device the illustrations become animated. He has also created a series titled ‘Respectacles’ – digital paintings of reading glasses he has lost.
Chris Mercier, an artist with an MA from the Royal College of Art, explores objects and processes and he has made prints of hybrid letters he calls ‘Newfound Consonants’.
Matt Smith, a sculptor and digital artist who graduated from Epsom School of Art and Design, is re-creating a lost sculpture by Italian Futurist Umberto Boccioni, ‘Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement’ from 1913. Using the few photos that were taken before the work was destroyed Smith has used digital and traditional methods to study and re-create this lost work. In a way Smith is collaborating with the artist who died 100 years ago in 1917. Although many of his works were destroyed after his death Boccioni’s Futurist influence can be found around the world today because the works were photographed and now one of these lost masterpieces has been re-created and ‘found’ again. Smith will be showing prints of the process as well as a life-size sculpture.
Liz Whiteman Smith
Liz Whiteman Smith, a printmaker with a degree in Fine Art from Buckinghamshire New University, will be showing two series of screenprints looking at lost civilisations and cultures. The first is a series of images of ancient temples that were once at the heart of a civilisation but were lost, reclaimed by nature and then later discovered by explorers. Her series of images from Cuba, a country in danger of losing its uniqueness as it becomes modernised, express her hope that Cuba “can find a way to improve living standards for its citizens without losing the qualities that make it special.”
Espacio Gallery is a co-operative gallery that opened in 2012 in the heart of London’s East End art scene, at the top of Brick Lane and has had nearly 200 exhibitions since then. It was founded by a group of artists working across all contemporary visual arts media who wanted a space of their own specially designed to meet their needs. Located not too far from Whitechapel Gallery, Espacio is always part of their First Thursday late-night art events. Espacio Gallery
159 Bethnal Green Road
London E2 7DG
(Just off Brick Lane in East London)
‘Lost & Found’ dates: 2-14 May 2017
Opening times during this exhibition: Tuesday-Saturday 1-7pm, Sunday 1-5pm (closed Mondays)
Find the time to see this show.
all images are copyright of the artist
The image at the top is by Martin Howard.