2022
 

FABULATION

All Saints Church, Jesus Lane, Cambridge

17-31 March 2022
Wednesday - Sunday 12-4pm
Thursday & Friday open until 6pm

Opening Event: Saturday 19 March 2-5pm

For this responsive exhibition, artists Toby Upson, Cathy Lomax, Jennifer Caroline Campbell and Luke Burton have developed new work, using the site of All Saints Church, Cambridge, also known as The Painted Church, as their starting point. Built in 1860’s this Victorian version of a highly adorned Medieval church is saturated with human beliefs, ideals, imperfections and mythologies. From the hand painted walls and stained glass windows, to the kneelers and ancient graffiti left by previous choir boys, each artwork makes connections with different features of this unique and historic space. Rather than attempt the impossible task of taking centre stage, the works reveal themselves slowly to the viewer, encouraging exploratory movement around the space and active conversational encounters. 

 

Toby Upson is an expanded curator currently based in London. Working with contemporary art(ists) and cultural materials, Upson’s practice is rooted in understanding differing ideas of reality, how reality-systems can work, and indeed can work otherwise. Often enacted through modes of writing, Upson embraces confusion, using parts of speech to abound understandings. 
    Upson is currently completing his Masters degree at the Royal College of Art, London. Previous exhibitions, performances and projects include: 
A Case of Med(dling)tation, Sadie Murdoch and Abbas Zahedi, Belmacz (2021); Paracosmic Revue, Transition Gallery (2019) 

For FABULATION, Upson has explored the relationship between the form language can take and 'radical' ideas of sociality. Working with All Saints' Church's connection to the Arts and Crafts Movement, Upson draws upon Oscar Wilde's 1891 essay, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, to place new emphasis on ideas of social organising. Far from a historical artefact, Upson sees numerable resonances between Wilde's line of thought and our own age. Taking quotes from the essay, Upson re-works the form of the text, printing his chosen snippets on blue ribbons that in turn adorn All Saints' blue kneelers. In this way, the site-specific installation recalls the Arts and Crafts Movement's conceptions around aesthetics, and the beauty essential to a better everyday life, whilst also providing a viewer with an assemblage of intrigue.

 

Cathy Lomax is a London based artist, the founder of Transition Gallery and the editor of Arty and Garageland magazines. Lomax’s paintings and installations assimilate the seductive imagery of film, fame and fashion, juxtaposing it with personal narratives and the everyday. Lomax is currently researching the role of makeup and artifice in the creation of the Hollywood female star image for a PhD at Queen Mary University of London, she has MA Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, was an Abbey Painting Fellow at The British School at Rome in 2014, and won The Contemporary British Painting Prize in 2016Recent exhibitions include Star Bar, Broadway Cinema, Letchworth Garden City (2020-21), and The Immaculate Dream, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London (2019).

Lomax’s new series of paintings, Five Saints, was made in response to the five female saints depicted in stained glass at the Painted Church: Catherine, Barbara, Dorothy, Radegund and Agnes. Alongside portraits of each saint are a set of small ex-voto offerings. Rather than drawing on traditional iconography, Lomax has instead cast actresses as the saints, highlighting parallels between different kinds of worship. The look of each actress/saint, and the imagery they are accompanied by, picks up on elements of their imprecise biographies, positioning them somewhere between publicity images and dreamy surrealism, whilst at the same time maintaining their painterly construction.

 

Jennifer Caroline Campbell graduated from the Slade in 2014 and her shifting practice fluctuates between painting and sculpture. Through a playful approach to materials and process she deconstructs cultural ideas around gender and identity. Solo exhibitions include Ever After Slices, Atalante, Gothenberg (2019) and Glamorous, Outpost Gallery, Norwich (2018).

Exhibition text: Azzurian Worlds. Cambridge, 3022 CE:
Azure Valley was a society that thrived from around 2500 CE until its unexplained and abrupt end in 2822 CE. A very small number or Azzurian artefacts have survived to tell their story. The items in this exhibition were discovered in what appear to be strategically airtight rock formations in the recently excavated Azure Valley site. It is believed by most that Azure Valley was a matriarchal society whose power structure was shaped by radically changed practices related to gender, child bearing and the family unit. Some scholars claim that Azure Valley was a humane and liberal society that, despite its relative isolation, influenced much of the progressive cultural changes that occurred around the mid 27th century. Others are critical of this interpretation, seeing it as wishful projection.


 

Luke Burton lives and works in London. He has an ongoing interest in how symbolism operates across decorative visual culture and questions the relationship between craft, ornament and fine art in relation to taste, objecthood and materiality within painting. Burton completed his BA in Painting at Chelsea College of Art (2005) and his MA in Sculpture at Royal College of Art (2013). Recent exhibitions include Capital Spring Returns, Gallery Woong, Seoul (2022); The Artist Oracle, White Crypt, London (2021) and Impossible Weather, Bosse and Baum, London, (2020). Burton was Visting Fellow and Artist in Residence at Girton College, Cambridge from 2019-20.

For his work in FABULATION, Burton has made a number of vitreous enamels that intersect with the visual languages of jewellery, archaeological fragments, miniature paintings and ex-voto offerings. Vitreous enamel is an ancient technique of firing pigmented glass powder in very high temperatures in a kiln so the coloured glass fuses with a metal substrate. Burton has made a series of works in this medium in response to the specific material and atmospheric qualities of All Saints’ church – he was particularly interested in the possibilities of using the existing architectural niches and furniture within the building by utilising the enamels’ small scale to suggest an embedded and discrete relationship with the site. Cigarettes stand to attention in rows in a pew; a grid of dishevelled and fictional ‘flags’ sit jewel-like in a drawer; a portrait of John Ruskin sits on the pulpit or ‘lectern’ surrounded by Burton’s ‘I Sores’; and a group of choristers sit floating on top of a shimmering sea at the organ.

 
 
Flyer Installation Five Saints series


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