This is one of a series of exhibitions comprising assemblages and collages, photographs and drawings, by Alec Shepley and John McClenaghen at the Avenue Gallery, Northampton and National Academy for Fine Arts, Sofia. See:
Shepley and McClenaghen were invited to show as part of the galleries’ curatorial policies to host exhibitions by established artists who are committed to an engagement with the wider cultural and academic community. The project included a limited edition publication and a joint lecture by both artists in the gallery to discuss the aspects of the work in more detail and provide a forum to debate the media, materials, processes and ideas involved and the contextual underpinning. See also: http://sensuousknowledge.org/2008/05/alec-shepley/.
The exhibition formed a part of a much broader research project in which the two artists are investigating the presentation of the fragmented work and the ‘unfinished’ project. Aspects of dilapidation, ruin and entropy are explored and much of the work in this project focused on more positive interpretations of ruin – on a thing that might be coming into being as opposed to being left to decay. The work resulting from the research project is demonstrating a seemingly endless preoccupation with cutting, placing, re-cutting and re-placing, joining and unjoining, in the collages/assemblages (telescoping between making and un-making) and the eventual ‘dis-assembly’ or collapse of the outcome.
The paradoxical and futile attempts to ‘frame’ something that is meant to remain un-framed is at the heart of the project and questions whether the work itself is in a state of ruin – failing in a way to remain intact and opening up potential spaces for renewed practice – but always coming into being. As part of the on-going research project the artists are exploring both gallery and and non-gallery spaces and collaborations to exhibit new works resulting from their dialogue.