Sunday, 1 April 2012

Q & A with Liam Newnham

Liam Newnham is the curator of a show that opens at the Eb & Flow gallery in Shoreditch next week.
The Rebel:What is the Liam Newnham story? Tell me about where you were born and some news about what's been happening to you since your birth.
Liam: "Born 1979. In a one room hospital in ancient woodlands whilst purity lay quiet all around, my head was so large I popped out like a champagne cork and had to be caught by an elderly one eyed nurse.
Spent most of my life in London, Highbury and Hackney largely, East Ham now.
Childhood spent closely with a severely physically disabled sibling and hard working lefty feminist parents, I don’t resent that though. Honest.
Its good to be asked to talk about myself here, as a key concern of the show is the idea of the artist being vulnerable in showing himself and the power this brings to the work. I think a common way of avoiding the difficulties presented by such vulnerability is to choose to talk about others. So thank you for my own opportunity to be vulnerable. Which I tend to deal with through humour and ambiguity. Aha."

The Rebel:What made you want to do this show?
"I wanted to show some work that I really like by some people I think have voice.
The idea formed around that work and has grown to something more.
I am writing this as the work is being made around me in the space. It is so exciting to finally see it exist. A lot of it has been made for the show so I have not been able to select specific works but rather people, and of course other humans have their own ideas of what they want so it has been a fairly hands off process. Luckily I had a strong sense of what the show wants and I think I have been largely successful in communicating that to the artists in the early stages.
(Above: A photo from the p.v. of She Doesn't Care. The work on teh wall is a homage to Jean Dubuffet by Harry Pye)

The Rebel: To what extent are you a bad man?
"I get angry sometimes, worse of all I can feel justified in that.
I am not very good at managing impressions. I find other people confusing but am equally fascinated.
I’m too honest. I fail at the games of social politeness. Other people find this confusing, but not fascinating.
I did quite a lot of shoplifting as a teenager.
I recently shoplifted a pair of golden Walnuts from a 99p shop in an art fair somewhere.
I’m not sorry. It was worth it."
(Above: Cedar in front of his artwork at the p.v)

The Rebel: Are you worried the name of the show and the fact it's all men is likely to cause a few catty remarks and jeers and sneers?
Liam: "What a thing to worry about! No.
Necessarily the selection and the press release, is rather aware of this potential. And displays a knowing naivety towards such easy criticism. I hope this helps people to not get caught in churning old porridge and move on to other more tasty courses of fresh meat and refreshing salad."

The Rebel: What are you going to do after this project? What would make you happy?
Liam: "I think I am on the cusp of conquering the time>money>space triangle of London lifestyle to the point of being able to afford some time in the studio, so, I am going to paint. Painting would make me happy. And maybe she will care."
(above photo: fans of Gordon Beswick gather round his latest masterpiece.)

Exhibition and gallery information:
She Doesn’t Care (Group Show) curated by Liam Newnham
Dates: 7 April – 11 May 2012
Private View: Private View: 5 April 2012 - 6:00 - 8:00pm
Address: 77 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4QS
Nearest tube: Old Street
Phone number: +44 (0)20 7729 7797
Opening Times: Tuesday to Friday 11- 6pm, Saturday 1-5pm and Monday by appointment only
Free admission
Press and Sales Contact: Nathan Engelbrecht
+44 (0)77 250 39 581 or
She Doesn’t Care
- Male painters not impressing a woman
Group Show curated by Liam Newnham
7 April – 11 May 2012
Private View: 5 April 2012 - 6:30 - 8:30 (followed by curated after party and EB&Flow 1st Birthday Celebrations at Victorian Vaults)
‘She Doesn’t Care’ brings together work by men, focusing on current trends of mark making and production, across style and medium, which encode a masculinity less concerned with brash, aggressive dynamism than with a gentler, more vulnerable movement.
Intrigued with the loss of the archetypal modalities of the late and post modern male artist figure, so opening an examination of current expressions of masculinity as evidenced through art making.
There is a delicately balanced dichotomy involved in the showing of one’s work; a subtle point of bravado and vulnerability on the part of the artist that can somehow lend the work itself an unusual aura of importance - the delicate importance of personal truth, vulnerable to the gaze of the other.
Here, these brave few willingly offer their efforts to an indifferent audience. These makers make, perhaps not to impress, but, rather, to share enjoyment of their medium, through which they are empowered to know and thus share themselves.
Recognising failure as inherent and accepting its gift, the work carries on regardless of her criticisms.
Who is she? To these artists, all male, she is as much imagined other as she is Mother, Lover, Another. ‘She’ the projected destination for communiqué.
The work, diverse in form, strikes a conversation amongst men, men at work having a mother’s meeting. And what is said? There is certainly no unifying voice, the many interests and perspectives are each unique, if not quite at odds.
What commonality can be found here? What is it that allows this work to co-inhabit this space?
In examining the apparent masculinity in current art production we must look to the evidence of the mark itself.
As installation, object, video, text or paint on or off canvas, here we consider mark making as the effort of the artist in space and time - the physical trace of mental effort, the putting-out-there of an internal process. Result determined by intention such marks may well be first pushed through the fabric of reality with one’s mind. The brush unnecessary.
Artists included in group show:
Wayne Horse, Run, Sweetoof, Edward Fornieles, Tek 33, Ben Cavers, Barry Reigate, Jasper Joffe, Harry Pye, Cedar Lewisohn, Kate Hawkins, Adam Christensen, Ben Young, Daniel Schwitzer, Jonathan Kipps, Gordon Beswick.

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