Exhibition | Do Be Do Be Do… | at | London | Art Week

Do Be Do Be Do…

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Friday, 7 October 2016 to Sunday, 30 October 2016
Thursday, 6 October 2016 - 8:00pm

SIM SMITH is pleased to announce a new performance event and installation by British artist Jonathan McCree and choreographers from New Movement Collective.

Do Be Do Be Do…, is a work about what happens when the language of painting and dance become intertwined and share a space with an audience. The installation features live dance performance, painting, film and music.

The installation is inspired by its location and local history. On the southern bank of the Thames to the east of Vauxhall Bridge, from the early 18th century until the middle of the 19th century, could be found the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. There were avenues of trees, ornamental gardens and pavilions of culture. During the daytime it was a respectable place, a place for a family day out perhaps. Yet after dark it took on a more uneasy air. The technology, design, music and art were pioneering and the famous artificial illuminations would have created an atmosphere of dramatic escapism, a sensory dreamlike world. It is hard to imagine today the impact the experience would have had. It was a raucous place, but also a public art gallery and concert venue with paintings by Hogarth and music by Handel amongst others.

An imagined day at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens is the springboard for the installation and performance that will trace the day's duration. The narrative moves from morning to night, light to dark, order to chaos, polite to dangerous, cultured to illicit.

McCree is attracted to what he imagines the visual language of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to have been; the structures, the ornamentation and the playfulness as well as how notions of 'high culture' sat within the general audience experience of the Gardens.

The artist-made architectural structures or 3D paintings, will create simple spaces within a space, a fictive place brought to life by performance, film and its audience. Dance will be the structure’s animating breath, performed to a musical composition by Paul Statham.

This work continues McCree’s exploration of themes; using an array of borrowed visual references alongside an abstract vocabulary that wildly interweaves through abstraction and expressionism. His marks are his working out and understanding of what he sees, his response to and relationship with the everyday, the strange and the unfamiliar. With strong architectural features and distinguishable structural designs, these architectural structures push his work into demanding a physical and intuitive encounter. He plays with repetition, mutating gestures and expressions, setting up visual propositions for himself and the viewer. Negotiating uncertainty sits at the centre of McCree’s practice and neither viewer, nor artist can be sure of what the outcome will be or where they will end up.

The installation goes beyond the associations traditionally related to experiencing a painting, and instead generates actions and activities, which explore ideas, dynamic relationships and situations. The piece aims to explore the artist’s notion that “anything can be a painting”, through a merging of artistic genres in a site-specific environment that challenges preconceived notions of the role of the viewer from the moment they enter the space.

“I like to think of a painting as a space in which anything can happen. My practice seeks to define what this space is and what might go into it. For me, anything can be a painting; marks on a sheet of paper or canvas, a dance, a film, a crowd. I think of my paintings as fictive spaces where narratives interweave and overlap. I like to play with and stretch a space and what goes into it.

My studio practice is about negotiating uncertainty, or at least a highly fragile set of truths. Opening up the conceptual space of painting to include performance and audience is a way for me to expand this uncertainty and the potential outcomes of the work.”– Jonathan McCree, August 2016


For inquiries, please contact:

Elizabeth Goode, elizabeth@sim-smith.com+44 (0)7736 667 436

TwitterFacebookInstagram @SimSmithGallery 
Artist ( Description ): 

Jonathan McCree (b. 1963, British. Works and lives in London.)

McCree is a painter drawn to unusual spaces in both his practice and presentation.

This year, he has exhibited in Closer To The Veg, outside at Fitzroy Park Allotments and Playroom on a building site in Soho, London, both curated by Sasha Galitzine and Olga Mackenzie. 

McCree has worked extensively in Italy with curator Victor De Circasia on an exhibition at Museo Craveri in Bra, a solo show in 15th century chapel in the hills of Piedmont and a group show at Castillo Monticello D’Alba.

McCree’s first performance installation took place in 2012 in collaboration with choreographer Gretchen Schiller and Helen Paris at Université Stendhal Grenoble, France.


New Movement Collective

New Movement Collective (NMC) is a generation of dance artists collectively redefining the boundaries of choreography and performance through ambitious, cross-disciplinary work.  With a long collaborative working history as creators and performers they have rapidly established a reputation for innovation, producing work that challenges theatrical orthodoxies and creatively responds to unconventional performance settings.  

The success of their productions has been recognised through a number of award nominations including Best Independent Company in the UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.

NMC consists of 11 artists working without a lead creative director.  Together they have created a laboratory from which they can develop innovative, large-scale work that responds to our rapidly changing modern world and pushes the art form forward. They strongly believe that their unique working model unlocks new possibilities for dance and collaborative arts practices.

At the heart of this approach lies an ongoing reconsideration of the relationship between performer and spectator, acknowledging that both are active partners in performance.  Placing the two alongside each other in the same arena, they invite a close encounter with dance, stimulating the senses and activating the imagination.  This powerfully immediate experience of movement, sound and other media encourages curiosity and compels action, and in doing so, expands the possibilities of where choreography is manifested.

Through each new production and a growing network of collaborators across numerous art forms, NMC aims to re-evaluate the position of dance in performance and challenge what the experience of movement can be. 

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