James Pyman

11 Oct –
10 Nov

Press release

S1 Artspace is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by James Pyman to mark the completion of his three month residency at S1 Artspace.

James Pyman’s drawings assimilate imagery from photographs, cartoons, genre fiction, anecdotes and music. Large-scale, hazy pencil works narrate momentary daydreams or hallucinations in contoured objects. A large black form rising from the sea could be a tail of a gargantuan whale or an ominous spectral figure. Uncanny doubling occurs as elements in a landscape begin to echo one another or a girl slumped at her desk absent-mindedly draws her mirror image. As with dreams, exotic or fantastical scenes may be followed by a banal situation in which something extraordinary is proposed.

Pyman’s recent work has focused on a series of publication projects employing stylistic conventions from newspaper cartoons, football annuals and children’s books. Working within these genres he has produced artist books that employ imagery as narrative form in fictional biography and illustrative storytelling.

Developing drawings from these, often marginalised, forms of publishing has led to a new project that uses the English folk song tradition and more specifically, the folk revival period as a source. Pyman is interested in the political complexities of drawing on an archive of songwriting documenting centuries of English social history unmediated by its historicisation, the songs acting as an immediate form of dissemination, or oral newspaper. Through a collection of visual and written material this next book will focus on the careers of a group of fictional, folk revival musicians called The Garden Path. The publication will collate drawings of record sleeve artwork, press photographs, newspaper clippings, posters, sheet music, song lyrics and assorted memorabilia, inventing imagery within a self-contained visual world described in the titles, lyrics and artwork crafted by English folk-rock bands such as Fairport Convention and Pentangle. Taking in contextual detail from the folk tradition in regions of England, Scotland and Ireland the publication will map several generations of the band.

The exhibition at S1 will present drawings developed during the residency for a chapter based on Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Humberside.