Manchester Contemporary 2018

Matt Antoniak
Simeon Barclay
Louise Giovanelli
Emily Hesse
Stand 132 - Workplace Foundation

For Manchester Contemporary 2018 we are delighted to present works by 4 artists who each have a forthcoming solo exhibition at Workplace Foundation, Gateshead in the next 6 months.

Over the past year and a half, Matt Antoniak has quietly collected the scraps of paper used to test materials in an art shop. These scraps of paper are covered in doodles, throwaway marks and inconsequential scribes. These images are then cropped and scaled up, before being painted in forensic details. Working in this manner is an attempt to step away from the prevailing 20th century idea of the genial artist, creates micro-authorships and uses chance to push against ideas of individualism. Antoniak is interested in the interplay between scrutinising these marks at a forensic level of detail, before translating and re-presenting them, and the chance element of using the found bits of paper. In the creation of these works, the artist is reliant upon others. The demographic of people who enter the art shop is broad, with many being ‘hobbyists’ or amateurs, some children and some professionals. By faithfully recreating these marks in paint, Antoniak toys with the idea of artistic hierarchy, time and chance. Matt Antoniak was born in 1991 in Nottingham, UK. Antoniak lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne. He will open his first solo exhibition at Workplace Foundation, Gateshead in January 2019.

Simeon Barclay is interested in exploring the dynamic nature of language, the mediated image, and in objects that both seduce and provoke. These impulses are understood in relation to the human condition, an existence Barclay perceives as being caught up in the tumultuous, unfixed process of situating and defining ourselves within culture and tradition. Drawing on advertisements, magazines, television and music, he combines images of culturally significant moments and figures with his personal memories to understand how we define and situate ourselves within society. Barclay uses references from popular culture from his time growing up in the north of England to explore masculine and feminine roles and the expectations of society. In recent years he has received critical attention through projects with Arcadia Missa, NYC; Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, W139, Amsterdam, Baltic 39, Newcastle and Jerwood Foundation, London. In 2016 he was selected as a Liverpool Biennial Associate artist showing work in the Liverpool Biennial. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Cubitt, London and Tate Britain as part of the Art Now series. Simeon Barclay was born in Huddersfield in 1975 and lives and works in Leeds. Barclay will open a new solo exhibition at Workplace Foundation, Gateshead in March 2019 as part of a touring commission with The Tetley, Leeds and The Turnpike, Leigh.

Louise Giovanelli’s practice is informed by ways of looking and perceiving, with the act of looking itself as a kind of content. She employs found and generated images, cultural references and excerpts from other art forms to investigate the languages and histories of painting. Her ideas are increasingly visceral and unstructured. Images are chosen intuitively for their further painterly potential. She has recently included various visual phenomena such as light effects and surface textures. Her approaches to synthesising such images are process led and are gradually distilled through an associative process of arranging, collaging and drawing - providing scope for them to mature, fall away and settle. Although vague, this allows the possibility that something will be created rather than illustrated. "I am exploring some fundamentals of abstraction within a figurative language - simplification, flattening and tension between planes. I am interested in configurations of intersecting under/overlaps and how this might allow the work to exist at an interchange between figuration and abstraction - where I believe painting is most vital and dynamic." Louise Giovanelli was born in London in 1993. She lives and works in Manchester. Her work was recently featured in ‘Contemporary British Painting’ published by Anomie Books. She will open a solo exhibition at Workplace Foundation, Gateshead in February 2019 followed by a solo exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery in May 2019.

Since 2014, Emily Hesse has collected the now discarded, material fragments of industrial Teesside in brick form. The bricks themselves all once formed the homes, buildings and structures of Hesse’s home town of Middlesbrough and were originally manufactured in the North East. Each brick speaks of personal, collective or political mythologies associated with her land and it’s people or is made from, in clay form, that land itself. The direct marking of the bricks or their altering by re-firing and treating as ceramic objects is done so with everyday and found materials such as correction fluid, chalk, sand and glass but also more valuable gold leaf and copper in order to distort ideas of worth, value, invisibility and validity. In Hesse’s ongoing plight to write marginilised communities into history, she considers these works as building blocks; they not only hold the historical weight of an untold regional history, but also create a space for previously silenced and unheard voices to speak. Emily Hesse, was born Middlesbrough in 1980. She lives and practices in the North East of England. Hesse has recently exhibited at MIMA, Middlesbrough and is featured in ‘Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art’ published by Phaidon. Her solo exhibition The Taste of this History: a Church in My Mouth opens at Workplace Foundation, Gateshead in November this year.