Welcome to this is art –
a progressive concept in contemporary art & design.
A destination to preview, purchase
and art direct
bespoke works from some of the most talented modern creative practitioners.
this is art acts as an online platform for emerging and established artists & designers, allowing you to track creative processes from conceptual ideas through to the finished piece. Whether an avid collector or someone with an appreciation of contemporary culture, visit this is art to find out more about the artists, the ideas and the art.
Esther Tielemans's work lies partway between painting and installation, using painted panels as props to cultivate a landscape within which the viewer can play and interact. In the solo exhibition Celebrating the Importance of Being Playful
, large-scale kaleidoscopic canvases are reflected against Tielemans's trademark abstract sculptures so that the colours bounce off one another and shape shift as the viewer circulates the room.
Her geometrical, abstract, hard-edged sculptures have the gloss and glamour that invites us to study our own reflections but they are simultaneously other worldly, evoking little familiarity with the our everyday existence. While many of her sculptures are free-standing, pieces such as The Performance 2
are wall-mounted, while others engage with the paintings facing them to further explore the visual quality of concentration, relation, attraction and repulsion. Dogmatically abstract, Tielemans's paintings, such as Painting About Painting,
take a multi-layered approach by juxtaposing hard-edged geometry with more painterly backgrounds of freely scattered brushstrokes. Alongside this juxtaposition is a wry look at the role of the artist in harnessing creativity – Organizing the Disorderly
shows the range of colours and treatments that can inspire the painter at any one moment, and the challenge of creating a coherent piece for the viewer. Furthering this deepening interrogation of the art-making process Symmetry of Inherent Contradictions
highlights the importance of curating in Tielemans's work, and the echos of pieces within each other across vastly different mediums.
Peter Nencini's work is borne of systematised process but looks for the slip — the glitch — therein. The works allow for open interpretation and a certain freedom for the end user. Hand Werk is a meticulously arranged box of tricks, beautifully archived in a systematic order but without an immediate utility. The onus is on the viewer to engage with its pieces and create their own understanding of what they are for and the creative potential that they encourage. Made with wood, plastic, ceramic, rubber and fabric, Hand Werk illustrates the beauty of the hand made, while encouraging the user to echo the artist and undertake what Nencini describes as 'abstract play'.
Further restricting his materials and concept, Container Corps was created for a Portland firm of the same name for their Summer Sigs series. Part commission, part submission, the artists were selected for their work, but narrowed to a strict criteria of extent, binding, palette and page size for the limited edition publications as an experiment in pushing against regimented boundaries. Nencini's piece epitomises the designer's concern with systems that stray. The pegboard page grid uses a typographic pica unit, which correlates to a pre-made kit of pattern-making parts. The parts are applied in conjunction with found materials, to find a dissonance over each double-page surface.
The ephemeral beauty of Nicolas Feldmeyer's new monumental public art installation 'Untitled (Woven Portico)', envelops the urban landscape with a soft-edged, incongruous beauty. Taking swathes of white fabric Feldmeyer has threaded through the voids of University College London's portico, and created a floating safety net in the rafters of Christ Church, Spitalfields' crypt.
His pieces awaken contemplation of the world and its materials in the manner at the heart of minimalism. And by juxtaposing rough and smooth he conversely creates a new harmony with the space and the work.
Smaller works on paper use photography, drawings and digital media to conjure otherworldly atmospheres and Feldmeyer has a knack for tangling the monumental and the miniscule in a manner that confuses the viewer who sees various possibilities forming out of his abstract compositions.
Taiwan-born Shih Hsiung Chou engages with art history by manipulating the notion of oil painting to his own ends, creating experiments with material and form that drastically challenge past concepts of painting.
Chou uses crude oil to fill spaces in slick, reflective black forms. He refers to his practice as painting because of how it engages with such a dominant material of the art-historical canon, but its forms equally resemble sculpture and reflect the world around them. Referencing the impressionists as inspiration, the beauty of Chou's work lies in the fleeting, unique moments it captures as the viewer passes by. A clear image is not created, instead the impressions of shapes as the eye perceives them.
“I’m not trying to imitate an oil painting, I’m trying to make one. And if I disregard the assumption that painting is layers of pigments applied to a surface, then I am practicing painting by other means.”
Anthony Gerace's collages re-contextualise the counterforms of their source images to create ambiguous pieces that overturn the one-dimensional nature of the popular culture from which they are taken.
Sourcing the elements of his work from colour magazines of the 1960s to 1980s (ranging from Life and Time to Playboy and Popular Mechanics), the pieces emphasize the unique textures and aged qualities of their materials. Gerace also highlights the variation of tones that only becomes more apparent when they are re-mounted and the original subject is removed, relishing the materials and also the abstract and questioning nature that the language assumes when re-appropriated.
Anne Haack's work is inherently process-driven, focussing on the tension between artist and medium and the battle for supremacy between the two.
Haack's concept, that the medium will ultimately supercede the artist when there is a tension between the two, references expressionism but in a manner that places the medium, rather than the artist, at centre stage. Following Baldessari's contention that static art circumvents real truth in a kinetic universe, Haack sets out to question the reality of art's established methods and surfaces.
Using rubbings, drawings, photograms, photography, powders and resin, Haack's works create misted abstractions of the world around us to determine how the elements of the real are transcribed to the reproduction. Highlighting the autonomy of the medium each process inherently colours its subject with its own attributes.
Tracing the nomadic existence of her family through Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Scotland and Holland, Sarojini Lewis creates a personal narrative around epic, de-humanised landscapes. Each image exists as an independent tale, and yet together they form a visual documentation of a family history that has inspired the inquisitive, disparate identity of Lewis's work. The photographs make the connections and contradictions of place and identity manifest: 'On one side it is the human desire of being a part of a natural environment, while on the other is the feeling of being out of context in that same environment.'
The large format film works show their subjects in astonishing detail, and initially derelict, sun-parched or frostily preserved scenes transform into dozens of different minutiae on closer inspection, welcoming a meditation on the landscape that surrounds us while creating alien worlds of it. In presenting her work within rigid white frames, Lewis reminds the viewer of the cumulative nature of her project.
The heightened meaning acquired by their role as elements of a collection evokes the essence of memories and personalities, as something that we collect and build on throughout our lifetime. We see how these pass down through generations as the legacy of Lewis’s family is documented alongside the landscapes.
Kjell Varvin's work is tantamount to a conglomeration of twentieth-century art. Epitomising the cross-pollinisation of modern art movements, his sculptures in welded iron, ceramic tiles, plastics, glass and found materials at times reference Minimalism, Kinetic art, Dada and Arte Povera.
Structurally and compositionally Varvin's work is highly stylised, complementing repeated grid-like forms with the pared down palette of industrial materials. Each work is part of a temporary installation, dismantled and re-appropriated by Varvin at a later date, and as a result takes on an ephemeral beauty, elements balancing improbably in positions that recall kinetic sculptures but remain intrinsically still in the air.
Rather than conjuring symbolic associations Varvin insists there is no narrative to his work, instead revelling in form and composition to create sculptures of a strict, cold beauty.
Josie Cockram’s practice considers the way in which the life of an image extends beyond mere representation of source material. Her installations intend to push apart relations within a moving image and resurrect, with a viewer, the space in which it is made. The works address ideas about nostalgia for a mechanized world in digital formats that are apparently more accessible and malleable, yet more invisible in their workings.
In recordings of studio experimentation with tangible, everyday materials, familiar characteristics of knowable objects are undisguised, whilst also appearing as alien organic forms. These forms, mundane and absurd, allude both to early 20C natural history documentation and low-tech science experiments posted on youtube. On the one hand, each film engages the viewer as a document of seemingly objective observation; on the other, appropriating ideas about animism, they consider how an image is rationalized. The artist plays purposefully with the way in which an object might be expected to react and how it seems to on film.
In installations, sound, text, and recording/projection equipment confirm and unsettle the moving images, acting to maintain the dynamism of making. New works, using film stills on glass, look at the process of editing and re-constitution.
Josie Cockram is the recipient of the Acme Camberwell Studio Award 2011/2012, and has spent the past year progressing her artistic practice, this has led to a place on the postgraduate Fine Art course at the Royal Academy Schools, London.
Youngsuk Suh explores the battle for supremacy between man and nature and the ethereal effects of smoke on his camera's lens. Having studied the California brushfires of 2008–09 through his series Wildfires, his appetite for the transformative nature of smoke on the landscape is not satiated, and Let Burn highlights the beauty of these effects without the destruction of nature's wrath left unfettered. Taken during controlled burning, Youngsuk describes smoke as 'the medium through which light is made visible and it renders everything invisible'. Elements of solidity peek out through the screen but the smoke lends a fantasy to the work.
Taking solidity to the other extreme in Untitled Exterior #1, Youngsuk presents a hulking concrete form in a stark, clear light. Shades of black, white and grey make for a monochromatic musing on the nature of our man-made structures when they no longer serve a purpose, and the isolation of his images echoes the loneliness that pervades the work of Ed Ruscha and Edward Hopper. Youngsuk's large format photography, transferred onto rag paper, has an inherently painterly quality, and a consideration of the effects of nature (both sudden and long-term) on very different settings.
Book from the Ground
is an innovation in narrative art that transcends the boundaries of art and literature – a novel-length piece, created through the artist's constructed language of pictograms. Recognising the pressing need for, and growing trends towards, a globalised language based outside of the arbitrary forms of Latin, Arabic and Cyrillic scripts, Xu Bing has developed a constantly growing project and seeks to challenge the perceived limitations of pictograms.
Xu took inspiration from the burgeoning use of pictograms in specialisms such as chemistry, mathematics, design, music and dance, not to mention the proliferation of computer-based symbols that are increasingly transforming into our first perception of a universal language. He challenges their emphasis on utility alone by attempting to construct a descriptive work. While the challenges of creating an emotive piece from pictograms are clear, Xu sees this as an opportunity to create a 'space' where its users can create meaning, and evolve the work in the manner of more traditional languages.
Book from the Ground
follows Xu's seminal 1987-1991 project Book from the Sky
, an incomprehensible text with a passing resemblance to Chinese characters. In creating his new work, which can be interpreted by all, Xu presents an egalitarian approach to art and story-telling, and one that will doubtless be built on enthusiastically over time.
Perpetually curious about the three-dimensional and spatial capacities of graphic design, Space Invaders is brutal in its simplicity, using only the limited medium of black spray paint in order to focus on the interaction of the flat paint and the physical world around it.
The simplicity of this approach means that the manipulation of the space's light and shadow is as integral to the work as the paint itself, making it unreservedly site-specific. Enacted across a variety of locations from sterilized workshops to derelict homes and gutted houses of worship, the starting point of each space invasion is the essence of its environment.
Each work shares an eerie isolation but the similarities end there, and yet Ollive manages to work his distinctive, monochromatic slashes implicitly into the surface of each setting. Regardless of having only a spray can at his disposal, in each site the edges of paint are aggressively sharp, mocking the layers of history through the manner in which they lie flawlessly across peeling house paint and frescos. They are simultaneously the fresh scratches across surfaces betraying years of neglect and the dynamic explosions of a graphic novel.
Space Invaders is the latest project from the French graffiti artist and graphic designer Benoit Ollive, whose studies in spatial design transcend disciplines and have led to a continually expanding body of work in screen print, letterpress, photography, painting and ceramics.