Lyndsey Ingram is proud to present their first exhibition of British artist Ann-Marie James (b. 1981) in collaboration with Karsten Schubert. With a forthcoming project at Kettle’s Yard and several solo shows in museums across the UK, James reimagines and reinterprets historical images, creating vibrant and innovative work. At Lyndsey Ingram, James will present new work referencing two master printmakers, Kanagawa Hokusai (1760 – 1849) and Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528). A series of nine vivid, abstract paintings on aluminium panel respond to Hokusai’s The Great Wave (c.1829). These will be shown alongside intricate, monochrome drawings inspired by Dürer’s clouds in Madonna with a Monkey (1498) and The Sea Monster (1498 – 1501).
The Whitworth Museum has generously agreed to loan an original impression of The Sea Monster, which will be shown as part of the exhibition. The show will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with a scholarly essay by art historian Dawn Ades. James combines traditional printmaking techniques with painting and drawing to create unique works with complex layers. She seeks to transform images and materials into something ‘rich and strange’ in the words from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. For James, metamorphosis – the notion of alchemy and transformation, taken from the writings of Ovid and Kafka – is at once a source of inspiration, an artistic technique, a metaphor for the creative process and for how we perceive the world around us: ‘I am interested in how we repeat images and ideas in one long cultural conversation – a narrative that stretches back to antiquity and myth. So I start with a recognisable image that I can transmute into something else. I quote the image as a found object in my work, using it almost as a brush mark.
In the case of the Hokusai, I am quoting the whole work. With Dürer, I am using details – quoting excerpts.’ In her ‘After Hokusai’ paintings, the artist layers screenprinted motifs of Hokusai’s iconic wave. Using silkscreen as a form of mark-making, she produces an elusive image whose viscous swathes of Prussian blue paint cause the surface to swim before our eyes. ‘I am drawn to the ubiquity of Hokusai’s wave,’ she says. ‘We see this image reproduced and resized everywhere – posters, postcards, even an emoji – yet it is always recognizable. I want to explore the idea of reconfiguring this iconic image, transforming it into something new. There is a constant act of visual excavation.’ The ‘After Dürer’ drawings reference Dürer’s clouds, which James isolates, extracts and makes rubber stamps from. These repeated shapes become the foundational building blocks for her drawings. The complex layers weave a dense web of delicate lines and tracery.
The repetitive layers of drawing, print and paint finally give way to abstract compositions that, whilst retaining a memory of their source, proceed to create a new language.