Stuff and Nonsense / Pen Dalton
23 January – 1 February 2014
Thursday 23 January 2014, 6pm - 8pm
Thur – Sat, 12.00 – 19.00
The exhibition of artworks by Pen Dalton represent changing approaches to issue based and conceptual arts and the role of theory in art practice.
The first part in the small gallery is polemic in intention and comes from a series of prints - copies of which are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum - on motherhood and art. It draws on feminist psychoanalytic/linguistic theory – notably of Julia Kristeva - and is couched in the genre of ‘image/text’ artwork.
The second part continues the theme of the maternal in a printed wall istallation titled ‘Matrilineal Descent’ which was designed for an academic conference on Identity in Northern Ireland. Theoretically it is informed by writings on identity - by Michel Foucaut and Stuart Hall - that regard ‘the self’ as formed within specific historic, cultural and social contexts.
In the third part of the exhibition - the ‘Stuff and Nonsense” - Dalton shows work where she has aimed to discard theory and genre. After many years of critical writing and teaching, her aim was to learn about paint and to please herself without recourse to any guiding rationale, eschewing chronological narratives of development or progress. The resulting work appears totally different, without obvious meaning, reduced to the technical and formal components of painting.
Having an exhibition, is not just about showing and selling: it gives the artist a chance to re-view and to consider what they have done. Questions raised in this context: To what extent should art be conceptual, political or socially relevant? Should artists be articulate about their work processes? Can painting - or any other art medium that is recursively concerned with its own formal preoccupations - be transformative?
There will be a short introduction to these changing ideas from 6-6.30 during the private view.