Preview: Inside Out

24 February 2016 / 6-8pm

Join us for the public preview of our new exhibition,  Inside Out from 6-8pm on Thu 3 March 2016.

Artists: Darren Brian Adcock, Nick Blinko, Peter Darach, Andrea Joyce Heimer, Carlo Keshishian, Joel Lorand, David Maclagan, Richard Nie, Mehrdad Rashidi, Mit Senoj, Marlene Steyn, Jenna Kayleigh Wilkinson.

Castlefield Gallery is pleased to present Inside Out, curated by Castlefield Gallery in collaboration with David Maclagan artist, academic and writer; including new and existing work by artists from the UK, South Africa, France, Iran and the USA. Some of these artists for a variety of reasons are thought to be Outsider artists, whilst others may be seen to share methods of approaching their subject matter with this now established part of artistic study. As well as considering the increasingly fraught definitions of what Outsider Art is, the exhibition aims to consider the aesthetic intensity common to this selection of artists, who might not normally be seen together and to look at their potential to deal with or express the complex nature of being in the world.

The concentration seen in this selection of drawings and paintings in ink, oil, pencil and pen could be attributed to an ‘inner world’ driven by powerful forces, even to the point of obsession. This is evident in the way lines crowd in on themselves in work by Adcock, Keshishian and Wilkinson, though it can equally be seen in the crowding of figures on the edge of fantasy and memory in Darach’s large paintings, the strange neighbourhood tales of Heimer and the forms conjured by Rashidi from nostalgic memories of his homeland. In places there is a sense of an overwhelming pressure to create, which perhaps owes something to the fact that many of these artists have worked in isolation, or even from a position so marginal as to be called ‘Outsider’. However intense their subject matter may be, they also tap into a compulsive engagement with the art-making process, so that the expression of extreme inner experiences emerges through the making of the work itself as with Blinko, Maclagan and Nie. Interweaving bodies, mythical creatures, flora and fauna in Lorand, Senoj and Steyn, creates works which are frighteningly seductive, bordering at times on the grotesque whilst opening onto a profound beauty; they form untimely tapestries, mixing references to religious and historical artefacts.

This exhibition of seemingly unconstrained works moves between the figurative and the abstract, confronting the nature of our experience as both body and mind; reflected through our many selves and the material world within and around us. The exhibition hopes to give rise to a passionate mixture of darkness and light, tragic and ecstatic; that visitors may find both exciting and unsettling.

More on the artists:

David Maclagan (b.1940) is an artist, writer, retired university lecturer and art therapist. He is the author of Line Let Loose: Scribbling, Doodling and Automatic Drawing (2013) and Outsider Art: From the Margins to the Marketplace (2009). For more than twenty years his art practice has seen him work exclusively with oil stick and Drafting Film in the same A1 format. The work, somewhere between drawing and painting, is improvisational, in that it is usually created within a single session lasting only a couple of hours. Whilst it is alive with suggestions of ‘organic’ forms, his work is deliberately abstract. He often begins with a network of scribbled forms that are then worked into, transformed, or obliterated. For Inside Out Maclagan will be exhibiting his works for the first time on light-boxes, intensifying the sense of depth created by his chosen medium.

Darren Brian Adcock (b.1980) lives and works in Manchester. He finds the process of drawing therapeutic and enjoys an almost automatic approach to adding shapes, characters and language to what evolves into being both landscape and texture. Recent work sees him adding extra detail and narrative with hidden U.V ink and audio electronics which require the viewer to operate a U.V torch and photoelectric sensors in order to interact with the work. He has a degree in Fine Art from Staffordshire University. Recent exhibitions include: Tor ist das festival (2015), Berlin; Mantis festival (2015) Manchester; Paper Buffet, Good Press Gallery (2014) Glasgow; Crossing the Line: Drawing in the Middle East. (2014) Melbourne and Dubai; Noise Festival (prize winner and exhibitor) (2014) Manchester.

Nick Blinko (b.1961) is a musician, writer and self-taught artist. He is the lead singer and guitarist for Rudimentary Peni formed in 1980, emerging from the London anarcho-punk scene. He has gathered an international underground reputation for his witty macabre lyrics and dark pen-and-ink artwork, prominently featured on all of Rudimentary Peni’s albums. He has experienced periods of severe psychic disturbance and his drawings are correspondingly intensely worked and sombre, if not morbid and macabre; yet he doggedly persists in making them. Blinko is rumoured to have written the band’s Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric (1995) album whilst resident in a psychiatric hospital. Looking at his work feels like eavesdropping on someone’s private nightmares, though his preoccupation with death, and the darker side of Christianity are recognisable themes, even if they are normally shied away from. Blinko has been included in exhibitions of Outsider Art internationally.

Peter Darach (b.1940) has devoted himself single-mindedly to painting, drawing and writing ever since he left the Royal College of Art (London) in the mid-sixties. His life has been rich in complications, some of which have been tragic, some that have left an indelible mark on his psyche. His work delves into this passionate history, and while many of the figures that inhabit the tumultuous landscape of his painting are vividly remembered, they have undergone a translation by the time they reach the viewer, so that they reside in a world of fantasy and memory. He won awards in the 1995 John Moores Prize and the 1997 Jerwood Drawing Prize. He has works in the Arts Council England collection.

Andrea Joyce Heimer (b.1981) lives and works in Washington State. She is a self-taught painter. Adopted as an infant and plagued by lifelong clinical depression, Heimer struggled early-on with feeling disconnected from her family and community. In her work she explores the suburban experience, drawing inspiration from the neighbourhood mythos of her childhood home in 1980’s Great Falls, Montana. Through quietly observing the lives around her Heimer was able to piece together neighbourhood tales of madness, conspiracy, and love, often substituting her own theories to fill any missing pieces of the story. Her paintings are in private collections in the USA including the collection of musician Paul Simon. Heimer was recently one of three finalists for the Seattle’s prestigious Neddy Award, in painting, (2013).

Carlo Keshishian (b.1980) lives and works in London. The origins of his work might lie in the prolific doodles he made while at a school for pupils with learning disabilities. Although he did complete a multi-media degree course (which most likely influences the musical radio shows he compiles, more than his art work) he is effectively self-taught, and likes to set up constraints, such as unravelling spirals, in which his creativity is governed by the momentum of the emerging work itself. He is an active member of Outside In, has an informed knowledge of Outsider Art, and has exhibited internationally.

Joel Lorand (b.1962) is a self-taught artist who suddenly launched himself into relentless full-time art-making at the age of 32, coinciding with the birth of his son and his confrontation with his own mortality. Now in his fifties, he experiences his creativity as uncomfortably, even dangerously, driven. He works in monastic seclusion, and his pictures, with their symmetry and heraldic feel are riddled with secret references. This has a hypnotic effect, first on the artist himself, and then from a safer distance on the spectator. He has had numerous exhibitions in his native France as well as being featured in Raw Vision Magazine.

Richard Nie (b.1954) is a reclusive artist who prefers to stay up most of the night drawing and playing his guitar and sleeping during the day. Whilst he did recently complete an evening class in art, and is aware of the work of more famous artists (particularly Paul Klee), he is effectively self-taught. His drawings are amplified doodles, with mask-like faces and figures emerging from the resultant flux of densely complicated lines and textures; like many artists, he discovers as much as he invents. He was included in the 2001 exhibition Obsessive Visions: Art Outside the Mainstream at England & Co, and in 2008, he was one of the artists chosen for the major exhibition of British Outsider Art at Musée La Halle Saint Pierre in Paris.  His work is represented in private and public collections including the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

Mehrdad Rashidi (b.1963) is an Iranian refugee forced to leave his native country for political reasons and since the early 1980’s has lived in Elkhart in Germany. He began, about ten years ago, to draw doodles on haphazard scraps of paper, almost as if doodling provides him with a home from home. His drawings emerge quite naturally, with no preconception other than thoughts of his homeland and other sources of happiness; indeed he has said that making them helps him to feel more settled and relaxed. Human and animal figures, as well as houses, are lodged in a network of cross-hatching that seems both to conceal and to protect them. In his more recent, larger work he has begun to use bold passages of colour. He has been recognised by many museums and collectors as an Outsider Artist of merit and was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix for Marginal Art at the 16th Biennial of Naïve & Marginal Art, in Belgrade 2013. He has exhibited in international group and solo exhibitions and is represented in a number of significant collections.

Mit Senoj (b.1961) lives and works in Greater Manchester. He is known for his ink and watercolour paintings applied directly to Xerox paper that often depict solitary figures melting into nature, forming images of intense visceral beauty, caught between the figurative and abstract. Flora, fauna and figure become intertwined; ‘they are sexual, but with a scientific observational distance’ (J. Hendrickson, Art in Print, 2012). For Inside Out Senoj is developing a new series of larger paintings in both watercolour and oil, which depict wraith-like female figures in explicit poses, twisted and suggestive, at once seductive, yet violent. His practice is concerned with our physiological self and the psychological response to our inner science. The distortion of the natural law of forms, into the unimaginable. Senoj has a MA in Textiles from Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University and was the winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2009. Senoj has shown across the UK and internationally including; LONDON Art Fair (2014); LA Art Show (2014); Art Basel (2013) Miami; Multiplied, Christie’s London (2013); A PRIVATE AFFAIR, Harris Museum & Art Gallery, (2012), Preston; Industry & Idleness, Contemporary Art Society, (2011) London. He won the 2019 Jerwood Drawing Prize.

Marlene Steyn (b.1989) lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. She creates intricate tapestry-like paintings which draw on a multitude of references across art history, psychoanalysis, mythology and contemporary culture. She also mixes these references into the titles of works and exhibitions, displaying an ability to use abstract and poetic language to perhaps get closer to the truth of things; she describes the repeated figures in her work thus: S-he has a partial body that is not apart but a part of; interwoven in the interplay of history, mythologies, narratives, invention and psychology. S-he is continuously braided with shadows and doubles of herself; becoming a braid (all she ever wanted to be). Her braids (with snake-skin scrunchies) are antennae and hairy extensions, plugging her into furniture, forests and sometimes even into herself’. (2014). She has a BA in Visual Arts (2011) University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and an MA in Painting (2014) Royal College of Art, London. She has received international recognition and recent exhibitions include: The End is Located Underneath Her Third Armpit (if the muscle is flexed) Commune.1 (2015) Cape Town; His Sprinkled Blood Served To Fructify Three Golden Apples, Atelier 35 (2015) Bucharest; Mad Love, Lychee One (2014) London; Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Spike Island (2013) Bristol and Institute of Contemporary Art (2013) London. In 2015 Steyn completed residencies at: Vermont Studio Centre, USA and Odd Cultural Node, Bucharest, Romania.

Jenna Kayleigh Wilkinson (b.1992) graduated with a BA in Fine Art Degree from the University of Northampton in 2015. She is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and says that her work ‘…is all about obsession, repetition, compulsion and the psychology behind why I and others like me feel compelled to draw in this way’ (2015). There is, however, a mysterious and seductive delicacy to her work that puts the viewer under its spell and draws them in. Exhibitions include, Free Range, (2015) London; The University of Northampton’s Degree Show (2015); Create, Connect, Converge, Avenue Gallery, (2014) Northampton.