James Iveson's Positions

Inspired by Renoir, Richard Prince and fashion ad campaigns, the artist continues to present optical and representational art with erotic undertones

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James Iveson’s art balances on the borders between abstraction and representation. Whilst drawing on traditional representational subjects such as still life oranges and lemons, Iveson likes to simultaneously employ a gestural approach that has its origins in Expressionism and Automatism, guided by the impulses of the unconscious. Inspired by the lust and desire in the art of Renoir, Balthus, Franz West, Richard Prince as well as clothes and fashion campaigns, in Positions Iveson displays highly passionate paintings. Iveson never wants the viewers to completely suspend disbelief. 

I like that 'Positions' seems to carry intentions and refer to a body or group, as in sex positions, giving birth-positions, netball positions, dance positions, political positions, ranking positions

Working in series, Iveson repeats the same motif with some alterations. When the paintings are displayed together, the audience are reminded that they are viewing reproductions of the original object of inspiration and are encouraged to become aware of their responses. The artist David Buckley, who has written a text for the exhibition, asserts that ‘the promise of a painting is deeply erotic’. Consequently, Iveson sifts painting away from the optical and investigates the forms of arousal it presents.

Dazed Digital: What is your earliest childhood memory?
James Iveson: It might just have been retold to me, but something about being very frustrated that I was not allowed to have a pair of bumble bee socks that specifically matched a t-shirt whilst in Mothercare. I can recall their inherent lack of necessity and that made them seem all the more necessary.

DD: Why is the show called 'Positions' and what is the inspiration behind it?
James Iveson: When I had to commit to the title for the show I’d ended up with too many options. I had some that sounded too flat, but I didn’t want a smug title either, or one of those very now titles, that is just a sort of sentence out of context. Anyway, somehow I landed on 'Positions'. I like that it seems to carry intentions and refer to a body or group, as in; sex positions, giving birth positions, netball positions, dance positions, political positions, ranking positions, putting things in position, the positions you find yourself in.

DD: How do the concepts of desire and lust inspire your work?
James Iveson: I seem to get something from looking at the clothes and fashion campaigns of Gucci and Versace above other Fashion Houses, and I think it’s because they seem to put these values at the top of their priority. People get annoyed that they’re impractical, high fashion, but so called well designed practical goods, like Dysons, seem to me a far more dishonest form of fetishism, especially since they never seem to work anyway.

DD: What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
James Iveson: Continuing to be an artist, in everything else I’m very cautious.

DD: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
James Iveson: Look after the thing that makes you vulnerable, that is what will be most important to make your work more than only good.

DD: What are your plans for the future?
James Iveson: Move to LA.

James Iveson, ‘Positions’, OUTPOST Gallery, 2 - 21 February 2012, 10B Wensum Street, Norwich, NR3 1HR

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