FEATURE: Paul Jex – My Inspiration | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: She, Framed Newspapers with Bookmarks, Wood, Emulsion Paint, Metal Bolts and Sandbags, Dimensions Variable, 2017

Paul Jex makes observations regarding the distances and boundaries as to how art is approached. Jex uses systems of shared knowledge, observations and perceptions to explore authenticity and how an audience engages with art whether this be art institutions, publications, the internet or during conversation. We caught up with the artist ahead of his new work showing as part of the Masters Degree show at Newcastle University from Friday 24th August to Saturday 8th September. Here, he talks inspiration…

Exploring the relationships that artists have with each other developed into an installation based upon the personal and professional relationship of Anthony Caro and Sheila Girling.  Caro, a giant of Twentieth Century sculpture passed away in 2013 followed by his wife, a fellow artist, Sheila Girling in 2015.
 
Obituaries have a unique presence in providing an overview of individuals, their contribution to their field which allows for reflection. Paul Jex found the obituaries for both Caro and Girling from his collection of artist obituaries sourced from The Guardian.  Immediately he was drawn to the presence of Caro’s obituary that spanned two pages which included an image of Caro standing in front of Early One Morning, 1962.  In comparison to the obituary for Girling, there was significant less text, which is understandable considering Caro’s presence on the international art stage. Yet a phone advertisement to the right has more prominence when paired to the obituary, yet it is the text within Girling’s obituary in which there is written a bias of gender, recognition and placement for Girling.
 
Reflecting upon the text in The Guardian Obituaries, page tags have been placed that highlights and articulates the presence of language that visually shows the disproportion.
 
Anthony Caro’s Obituary:
Blue = couple / they = 5
Orange = partner’s name = 4
Pink = pronoun = 1
Total number of ‘partnership’ tags = 10
 
Sheila Girling’s Obituary:
Blue = couple / they = 7
Orange = partner’s name = 12
Pink = pronoun = 3
Green = husband = 3
Total number of ‘partnership’ tags = 25
 
The installation responded to the written text, whilst using the same font used by The Guardian for the artists names whilst facing the framed newspapers. Referencing the colour of Caro’s Early One Morning for Girling’s name – who had advised Caro to change the colour of the sculpture from green to red which is mentioned in Girling’s obituary but not in Caro’s empathises the newspapers shortcomings.
 
The installation continues Paul Jex’s interest in documentation, language and observation.

Paul Jex’s installation is part of the Masters Degree show at Newcastle University from Friday 24th August until Saturday 8th September.

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