Studio Voltaire - John Sheehy
Exhibition design and display for John Sheehy exhibition at Studio Voltaire, 5 May – 18 June 2017
Studio Voltaire is exhibiting paintings and sculptures by John Sheehy (b.1949), an outsider artist who started painting voraciously in his fifties. We proposed an alternative to a traditional galleryhang and adopted a specific approach the installation design and use of materials to display of the huge variety of work available. Throughout the exhibition director Joe Scotland has invited guest curators to select pieces from Sheehy’s vast output, which will be displayed in rotation throughout this evolving exhibition.
The walls of Studio Voltaire’s converted chapel are partially clad with tongue and grooved chipboard panels placed at irregular heights. A modest material, the chipboard cuts across the chapel windows, providing large uninterrupted surfaces for paintings and unframed drawings to be fixed directly to the boards. Painting rapidly on unstretched canvases, posts, scraps of paper or card and any materials in reach, applying unmixed colour directly from the tube, Sheehy also makes ceramic figurines, drawings and woodcuts, many of which are previously unseen. Paintings and sculptures are placed on a series of expansive surfaces of overlapping unfinished chipboard, which rest just above the floor. Causing partial obstructions the works on these low non-plinths can be viewed from different vantage points as the audience picks their way through. We selected chipboard for it’s calm, neutral quality and light tones which offsets Sheehy’s visually busy imagery, dense black outlines and to mirror the rawness with which Sheehy paints.
The first selection will be made by the artist in conversation with Mark Amura (Crisis Arts). Further selections will be made by Linsey Young (Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain) writer Amy Sherlock, and artists Aaron Angell, Jeremy Deller and Clifton Wright.
Images courtesy of the artist and Studio Voltaire. Photography by Andy Keate