In this solo show of new work Iain Hales expands his focus on making work that stakes as its territory the space between painting and sculpture. While the works are often of a formal nature, his use of colour amongst the assemblages addresses painterly concerns. A sensitivity to materials and a range of scale within the work creates further juxtapositions, suggesting reference points beyond these formal concerns, from architecture, art and design to more everyday cultural elements. The works have a plural language, collaging a range of art historical references, including modernism, minimalism and Arte-Povera. In doing so they resist classification, creating a restless mutability.
This engagement with painting is evidenced most obviously through the works residing on the wall. Whilst technically sculptures, essentially they are concerned with flatness – approached from the front they operate as abstract compositions, until they are viewed from the side, at which point they expand into three dimensions. This friction within the work is a crucial element of Hales’ practice.
This sense of friction is also demonstrated through the range of materials found within these works, from ‘high art’ materials such as chalk gesso and powdered pigments to rubber floor tiles and concrete reinforcing mesh. While there are evident contrasts in the status or hierarchy of these materials, Hales also suggests an equivalence within them, with the sheen of a coloured rubber floor tile as rewarding as a polished, painted gesso surface. But, beyond the sensual qualities of his chosen materials Hales is also interested in their semiotic associations; these play an important role in prompting a response to the works, each suggesting a range of connotations.
Hales’ practice has always had a keen engagement with architecture. If in earlier work this was expressed quite directly, here it is used in a subtler manner: through material choices, classical systems of scale, the grid, and architectural forms. He is also interested in the notion of the romantic ruin and temporality; this is most clearly expressed by the show’s only floor based work – a composition of separate objects, seemingly poised on the brink of collapse.
Iain Hales, b. 1977, lives and works London. Studied at The Slade (2009), recent exhibitions include, ’26’, LeandaKateLouise, London (2011); ‘Underfoot’, Clerkenwell Rd, London (2010); ‘Formal Inquiry’, Cole, London (2010); ‘Changing the Nature’, Vulpes Vulpes, London (2010).