For Nothing Is Simply One Thing
We are delighted to present our fifth exhibition at Cromwell Place, For Nothing is Simply One Thing. Taking place during London Craft Week, this new group show brings together the work of international artists who celebrate, bend and embrace traditional craft techniques. From sculptural ceramics and glass pieces to richly textured paintings and works on paper, the artworks on display call upon disciplines usually associated with craft practices to highlight the ongoing dialogue between fine art and the decorative arts.
For Nothing Is Simply One Thing makes reference to the innate duality of craft materials; imbued with a certain familiarity, yet testament to the skill of those who use them. Ceramics, glass, textile, paper, wood and metal take centre stage through a selection of artworks with craftsmanship and materiality at their core.
Sam Herman (1936—2020) was a glass artist, painter, and sculptor. The founding father of the Studio Glass movement in the UK, he developed revolutionary techniques that have inspired generations of glass artists worldwide. His work was characterised by powerful but fluid forms involving vivid colours and iridescent elements. The instinctiveness with which he worked can be felt through the forms of his blown-glass sculptures, which appear almost as if naturally occurring. A similar sense of fluidity is explored by Dan Rees in his new body of marbled linen works. Referencing the aesthetics of traditional papercraft and bookmaking, Rees has employed the somewhat unpredictable technique of marbling to produce this new body of paintings. These conceptual pieces are imbued with a subtle subversion of aesthetic hierarchies which is typical of Rees’ work.
Contrasting the unpredictable nature of Herman and Rees’ works are a series of meticulously crafted monoprints by James William Murray. These works on paper are based on a 1:2 cross form which is obscured, fragmented and repeated through layered processes of abstraction. These works are austere in their appearance, yet complex in their materiality. Each work begins as a manual graphite drawing which is translated into a digital image before being realised physically using carbon black pigment, vegetable dyes and beeswax. Benedikte Klüver’s new works also explore a geometric formalism but through the traditional technique of needlepoint. Supplementing her abstract painting practice, these miniature and precise tapestries are produced in moments of waiting. The resulting artworks are reminiscent of the work of Bauhaus weavers and call upon the historical significance of women’s tapestry making.
Rooted in sculpture, William Cobbing’s practice encompasses a diverse range of media, including video, photography and installation. Through his ceramic works and performance, Cobbing pushes the traditional boundaries of clay, both in its raw and fired forms. There is a sense of stifled communication which reoccurs in his work, with his glazed ceramic book covers being no exception. In these works, tactile surfaces and the pooling of glazes take precedent over the contents of the book. Also challenging convention is Marianne Thoermer, whose practice blends traditional techniques of composition together with unexpected materials. Her Internal Landscape series which was initiated in 2018 consists of tapestry-like pieces that are laboriously assembled to create textural abstract compositions. The result is both visual and tactile, familiar and uncanny. Penelope Clayden has been working with cloth for over five decades, stitching and manipulating fabric. During her career as a nurse, she observed the way that fabric accompanies humans throughout life, and the innate intimacy of cloth has become a central theme in her artistic practice. Her new works consist of delicately sewn layers of recycled Indian sari silk, which unify to create rich abstract colour fields.
Also on display in the exhibition are objects from the inaugural furniture collection of Things From, a Parisian designer duo founded by Géraldine Boublil and Jessica Solnicki in 2021. Their highly finished furniture pieces demonstrate a refined sensitivity to their materials and are exhibited here in conversation with the artworks above to challenge the boundaries of the distinct practices of the decorative and fine arts. For Nothing Is Simply One Thing celebrates the pleasure of making and living with art, highlighting the often overlooked skills and genuine dedication of those, artists and designers, who produce such works of art.
For Nothing Is Simply One Thing
9—14 May 2023
Gallery 11 at Cromwell Place
4 Cromwell Place
London SW7 2JE
Open Tues to Sat 10am—6pm, Sun 10—4pm