'Colour Pop' ExhibitionSimon Kirk
Our Shenfield gallery will be reopening on 13th April with an exciting solo exhibition featuring the works of Simon Kirk's newest, colourful collection
What is the story/theme/inspiration behind this collection?
"The main pieces in this exhibition are works I'd had in my personal collection for a couple of years. Lockdown meant I began working from home and I spent a lot of time re-assessing the works I had around me. The more I spent looking at the artworks I realised they would benefit from a device that would encourage the viewer to take a closer look. As with much of my work I feel there is a lot of visual information and aesthetic that is missed in cursory viewing. I hit upon the idea of mimicking a microscope - the circles across the piece urge the viewer to get closer and examine the artwork thoroughly.
From this starting point, I began working across multiple pieces and the collection built up from there. The circles added dynamism and movement to the piece; they became pills, dispersions of light or haloes, sun circles that dance across the artwork. This playful energy led me to add more and more details - I added arrows to 'annotate' the work, characters gained crowns to make them kings and previously drab skulls were given a make-over of mexican wrestling masks. In some pieces, dogs keep watch and children play around newly added houses. They became a slice of the old life outside for someone who had begun to miss the simple joys of everyday life." - Simon Kirk
Simon Kirk’s works are a synergy of poetry and painting, text and image, abstraction and figuration, combining influences from both the literary and art world alike. Influenced by haiku, humanist concerns and the philosophical ideas of ‘the Absurd’, Kirk’s mixed media pieces have become increasingly sought after by art collectors since the beginning of his career in 2007. He exhibited and sold at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He is a resident artist with TAP Galleries Limited and his work is regularly exhibited as part of their collections for the Affordable Art Fairs.
Tell us about your creative process; how do your works come into creation?
"In the work I created for this exhibition, I've predominantly used a wax transfer technique rather than the cut and paste of collage. I scanned the various elements of collage I wanted to use onto a computer then printed them out onto wax paper, which I then applied to the surface of the artwork. It's a lo-fi printing technique that I'm very much taken with at the moment. It echoes the acetone photocopy printing I did a lot of in my early career (a technique that is hard to recreate these days, with the inks used by modern photocopiers). There is a theme of layers in my work, both literally in the way I layer paint and 'collaged' elements but also in terms of the narrative. By pairing text and image I want to create playful connections that are both illogical and insightful; meaning is inherent but impossible to pin down precisely. I'm drawn to the idea of 'the Absurd' - the human tendency to search for meaning in life and the inability to find it. In this way I feel my work shares common ground with haiku and the search for profound meaning in modest things; taking the wonder of everyday life and subverting it into something unpredictable and evocative."
- Simon Kirk
How has your work grown since you started out as an artist?
"When I was younger, I was predominantly a figurative painter. My style really began to evolve at university when I discovered the work of William Burroughs and began introducing text into my work. This led to me introducing elements of collage and my days of 'traditional' painting were over. However, it was still a wrestling match for me for years to come to terms with my new direction. I became very comfortable working in sketchbooks but couldn't seem to translate the spontaneity and obvious freedom of that work from the page onto the wall. I began to find my style by working on my wall pieces as I would in a sketchbook. I built up layers of paint and collage, painted areas out and ripped bits off. I echoed the editing process that would normally take place in a book but the ideas were developing and decisions of composition were all taking place as the artwork progressed. I compare it to learning an instrument in so far as you can't express the 'music' in your head if you don't learn the mechanics first." - Simon Kirk
Original Framed Collage Book QuotesSimon has created a diverse oeuvre that often blends his love of poetry and visual art. His work is quirky, individual and dynamic, combining influences from both the literary and art world alike
This exhibition will introduce some unique, never seen before pieces Simon Kirk has been working on throughout the three lockdowns. Differing to Simon’s usual darker, Basquiat inspired style of works, he has focused heavily on the theme of colour along with circular imagery and all round a bighter asesthetic whilst still including his signature illustration which is frequently seen throughout Simon’s work.
"I feel there is a lot of visual information and aesthetic that is missed in cursory viewing. I hit upon the idea of mimicking a microscope - the circles across the piece urge the viewer to get closer and examine the artwork thoroughly." - Simon Kirk
"I feel like I've hit a sweet spot with my work, not only in terms of what I'm producing now but also in terms of how it relates to works I've done previously. There's now a definite sense of progression and I hope those that have been following my work for a while can see the dialogue between the old and new.
In terms of exhibitions, I'm very much looking forward to seeing this collection all together at the Turner Art Perspective Gallery in Shenfield. I'm very proud of this work and can't wait to see it all collected together." - Simon Kirk
'Colour Pop' Exhibition: Simon Kirk