Showcasing the work of both undergraduates and established artists, 'Pulp Fictions', which takes place at the Transition Gallery next month, turns our attention to the simplicity of paper and its prominent rise in popularity within the art world. Tied together by themes of fantasy and fiction, curator Cathy Lomax has selected paintings, drawings and collages. They demonstrate the versatility of the medium and celebrate “the pure pleasure of making”.
Dazed Digital: What motivated you to curate the show?
Cathy Lomax: I have been noticing more and more really interesting work on paper. Many artists who may make their 'major' works on canvas etc use paper to try out ideas and work things out and often these paper works are more interesting that the big works, which can have too much invested in them and end up being overworked and quite frankly dull. Paper is just really liberating - it is cheap, easy to transport and store and really versatile and as we are in a recession this is all very important.
DD: Plenty of artists use paper as a canvas so why did you select these
artists in particular?
Cathy Lomax: I guess I was thinking about the way that children draw and cut things out and get really involved - almost living the things that they are working on and I wanted to capture something of this. I selected artists at different stages in their careers to create a freshness in the outlook of the show. So for instance Ruby Cedar is just about to start the first year of a BA at Central St Martins and Kathryn Newman is still studying at Camberwell while Phillip Allen is an artist with an international reputation with work in the Tate Collection and Virginia Verran won last year's Jerwood Drawing Prize.
DD: Are there any links between the works?
Cathy Lomax: I think there is an overriding delicacy to much of the work and it is all of a similar size (no bigger than A2). The work is a mix of figurative and abstract which I think blends together really well creating a sort of blurry fantastical whole. There are also some small series of works by different artists which set up little fictive narratives within the exhibition. Almost like different stories within a magazine. Transition has a history of making and promoting artist-made publications which are of course made of paper - so this exhibition is a form of 3D magazine. Oh and ultimately everything appeals to my taste so this is another unifying quality.
DD: Are there any works in the exhibition you consider to be stand out pieces?
Cathy Lomax: Sam Knowles has made some beautiful work - he has put gold leaf on found magazine pages - they have that kind of wistful, melancholy atmosphere that I really like.
Annabel Dover's work is of pieces of scrimshaw. Scrimshaw is a kind of folk art made by sailors from whalebones. I really like the way that they are drawn into a black background.
Kirsty Buchanan's work involves drawing and then erasing - usually using blue ink. Her drawings are often of people engaged in sexual acts - the bits she rubs out are the explicit bits - there is something of the embarrassed / guilty child in the whole process.
Virginia Verran's work is very delicate and instinctive - she combines abstract shapes, marks and symbols with bits of collage - there is a sort of 1950s atmosphere to the finished pieces.
Emma Talbot makes drawings that are inspired by different events in her life - some are very sad, some erotic, some touching etc. The thing that makes them unique is that she has developed her own language. She uses a very limited palette of subdued tertiary colours and her figures have a very particular almost cartoon like quality.
DD: What do you want visitors to take from the exhibition?
Cathy Lomax: I really hope that visitors will be transported into the artists' worlds and will then be inspired to make work themselves.
Pulp Fictions, Transisiton Gallery, Unit 25a Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road, London E8 4QN, September 2-25, 2011