Blitz and Pieces | Alan Gummerson | 08 - 30 May 2010

Blitz and Pieces is a jokey title for a nostalgic show that reflects the character of the unique artist Alan Gummerson, who, since 1945 has devoted his life to art and the pursuit of ideas. At his remote home in Colden high above Hebden Bridge Gummerson's practice has continued to evolve over time. Illustrated through his most significant works, this exhibition provides a new insight into his fertile imagination.

The exhibition represents a process of collaboration between South Square's resident curators and the artist that has developed over the winter months of 2009/10. During visits to Gummerson's house the curators began to get to know and understand this intriguing personality and the context within which he works.

'We found ourselves standing in the upstairs of his barn, surrounded by countless paintings resting deep against the stone walls and assembled objects stacked high on top of hand-made crates - it was quite bewildering.' South Square Curator.

Faced with a jumbled archive of art and objects, the curators came to realise that it would be a challenge to translate the essence of this chaotic collection into the formality of the gallery space. It was upon encountering Gummerson's 'bits and pieces' such as a torn Union Jack draped over a dusty canvas and upside down rusting horseshoes, that it became apparent these artefacts poignantly resonated with his artistic ideas. Themes of war and patriotism have been at the core of Gummerson's practice and have resurfaced and reinvented themselves over the years through an eclectic mix of mediums.

References to warfare and conflict have emerged as a direct result of the artist's ongoing personal fascination with military paraphernalia. During the course of exploring the material it became impossible for Gummerson to ignore the horrendous suffering involved in acts of war. The work, which was never meant to glorify, now carries an anti-war message. The issues raised are increasingly relevant today in our current climate, proof that art can remain as emotive and politically engaged despite the passage of time.

'The more things change the more they stay the same'
Alan Gummerson

Artist interview

Alan Gummerson in conversation with Fran Coldrick from BCB radio / 6 minutes 8 seconds

Further images copyright of South Square





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