Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Lindsay Sekulowicz 'Inventory'

At John Jones we are exposed to art everyday. This access to seeing new work has led to the development of Projection, a space for solo exhibitions which aim to increase the exposure of mainly unseen artists who we believe have great potential. One of the key objectives for Projection is to support the exhibiting artist with one aspect of their professional development such as the presentation or communication of their work. Each selected artist has a striking quality towards making art which we anticipate will develop significantly in the future.

Lindsay Sekulowicz is our current artist in Projection.

"The idea of an Inventory through drawing has been in my mind since beginning work with Museo La Specola, The Museum of Natural History in Florence, in 2006.

I lived in Florence for six months in 2006 where I began working with the museum, and began an initial catalogue of the exhibits in the museum. In 2007 I was invited to travel with a group of entomologists from the museum to the Northern Hulu Perak and Ke
lantan regions of the Malaysian jungle as artist in residence, on an expedition to form a preliminary catalogue of the beetle species inhabiting the area. Earlier this year, we traveled to Ecuador, to cloud forests in the west of the country, to the Paramo region in the north, and to the Amazon.

Before this year’s expedition, I had been in contact with John Jones to discuss the project with them. While applying for funding I found their support and suggestions invaluable, and the personal enthusiasm of people there incredibly helpful. Before I left for Ecuador, I was invited to exhibit work from the expedition in the new Projection space, and I immediately accepted this opportunity as I already placed a lot of trust in the people I had met at John Jones, and greatly appreciated the flexibility they offered me in a show, and the implicit understanding of how I saw my work developing and a potential audience.

From the beginning in the mu
seum, I consistently thought of the desire to catalogue, to contain, own, understand, and anthropomorphise our world. I drew in the cold rooms there, and noted lists of the exhibits, until the stuffed lizards and crocodiles seemed to shift in their glass cases. Once I thought I saw a monkey gently breathing.

In Malaysia, at night in my tent, I dreamt of the indistinct grey forms of elephants nearby. In Ecuador, the possibilities of snakes were much more significant and I imagined their mean little wooden heads sw
aying in the grass. Once I sat on a ledge in the jungle, lost, and contemplated my hat far below in the thick grass, wondering if my small knife could adequately cut me a clear path. Spider’s webs wrapped round my arms as I climbed down.

Every day, I would say to Giuseppe, and him to me; “The jungle is so beautiful!”
In the cloud forest, I sat in front of an
Abutilon Darwinii tree, trying for hours to take a single photograph of the hummingbirds that surrounded it. The entomologists would bring back things from their walks for me to draw, and pointed out nearby tarantulas nests and the volcano visible in the morning from a certain position, before the clouds descended making everything cool and damp and dim for the rest of the day.

I found the pelvis of a small mammal, and the skin of a pit viper. We left cooked spaghetti nearby the camp to try and entice armadillos near to us. One day we found a headless effigy with blue trousers and a white shirt that had been forgotten in a house in the forest (the same house that bandits had attacked several months before).

For me, it seems that in the jungle the world separates into its most essential components. With the entomologists all these things relate to the world of insects and their pursuit. On our lists before we go into the jungle, it may say: honey, alcohol, knife, fruit, cloth, and generator. And then on a table in front of us there may be bottles of beetles, paper envelopes full of butterflies, stick insect’s eggs, a scorpion in a jar, and a huge lion ant captive inside a glass tank.

On return to London, objects from the jungle became souvenirs, incongruously surviving in the present, existing as a means to displace attention to the past. The objects began to dry out, shrink, occasionally hatch new small insects, and once, completely disappear (a huge leaf, partly destroyed by a fungus, which left only its skeleton and disappeared from inside a closed box).

The collection replaces history with classification. And so a return to the museum in Italy is necessary now. I am in the process of creating a series of workshops for young people to explore ideas of interdisciplinary exchange between art and science, and have spoken to John Jones regarding where and how I can present these workshops. Since returning, I had two months of preparing for the show in Projection, during which time I had numerous meetings with various people at John Jones to discuss publicising the show, ways in which to continue the work through video, publications and talks, and most importantly, the work itself, around which there was continually a dialogue that was surprising, supportive, and informed.

Museo La Specola: In the entomology department there with its familiar naphthalene scent, the precision and sincerity of the entomologists is demonstrated in the laborious and meticulous process of identifying, setting and cataloguing specimens. At lunchtime we would sit round a table just off the main department, and sometimes retired or visiting entomologists come to discuss familiar subjects. When Luca goes to the fridge to take out tomatoes, I see rows and rows of insect boxes in among the food. In the morning before most visitors arrive in the winter, sunlight enters between blue curtains in the bird room, landing on the faces of all the penguins as they look up in the same direction. In the afternoons sometimes I go to Giuseppe’s room in the attic of the museum, full of the rhynchophorus weevils in well-sealed tanks that he studies.

I have been invited back often for discussions at John Jones for the duration of the show, always feeling that I am learning more about the work when I do. This has undoubtedly been the most positive aspect of the exhibition, to feel such an ongoing engagement and collaboration between all aspects of work and the people based there.

The next thing, before I go back to the jungle again, is to consider the strangely failed magic present in all these displaced objects and animals. To document the cataloguing of the miniature after the event of the expedition and to revisit the memorized landscapes of the jungles I have already visited. I hope that through the experience of exhibiting at Projection I am able to do this with clarity and I greatly anticipate further stages of this project and future expeditions."

Lindsay Sekulowicz

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Mauricio Ortiz wins Shelter Competition

A Darwin-inspired illustration of an insect by London-based artist Mauricio Ortiz won Shelter’s House of Cards design competition.

Mauricio's illustration hung alongside the works of top artists including Damien Hirst, Vivienne Westwood and David Bailey.

"Upon recovering from the news I had won the Shelter House of Cards competition, I had to lie down for an hour. Following the auspicious phone call I came to face the terrifying enigma of how to deliver a winning entry that was structurally perfect. The other exhibitors were mostly stars whose work is underpinned by assistants, budget, and facilitators so I thought about seeing John Jones and asking him if he would do it for free in recognition of my long-term custom and my winning entry...(sigh)...but, with no time to lose, I instantly allocated a potential crew for the production of my piece. This meant that whatever money I had set aside for my rent, would go towards framing and towards rent arrears, unfortunately. Deep down, however, what I really wanted was a sublime John Jones montage. (Artists cherish JJ display methods in the same way women obsess about Louboutin.) Still, I was delighted.

A Cinderello theme was developing: I was the author of the winning piece and yet I had no frame for it. Little did I know that, in fact, John Jones' contribution to Shelter would supply my piece with the required physicality. My enigma was solved. A call from Shelter confirmed that not only John Jones would mount it but also that expert Metro Imaging would print it. So I went to the ball in the best frame in town-and kept my flat. (I am a beneficiary of social housing, as a matter of fact.)

But let's go back to the Shelter phone call where the news was conveyed to me. The thing is, the phone call also turned into an impromptu interview. My candid comments would be then passed on to a journalist who would then contact me to settle details. However he didn't feel the need to do so, as he now knew that, at 47, I supplemented my income as a waiter, which perfectly served the tale he chose to portray, omitting, in the process, a 25-year career.

The article, which resulted in the headline "Waiting game finally pays off for Mauricio", METRO, Monday, September 9, 2009, was particularly touching to those who know me and also to those who believe things happen overnight, I suppose. Since then, a lovely new piece appeared in the METRO the day of my birthday "Stars show housing crisis on the Cards", METRO, Friday, September 25, 2009. This time my artistic DNA, clients and collaborators like Jamie Oliver, Robert Plant and Roman Abramovich were acknowledged with a classic balance of irony and humour. The piece in The Independent was great too. The video which appeared on a Korean website, the 50,000 entries for the Shelter House of Cards campaign which turned up on Google, and the 60,000 mail-out from to launch my 6 new print editions etc...You see I just wanted the sponsors to see that the random nature of a competition open to the general public could have a life-changing impact on someone with a specific long-term commitment to art and design."

Mauricio Ortiz

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Open Studio

Back in May I wrote an entry about my experiences of finding and moving into a studio in east London, it’s been 6 months since I moved in and this weekend we had our first Open Studio event. Open Studios are a chance for the public to look round artists’ studios and discuss the work with them, unlike exhibition openings this is a more intimate way to engage with art and its creators without the ceremony of a white walled space. Studios such as mine, which is run by ACAVA, host yearly Open Studio events to publicise their activities and those of the artists renting from them, it’s also a vital part of their funding and charitable status to offer an education and outreach program.

For the artists themselves it’s a chance to assess their work midway through creation and discuss thoughts with the public, it can also act as a great networking opportunity in which people are willing to approach you in your work environment and you never know who may turn up, whether it’s a gallerist, collector or fellow artist looking for works to include in group shows.

Over the past 6 months I have managed to fill the space with no end of clutter, numerous canvases and considerable amount of dripped paint – on the floor, walls and even the ceiling! So it felt strange to go and tidy it all up (purely for public safety rather than any real curatorial thought!), and while the space still resembles a painter's studio I hung a few of my large new canvases along with some smaller works for all to see.

The artists I share with: Alex Daw, Begoña Morea Roy, Elizabeth Eamer, James Unsworth who all showed a selection of work. Our studio is on Vyner Street between Nettie Horn Gallery and The Victory Pub.

25B Vyner Street
Bethnal Green
E2 9DG

Andy Wicks
Andy Wicks is a John Jones Artist Surfaces consultant and a practicing artist.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Sarah Kate Wilson 'Lunar Rainbow' opens this Friday!

Sarah Kate Wilson is an emerging British abstract painter who has been the John Jones artist in residence since August 2009. Throughout her residency she has created ‘Lunar Rainbow’, a nonsensical world where frivolity and flirtation are at play transforming the project space gallery into an interactive painted environment. Walkways guide the viewer into the space where swings replace conventional viewing and seating platforms and works are observed whilst wading through a ball pool.

To accompany this playful exhibition the Laurel Collective in association with Supine Studios will be performing, and the Two Blind Pigs will be making glittery, popping candy cocktails!

Private View 9th October 6 - 10pm
Exhibition 12th October - 13th November
Open Wednesday - Friday 10am - 5pm

Please RSVP to

Friday, 2 October 2009

Amy Stephens Iceland Residency

Amy Stephens, who was a showing artist in the John Jones Project Space with Meet Pamela, has just been awarded a month residency! The residency is in Iceland, with organisation SÍM. SÍM is The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists who run nearly 100 studios for local artists and offer 10 spaces for their International Artist´s Residency program.

To view current residents work click here

To find out more about this residency click here