Standpoint Gallery and studio 1.1 present:
The Damned and the Saved
Craig Andrews, Jay Cloth, Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson, Michele Fletcher, Deborah Gough, Andrea Gregson, Steven Harwood, Alex Heaton, John Holland, Chris Humphreys, Keran James, Matt Lippiatt, Cathy Lomax, Kate Lyddon, Fiona MacDonald, Aaron Miller, Brian Morrissey, Andy Putland, David Shillinglaw, Lalie Schewadron, Annie Whiles, Tom Wolseley.
5 – 21 December 2008 (Wed - Sun 12-6pm)
Opening Thursday 4 December 6-9pm
Sean Doyle and Mally Mallinson
Does art still have a role to play in promoting morally sound belief systems?
Is the realm of the imagination a free zone?
Does the devil still have all the best tunes?
Standpoint Gallery and studio 1.1 are delighted to bring you The Damned and The Saved - a collaborative exhibition that explores contemporary images of humanity and the environment – which divide unevenly and in an unresolved manner into visions of a morally upstanding and beautiful planet versus a dirty, bedraggled, dog-eat-dog world.
The walk from Eden is a road that forks toward…? The show is not divided into ‘Damned’ and ‘Saved’ (a judgement or a definition we refuse to arrogate to ourselves) but into locus and locals as it were, the places of the damned or blessed and their various inhabitants. The moral enquiry is thrust back upon the viewer; and the faces that stare out at us at Standpoint await their fate - whether exile or asylum - in the landscapes at studio1.1. In keeping to the oldest of the four themes, portrait and landscape, we may literally divorce ourselves from Eden but we are also keeping Hell at bay.
The glorious history of painting and sculpture as moral education for the illiterate no longer applies now we can all watch TV instead. Notions of good and evil, heaven and hell, moral and immoral have become more complicated, even subdued. Artist and critic Ronald Jones said that art can't do evil because today it is not serious. ‘Culture frames art in an unserious way; it makes exceptions for artists and doesn't take them seriously. So the past and potential impact of art is dissipated, removed, immunized. It's just art.’ Yet there is a converse argument that suggests we map the world, including moral obligation, through imagination. Shelley said "A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensively and comprehensively... Poetry strengthens the faculty which is the organ of the moral nature of man, in the same manner as exercise strengthens a limb”. (Essay on the Defence of Poetry) When moral struggle goes out the window, when we don't conceive of our activity as having any ethical weight, we begin to lose substance, become vapid uninteresting creatures.
To help save us from such an outcome, the artists in The Damned and the Saved make work that is implicitly or explicitly suggestive of moral dilemmas, of visions of paradise and hell both internal and external, and of the uneasy traversing of the invisible line between.