Jamie Shovlin • Haunch of Venison
British artist Jamie Shovlin once again creates new work based on that which never existed.
Now settled in their new home, Haunch of Venison present a new collection of works by british conceptual artist Jamie Shovlin. Better known for tricking his audience with a range of hauxes, Various Arrangements is a collection of graphic watercolour canvases derived from a self made system.
When Shovlin joined the team of Fontana Modern Masters, a manifesto publication which came to prominence in the 70′s and 80′s, he came across a selection of books which never made it to print. For no apparent reason these books, based on the writings from artist and theorist including the likes of Foucault and Matisee were never published.
Often dealing with that which never existed, Shovlin began designing the covers for these non-published books. Taking into consideration an array of unrelated information including but not limited to: the age of the artist, how many pages the book consisted of, had they won the nobel peace prize etc, Shovlin mastered a bogus system to design the covers. The colours used and how much area of the cover consisted of that colour is all down to a point system. It’s all rather mathematical. Up until the final decision is made that is. For each cover there were three options, from these options Shovlin chose the best (his favourite I presume).
Though the final decision isn’t as calculated as the procedure leading up to it, what we are left with is 17 large canvases which are embedded with the process. The unused alternative covers are still ghostly visible under the final outcome creating shadows and purposeful flaws which breaks from the otherwise flat and graphic pieces.
On entry to the exhibition we are greeted by the artist’s ‘laboratory’, apparently. The first room consists of Shovlin’s colour-wheel, tests and left overs from his procedure. Though it’s suppose to help demonstrate the process, the display almost does a disservice. Little of the work involved is visible. No diagrams, no codes or equations. Instead we are left with a pile of existing books, neatly folded overalls and a pyramid of scrunched masking tape..
Despite this initial disappointment, this should not detract from the otherwise impressive show. Highlighting that which would have fallen unknown, Shovlin’s layered graphic canvases are well housed in Haunch of Venison’s new home.