Snoopy is the star character in Charles M.Schulz’s comic strip, Peanuts. As well as being a pet beagle and an aspiring novelist, Snoopy is a World War I flying ace. In this latter incarnation he wants to both become the Red Baron, and kill him. The Baron however, exists only in his mind: a heroicised representation of fear. In The complete text of Snoopy’s Novel the image of Snoopy appears in the centre of The Baron’s Family crest. Behind this is the absurd, hubristic text of Snoopy’s novel.
The title of this series references the 1966 pop hit Snoopy Vs The Red Baron. Shortly after The Baron first appeared in Schultz’s cartoon, the Florida based band The Royal Guardsmen, released their song and Snoopy’s owners promptly sued. In 2012 banner staged a performance of Snoopy Vs The Red Baron in The Welsh Chapel, London.
In this work the image and words are somehow defiled. They allude to the acts of unmaking and destruction, as much as the creative act, examining how we mythologize ourselves and our histories and how we are seduced by the myths of our own creation. Banner references the combative relations not only between Snoopy and his nemeses, but also the heavy handed copyright issues surrounding creative ownership.
This print is based on one of a series of works on paper made with watercolour inks. They were partly inspired by Rorschach tests, the ink allowed to flow and settle once applied. This one is of three masks, or heads. They float in space, interlinked, their extremely long noses pointing in different directions. They remind me of a speech or thought bubble. They might seem grotesque, sad, or happy. One of them is winking, or maybe squinting. Perhaps it all depends on your feelings about extremely long noses.
His paintings could be described as ‘psychological portraiture’, teetering between figuration and abstraction. The subject often appears to be conflicted or resistant to being represented and viewed – something is always held back, deleted. Backgrounds blend with limbs, faces are altered or erased altogether. Gender is frequently unclear, and beneath the surface tranquility, there is contained chaos. Working in intense and unusual colour combinations, Gidley has said that: “The relationship of colours in my work are ‘unnatural’ just as my subjects appear in relation to or against their backgrounds, because all representation is an act of violence and dislocation, to some degree. The fragile nature of identity is central to my art and my writing.”
Landy studied at Goldsmiths in London, having been inspired to take up art professionally after having a picture selected for display on the BBC television art program Take Hart. After graduating in 1988, he was part of the YBA generation that created the Freeze exhibition.
Landy’s first solo exhibition was Market (1990), an installation comprising of numerous empty market stalls. Like much of his later work it was intended as a comment on consumerism and society. In 1995 Landy created “Scrapheap Services” a fictitious cleaning company which sought to change society by way of “a minority of people being discarded”. Promotional videos were made for the company and a large number of cut-out men were swept up and destroyed.
On 29 May 2008, Landy was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. His Art Bin installation for the South London Gallery, which was described by the artist as ‘a monument to creative failure’. A large transparent skip was installed at the gallery, into which he invited the public to throw art work with which they were dissatisfied….
This is a photograph of a concrete staircase on Llansteffan Beach in South Wales in 2012. Rachel has worked with staircases for many years, taking photographs, moulding and casting, culminating in large sculptural forms.
Whiteread is one of Britain’s leading contemporary sculptors. Born in London in 1963, she studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic from 1982–85 and sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1985–87. She shot to public attention in 1993 with her sculpture, “House,” a life-sized replica of the interior of a condemned terraced house in London’s East End which provoked intense public debate until it was eventually demolished in 1994. She won the Turner Prize in 1993.
Over the last decade she has developed a significant international reputation, creating major public works in both Europe and the United States. Her winning proposal for the Holocaust memorial at the Judenplatz in Vienna was one of the most prestigious sculptural commissions in Europe in the 1990s. This piece involved placing the cast interior of a library, including imprints from the books on their shelves, into the centre of the square. It was unveiled in October 2000. She represented the UK at the 1997 Venice Biennale and created “Monument” for the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2001.
Georgie Hopton says about her beautiful hand made print is inspired by her “abundant vegetable gardens in upstate NY – and each summer I gather my excess crop, haul it into the studio and cut it up. Dried flower stems crammed into vases, gathered the season previous, the Leather Leaf Vibernum outside the door, thicker and brighter, despite my annual plucking, and the harvest heap, all await my usual pilfering and tinkering. June Bug is a result of these encircling riches and the now habitual printing that feels like a natural response to all this excess”.
Georgie Hopton was born in 1967 in North Yorkshire. After studying at St Martins she has continued to expand her use of different medium, not caring to settle on one as definitive. Her works in photography, collage, printmaking and sculpture are made in conjunction recently with wallpaper and fabric designs – a natural extension of the vegetable prints she makes each summer from her temporary but extensive vegetable garden. Self portraits, studies of flowers and still life are consistent subject threads, woven through forays into abstraction and decoration. Like her heroes of the Wiener Werkstaette and The Arts And Crafts Movement, her heart lies in creation with no boundaries, the melding of art and life, the one reflecting and intersecting the other.
Peter Blake’s delicate screen print is part of his “Found Art” series. Collaged together and embellished by recreating the gold that has faded over time.
Sir Peter Blake (b. 1932, Dartford, Kent) is a British painter, sculptor, draughtsman and printmaker. He is known as one of the leading figures of British Pop art. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1956, Blake has appropriated pop culture icons and advertising imagery to create sincere homages to the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Elvis Presley and professional wrestlers. His iconic 1961 Self-portrait with Badges, in the Tate Collection, shows Blake holding an Elvis album, dressed in American jeans, Converse trainers, and baseball badges; here is the artist as a genuine fan. In other work he composes assemblages of found objects with humorous allusions to the history of art and childhood fantasies. In 1967 he designed the album cover for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in his distinctive style of collage.
Blake studied at Gravesend School of Art before being accepted into the Royal College of Art, London, where many of the key British Pop artists, including David Hockney, R. B. Kitaj, Joe Tilson, Allen Jones, Peter Phillips and Derek Boshier, have also studied.
Simpson is creating a unique piece for each box. Hand cut ‘cabinets’ are gathered and arranged on the paper, which is then hand marbled. Each piece will be unique and the marbling will vary. She says of the work. “Sacred” 1994 was a sculpture that was very important to me personally. A labour of love, hand built and crafted, on a creative journey that took nearly a year. It lived a short but eventful life, exhibiting at the Serpentine and going on an international tour. It came to a sad end, burning in the Momart Fire of 2004. This piece for the box is about my desire to remake this work, re-animating it and revisiting, focussing on its animal like qualities.
Jane Simpson – is an artist, curator and publisher. She was born in 1965. She graduated from the Chelsea School of Art in 1988 and earned an MFA from the Royal Academy of Art in 1993. As an artist, she is probably best known for sculptures made from rubber, ice and refrigeration units, with shows around the world including New York and London. Her work is held in leading collections and has been featured in seminal exhibitions, In 1994 she was included in the seminal exhibition “Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away,” curated by Damien Hirst, at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Simpson’s work was also part of the controversial “Sensation” exhibition of 1997. Her work has been exhibited internationally in London, Madrid, Stockholm, Edinburgh, Berlin, Seoul, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, and New York.
Simpson’s work is part of many public and private collections including the Saatchi Collection, Arts Council of England, Damien Hirst’s Murderme Collection, Contemporary Art Society, London, British Council Collection and the Colección Ciudad de Pamplona. During her career solo shows have been accompanied by regular curatorial and collaborative projects, including kissingcousins (2007, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds) and Daddy Pop (2004, Anne Faggionato, London). Appointed as production manager for several high profile charities, she has created portfolios for Cubitt Artists and The House of Fairy Tales, publishing limited edition prints with some of the world’s leading artists including Rachel Whiteread, Gavin Turk, Sir Peter Blake, John Stezaker, Alex Katz, and Harland Miller.
This hand printed and painted watercolour piece is playful and full of references. Reid says that “the Hare is the Trickster, the Free Thinker… and is a specific reference to Beuys. The moon is female. The primary colours are also a nod to the Bauhaus and Kandinsky’s Colour Theory”.
Jamie Reid (born 1947) is an English artist and anarchist. His longstanding practice as an artist sits firmly within a tradition of English radical dissent that would include, for example, William Blake, Wat Tyler and Gerard Winstanley. Like them the work of dissent must offer, out of necessity, other social and spiritual models and Reid’s practice is no exception.
Although Reid is known primarily for deployment of Situationist strategies in his iconic work for The Sex Pistols and Suburban Press, the manifold strands of his art continues showing us other ways in which we can mobilise our energy and spirituality. It is this dialectic between gnosticism and dissent that lies at the heart of Reid’s practice and makes him one of the great English iconoclastic artists.
We are delighted to have this wonderful sculpture set into the base of the box. Periton says the work- “is a re-working of an earlier cut paper piece, developed out of my fascination with alchemy and transformative chemical processes. It might be a mask or possibly a tool to delve deeper beneath the surface. It has been water cut in brass and double dipped in gold”
Periton studied at Central Saint Martins School of Art, London. “Much of my work has been concerned with ideas of the decorative with a focus on the subversive potential this can open up. Decoration and the decorative surface have always been fertile ground for me, allowing a degree of creative manoeuvring that can be both playful and thoughtful. Penetrate and slip beneath this surface, and there is often a rich murky underworld to be explored”
Blue Nun is an exquisite work. Each silk screen is hand cut, printed onto an exceptionally thick paper in layers of high gloss, making the blue colour sing and the surface feel three dimensional. Expertly produced by Mark Jenkins at K2, each print is full bleed with the image hand cut.
Hume RA first came to prominence with his Door paintings in the 1990s. Hume represented Britain at the Venice Biennial in 1999 with his ‘Water Paintings’ which consisted of the overlapping outlines of female nudes. Other notable phases in Hume’s development as an artist include his ‘Cave Paintings’ with images made of different marbles, and ‘American Tan’ which explored the impact of the global spread of American culture. Since then his work predominantly consists of appropriated images from popular culture or nature, depicted in glossy paint on aluminium. Recent solo shows include Tate Britain, London, ‘Gary Hume: Flashback’, Arts Council Collection, touring; ‘The Indifferent Owl’, White Cube, London; ‘Structure and Absence’, White Cube, London.
“Suzie” is a subtle, beautiful & delicate work, wood block printed onto Japanese “Shiohara paper. Each print put through a press and then hand finished with a traditional Japanese Baren tool. Rachel says that, ‘since seeing the exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2009 of the Japanese artist Kuniyoshi, she has beem affected by the delicacy of his line and medium as a whole, especially the way he represents rain and pattern, violence and beauty and have since ventured into this territory making many woodblock prints of which Suzie is one, the contact of the sharp tool on the block is so satisfying but also unforgiving not unlike painting’
Howard was born in County Durham in 1969 and graduated from Goldsmiths College, London in 1991. She grew up on a farm in Easington, County Durham. She attended a Quaker school from the age of sixteen, and the stories, concerns and questions raised by religion have had a profound effect on her work throughout her career. With an oeuvre that suggests the delicacy of flesh, the subjectivity of perception and the complexity of our emotional spectrum, Rachel Howard could be described as a painter of life.
Gavin has created us a biscuit, in resin for our Selection Box.
Turk has pioneered many forms of contemporary British sculpture now taken for granted, including the painted bronze, the waxwork, the recycled art-historical icon and the use of rubbish in art. Turk’s installations and sculptures deal with issues of authorship, authenticity and identity. Concerned with the ‘myth’ of the artist and the ‘authorship’ of a work, Turk’s engagement with this modernist, avant-garde debate stretches back to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp. In 1991, the Royal College of Art refused Turk a degree on the basis that his final show, ‘Cave’, consisted of a whitewashed studio space containing only a blue heritage plaque commemorating his presence ‘Gavin Turk worked here 1989-91′. Instantly gaining notoriety through this installation, Turk was spotted by Charles Saatchi and was included in several YBA exhibitions. Turk’s work has since been collected and exhibited by many major museums and galleries throughout the world.
Staton has made us some money… A beautiful digital print, embellished with a silk screen gold coin. She thatthe work- “¥ € £ $ and ₹; is a repeat motif created from these overlaid global currency symbols. The Esperanto of Currency was created for a recent exhibition of the same name, offering a topical riposte to current debates on global markets, stretched economies and siphoned hyper-wealth. For Galerie Simpson a golden Bit Coin is gloriously embossed over this net of interlocked nation specific currency.
Staton was born in 1961 in London. After studying at St Martins College of Art, she co-founded Milch Gallery, the first of many collaborative artists initiatives, that include SupaStore, THE SCHTIP and most recently Pea Proposals. Within her commissions and studio work Staton uses materials’ affective dimension – their ability to trigger associations and psychological responses – to supplement the established modernist coupling of form and function with a third term, feeling – an important but elusive texture for public art and urban design.Through ‘threshold sculptures’ which are simultaneously formal and functional, aesthetic and utilitarian, her off modern practice questions how design and the specific haptic properties of materials can dynamise site and experience.
A TASTY SELECTION …in order to entice you into our very special selection box, I will show images of the artworks that make up this cornucopia. These will be shown in no particular order…. accompanying each image, will be a short statement from the artist about the work, and a short bio.
Each work in the selection box is a unique watercolour, painted over an existing black and white image. Clare Woods says that she is : “incessantly fascinated with transforming sculptures into two-dimensional, yet tactile, forms. This piece was inspired by a Georgian etching of carved stone penises; I really wanted to capture the solidity of the three dimensional form within the fluidity of the brushstrokes of the painting, reflecting the qualities of the original sculpture; simultaneously soft, smooth, curvaceous yet firm and tactile.”
Woods is a painter who’s paintings feel very sculptural. They combine a fluidity and confidence of brushstroke and coherence, and a homogeneous surface, from seemingly disparate subject matters, from the bunion specialist, silent German bombs Euardo Paolozzi wax heads, First World War bandage manuals, a bird’s nest, dismembered statues, Louise Bourgeois, 7/7 London bombings to cuckoo feeding patterns. the net for her source material for her latest work appears widely flung. While the paintings feel resolved and solid there is also a glimmer of uncertainty, a teetering on failure, an anxiety and tension that is ultimately what holds them together and ensures their success.
Angela has created a painting for each box. She says that “the work is about the pinch you get when you are folding clothes or a bit like a folded page of a book that is closed in a hurry. I wanted to use an everyday colour for the work, so I thought that yellow will be perfect for that. The way the material or body changes when it is disturbed, how it is changing, it interests me a lot.”
At first glance de la Cruz’s paintings appear to have been vandalised or flagrantly abused. Mangled stretchers, slashed canvases, twisted and violated, are hung on the wall like macabre trophies, and yet it is this deliberate and systematic desecration of the canvases which informs the end result. “The moment I cut through the canvas I get rid of the grandiosity of painting”.
Hughes has created a linocut, delivered with his usual dry wit. He says that his work has been “taken from a quote from Under Milk Wood- ‘Only you can see in the blinded bedrooms, the combs and petticoats over the chairs, the jugs and basins, the glasses of teeth, Thou Shalt Not on the wall, and the yellowing, dickybird-watching pictures of the dead’ a general non-specific term that suggests a list of social and spiritual taboos that might otherwise prevent a good and virtuous life. A list so long that it is not easily written down and so is best shortened to a simple threat to obey or deal with the consequences. It is written like graffiti on an unconvincing woodgrain that seemed to printed onto every wipe-clean surface when I was growing up. It’s back to front and upside down in the hope that it might contain a dark subliminal truth”
Abigail has created this collage of hand sewn felt laid on top on an intricate, intriguing photo-montage. She says of the work ” When I look at the human heart separated from the body, its almost incomprehensible that this alien like organ, keeps ones body functioning. Leonardo Da Vinci intricately studied the human heart and understood its workings as one of the most refined pumps in existence. Life really is a “game of chance”, “the luck of the draw”, and we all hope and pray that we’re holding a high card” But for how long.
Fallis was born in East London, England in 1968. She works mostly in sculpture and Print, and first came to public attention with her sardonic ‘underwear works’. This framed series of Stitched men’s ‘Y-fronts’ played on the UK’s ‘Cool Britannia’ reputation, presenting the British flag and other symbols of nationhood in stitched-on images and subverted text. Fallis is fundamentally interested in topical issues that affect our daily lives and often deploys a double-edged sense of humour to deliver her ideas. Fallis experiments widely with materials ranging from silver and bronze to textiles and papier-mâché, fish skeletons and shopping trollies. Her works combine an unconventional beauty with subtle comments on issues that trouble her.
Catrin Saran James has created a print combining silk screen colour over digital black and white, collaged from archival images she has sourced. She says the work is “Influenced by the colour scheme of Neopolitan ice cream, ‘Tuck Shop’ is a celebration of the modernist design features that blazed a trail throughout the post war architecture of Britain.”
James was born in Swansea in 1978. She graduated with a fine art degree in painting and now works in digital collage, print and film. A life-long obsession with the history and design of mid century architecture and British post war housing projects, the kind in which her family lived. Whether cleaning neglected structural design features on 1950s municipal buildings through her act of ‘Guerilla Restoration’, or creating nostalgic photomontages using archive photographs of post-war town centres, the role of artist and archivist intertwine in her practice to scratch the surface of this newly celebrated period in architectural design.
Galerie Simpson started life as a print publishing company, using all the experience gathered from producing several successful fund-raising portfolios for charities, including The House of Fairy Tales and Cubitt Artists.
After re-locating to my hometown of Swansea, I hosted several exhibitions in my office. This organically developed into an artist’s run gallery, officially opening its doors in July 2014. Aided by a small team of artists who have helped steer this project, we already have a series of successful shows under our belt. Galerie Simpson (Swansea) is now progressing from an artists run, into an independent non-profit space.
In order to support this gallery development we will be applying for grants, but in the spirit of our DIY approach to fundraising, we have devised the ‘Galerie Simpson Selection Box’. A compact A4 sized box holding 18 artworks – an instant art collection. You will find all of the images from the artists and more details about the works in this blog.
The Artists contributing to this cornucopia are; Fiona Banner, Sir Peter Blake, Angela de la Cruz, Abigail Fallis, Tom Gidley, Georgie Hopton, Rachel Howard, Des Hughes, Gary Hume, Catrin Saran James, Michael Landy, Simon Periton, Jamie Reid, Jane Simpson, Sarah Staton, Gavin Turk, Rachel Whiteread & Clare Woods.
The Selection Box will be previewed at the gallery in Mid March, and London in April. We have 5 boxes that can be secured at an early bird price, please email us for details..
email@example.com – This box is a truly special thing that shouldn’t be missed!
We have presented shows since July 2014. Kicking off with local artists, Georgina Ace & Cliff Jones. Then followed a two person exhibition with the legends Gavin Turk & Sir Peter Blake.
Then a solo survey show of the world-famous graphic artist Jamie Reid, featuring over 60 works spanning 35 years of Jamie’s groundbreaking practice. During the summer of 2015 we hosted a solo show with young Welsh artist Catrin Saran James, in collaboration with the Swansea museum. The exhibition combined objects from the museum with prints created by collaging flat colour with images of Swansea City Centre. The Autumn kicked off with the Molly Parkins first solo painting show in Wales. Our current show is a stunning three person exhibition of painting, sculpture and ceramics from Welsh borders based, internationally acclaimed artists Clare Woods, Des Hughes and Tom Gidley.
The project has been so full of goodwill, the list of people to thank would be an essay in itself. But I must first say a big thank you to Crawford Bryce (the most amazing designer ever) . The incredible Mark Jenkins at K2, my Swansea printers – Nina Morgan, Rose Davies, Patricia Mckenna Jones and Hannah Frederick Lawson… and of course the fantastic artists. I hope you will be as proud of this as I am…