Ritual Experiments

October 2014.

Gallery 223, London.

Gallery 223 is delighted to present an exhibition of new work by artist Tom Leamon at the celebrated Lower Marsh space. Entitled Ritual Experiments, the show is an exploration into the human condition. New paintings and sculpture reflect on ritual, sacrifice, fear, forgiveness, death, hope and celebration. 

The multi-disciplinary exhibition delves into these complex and universal subjects utilising diverse inspiration such as Hopi and Pueblo deities and culture, Maurice Tillet the celebrated wrestler and chess player, overheard conversation, modern signage and newsprint. In combining familiar and otherworldly imagery, Leamon emphasises a deep enthusiasm and optimism for what life has to offer, especially in terms of how we understand our own mortality. 

Key to the exhibition are a series of paintings representing a new painterly direction for the artist. Including Biting the Bull, The Noble Savage, The Abandoned and Pizzaboys; the series has been created using a ceremonial process of making that determined the concept for Ritual Experiments. 

Leamon says “At first I paint, with no idea of a final outcome, I let the paints partly dry and then I take them individually to the shower and wash them. This leaves only remnants of the previous work. I repeat this process sometimes 50 times. My studio is 3 flights of stairs away from the shower, and journey back and forth becomes just as important as each layer of paint. It becomes a ceremonial, ritualistic process.” 

Amongst the shows key pieces ‘Totem Pole’ a six metre tall construction composed of irregular canvasses, using the same technique of painting, walking, washing and repainting, to create a deeply personal symbolic structure. A further new piece will be an alterpiece entitled Before We Forget to Remember. Based on the concept of forgiveness it consists of a sculpture, painting and a drawing. Throughout the space, randomly placed hand-made signs display commonly used phrases and mundanities, creating moments to ‘pause’ the present, but which act as markers to an ongoing narrative in our collective experience. The show is curated to emphasise the awe inspired by museum-like display, utilising the galleries innate dramatic possibilities.