Categories ArtPosted on

The Masque of Blackness: Epoh Beech animates Gallery 46

Londonewcastle has revealed that Epoh Beech will be the latest exhibitor at its dynamic arts space for emerging and contemporary artists, Gallery 46, in Whitechapel, London. Curated by Lee Sharrock, Epoh Beech’s “The Masque of Blackness” solo exhibition will run from 6th September to 6th October 2018 at Gallery 46. SEEN anticipates art of the highest order.

In addition, The Masque of Blackness will also feature as a standalone projection on the side of the fly tower at the National Theatre every evening from 8pm – 11pm, 27th – 29th September, which has been established through Londonewcastle’s sponsorship and as part of the forthcoming Totally Thames. On the evening of Thursday 27th September, the looping animation will also be accompanied by a live musical performance from Esben Tjalve.

More than seven years in the making, Beech’s hand-drawn animation sits at the heart of the exhibition. Inspired by Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness, and Ben Jonson’s Jacobean play ‘The Masque of Blackness’, it explores the geographical, historical and cultural relationship between the Thames and the Rhine, and between West Africa, England and Germany. Recurring characters and motifs featured in the animation and drawings include Shells, Hermes (the grey Seal), Pegasus (the mythological horse representing justice, wisdom and acting as a muse to the poets, unhindered by the straitjacket of history and time), Oil Rigs and Water Nymphs.

The film, edited by Matthew Thomas, features an original musical score by Esben Tjalve and choreography by Julia Gillespie to evoke a sense of place and spirit in the busy heart of London. A one-off 19th Century-style theatre room, with vintage theatre seats and red velvet curtains will display the animation inside Gallery 46. Accompanying the 12-minute film will be an extensive series of drawings and preparatory sketches of varying scale, detailing the journey of the painstakingly created animation. Beech meticulously hand draws the animations in charcoal or carbon on paper using a palimpsest technique – where images are created, partially erased and then redrawn repeatedly to create a multi-layered effect. To create just one second of animation requires 25 drawings, demonstrating the Herculean nature of this project.

Beech is the latest in an illustrious line up of artists to exhibit at Gallery 46, including Polly Morgan, Tim Noble and Sue Webster. Gallery 46 is the cornerstone of Londonewcastle’s ongoing Arts Programme, which aims to bring London’s creative community and its vacant development spaces together, giving new and previously undiscovered artists, as well as leading names, a place to showcase their work.

Beech’s latest exhibition acts as a sequel to her 2010 “Marriage of the Thames and the Rhine”. Following the success of the original exhibition, Londonewcastle agreed to support the artist with sponsorship towards a projection of her latest work on the side of the National Theatre fly tower. Rob Soning, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Londonewcastle commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Epoh, one of the UK’s true undiscovered artists, to Gallery 46 for her forthcoming exhibition. It is the culmination of seven years of artistic endeavour and exploration for Epoh, and our ability to bring her work to a wider audience demonstrates how the open-source, non-conformist curatorial approach of the Gallery is really creating opportunities for the capital’s artistic community.”

Epoh Beech comments: “This exhibition explores themes around time and transience, and the longevity of the project has allowed me to take a much more holistic approach to my research. It’s been a true labour of love, and I’ve produced thousands of drawings, too many to count, over a period of seven years spent in the studio and on field trips to the Rivers that inspired my work. Gallery 46 and the team at Londonewcastle have been hugely supportive, and I’m a big supporter of these types of exhibition spaces which support the capital’s artist community.”

Gallery 46 opened in summer 2016 following the closure of the Londonewcastle Project Space on Redchurch Street, and is housed in a pair of renovated Georgian houses in the grounds of Whitechapel Hospital. Set over three floors and across eight floors, it is a kaleidoscopic addition to Whitechapel’s burgeoning gallery scene and its artistic heart, the nearby Whitechapel Gallery. The space was established through the partnership of Martin J Tickner and Sean McLusky and Fruitmachine founders, Martin Bell & Wai Hung Young.

Gallery 46
46 Ashfield Street
E1 2AJ

All images courtesy/copyright Epoh Beech