Painting & Resistance: A Selection of New Work By Keith Hopewell & Nikki Goldup
24th August – 19th September 2021
The Apex Gallery, 1 Charter Square, Bury St Edmunds. IP33 3FD
At the crux of this new exhibition, hosted by The Apex Gallery in Bury St Edmunds, is a short process film shot by Nikki Goldup. The film features Keith Hopewell painting a large blank canvas, laid flat on the ground, wearing a mask, gloves & protective clothing. The black paint being applied is unusually transmitted by the rolling of an oversized aerosol moving back & forth. This leaves tracks and over-spray wherever this ‘vehicle’ traverses. It is an oxymoron of both calculation & unpredictability that allows the composition to fall into place, until the container is left emptied of its contents. This sort of hands-free painting technique, along with the ritualist dance-like quality of his working process, evokes an eerie feeling of absence & presence, reminding us of our experience living in the strange new reality formed by the pandemic.
Keith displays the resultant works within the large architectural spaces of The Apex gallery. Minimalist and meditative, they capture the essence of movement and time, an oxymoron of simplicity and but also macro detail, framed within the format of his large-scale compositions.
Formerly based in York, then London, Keith has travelled extensively across the world during his career as an artist and music producer before settling in Suffolk.
‘Lockdown provided that moment to stay in one place and develop this new series of work. What seemed to be a career on hold when the galleries and venues closed, provided a pause where I could enjoy the beauty of Suffolk and focus on new ways of working, outside and on a large scale,’ said Keith.
Nikki Goldup’s work in the exhibition, is a forensic investigation of the traces & artifacts left by her own and Hopewell’s practice, but also a reflection of the Suffolk countryside and the buildings in which the art was made. Her materials include discarded canvas tests, wood off-cuts & horsehair. Here Nikki explores object-language & hyper-textual relationships, responding to Keith’s process & methodology, opening new lines of enquiry & interpretation. Throughout her work she amalgamates textile, spray paint, found object and print, creating minimalist pieces that sit well with Hopewell’s larger scale works.
‘We live and work together, so there are always inevitable parallels in our work. The Suffolk landscape, the light and colour all work their way into our practice. Being fortunate enough to have the space to immerse ourselves in both natural and urban environments, traveling around Suffolk and the rest of the UK certainly weaves its way into the work This isn’t always apparent to us until a piece is finished,’ said Nikki.
This exhibition is about working in flux & the democratisation of historically stigmatised mediums such as textiles and spray paint. The artists focus on the performative elements of painting and art making as a lived experience. They consider this the only real route towards the true essence of why we make art. The exhibition will include a curation of paintings, print, photography, textiles and film reflecting the diverse practice of the artists.
The ‘lockdown periods’ of 2020/ 21 spawned the opportunity for Nikki to re-consider her practice. This ‘pause’, a re-work of routine, daily practice, and solitude of sorts, led to new ways of working, some in collaboration with her partner Keith Hopewell, some challenging her own practice… a pandemic providing the opportunity to run with ideas and processes and creating a new manifesto of intentions and motives. Freebasing on her own arts practice as the world descended into atrophic apathy.
Residuals, February 2021
The ‘Residual’ series came about as a forensic investigation of the traces & artefacts left by my partner’s painting practice. I gathered objects including discarded canvas tests and wood off-cuts, applying stitch and paint to the surface. Working with these forms provided the opportunity to explore the object and its own language, the hyper-textual relationships between the forms, materials and processes. This making process opened new lines of enquiry & interpretation in relation to my photographic work. Over the past months I have been photographing these assemblages, playing with their inherent language, the combination of geometry, texture, and form. The work is often placed in outdoor locations, marking seasonal changes, and in this series fresh February snowfall.
This work is about presenting the ‘what?’ and ‘why?’ – to which there is not always an answer. That’s my poetical language, visual semiotics creating a new dialects, a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience.
Remote-ism: An Introduction to Painting & Resistance
Keith Hopewell & Nikki Goldup
10 – 20th December 2020, Hoxton Gallery, London
At the crux of this new exhibition, is a short process film shot by Nikki Goldup, featuring Keith Hopewell Painting a large blank canvas, laid flat on the ground, wearing a mask, gloves & protective clothing. The black paint being applied is unusually transmitted by the rolling of an oversized aerosol moving back & forth. This leaves tracks and over-spray wherever this ‘vehicle’ traverses. It is an oxymoron of both calculation & unpredictability that allows the composition to fall into place, until the container is left emptied of its contents. This sort of hands-free painting technique, along with the ritualist dance-like quality of his working process, evokes an eerie feeling of absence & presence, reminding us of our experience living in the strange new reality formed by the pandemic.
Over two floors of the Hoxton Gallery, (a newly built contemporary building, which almost resembles an outdoor display cabinet), there is a curated selection of monochrome paintings completed by Hopewell over the last few years. A few of the works are from a series created on the grounds of Sir Antony Gormley’s house in rural Norfolk, whilst Keith was living there in 2019. The more recent works were painted this summer over the first lockdown period, at a barn in rural Suffolk. No stranger to life in isolated environments, Hopewell operates in liminal time, using his autonomous performative painting practice as part of his socially distanced daily exercise.
Nikki Goldup’s contribution to the exhibition space, is a forensic investigation of the traces & artefacts left by Hopewell’s practice, including discarded canvas tests, wood off-cuts, horsehair & the empty protective suit worn by Keith during the making of the paintings. Here Nikki explores object-language & hyper-textual relationships, responding to Keith’s process & methodology, opening new lines of enquiry & interpretation.
‘One is no longer in a history of art or a history of forms. They have been deconstructed, destroyed. All that remains to be done is play with the pieces’Jean Baudrillard
Sign Units for Circle Squarers – June 2020
This body of work was a collaboration between Nikki & her partner Keith K. Hopewell. Through a synthesis of minimalist installations on found surfaces of lockdown redundant locations in Bury St Edmunds (Suffolk, UK) it recorded new ways of documenting this public space. In the unprecedented time of lockdown, a strange new freedom has been granted, presenting rare possibilities, not normally available in an abandoned public sphere. With galleries and art spaces closed due to Covid 19, the only alternative was to utilise the landscape around us, which allows us a more liberated approach to our practice, without any commercial restraints. Here, Nikki’s ability to capture and frame, along with Keith’s addition of cut felt pads placed in various combinations and rhythms, open up new dialogue with a myriad of surfaces, to create an autonomous language with this fresh, yet eerie environment.
Theia is a hypothesized ancient planet in the early Solar System that, according to the giant-impact hypothesis, collided with the early Earth around 4.5 billion years ago, with some of the resulting ejected debris gathering to form the Moon.
In this collaboration Nikki explores the imagined visual parallels between this hypothesis and paintings made directly onto brick and render surfaces. Using photography, she records in detail the ‘collision’ of paint, onto surface, tone and mark. The framing of the compositions creates visual parallaxes, new worlds and tonal spaces to visually contemplate.