Andrew Ekins|Vincent Hawkins|Sarah Kogan|Mali Morris|Stephen Nelson

Curated by Sarah Kogan

The Blyth Gallery
Imperial College London
Level 5 Sherfield Building
London SW7 2AZ

Exhibition: 3 November to 16 December 2021
Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm

Supernova is a multimedia exhibition featuring the work of five British contemporary artists working in two and three dimensions. Curated by guest artist Sarah Kogan, the exhibition will be shown at The Blyth Gallery, Imperial College London, in autumn 2021.

The title of the exhibition, Supernova, eludes to the moment that a star implodes, shooting materials into the cosmos and creating the raw ingredients of life. This metaphor of material process, resulting in new life being formed, is pertinent to the content of the exhibition: whilst the work of each selected artist explores the importance of materiality in the process of making, there concurrently exists, throughout the exhibition as a whole, subtle manifestations of expressive meaning.

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The work of Andrew Ekin's explores form and material structure to expand the significance of the physical presence of his paintings. Themes of mortality and decay, memory and loss, growth and renewal are embedded in the use of paint skins, which are stacked and manipulated to shape a puckered fleshy landscape, alluding to the grime of human presence and the materiality of a body of land. The work employs a sculptural language to create an allusion between geo-topographical landscape and that of the human condition.

Andrew Ekins graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2001, receiving the Socrates Travel Award to Egypt and the Ina & Hugh Chaplin Trust Award. He has exhibited widely and was shortlisted for the Contemporary British Painting Prize (2019), John Ruskin Prize (2017), BEEP Painting Prize (2016) and the Exeter Contemporary (2014). Notable awards include: Arts Depot Prize (2016), Selfridges "Bright Old Thing" Award (2015), Oppenheim John Downes Trust (2004), Rootstein Hopkins Foundation (1997). His work is represented in public and private collections including KADIST Foundation, Fondazio Trussardi, Chisenhale Gallery.

Vincent Hawkins offers an insight into the influences and motifs of the specific paintings exhibited in Supernova, representing a departure from earlier work, which was predominantly on paper: 'The mountain idea came gradually out of a two fold source, or perhaps merged into this as a coming together of the past two years, initiated, by both lockdown and Brexit. During the earlier time of lockdown in 2020 I made work at home in the garden, mostly ink drawings in moleskine books. Things grew from there. I became intrigued by the relationship of our global crisis as well as the domestic one. The garden fence represented a restriction or a boundary in which to 'keep in' as well as 'keep out'. It became an island, it became a mountain, it became an idea of the seemingly insurmountable, mysterious and uncertain, yet full of hope and hidden potential. The painted on frame in the two canvases is a reference to this idea of a 'border' or threshold.'

Vincent Hawkins (b. 1959) has exhibited extensively in Britain and internationally with solo shows in Chicago and Paris. He was a finalist in the John Moores Painting Prize (2012), a Prize Winner in the 2006 John Moore's 24 and has also exhibited work in the Summer Exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts, London. Hawkins is represented by Sid Motion Gallery, where he had his first UK solo show in May 2019.

Sarah Kogan's paintings are generated by ideas of landscape, abstraction and memory. The layered surface of the work is created by the use of a variety of techniques including pouring, drawing or the removal of paint by scraping or wiping. The emotional content of the work lies within its implications of unease created by half-glimpsed objects or landscapes, with subject matter related to images of war, outer space or a more internal psychological sense of place or the body. There is often an ambiguity and disquiet in the use of repeated motifs such as the pacifier, scuttler, crater or cluster. In addition, Kogan's interest firmly lies within the materiality of the paint, the ground onto which it is applied, and the use of these elements as a vehicle to imply transcendence, romanticism and the sublime.

Sarah Kogan is a British artist represented by Karsten Schubert London. Kogan has exhibited in the UK and internationally, including exhibitions at Room 2, Karsten Schubert London, Royal Academy Original London Print Fair, 58th Venice Biennale and MACC, Italy. From 2016-18 Kogan's First World War art installation, Changing the Landscape, was supported by public funding from The National Lottery through Arts Council of England and toured nationally. In addition, Kogan is a trustee of APT Studios and Gallery.

Sarah Kogan images

Mali Morris is a painter whose work resonates with intense, saturated fields of colour. Each layer of paint creates a dance between many planes, inviting the viewer into the dynamics of pictorial space. The light that comes from colour relationships makes another kind of space, as luminosity emanates from the work and into the world the viewer. There is a palpable sense of expansion and breadth within the interplay of shapes, some of which sit positively on the surface, whilst others are excavated through layers of colour revealing hints of another dimension, or interior space. Morris refers to these as 'clearings'. There is an evocative ambiguity in the way these paintings are structured, speaking instinctively to our understanding of how we move, both in a physical sense, and in emotional ways. In Supernova, Morris will be exhibiting a range of works from different stages of her long career.

Mali Morris was born in North Wales in 1945 and studied Fine Art during the 1960s at the Universities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Reading. She has exhibited world-wide and is represented in many public and private collections. Her most recent solo show, of early works on paper, was in 2019 at the Royal Academy. She was elected to the Royal Academy in 2010. She lives and works in London.

Stephen Nelson creates three-dimensional anthropomorphic pieces through a skilful understanding of his use of materials, both found and created, whilst imbuing all with a potent sense of loss and mortality. They are an archive of observations, of experiences and gestural references, taken from things that physically exist in the world, and also those glimpsed through his own prism. They straddle a playful sense that the objects may transmute into further forms, whilst having clearly settled into a state of being - almost as if the inner life of inanimate objects might prescribe and reform themselves. Nelson's current work focuses on a new series of three-dimensional realisations of a series of watercolours of skulls, created whilst living in Palermo.

Stephen Nelson was born in Liverpool. He has exhibited in the Uk and internationally, including exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Society, London, Camden Arts Centre London, Estorick Collection London, and the Royal Academy of Arts, London. He was the Arts Council of England Helen Chadwick Fellow in Sculpture, studying at the British School at Rome and as a Research Fellow at Oxford University. He is also a curator and since 2015 he has run a not-for-profit gallery space, MACC, in southern Italy.