19 February – 13 April 2016
New Greenham Arts is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of recent work by Susan Sluglett. The exhibition is accompanied by a newly commissioned poem Stone Curlew by the artist and writer Fabian Peake.
'We're all against war. But what are we for? Peace, we say. What is peace? Nobody quite knows.' - Robert Filliou
‘Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made.’ - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
For the past year Susan Sluglett has been making work related to the subject of war and peace. Sluglett worked with children to explore radical French fluxus artist Robert Filliou’s question, what is peace? The arch entitled 451: An Outline of World History refers to Ray Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451 - the temperature at which book-paper catches fire and burns. The collaborative project involves 451 flowers made by Sluglett using withdrawn library books combined with flowers made by the children using heavier non book publishing paper with their personal messages attached.
New large-scale paintings incorporate the universally understood excel spreadsheet as a formatting device related to finance. Seemingly random and wayward elements demote its structure, rendering it useless as a backdrop for order - it is now a place for reverie.
The poster series Positions employs abbreviated chess themes as a ground. Part of the secret of winning chess is to realise when conventional values can be overturned and a sacrifice can be made which will achieve victory in spite of giving up material. Chess players recognise where standard material values can be disregarded in the quest for a higher goal, such as checkmate or otherwise shattering the enemy position. In Positions neutralisers are planted on top in the form of recurring examples of natural and constructed emblems.
We see the extraordinary value of peer and mentoring relationships through projects that the Jerwood Charitable Foundation is involved in not just within Jerwood Visual Arts, but across our work supporting early career theatre directors, composers, writers and more. It requires a certain kind of individual to respect the responsibility and potential of an artist-mentor relationship. It is an exchange. The themes arising this past year through the Jerwood Painting Fellowships are brave ones; of risk, challenging habit and expectation and what has come before. But the careful founding of each of these relationships by each individual has meant that those Fellowships have been undertaken in an environment with just the right blend of support and challenge. It’s an alchemical mix, and one each participant can take credit for creating.
Anthony Faroux, Susan Sluglett and Sophia Starling are the second group of artists to undertake a Jerwood Painting Fellowship. The initiative launched in 2010, designed to provide crucial time and support for artists at early stages in their practice. The Fellowships offer three artists in each intake a bursary of £10,000, coupled with a year-long mentoring relationship with an established practitioner and an exhibition at Jerwood Visual Arts. Through an open submission process, we received more than 300 applications in this round. Each artist was selected for the outstanding quality and potential of their work, by mentors Fabian Peake, Marcus Harvey and Mali Morris RA, who respectively partnered the aforementioned Fellows. The works they have produced for exhibition have benefited from an intense period of focus, conversation, reflection and making. And they have risen to that challenge.
Anthony, Susan and Sophia should be recognised not just for the work you see here, but for their commitment to this opportunity, which they have each taken seriously and with consideration. We would like to thank mentors Fabian Peake, Marcus Harvey and Mali Morris RA for the complete generosity they have shown, understanding the significance and subtlety of the opportunity. The Fellowships process and exhibition has been deftly managed by the excellent team at Parker Harris and, from Jerwood Visual Arts, Sarah Williams and Oliver Fuke.
We are curious here, and always seeking to learn and grow. The Fellowships model has been subtly refined and, I believe, enhanced through the collaboration of both Fellows and mentors from its inaugural round, for which we are grateful to Clare Mitten, Cara Nahaul and Corinna Till; Paul Bonaventura, Stephen Farthing RA and Chantal Joffe. It is our delight that 2010’s Fellows remain close friends, and our intention and hope that the Fellowship should grow in this way across each year.
- Shonagh Manson
Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation