Carl Freedman presents Jennifer Lauren Gallery, showcasing seventeen international, distinct contemporary practices, revealing a diverse collection of art forms including drawing, painting, ceramics, embroidery and found object sculptures.
The title, To All The Kings Who Have No Crowns, represents the seventeen self-taught and disabled artists chosen who, despite being skilled artists, are yet to receive the recognition they rightly deserve within contemporary arts. Jennifer is passionate about creating awareness and gaining respect for these and many other similar artists.
The artwork exhibited, whilst appearing highly individual upon first viewing, has many similarities in the way it is produced. Each artist revels in the creative mark-making process and, whilst the finished product is important, it is the act of creation itself and being given a voice, that many of the artists value most. Driven and often compelled to create, each generally unplanned piece gives us insights into the artist’s subconscious, values, or beliefs, with heavy layering, detail, rhythm, and repetition being the signature components. Most of the artworks are a riot of colour, whilst in stark contrast to these are the black and white intuitive and automatic storytelling drawings of Kate Bradbury, Hakunogawa, Chris Neate and Terence Wilde.
The large colourful works by Éric Derochette, Joe Goldman, Nnena Kalu and Dan Miller are characterised by their bold, confident, repetitious mark making with much, almost obsessive, overlapping of words, dense layering and imagery. Robert Fischer uses bold colours entwined with symbols and back to the front text, whilst CJ Pyle’s art resembles weaving, displaying a woven knot technique in the faces. The colour preference for Obata is red; his colour of happiness, often depicts images of his family and things he cares about.
While some artworks are bold and imposing, Kokobu’s work feels quite private with the minute detail giving us an insight into how he views the world. The sculptures created by Shinichi Sawada, Pradeep Kumar, Terence Wilde, and Kate Bradbury are all very personal and distinctive, each artist using different mediums in the creation, including locally sourced Japanese clay, matchsticks, treasured possessions and objects found on the streets of London. Being self-taught, they’ve all found unique ways to breathe life into their ideas.
Some artists draw from their inner feelings and thoughts: Valerie Potter uses her art to describe the dense inner monologues and dialogues of her analytic mind; Raymond Morris expresses the spiritual forces he feels exert a daily influence on his daily life; Margaret Mousseau uses it as a way to work through some of the hardships she experienced in her childhood and the profound effect it has had on her life; Chris Neate is guided by some external force controlling his hand, believing that the act of drawing balances him and keeps him calm; and Terence Wilde draws on his own mental health journey as an adult survivor.
This thought-provoking show is designed to challenge preconceived ideas and to stimulate conversation and interaction. This accessible exhibition not only allows you to appreciate the stunning artwork, it also gives you the opportunity to observe an artist in action. Nnena Kalu will be showcasing her practice through live drawing in the space. This will be filmed for those that miss out, with the new drawings becoming part of the exhibition.
About the Artists:
London based Kate Bradbury (b.1961) is a prolific creator of a diverse range of artworks: from detailed ink scribblings over a metre in length to sculptural twirling dervishes made from found objects. Since 2003, the motivation for her creative endeavours comes from a variety of sources but is particularly drawn from objects she finds. Each piece tells a story plucked from her imagination. Having no formal art training and intuitively working day and night, Bradbury creates her pieces losing all sense of time.
Éric Derochette (b.1967) arrived at la ‘S’ Grand Atelier, Belgium in 2005. He uses pencils until the lead is gone, sometimes leaving furrows in the paper. In his latest works, he uses bold colours, freely mixing mediums, and filling the paper with bold, confident lines.
Robert Fischer (b.1976) has worked in the Geyso20 art studio in Braunschweig two days a week, since 2004. He does not communicate with others about his works, leaving the viewer to make their own judgments. Fischer works in a combination of pencil, crayon and felt pen. It is said that he begins his drawings with a graphic framework that reminds audiences of houses, building plans or machines, then covers his works with lines, letters, numbers, and symbols.
Joe Goldman (b.1995) has worked in the Project Art Works studio in Hastings for four years. His work explores a variety of drawing and painting materials to create dynamic pieces distinguished by his assertive mark-making, which reflects the focussed energy he puts into his work and brings to the studio. Goldman has developed a defined process of layering marks simultaneously on different pieces.
Tokyo based Hakunogawa (b.1992), has had a fondness for drawing and doodling since she was a small child. Around the age of 21, she began a serious undertaking with her self-expression. Whenever she has a free moment in a café, on the train or bus, she will be sketching impressions of what she sees or imagines. The majority of her artwork is in black and white as she cannot afford colour materials.
Nnena Kalu (b.1966) is a prolific artist working from ActionSpace’s supported studio within Studio Voltaire since 1999. Over two decades Kalu has created a vast body of sculptural and 2D artworks and developed a live, performative element to her art practice. She is driven by an instinctive urge to build repeated marks and forms, creating intensely layered, visually impactful artworks with dense colours and compacted, flowing lines.
From primary school, Japan-based Norimitsu Kokubo (b.1995) began to draw on notebooks, with the act of drawing providing him with a distraction from the often-chaotic noise at school. Kokubo’s work often contains cities and buildings, cars, aeroplanes, ships and people… all themes from his childhood or from photographs he has taken on trips. His complete disregard for traditional perspectives invites us into an entirely new world and a new sensation. He draws at home and on the move whilst in Japan.
India based Pradeep Kumar (b. 1973), was born Deaf and unable to speak. He struggled at school and his concentration wandered, leading him to carve chalk at the back of the class. One day, on finding a matchstick, he attempted to carve it with a razor blade. From this moment his family encouraged Kumar. He taught himself how to use coloured pencils and oil paint to colour his bird and figurative matchstick and toothpick carved works.
California based Dan Miller (b.1961) has been working out of the Creative Growth Art Center in California since 1992. Miller’s artwork is composed of obsessive overlays of words and imagery that often build to the point of abstraction. Each work contains a written record of Miller’s interests in things like hardware stores, lightbulbs, electrical sockets, and familiar people. Largely non-verbal, Miller transforms text into graphic elements, and employs an abstracted visual language as a tool of inquiry and expression.
Raymond Morris (b.1951) works out of his council flat in London. He started painting in his early thirties, and since then every space in the flat has been covered. Since witnessing a spirit emerge from one of his paintings, he has used his art to express the spiritual forces that he feels exert a great influence on his daily life. Morris sees art as something miraculous and as a form of meditation, whereby the mind disengages and allows the spirit to take over.
Margaret Mousseau (b.1955) resides in Vermont, only taking up drawing in 2016, when in her early sixties. The physical and mental hardships she suffered in childhood and throughout adulthood often manifest as subjects in her work. Drawing has become a way to work though some of this hardship and the profound affect it has had on her life. Many of the works are comical and whimsically address current events and her daily routine.
Chris Neate (b.1954) has been developing his style of drawing since his late teens. Whilst creating, Neate has no idea or plan of what will appear on the page, with his work being described as ‘automatic drawing.’ Working from intuition, his drawings flow freely and Neate can lose himself in his pieces for hours. Upon finishing pieces, Neate spends time studying them to try and work out the meaning of what he has produced.
Masao Obata (b.1943) only began drawing in his sixties, in his residential care facility in Japan. His strong urge to create led him to source pieces of large cardboard from the kitchens to draw on. Often creating in red pencil, Obata stated that for him this was the colour of happiness and fulfilment. The major themes in Obata’s work include family and marriage, both of which eluded Obata during his lifetime.
Although always creative, Valerie Potter (b.1954), did not consider herself an art-maker. At 19, Potter enrolled at a UK art school, but found it restrictive and left, continuing her drawing at home. Her cross-stitch work often ties together symbols of birth, death, and love with non-religious iconography. The line drawings on cloth (as she describes them) use graphic text and images to describe the dense inner monologues and dialogues of her analytic mind.
C.J. Pyle (b.1956) grew up in Indiana. His artistic endeavours began when he was at school, where Pyle learnt about colour and artistic techniques from library books. Around 2000, Pyle tired of what he was doing, and decided to explore the new artistic territory, feeling something had hitherto been missing in his art. He started developing his now well-known portraits on the back of LP covers.
Born in 1982, Shinichi Sawada has attended a Japanese social welfare organisation since 2000. He divides his time working in the sculpture hut up in the mountains, and in the institution’s bakery. When Sawada works, he demonstrates such confidence and assuredness that it seems he has already envisioned how his final pieces will look, even though there are no drawings. With his delicate hands and fingers, he builds up each sculpture in clay, working silently and confidently. Sawada takes around four days to complete each piece.
London based Terence Wilde (b.1963) gained a degree in textiles but retrained through Croydon’s voluntary mental health services. Wilde draws on his own mental health journey, from the perspective of an adult survivor, in all his black and white works. Working mainly in pen drawing or ceramic, Wilde describes his works as responses to different periods in his life, showing struggles, fears, and dreams.