A Rainbow’s Edge brings together an eclectic selection of artists and playfully revisits the historic and much adored parlour game known as Cadavre exquis or ‘exquisite corpse’, which was invented in 1925 by Parisian Surrealists and is played much like Consequences, with folded over pieces of paper, but with drawings instead of words.
The exhibition also marks the London debut for two world-renowned former RCA graduates, children’s author Catherine Anholt and fashion designer and atelier Deborah Milner, who are returning to their first love—fine art.
Never afraid to try new things, TIN MAN ART asked six artists with oblique links – none of whom had ever met before – to pair up and respond to each other’s work. They were free to talk to their partner (or not) and asked to submit one or two works of their choosing in the hope that this artistic experiment would help give the viewer greater insight into the artist’s headspace and encourage positive dialogue between artists who usually work alone.
Deborah Milner is one of the most important figures in eco-fashion of the last 30 years, during which she has designed for Grace Jones, Isabella Blow, Daphne Guinness and Olivia Colman, including a decade-long stint heading Alexander McQueen’s atelier. Her inspiration as a maker of clothes has always been art and she has pushed her concepts and medium to their very limit in its pursuit.
She is paired with another RCA alumnae in Jacob Wolff. Wolff has long been dedicated to the search for pure abstraction, using fractured glass as a template to build fluid, geometric forms with spray paint, on glass or paper. Beyond their RCA education, both Milner and Wolff have spent years battling artistic principals with medium and public perception.
Catherine Anholt (whose son is Berlin-based artist Tom Anholt) is best known as a children’s author, but with the demands of child raising behind her, she has returned to her first love, painting. She is paired with Freya Douglas-Morris, a maker of magical figurative paintings and herself the mother of two young children. Douglas-Morris brings wonder, light and darkness with an otherworldly quality while Anholt’s work feels more grounded and psychological. Both women studied at the RCA and both have personal connections to the south coast of England.
While the painting styles of Lee Johnson and Florence Reekie are very different, both place high value in excellent composition and share a sense of joy. These two have clear confidence in their conceptualism, the ease and humour of the names of each of their pieces, and the firm but friendly references to popular culture that light up their work (Johnson’s Cherry Cola and Reekie’s depiction of Billy Porter’s Golden Globes outfit, for example).
We wanted to use this show to again try and explain what being an artist is for people who may not have picked up a drawing pencil since school. Slightly experimentally, we set three pairs of artists (with few, if any, connections) the challenge of responding to each other’s work. Thankfully, it worked.TIN MAN ART director James Elwes
A Rainbow’s Edge, presented by TIN MAN ART 54 Shepherd Market, London W1J 7QX, 31st August – 4th September 2022
About the artists
Freya Douglas-Morris studied Fine Art at Brighton University before receiving an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2013. Upon graduating from the RCA, she was selected for the ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries’, ‘The New Sensations’ & The Catlin Guide. She has work featured in the publications 100 Painters of Tomorrow, Paper by Saatchi Gallery and most recently The Anomie Review of Contemporary British Painting 2 as well as various magazines. She has shown internationally and lives and works in London. Read an interview with Freya here
Over the last 25 years, the Anholts have written and illustrated more than 200 highly successful children’s books, which are published in 30 languages around the world and have won numerous awards. Throughout these years, Catherine Anholt has continued to work in her studio on hundreds of large fluid drawings and paintings, which, until now, she has shared only with family and friends. Her themes are pregnancy, childbirth and love of family and nature.
It was Deborah Milner’s fascination in drawing and painting the human body that initially lead her into fashion design and, in particular, the study of proportion. This is evident in her 30 years spent creating Couture Art Pieces for private clients and luminaries of the art and fashion world. As a pioneer of sustainable couture, she has developed this further into a symbiotic relationship between the clothes we wear and their provenance.
Throughout this time, her drawing practice has formed the basis for research and design. Milner has now come full circle and is bringing this experience to bear on new artwork, which focusses on the relationship between the human body and our relationship to the environment.
Jacob Wolff studied at The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, before receiving an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2015. His work was featured in the Cowley Manor Art Award and the XL Catlin Arts Guide. In 2019 he was awarded the Fellowship in Contemporary Art at the British School at Rome. His work has been shown at the New Art Centre at Roche Court, near Salisbury, Camden Arts Centre and Museion, Bolzano. Wolff lives and works in London.
Lee Johnson was born in Wiltshire, and has lived and worked in London since 2000. He received his MA Fine Art from Central Saint Martins School of Art in 2001, and his works are held in the prestigious collections of Soho House, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, University of the Arts London, and numerous private collections worldwide (including UK, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, USA, and Australia). Private clients include world-renowned musicians, singers, actors and artists. Johnson was selected for the John Moores Painting Prize at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, in 2010. He has exhibited widely in the UK and US, most notably in public institutions in the UK including Hastings Contemporary, Hastings; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland; and Torre Abbey, Devon.
Florence Reekie is a figurative oil painter from Scotland. Expectation, subversion, and decadence are important themes in Reekie’s work. Her paintings are often contemporary scenes drawing upon classical impressions and techniques. She is interested in developing ideas around perception, iconography and coding within compositions while experimenting with the materiality of paint. In her work to date, she deals with societal relationships with clothing and fabric.