Tag Archive | northern art

“Defying The Terrorists…”

“Defying The Terrorists…” (2017, mixed media on paper)

Stuck in The Sediment of Suffering

Stuck in The Sediment of Suffering (2017, mixed media on paper)

I’m writing this in a world that is a week into the Trump administration. I can’t yet tell if it’s caused the biggest cloud of confusion and panic since the Twin Towers came down (it’s shock certainly eclipses the event that’s stuck in the middle of these – the financial crash of 2008), but it is certainly a ‘Super-massive event’.

I bring this up because it’s also caused a crisis within my creative output. I’ve found myself in doubt not only as to whether my work is relevant in the midst of this ‘mania’, but to whether or not art has validity when panic emitted from all media orifices makes experience so fractured.

The last thing my work aims to do is to generate a sense of hopelessness and hatred of the world, but one largely un-constructive and, I feel, unjustified comment left on here a month back did force me to question whether this is the affect of my work in many eyes.

As dark as the images can be, they are in their essence self-helping rejections of a powerful and pervasive agenda that is itself,  I believe,  the source of the hopelessness and hatred. They are a ‘fuck you’ to its realism, even if they fall short of aiding the materialisation of a viable alternative.

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I started Stuck in The Sediment of Suffering in the month of the presidential election and, at the time of writing, am still working on it a week into the Trump administration.

What is it about? Of course, when a work takes months to make, a myriad of mindsets (or a myriad of me’s? ) have their say, but the decisive meaning is within its conception, hence the title.

It is the sister work of the recently finished Hope of The Nihilized. Both were conceived in the space of two days. Both works not only desire/long for, but demand,  an active transition from a capitalist system now condemned to be a wheel spinning furiously in the deep mud of its end point, causing only senseless trauma and decomposition, on the soil and in the soul.

Stuck in the Sediment of Suffering looks at the persistence of class, wage slavery and it’s discontents, in a time when the necessity of material scarcity, and immiserating and humiliating work and social conditions is totally debunked by our technological capabilities. It looks at how these structures are not only persisted with out of convenience but also out of a deeply rooted sense that lifelong suffering and punishment is somehow right (views that can easily make unwarranted appearances out of the mouths of friends as much as they can from perceived foes). I disagree, believing that it creates a cycle of needless social violence.

However, I’m starting to feel like this drawing marks an end point, not only to a body of work that has tried to reflect life from run up to the 2015 UK election to the 2016 US Presidential Election, but to a stage of my life. I’ve been making these large drawings for ten years, and there’s many things I haven’t and want to do in life, regardless of whether the world goes to war tomorrow or the air becomes poisonous.  Most my adult life has been stunted by self-esteem and emotional barriers, a path which I’m trying to take pigeon steps away from now. But without going into all of this (as it isn’t largely relevant, and I don’t want to encourage online ‘life advice’ I don’t need – I’m just explaining the facts), it may just mean a large gap, or a point of juncture . It may not – if I’m posting new landscape drawings on here in a few month it may well mean I’ve returned back to the only tools that have thus far worked.

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Ten Years as a ‘Proper’ Artist

This month 10 years ago I made a breakthrough within my work. The disjointed, erratic visuals that I was using to give myself voice suddenly came together. It was the first term of my final year of my BA degree. I can honestly say this breakthrough, and the momentum it was generating, made this one of the most special, if not the most special point in my life so far. Waged work, and the inevitable social pressures such environments put on you have tested my sense of self worth over the following years. But although I may not own, or even rent my own property, have a highly valued job, or a partner in crime as I head further into my 30s, I’ve still got my artwork. It’s still ploughing on.

Novmber 2006 to November 2016

 

 

Reflections on 2016, so far

It’s been a bit of a weird year, and states of mind have conspired to bring the very worst in me quite a few times. But I feel I’ve been as on the ball with the production of new art to say the least. Most work has gone towards two exhibitions ‘Under Digital Rain‘ (curated by John Wright) and ‘Fighting For Crumbs  (Art in the Shadow of Neoliberal Britain)‘. I feel these exhibitions are the outcome of focuses  (in and out of all parts of life) that have taken up my past 5/6 years. I’ve been saying this for most exhibitions for a couple of years. But with these 2 shows I feel I’ve actually started to get it together properly – with the help of fellow artists and philosophical companions. Although I am working on a project with John Wright, and Dave Jarvis, called The Retro Bar at The End of The Universe, right now I’ve been transmitting far too much, and now to start to doing some receiving, listening to what people have to say in the our post-Brexit UK.


January

This Land – https://johnledger.me/2016/01/17/this-land/


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NoteToSelf (2016)

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Tired of Life (“I Want To Leave Myself”)

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Untitled

 

 

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Hunger Games Darwinism (900x1280)

Hunger Games Darwinism

Bound up in Binary

Bound up in Binary

I am Becoming Nothing (Closure no3)

I am Becoming Nothing

Streamed Out

Streamed Out

The Capacity to Care (1370x2000)

The Capacity To Care

Rot_in_Silence_2016

Rot_in_Silence_2016 (a work I made in response to being asked to contribute an original print to a crowdfunder for the film Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle

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The Worldwide Oneupmanship

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Under Digital Rain

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The Worldwide Oneupmanship

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The Worldwide Oneupmanship

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Under Digital Rain


England’s Nervous Breakdown https://johnledger.me/2016/06/29/englands-nervous-breakdown/


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YOUR Freedom

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YOUR Freedom

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A Grief That’s Been Gagged and Buried

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Fighting For Crumbs – ‘Broken Slates’ installation

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Fighting For Crumbs

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Fighting For Crumbs

Support Our Crowdfunder Campaign!

the imposition of conformity

‘The Imposition of Conformity’ by Sheffield-based artist John Wilkinson

So this year has begun with me working with a group of artists on an exciting project which, at least in my life, promises to be something quite special.

Fighting For Crumbs (Art in Shadow of Neoliberal Britain) will be taking place at the Wakefield Redshed, and the Sheffield-based Gage gallery between 8-14 August 2016. A event centering around a film and an exhibition, it will also include talks and performances at both venues.

We need all the support you have to make this project be as special as it promises to be!

Please find the Crowdfunder located below.

https://www.indiegogo.com/project/fighting-for-crumbs-fundraiser/embedded

Here’s a little about what Fighting For Crumbs is all about…

In November of 2015, the group the Sleaford Mods starred in an independent film examining the lives and homes of the majority that were being systemically ignored in this brutally austere but paradoxically aspirational age of David Cameron. Invisible Britain’ was screened nationally, yet it seemed to focus much of its energy on towns once at the centre of the Yorkshire mining heartlands.

2016 marks the 50th birthday of The Redshed, also known as The Labour club. Situated in the heart of the Yorkshire city of Wakefield, the place is somewhat unique, and has defiantly resisted the capitalist forces that have penetrated nearly everything else around it. A year-long line-up of events are now marking this anniversary.

Sandra Hutchinson, a lifelong supporter of the club, spoke of how The Redshed began at the height of the social and political changes happening in the 1960’s. In-spite of the seismic troubles around the world, it was an age of political optimism, and there was a strong belief that things could be and would be changed.

“THERE IS A PREVAILING SENSE OF PARALYSIS AND DEFEAT ALL ACROSS EX-INDUSTRIAL BRITAIN. AND THIS PARTICULARLY EFFECTS THE YOUNG WHO HAVE NOT KNOWN ANYTHING ELSE” JD TAYLOR

The Invisible Britain documentary addresses this political climate; an age of deep political pessimism. A sense of defeat clings to the streets of our congealed conurbations. A depressed, and broken spirit hangs over us, instructing us to abandon the world we live in and find happiness in loneliness.

The huge support that propelled Jeremy Corbyn from relative obscurity to leader of the Labour Party, seemed to be more a WILLING for a return of a political optimism. Wanting it, because it’s not here.

Five MORE Years... (2015)

Fighting for Crumbs (Art in the Shadow of Neoliberal Britain) is the stories of artists who are striving for nothing but raw artistic expression at a time when we’re all being forced to strive for ‘crumbs, where wages are low, and the market dictates creativity.

It’s not so much stories of poverty-stricken artists. It’s about artists working within the crumbling remains of the Britain’s post-settlement optimism.

Under the “keep calm and carry on” mantra of Tory rule, more and more artists are feeling pressured to head into more craft-based activities.

Although this is not a critique of the crafts itself, how can an art SAY when it’s trying so hard to SELL?

What value does the truth of artistic expression have in such times? Have we been reduced to fighting for crumbs?

BROKEN BRITAIN IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. IT’S ABSOLUTELY SMASHED TO PIECES” INVISIBLE BRITAIN, 2O15

 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fighting-for-crumbs-fundraiser/x/13528122#/

Upcoming Solo Exhibition: Just The Noise…

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Gathering together 5 years’ work centered around large scale pen drawings; landscapes that depict the human condition pitted against the huge environmental, social and existential threats of the 21st century. A noise that fills everything.

Opening night Friday 16 May, 6:30 – 9PM

Saturday 17 May – Thursday 22 May 2014

Gage Gallery, KIAC, The Lion Works, 40 Ball Street, Kelham Island, Sheffield, S3 8DB