ALEX AT BLUE FIN: A conversation with Alex Dewart
The closing event for Now and Then, an exhibition of paintings by Alex Dewart, took place at RM Data Solutions in the Blue Fin Building, London on 31st March 2010, and was attended by 40-50 guests. This was an opportunity for artists from Remarkable and Curious Conversations (identifiable by the large yellow stickers saying 'Remarkable and Curious' that Alex provided) to see Alex's paintings, meet up with each other, and experience the Blue Fin building. Judy Goldhill, Joanna Hill, Philip Lee, Heidi Locher, Sophie Loss, and Cally Trench attended.
The exhibition comprised five largish paintings spanning the period 2004-2009 and nine very small paintings completed very recently - in 2010 - and installed just for the closing event.
Alex Dewart writes: I had intended to walk around the paintings with some of the staff of RM Data Solutions, giving them some background to the ideas behind the work, but also to talk to them about their response to the exhibition. In practice everyone who was there joined the 'tour'. Of course it was the artists who asked the most difficult questions! As the 'tour' had been intended to be pretty casual I hadn't prepared anything in advance - probably just as well because there was no time to make up any pretentious art waffle.
The exhibition acted as a kind of mini retrospective for me. It gave me a chance to consider my work over the past six years and reminded me of the various paths my practice has taken. I really enjoyed talking about my work both to the larger group and then in the many individual conversations I had during the evening.
I've been thinking about private views in general and thinking about how these are often very 'cool' events. The artist may or may not be there, people stand in groups with their backs to the exhibits and seem almost embarrassed to be caught talking about the work. Death to the cool private view! I've occasionally tried to be cool but I can't help being enthusiastic about things - a definite disbarment to being cool.
I had some great conversations with people during the evening - about their ideas on the work or art in general. I felt that people seemed freer to speak than usual - was this because my talk somehow ' invited them in'?. I like to hear people's views on my work- so many times it gives me new connections to think about. I liked a comment from Carl Burnell (art collector). He felt that the patterned landscape work was an ironic comment on domestic, suburban interior decoration. An ordinary home would typically have a landscape painting on a wall, it may also have patterned wallpaper - and here you have both things in one.
Part of the event was the Blue Fin building itself, located just behind Tate Modern and with fantastic views from our 11th floor vantage point.
The Acting MD of RM Data Systems loved the event and exhibition. He liked the interaction between the many artists present and the various software engineers, accountants, journalists, teachers, physicists and business people. As a result I have been invited to curate another exhibition at Blue Fin from the beginning of May. This will be Landscapes: Memory and Mapping, work by myself and Cally Trench.
Heidi Locher writes: This was a chance to throw all your preconceptions out of the window (and what windows!) about what constitutes the right environment for an exhibition. Galleries are white boxes for a reason so we can focus on the work; Blue Fin is a piece of architecture with spectacular views across the city. However Alex pulled it off, creating a dialogue between the two, whilst dragging the rest of us with her. People were talking about art, exchanging views and wrestling with ideas: together, with the sunset and the art, no better triumph.
Joanna Hill writes: I particularly like the larger works. They are playful and thoughtful; I felt transported into another universe, somewhere I'd like to step in and explore.