Curated by Tayah Leigh Barrs and organised with Laurence Owen
September/ October 2017
Studio_Leigh is pleased to present ‘Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate’. The exhibition gathers the work of ten artists around the subject of consumption. Set above a commercial restaurant’s kitchens the exhibition riffs on the parallel between art and food as creations to be consumed and around the similarities between looking and tasting, understanding and chewing, investing and digesting.
The exhibition takes its title from the 1702 Emily Dickenson poem ‘Fame is a Fickle Food’, which intimates the caprice of artistic success within the language of feast and famine:
Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate
Whose table once a
Guest but not
The second time is set
Whose crumbs the crows inspect
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the
Men eat of it and die
Alex Frost presents ‘Late Developer’ his first mid-career degree show at City & Guilds of London Art School.
City & Guilds of London Art School was built on an ethos that believed in a strong connection between fine art, craft and design. In its early days it trained students for the pottery trade as well as bridging connections between students and manufacturing trades in Lambeth. Considering the recent degradation of “site-specificity” as an artistic approach – in addition to fluctuating attitudes towards the artisan in contemporary art – Late Developer draws parallels between property development and personal artistic development. The degree show “moment” is adopted as a makeshift bridge between instances of interiority and exteriority. Like the boarded up remains of a building in perpetual transition, the art school is a site of expectation, growth, progress and failure. The makeshift partition walls and time-worn plinths reflect the hoardings and Heras fencing of local developments and provide the setting for a series of amalgam ceramic works created whilst in residence.
Alex Frost was the 2015-16 City & Guilds of London Art School Artist-in-Residence.
An exhibition generated whilst living and working in Flat Time House: a home, gallery and archive. This work developed out of an investigation into the role of artists within a community, and the way in which the living conditions of artists have been politicised through the current culture of property speculation, and property guardianship, made not from a critical distance, but rather from a conflicted and implicated position.
The objects are playful and poetic reconfigurations of domestic detritus through homespun processes including pewter casts of objects – keys, coins and frozen foods – found around the house and made using Flat Time House’s barbecue as a home foundry or mint. Other works are made from objects left behind by previous artist-in-residence – a hotel key card, a book and comb – and hoarded ceramic ornaments – novelty mugs, jugs, teapots, and piggy banks – that have been smashed and reassembled into new and unlikely forms. Channelling childhood experimentation, Frost has shrunken food packaging for domesticated animals which he then petrified and preserved within resin tablets. Finally there is a sand sculpture of a brick barbecue in the garden containing a pet deterrent spray, degrading over the duration of the exhibition.
This collection of objects is intended be seen in its entirety and so specific titles have been eschewed. This is further emphasised by the blacking out of all the gallery windows, heightening the private/public dichotomy that is at the root of this work.
Alongside Property Guardian runs the Peckham Art Press Release Archive, an archive of paper press releases from exhibitions, events and projects in Peckham since 2000. During the exhibition Alex Frost will be taking submissions to this archive. This archive incorporates items from the John Latham Archive, in particular those referencing the Bellenden Renewal Project – to which Latham contributed the book sculpture that punctures the Face of the Flat Time House.
Glasgow Print Studio Gallery,
Glasgow International 2014 April/May 2014
Reproduction investigates themes of multiplicity, uniqueness and reproduction.
Alex Frost has analysed the points of intersection between image reproduction and human/social reproduction. The resultant artworks respond to both their immediate context of an exhibition within a specialist print studio complex and the social context of recently increasing birth rates in Britain (1) This continues on from previous works that address the particularities of the site – its location, its former use or its role within a community. He is not working from a critical distance but from a more conflicted position.
For Reproduction Frost presents a sculpture made from the debris of a stag/hen night reconfigured into an ‘adult fun’ Prometheus. This sits alongside a sculpture of a stack of paper constructed from sand and ‘impregnated’ with the love /trust hormone Oxytocin. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone which plays an important role in the neuroanatomy of intimacy. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and plays a huge role in pair bonding. This hormone is also greatly stimulated during sex, birth and breast-feeding. The artist purchased this hormone online as a body spray called ‘Liquid Trust’. It is expected that this sand sculpture will disintegrate as the water (and oxytocin) evaporates.
Additionally Frost has created a number of ‘screen rubbings’ including that of a dialogue between the old Skin Horse and the Rabbit in the children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams – a reference borrowed from ‘The Ecstasy of Influence – A plagiarism’ by
Jonathan Lethem (2) And additionally, ‘screen rubbings’ of Sherrie Levine’s 1979 rephotographs of Walker Evans’ depression era photographs of the Burroughs family, a family of sharecroppers in Alabama. Taken from Michael Mandiberg’s 2001 online art project.
The Park Gallery, Callendar House, Falkirk.
30th November 2013 – 25th January 2014.
‘Self-Defence & Other Hobbies’ features a range of techniques and materials that reference some of the more lugubrious sides to leisure and entertainment today.
All artworks made in 2013 for The Park Gallery, Callendar House.
The Stand-In (season 5, episode 16) Written by Larry David, 1994.
GEORGE: It’s just not good, it’s not good.
JERRY: It’s not good.
GEORGE: I’m bored. She’s boring, I’m boring, we’re both boring. We got out to eat, we both read newspapers.
JERRY: Well at breakfast everybody reads.
GEORGE: No. Lunch we read, dinner we read.
JERRY: You read during lunch?
JERRY: Oh, well.
GEORGE: There’s nothing to talk about.
JERRY: Ya, what’s there to talk about.
GEORGE: Well at least you and I are talking about how there’s nothing to talk about.
JERRY: Why don’t you talk to her about how there’s nothing to talk about?
GEORGE: She knows there is nothing to talk about.
JERRY: At least you’ll be talking.
GEORGE: Oh shut up.
A solo exhibition at Wewerka Pavilion, Münster, Germany,
June – August 2013.
3 x chairs (sand, water and spray paint);
3 x chairs (biodegradable materials);
1 x table (biodegradable materials);
3 x clothed figures with small scale local sculptures as heads, feet and hands (mixed media);
3 x outdoor podiums (sand and water).
12. October, 2012.
Thank-you for showing me around Münster and Dusseldorf. I’m so pleased to have made it back to Münster. My previous visits to the city had been during the Sculpture Project but it was so good to see the city in more normal circumstances.
Thank-you too for the information about Stefan Wewerka’s pavilion. I didn’t know that it was first constructed in Kassel for Documenta 8 back in 1987. Knowing this I cannot help ‘unpicking’ the building – working out how it could’ve been packed and reassembled in its current location.
I have to confess that I didn’t know much about Stefan Wewerka’s buildings, sculptures or furniture until I started investigating it. I’m now a fan. I like his mix of wit and elegance.
I’ve been given some photographs of the pavilion from when it was in Kassel. Some of these photos are of the first exhibition for Documenta 8. The photos came from Axel Bruchhäuser from the company Tecta in Lauenförde, where they have an earlier version of this pavilion.
As far as I can gather the first exhibition held in the Münster pavilion was a collection of Stefan Wewerka’s eccentric chairs. For my exhibition at the Wewerka pavilion this summer I think I will try to recreate this first exhibition in Kassel. I have some figuring out to do as there are gaps in the documentation that I have been given.
I look forward to seeing you again in the summer.
N.B. A German translation of this letter was displayed within the exhibition.
A solo exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts, 13th March – 23rd May 2010.
The Connoisseur might be defined as a laconic art historian, and the art historian as a loquacious connoisseur. Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts, 1955.
The Connoisseurs is an exhibition defined by the seemingly disparate series’, collections and groupings within it. All of these works reference cultural sophistication or a refined taste through their materials, execution or selection. In a mannered fashion they borrow an aspect of the classical art form: portrait or still-life image, the outdoor or the domestic scale object.
The Connoisseurs presents an awkward marriage of numerous distinct references: digital technology, food science, community craft workshops, speculative fiction and macro-economics. The title alludes to both the professional and amateur status of a connoisseur.