Hut 27, Marklands, Lower Durston, Taunton TA3 5AH
Underpinned by an exhaustive investigation of personal histories, specific objects or significant sites my work examines the legacy of conflict, particularly focusing on WWII. Through a highly individual & scientific investigation of material and process, I create artworks that form a tangible link to a remote time or experience. This meticulous research and the application of materials with a specific resonance, combine to create works that are talismanic, contracting history, substance and experience into a single entity.
For example, ‘The Fifty’, portrays those men executed after the real-life ‘Great Escape’, employing a technique developed of painting with ‘Klim’ milk. ‘Klim’ is the brand the POW’s would have received in their Red-Cross Parcels, empty tins were used to build ventilation ducts to the tunnels, thereby sustaining life by multiple means but also contributing to tragic consequences. As a result of this body of work I was the first recipient of the ‘Reveal Emerging Artist’ award leading to a major solo show ‘Afterglow’ at the Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre, Taunton in Autumn 2009.
Originating from an investigation of my studio, a timber framed ‘Laing Hut’, I have explored the architectural legacy of WWII, reacting to traces of presence embedded in the physical remains of abandoned airfields, pillboxes and more. For me, these structures act as a poignant memorial to a conflict so abstract to someone of my generation.
My primary focus though is the human consequences of conflict, exploring experience, perception and memory as well as the effects on the corporeal. Working with veterans and investigating lost service-members has instigated a practice that is socially engaged and increasingly collaborative
My two-year long collaboration with former POW artist Ted Milligan, until his death in July 2011, extended my practice into the fields of curator, facilitator and archivist as well as artist. Follow the link to a film by Emma Holbrook (Laconic Film) produced during SAW Open Studio's 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rjP_iEfqRk http://laconicfilm.co.uk
This body of work had a second presentation in Ted’s memory during Nov 2011 as a fundraising event marking the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion. The exhibition was accompanied by after dinner speakers of the calibre of BBC Defence Correspondent Caroline Wyatt and former UK Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles. A feature by the British Forces Broadcasting Service on this exhibition at the Montague Inn can be seen here. http://www.bfbs.com/news/uk/veteran-inspired-art-raises-money-53218.html
At its broadest points, I am establishing an approach that traverses the space the space between contemporary gallery and museum practice whilst maintaining the opportunity for site-specific work and working in ‘non-art’ spaces. Blending the specific and intensely personal with universally significant events and themes of history, memory and conflict allows me to engage with both my own family history and the broadest possible audience.
Since 2011, I have worked in conjunction with the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, responding to the pioneering restoration of WWII Grumman Martlet AL246 by their Engineering Dept. I have drawn on the specialist knowledge of leading practitioners in their field to make unique responses to the object and the unconscious archive of embedded histories revealed during its transformation. The resultant exhibition, 'Operation Chameleon' is currently on display adjoining the Restoration Hangar with further developments planned for 2013.
Many of these works are on sale; please contact me for availability and prices. Commissions undertaken.
Website coming soon at http://www.jonengland.co.uk