Sunday 21 February 2016

JANE HAYES GREENWOOD   A Few Questions and Answers

Jane Hayes Greenwood’s practice is concerned with the material and psychological histories of objects. She is interested in what kind of capacities objects might have, how their histories might define our relationship to them and how we measure ourselves against them.
In Hayes Greenwood’s recent work, ancient archaeological artifacts or digitally modelled objects are filtered through the contemporary lens of a distinctively restless making process. Here, the digital or ‘dug-up thing’ is remodelled and manipulated before being painted, cast or de-constructed.
Each of Hayes Greenwood’s works is clearly indebted to the specific properties of the unique archaeological, historical or psychological object, but they are also driven by a need for re-articulation, a radical re-framing within her own particular visual language. Ultimately, Hayes Greenwood’s distinctive works translate something discovered into something owned, coaxing what was once distant, hidden or unseen, unnervingly into the present.
Alongside her practice, Jane Hayes Greenwood is the Director of Block 336, a UK registered charity, artist-run project space and studio provider in Brixton, London. Block 336 hosts one of the largest, non-institutional and architecturally unique spaces in London. The organisation aims to promote engagement and critical discussion of contemporary art, with an emphasis on collaboration and cross-practice dialogue.

Big Bird   2016

Can you describe your practice in a few words?
I am interested in the nature of objects, as historical, material and psychological entities. The attachments we form with things and the impulses that drive us to collect and keep continue to fascinate me. My research is broad; currently I am looking at digitally modelled objects as well as ancient artefacts. I am very interested in measurement - how we attempt to understand the world around us through systems of quantification. Recently, I've been bringing together graphic imagery from old anthropometry charts, archaeological diagrams and children's colouring books and combining this in my paintings with a more carefully rendered approach to depicting certain elements. In these works I've been trying to interweave and enmesh the diagrammatic with the illusory on a painted surface, creating a visual clash, touching on ideas to do with the real, symbolic, digital and material.
What is your earliest memory of art?
Potato printing at nursery. It got a bit wild and I remember being told off for printing all over the other kids. The painting was escaping the confines of the paper - as it does most of the time with children!
Have you shown your work in a non-white cube space before?
Yes. I set up Block 336 which is a project space and studio provider in Brixton, with a number of other artists following my BA. The space is located in the basement of a 1970s Brutalist building and has a really interesting history. In the early days the building was used as a computer centre for Coutts Bank. The basement was then occupied by these huge machines which had to be cooled in order for them to keep running. We still have the remains of the thermostat and cooling system at the back of the space - lots of pipes and these lovely old fuse boxes. Block 336 will never be a white cube but we aim to work with the space and it's particularities so that it's history is present but never overbearing.
What does this sort of space bring to your work?
Non-white cube spaces have the potential to bring a lot to the work but if the space has too much presence the work can sometimes struggle. One needs to make a sensitive judgement on how to make an intervention and work with or against the space.
Does the environment in which you exhibit your work change how your work is perceived?
Definitely - even down to the area of the city where a space might be. It all feeds into the way the work is perceived and whether the frame of reference is one thing or another.
What is the future for art outside the gallery context?
Artists always find ways to make things happen and I'm sure this will continue. It is becoming trickier in London now that old dilapidated spaces that might once have been taken over by artists are being snapped up by property developers. This is a bit scary. I try to be optimistic about the way things will develop but with the current government it's hard not to be sceptical....
If you could meet one artist living or dead, who would it be and why?
I am a big fan of Cilda Mierles' work. I'd love to have a chat with him, he seems totally fascinating. But if we can dictate where the meetings could take place, I'd love to meet Jan Svankmajer in his house which is apparently like a big cabinet of curiosities - with lots of collections of the wierd and wonderful things from his animations. I love the exaggerated folly that is used in his films - lots of squelchy, slurpy sounds that are incredibly affective when combined with his uncanny, abject claymation.
What projects do you have coming up in the future?
In February I have some work in a group show with Yelmani Gallery [Brussels] who recently started representing me. I am about to start a residency at a space in Trinity Buoy Wharf that is run by the university of East London. I was invited by some former RCA students, Guy Oliver & Steven Gee who are also UEL alumni. There will be a collaborative duo Sarah Tynan and Tamsin Snow who are also taking part. This will culminate in an exhibition at the space in March. I also have some work in a group exhibition at Pipeline, an artist run space at Hotel Elephant. I'm very pleased to be making new work for the Catlin.

Unruly Neighbours  2015


Jane Hayes Greenwood recently completed an MA in Fine Art at City & Guilds of London Art School. Represented by the Chabah Yelmani Gallery in Brussels, Belgium, since graduating she has been featured in the XL Catlin Art Guide 2016 and is currently taking part in a UEL residency at Trinity Bouy Wharf which will culminate in an exhibition in March 2016. Exhibitions in 2015 include a solo show titled Shovel-Screening at Art Bermondsey, gropup show titled Material Tension curated by Day & Gluckman at Collyer Bristow and selections for Creekside Open and Plymouth Contemporary Open.
Alongside her practice Jane Hayes Geenwood is co-founder and executive director of Block 336, an artist run project space, studio provider and UK registered charity in Brixton, South London. Block 336 has held 16 exhibitions since opening in March 2012. The organisation foregrounds emerging and unrepresented practices, working with artists within a supportive and critical context, free from the constraints of the commercial market. Jane is also a BA Fine Art tutor at City & Guilds of London Art School.
twitter  @JaneHayesGr


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