Advertisement

Portfolio: Aaron Angell

With his current solo show on at GoMA in Glasgow, the artist shares a selection of influential images

jwe-16-049.jpg

John Wesley, Untitled (Ducks), 1983 acrylic on paper, 90 x 150 cm. Courtesy: Fredericks & Freiser, New York and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

John Wesley, Untitled (Ducks), 1983, acrylic on paper, 90 x 150 cm. Courtesy: Fredericks & Freiser, New York and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

John Wesley : Untitled (ducks)

There is a germ of an idea in this image but it’s really about the oddness of vision versus reality. John Wesley is probably my favourite living image-maker. When you see his works in real life, texturally-, ‘painterly’-speaking, there’s almost nothing there – not even the fetishistic flatness of mechanically produced pop. It is as if they lose something on microscopic examination which only serves to further their importance as perfect, whole, irreducible images. This is my favourite painting of his. Like many of his images it is a magic piece of composition within the quasi-religious bounds of a premodern hierarchical perspective. I recently read Leonard Goldstein’s The Social and Cultural Roots of Linear Perspective (1988) and I am interested in the fact that images depicting linear projection sprung from and contributed to the understanding of the political and mechanical systems of which people were part, whereas their precursors – hierarchical projection, vertical projection, simple maps, calligraphy etc. – were more about depicting a moveable system of spiritual or social values. A distant church is larger on the plain than a mill in the foreground, if the former is psychically heavier than the latter.

pastedgraphic-1.jpg

Nigel Coates, Architectural model for ‘The Wall’ shopping complex, Tokyo, for Branson Coates Architecture, London, 1988

Nigel Coates, Architectural model for ‘The Wall’ shopping complex, Tokyo, for Branson Coates Architecture, London, 1988. Courtesy: V&A, London

Nigel Coates, Model for ‘The Wall’, Tokyo

This is on permanent display at the V&A in London. It is a model for a (realized) facade for a shopping centre in Tokyo. Nigel Coates designed it to look like a Roman wall which is permanently under construction. I like it because it seems to me to question the idea of the activation of buildings; whether this lies with the end users or its inhabitants, or with the people who are making the building, at the point(s) of making it. Picture the great ‘Dom’ of Cologne under construction: writhing with pulleys, people, painters, plasterers exploring the building haptically as they make it. All of them sweating and swearing in knots so entangled they can hardly be expressed. Contrasted with the finished structure, just this big dead thing like a head full of air, impossible to clean, unable to be properly touched, underactivated.

thumb_img_2760_1024.jpg

Pelecyphora aselliformis. Photograph: the author

Pelecyphora aselliformis

I think about non-human minds a lot but especially those of plants, which are long, diffuse minds spread out over time, soil, wind, and the bodies, minds and mechanisms of other animals. This plant is Pelecyphora aselliformis from my own collection. It is a rare high-altitude cactus which is extremely slow growing. It has evolved to look like it is permanently swarming with woodlice possibly as a signal to attract pollinators.

glw_sbywm_1938_39_3.jpg

Thomas Guest, Grave group from a surface interment at Winterslow, 1814, oil on canvas. Courtesy: © Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum

Thomas Guest, Grave group from a surface interment at Winterslow

This amateur effort from sometime-archaeologist Thomas Guest recognizes the spiritual importance of the objects it displays in a way that is both romantic and scientific. It centres on a random selection of grave goods found in a barrow in Wiltshire in the south-west of England, placing them large as a planet at the centre of the composition. It seems to acknowledge that the truth of an inhabited terrain is often found poetically by digging, scouring, exploring its grammar, rather than by a Godlike depiction of its entirety.

pastedgraphic-3.jpg

‘Iron mallet’ teabowl, 1570s, Japan

‘Iron mallet’ teabowl, Japan

This teabowl or Yunomi is a really good example of this kind of recurring, hypertrophied form of rustication which is common in Japanese ceramics from this period. They are some of the earliest works I think to exploit irony, even via the slightly silly metaphorical names that were given to them like ‘Iron Mallet’, ‘Discarding Avarice’, etc. This one is trimmed with an extremely deep-set foot, making it look like a little hovering stone. It is glazed with a classic iron-rich Temmoku glaze but has been pulled from the kiln at a high temperature, causing it to cool very quickly. Gesturally this is similar to a blacksmith quenching a sword. this process is called seto-guro or ‘extraction black’. It’s sort of the only way to get this really nice but subtle black orange-peel effect. I like the hidden labour and knowledge that is behind the slightest but most exquisite of gestures in ceramics. It is almost a private language.

Aaron Angell's current solo exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Glasgow runs until 18 March 2018.

Main image: John Wesley, Untitled (Ducks), 1983 acrylic on paper, 90 x 150 cm. Courtesy: Fredericks & Freiser, New York and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Aaron Angell (b.1987) is an artist who lives and works in London. His current solo exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Glasgow runs until 18 March 2018. He has a forthcoming solo show at Kunstverein Freiburg and a sculpture commission at the Swiss Institute, New York.

Advertisement

Most Read

Criticism of the show at the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest comes alongside a nationalist reshaping of the...
A retrospective at Munich’s Museum Brandhorst charts the artist’s career from the 1980s to the present, from ‘fem-trash...
At the National Theatre of Wales, a performance alive with wild, tactile descriptions compels comparison between the...
There are perils in deploying bigotry to score political points, but meanings also shift from West to East
‘It’s ridiculous. It’s Picasso’: social media platform to review nudity policy after blocking Montreal Museum of Fine...
Poland’s feminist ‘Bison Ladies’ storm the Japanese artist’s Warsaw exhibition in solidarity with longtime model Kaori’...
An art historian and leading Leonardo expert has cast doubt on the painting’s attribution
How will the Black Panther writer, known for his landmark critical assessments of race, take on the quintessential...
The dissident artist has posted a series of videos on Instagram documenting diggers demolishing his studio in the...
In further news: artists for Planned Parenthood; US court rules on Nazi-looted Cranachs; Munich’s Haus der Kunst...
A mother’s death, a father’s disinterest: Jean Frémon’s semi-factual biography of the artist captures a life beyond...
Jostling with its loud festival neighbours, the UK’s best attended annual visual art festival conducts a polyphonic...
It’s not clear who destroyed the project – part of the Liverpool Biennial – which names those who have died trying to...
Dating from 1949 to the early 1960s, the works which grace the stately home feel comfortable in the ostentatious pomp...
The disconnect between public museum programming and private hire couldn’t be starker – it’s time for the arts to...
In further news: Angela Gulbenkian sued over Kusama pumpkin; and Pussy Riot re-arrested immediately after release from...
With Art Week in town, a guide to the best exhibitions to see, from sonic surveillance to Ronnie van Hout’s showdown...
Moving between figuration and abstraction, the New York-based painter and teacher made work about in-between spaces and...
Trump’s State Department is more than 3 months late in announcing its national pavilion – testament to the chaos...
The continued dominance of UK-US writers makes a mockery of the Man Booker’s ‘global outlook’
The fashion photographer has been accused on Twitter of ripping off another artist – with both represented by the same...
Katharina Cibulka has stitched ‘As long as the art market is a boys’ club, I will be a feminist,’ across her alma mater...
The punk artists’s invasion of the pitch during the Croatia vs. France match reminded us what Russia’s new ‘normality’...
In further news: Brexit voters avoid arts; New York libraries’s culture pass unlocks museums; Grayson Perry-backed...
If artificial intelligence were ever to achieve sentience, could it feasibly produce art? (And would it be good?)
Nods to the game in World Cup celebrations show how dance has gone viral – but unwittingly instrumentalized for...
‘What is being exhibited at Manifesta, above all, is Palermo itself’
With the 12th edition of the itinerant European biennial opening in Palermo, what do local artists, curators and...
The curators seem set to ask, ‘how civilized is the world’s current state of affairs?’

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018