A Deep Paralysis (2016, A4, mixed media on paper)
This is probably the last piece of work to be finished that will feature in a joint exhibition with artist Alexandra Gallagher @ The Bowery, Headingley, Leeds, next week. Alexandra Gallagher’s section will be titled ‘Humanity’s Intellectual World’. My side of the exhibition is titled ‘Under Digital Rain’ and is curated by John Wright – as part of an ongoing project we are engaged in called The Retro Bar at The End of The Universe
21st May – 29 July 20-6pm each day
PERFORMANCE & PREVIEW
20th May 6-8pm
John Ledger and curator John Write presents an interactive performance to engage and enhance Ledger’s wall drawings.
Voices From The Wilderness
South and West Yorkshire artists John Wilkinson and John Ledger are staging a joint exhibition themed around the impact of deindustrialisation on the North. The exhibition features paintings, large scale biro art and video installation and will include an evening of music/performance and poetry featuring Sheffield poets Kevin Titterton and Liz Ferrets, and freeform impro/experimental group Piggle, to add words and music to the dialogue. The exhibition is in Sheffield’s gage gallery, appropriately located in the industrial hinterland of Shalesmoor.
Both artists have been working and exhibiting for a number of years, with solo shows in Sheffield, Leeds, Barnsley, Congleton and Northwich. Working to similar themes, both artists create spaces that draw the viewer in; these are landscapes that can be wandered through, with hidden corners, nooks and crannies to explore and investigate. What results is a darkly vibrant and often colourful response to the social and physical landscape that has emerged as the region tries to reshape itself following the decline of its industrial base. These works place us firmly in a landscape torn apart, and examine the options that are presented to try and fill the hole that has been left in both our communities and, consequently, in our atomised, and increasingly ‘Iphone-dependent’ lives. Created landscapes based on the history of the deindustrialising north draw attention to the human tendency to destroy in order to create. Works drawn from and examining the roles of media, both social and imposed, explore our emotional response to the issues of a global community in crisis. Collectively these ask the question: Are we ghosts trapped in a machine of our own making? The works are designed to evoke a recognition of and stimulate a personal appraisal of our place in this landscape, at an emotional, social and physical level. Dark as they may be, the works ask for a sense of defiance; a refusal to give in to apathy and fatalism; two factors that drive this arguably zombie-set of ideas of how the world should be organised.
Voices From The Wilderness opens on Friday 18th Sept 2015 at 6.30pm with a preview evening and runs from 11am – 4pm every day until 4pm 1st Oct. The music/performance and poetry event will start at 7pm on the 25th Sept and once again all are welcome. Access to the exhibition and both events is free and all are welcome to attend. The show is held at Gage gallery, KIAC, Lion Works, 40 Ball St, Sheffield S3 8DB.
Examples of works:
THE LONG NIGHT OF A NEEDLESS STORM (John Ledger)
Instigated by the Degrees of Freedom artist collective, the Anti Gallery Gallery Show is an experiment in finding ways for artists to change their relationship with each other, their artworks and the public within a traditional gallery space so as to subvert its governing ethos- competitive individualism within a consumerist culture.
Alongide 35 other artists and art groups using the space from 8 to 29 January, we will be performing on the dates 16 to 18 January, at select time during those days. Please feel free to come down.
Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record:
Non-Stop Inertia is a performance piece named after Ivor Southwood’s book of the same name. Southwood’s book takes a comprehensive look into the situation of the “deep paralysis of thought and action” caused by the “ideologically constructed” landscape of precarity. This affects mainly the younger generation of workers, but it is increasingly dragging even more people into a role, which economist Guy Standing suggests is the ‘Precariat‘, replacing the older term for the working class, the proletariat.
As much a psychological as a situational inertia, this “deep paralysis of thought” is basically what anthropologist David Graeber is referring to in his argument, “neoliberalism [the ruling economical dogma of the present reality] is a war against the imagination”. The stop, start and (finally) exhaustive effect of what Jodi Dean calls ‘communicative capitalism’, which in the age of cyberspace communication extends into all realms of waking (and sleeping) life, is arguably the neoliberal model par excellence.
The performance attempts to mirror this ‘paralysis’, to illustrate just how the ability to understand the social reality we are amidst is continuously broken up. But the crucial twist is in how this performance aims to bring this issue into the gallery by mapping the subject most present in all galleries: the gallery worker.
Out of all workers, the predicament of gallery workers appeared to us most appropriate. The gallery is an environment that has evolved over time with the aim of being an ideal space for contemplation by allowing the absorption of different ideas. The gallery worker (who remains there all day) is psychologically ambushed by contemplation; chronic (over)thinking is part of the job. Yet he/she is actually employed to be of constant service to the endless stream of visitors. A spoken introduction, an issuing of guidelines is required to be given out to every visitor who enters the often heaving galleries. The environmentally-enforced contemplation is continuously interrupted and sent back to square one. Indeed, visitors subjected to more than one of spiels given out often say “you sound like a stuck record“. Anybody who’s ever worked in a gallery can’t quite state why they felt so exhausted and defeated at the end of the working (“this job is easy isn’t it?”).
Both participating artists work and have worked as gallery invigilators for many years. We are experienced in the fundamental contradictions of both the gallery space, and the predicament of those who work in it, who are often mistakingly seen as volunteers “doing it for a hobby”, rather than doing it to put bread and beer in front of them.
John Ledger, Richard Kitson, Louise Wright, Mikk Murray, Jade Morris
22 July – 14 Aug (Thurs – Sun)
Hive Gallery, Elsecar Heritage Centre, Barnsley, S74 8HJ
Open evening: Friday 22 July, 7 – 9pm
This exhibition brings together a collection of young local artists who are heavily dependent on the practice of drawing, or even work primarily through it. The artists all live or were raised in the Barnsley area.
A collective who, through degrees of separation, share friendships and common interests, and this is a great chance to show to the rest of the area that is has a strong community of artists.
The artists use drawing for very different purposes, whether for understanding, for relaxation, exploration, the projecting of messages and even the exorcism of burning thoughts. All of them use it as a voice, perhaps their strongest voice.