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Solo exhibition by Declan Jenkins opens fall season at Sims Reed Gallery
Declan Jenkins, Coromandel (chequered screen). Woodcut Print edition of 5. 168 x 130 cm.


LONDON.- Sims Reed Gallery announced that its autumn schedule kicked off with British contemporary artist Declan Jenkins’ first solo exhibition, I sing of armoires…, taking place from 6 – 29 September 2017. Jenkins, known primarily for his woodcut prints and performative poems, is showcasing an exciting new series of a dozen monumental hand-coloured woodcuts.

The exploration of the human figure, self-consciousness and our negotiation with space and figures has always been a central concern in Jenkins work. The artist’s new series explores the human body in relation to space within contemporary life, whilst pushing the limits of the medium. The exhibition’s title refers to a quote from Virgil’s The Aeneid, ‘I sing of arms…’, and features human figures enclosed in chambers mimicking furniture, edged with geometric patterns inspired by marquetry, tribal art and the rhythms of Aboriginal painting. This is clearly depicted in his Discomfort Cabinet Series, which conveys unequal power relations, seen through the contrasting positions the figures occupy within cramped spaces. The claustrophobic poverty of space reflects the increasingly limited space of 21stcentury life, whilst illustrating the capacity of the decorative to enclose and imprison.

His works’ boldness and scale imbues them a heightened physicality, whilst the shadows of the physical entities appear caught between two and three dimensions. The prints’ mould-like appearance also suggests that they are liminal structures, situated between sculpture and printmaking. This objectlike quality is enhanced by the woodblock’s shape, mimicking the image and taking on the physical appearance of its referent. The woodblock is a site for performative power, registering marks and gestures of a drawing process that excavates raw and hewn forms. The works simultaneously project the artist’s interior life, resulting in an extrusion of feeling and concept into the world.

Highlights of the show include The Arm, which recalls Freud's dictum that man is a prosthetic god, where the arm appears as an imaginary or artificial body part that carries human intention through space; in this case the hand. His woodcut, Infinite Gun, presents the psychedelic extension of a gun into a geometric meandering course terminating in a launch pad or cross. Four explosions anchor the serpent-like form, giving the appearance of a pinball, racecourse and board-game. Like many of Jenkins’ works there is a level of ambiguity that invites multiple readings, accompanied by an unconscious quality.






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