Curiosity: an art practice as a way of looking
Julie Caves’ first major solo exhibition has taken over two years to create, with work celebrating beauty and its many juxtapositions: work and play, nature and synthesis, life and death.
Housed in the peaceful and contemplative 19th-century Crypt Gallery in Kings Cross, this group of work includes eight series of paintings, sculptural installations, an ongoing drawing series, an interactive work, and installations created specifically for the Crypt space. The exhibition is located a 5-minutes walk from the Frieze Art Fair and is also part of the Bloomsbury Festival 15–20 October. There will be a participatory artwork called A Third Colour on the three Saturdays of the exhibition, whose participants will be documented for a book and receive a certificate that ‘they are art’ as well as artist-led tours. Special guest artist H Locke will have a large drawing installation.
Julie Caves’ work celebrates beauty and its many juxtapositions: work and play, nature and synthesis, life and death, macro and micro, Heaven and Hell. She is constantly walking the tightrope between two ideas. This is most notably seen in her large window paintings, where she has created a series of works of views through windows, either panes in view so the window is quite apparent, and in other compositions no pane is shown so the work resembles and references traditional landscape painting. Reminiscent of Gary Hume’s enamel Door Paintings from the mid-90s, instead of confronting us with a barrier to a world beyond, Caves’ windows invite us to explore that same world, and realise it really is quite beautiful.
Other concerns within Caves’ practice intrinsically revolve around colour. Each of her large scale abstract paintings (for which she is best known) are a record of a process carried out by the artist; set rules and decisions are established to start a painting (much like the invention of a new game), and devised as a means of creating pathways into explorations of colour and texture.
Julie Caves says: “I am very interested in the push-pull of visual space and the polarities of ideas - object and ground, positive and negative, good and evil. I have always looked at both sides of the coin, seen the hare and the duck. I am very interested in the structure of the painting and my own kind of balance. Often my method of closing-up, searching for rightness and negotiating each mark results in a complexity nearly hidden in the final simplification, a subtle activation. Sometimes it is a feeling of righting a wrong, one decision at a time, heading down a path to more correctness.”