Missing and Not Known | Loren Lockwood and Robert Costello | 6 - 28 June 2009
Artist Pat Harvey culminates months of research and investigation to form a retrospective exhibition of work by two very different and intriguing artists. On display are paintings painted over paintings, sketch book extracts, quirky personal objects, and revealing newspaper cuttings that, collectively, attempt to present some understanding of these artists' lives. Yet important questions remain open.
Room 1 presents the work of Loren Lockwood, taken from an archive of paintings and drawings left behind when this reclusive, uncommunicative middle-aged woman went missing without trace over 10 years ago. Mementoes and newspaper cuttings relate to the disturbing childhood background from which she came and the mysterious circumstances of her disappearance. Lockwood's entire artistic focus was the portrait, painting idiosyncratic sideways observations of people with whom she could not otherwise have connected. Surprisingly, given her background, she was able to find a strong artistic voice, only for it then to fall silent when she disappeared.
Room 2 displays three distinct series of work in paint and print by Robert Costello, a man about whom almost nothing is known. An insight into Costello's ideas and concerns as an artist can be accessed via reflections he jotted down in various sketchbooks and through spoken musings. The content of Costello's paintings and prints reflect anxieties about politics, ecology and art itself, and there is more than a suggestion that Costello himself was a political fugitive.
With factual information so limited, the staging of this exhibition creates a unique experience where the audience, more so than usual, is required to ponder, discover and speculate.
"This exhibition operates on a number of levels. It raises questions about authenticity and authorship, fiction and fakery. It worries about what content is still worthwhile in contemporary art, and how should it be realised. But it is also just about wondering how it would be if you made up stories and then painted pictures as the artists in those stories might do." Pat Harvey
In a former life, Pat Harvey worked for more than 30 years as an NHS Clinical Psychologist, the legacy of which is the fine detail of innumerable life histories, many involving trauma, abuse and homicide. She was able to retire early with a mental health officer's pension and began a 2- year Access course at Leeds College of Art and Design followed by an MA in Fine Art (Printmaking) at Bradford College which she obtained with Distinction.
Further images copyright of Pat Harvey
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