Simon Periton: Celestial Agriculture
28 March - 17 May 2015
This is Simon Periton's first exhibition at the New Art Centre and will include new objects and glass paintings inside the gallery and a specially-commissioned sculpture in the park. Periton's more sculptural work has an intricacy and formal directness, whilst his paintings tend to be more visually ambiguous; dark, gothic and sometimes psychedelic. He is well known for his use of signs, symbols and patterns from sources as diverse as occultism, colonialism, Islam, punk, Pop Art and politics, but the prettiness of his work belies the seriousness of his cultural references just as his use of pattern often obscures his subject matter. On closer examination, even something dainty can be a veil for something more disturbing and what initially seems like mere decoration actually reveals questions about outmoded value systems and the desire for effective means of change.
Of late, Periton has become interested in alchemy and the mysticism which surrounds it, as a rich source of imagery and as a metaphor, but also for the chemical processes and actual laboratory work it purportedly involved as the basis of modern chemistry. His title for the exhibition, Celestial Agriculture, comes from an early description of alchemy and seems appropriate for a show in a rural setting like Roche Court.
Simon Periton made his name with 'doilies', works which he cut laboriously by hand from layers of coloured paper to create complex visual and sculptural effects. Recently, Periton has expanded his practice and processes to include painting on glass as well as freestanding objects cast in bronze or cut from steel. He has received a number of important public commissions for the Victoria and Albert Museum; Site Gallery, Colchester; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and for the University of Oxford. He studied at Central St Martin's School of Art and has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad.