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Slade Methods Room



Discourse Project Workshops

Introduction to KEMDU: Knowledge Exchange Mobile Display Unit”  – Richard Forbes Hamilton and Rory McCartney (2019)

In June 2019 Richard Forbes Hamilton and Rory McCartney provided an interactive Introductory Workshop to the KEMDU for Graduate Painting students, outlining ways in which displays of work and reference material could be presented, and exploring new display methods and interactivity. Their introduction presented the evolution of the KEMDU from the initial concept to development, design, fabrication and the possibilities of its application/deployment. Students were invited to interact with and reconfigure the unit using their own work.

Richard and Rory also presented a powerpoint lecture, in which they compiled a catalogue of UCL collections/contacts that they identified of interest relating to the KEMDU.

Dancer” – Richard Forbes-Hamilton (2019)

(Film/video screening) https://vimeo.com/273658129/5bfaa04e1f

Dancer presents a personal selection of images and videos of dance from Richard’s and that have fed directly into his work through the reoccurring motif of dancing figures. The programme presented an array of material including: Voguing of the NYC ballroom scene, Sufi whirling dervishes, pre club bedroom dancing, excerpts from films directors including Bela Tarr and Maya Derren, and the work of contemporary choreographers such as Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Kazuo Ohno, Martha Graham, Pina Bausch and Yvonne Rainer. The hour-long screening was followed with discussion and questions about the content, and about how this material functions in Richard’s practice through the motif.

Josh Smith “I Will Carry The Weight” at Massimo De Carlo with Richard Forbes- Hamilton

(Gallery visit March 2019)

Josh Smith’s exhibition at Massimo De Carlo gallery presented a series of works that reused variations of the same motif of the Grim Reaper in each painting. Richard felt this exhibition touched on several themes stemming from the subject of the ‘motif’, which was central to his research focus as HRA on the Discourse Project in Slade Graduate Painting. Through Josh Smith’s exhibition, Richard explored the place at which the motif is recognised, what constitutes a unique motif and the motif as a tool in enabling painting. Richard organised a visit for Graduate Painting students to the exhibition at Massimo de Carlo.

Thoughts on ‘I Will Carry The Weight’ an exhibition by Josh Smith

Review by Richard Forbes Hamilton

Josh Smith’s exhibition at Massimo De Carlo gallery presents a series of works that reuse variations of the same motif in every painting, in this case the Grim Reaper. Having visited the show I feel it touches on a number of themes around the motif that I have identified through discourse with Slade Graduate Painting including: the place at which the motif is recognised, what constitutes a unique motif and the motif as a tool in enabling painting.

Through repetition and variances in execution (both subtle and pronounced), the configuration and particularities of the motif come to the fore, I was made aware of the un-dramatic/pedestrian pose, bringing to mind the stoic yet comically human portrayal of death in Bergman’s (often parodied) Seventh Seal. This reference (knowing or not) to Scandinavian angst is also suggested in the paintings’ palette and handling of paint, which echo Munch (most obviously in the figure/sunset/landscape works AnxietyDespair and The Scream).

Pictorially the configuration of the image invokes somewhere between traditional iconographic painting and prosaic vacation photography. It is as if the realm of death presented in these paintings is starkly psychedelic yet forever banal; however fantastically described, the Grim Reaper is forever bound to repeat the same task – the monotony of the eternal tradesman.

The exhibition raises some interesting perspectives on the motif, there is a relatively conventional reading of the motif through the reoccurring image of the Grim Reaper – looking at Smith’s practice more broadly, there are successive periods dedicated to singular archetypically pictorial motifs (fish, leaves, trees, sunsets, skeletons, death). Leading on from this I would ask whether a motif of Smith’s practice is the motif in itself? Which in turn raises the question at what place is the motif recognised and how is the motif recognised? And how to consider motifs within motifs?

The edges of each canvas in the exhibition have a hand painted framing device, always pictorially adorned with flowers and animals. Again we encounter motif within motif, and perhaps we could consider how pictorial devices such as frames and edges could be encountered as motif.

The subjects of Smith’s pictorial motifs might seem arbitrary, and although I wouldn’t presume that the images Smith uses are absent of meaning, he has said he chooses things to draw that have a large margin of error – stating “a skeleton is just a bunch of lines”. We should perhaps acknowledge the opportunities that painting allows to find understanding through making or physical/material processes and to facilitate intuitive methods – although an artist might not have a preconceived articulation for a motif prior to using it, this doesn’t mean that a motif doesn’t hold or gain meaning through its use. This brings to mind the idea that finding a motif can in certain cases do some of a painting’s work for it, providing a framework or leaving room to explore archetypal painterly concerns.

“Venus Anadyomene” – Richard Forbes Hamilton

Performative installation Venus Anadyomene by Richard Forbes-Hamilton, Holly Graham and Verity Birt at the opening of on my island none of this would be true at Arbyte (City Island, Canning Town) Thursday February 1, 2018