Mark Tanner Sculpture Award Show:
Exhibition: 11 April - 31 May 2014
Standpoint Gallery presented a solo show of new work by the 2013 Mark Tanner Sculpture Award winner Iain Hales. Hales was selected from over 200 applicants from across the UK, by a panel comprising Lisa Le Feuvre, Director of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute, British Sculptor Richard Deacon, MTSA winner 2011 Jemima Brown, and MTSA trustee Rebecca Scott.
Iain Hales grounds his practice in the formal 'language' of sculpture, exploring traditional considerations of weight, form, geometry, balance, texture, composition, scale, and colour. Within this repertoire, however, he often takes a humorous, sideways look at some of the gendered or sexualised associations of simple forms and architectural motifs.
In several works for the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award, Hales returned to and elaborated on his recent use of motifs referencing classical architectural forms. In Untitled 2013, a tall black pyramidical form rests on four small spheres, a combination of forms referencing the obelisk. Hales' pyramid, though, is heavily worked with a black oil paint surface, whose density and evident hand-working bring a unexpected and contrapuntal intimacy to its phallic geometry.
Hales habitually works in compositions of separately made components, which he configures with a restlessness or mutability that defies their simplicity of form, as if they constituted the ever-shifting subject matter of an invisible still-life painting. A sense of friction and temporality is also highlighted via the range of materials found within the works, from traditionalist art materials such as chalk gesso and powdered pigments to modern rubber floor tiles and concrete reinforcing mesh. While there are evident contrasts in the status or hierarchy of these materials, Hales points to an equivalence between them - the sheen of his coloured rubber floor tile is as sensually rewarding as his polished gesso surface.
These gestures towards non-linear temporality connect to Hales' interest in the 18th century notion of the 'Romantic Ruin'. The motif of the broken column and the distorted caryatid, emerging in current works-in-progress for the Standpoint exhibition, are resonant with the idea of the ruin as an image both of current natural disasters and of the catastrophes of human history, the significance of which is all too redolent today.
Post-Model Montage: a publication documenting Iain Hales' exhbition, with an essay by Chris Fite-Wassilak, photographs by Sylvain Deleu and Iain Hales, designed by Patricia Puertas and Fiona MacDonald.
Iain Hales was born in Scotland in 1977 and currently lives and works London. He completed his MFA Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2009 and gained a BA (hons) in Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art in 2005.
Hales has made solo presentations at m2 Gallery, London in 2013; Cole, London in 2012 and Hyperground, Edinburgh in 2006. Selected recent group exhibitions include Sculpturing, at Two Queens in Leicester, 2013; A Wall Is A Surface, curated by LeandaKateLouise in 2012; and Switch. selected by Phyllida Barlow for BALTIC 39, Gateshead in 2012.Hales was awarded the 2009 Craignish Trust Emerging Artist Residency at Cove Park, in Scotland.
Iain Hales' website: www.iainhales.com