Thames-Side Studios Gallery

Fatal Attraction
Matt Ager, Ellie Barrett, Beth Collar, Billy Crosby, Sessa Englund
Doireann nI Ghrioghair, Milly Peck, Michael Pybus, Chris Thompson, Felix Treadwell

Exhibition Dates: 4-26 August 2018

It’s 10,000 BC.

Hunter-Gatherers on the European Ice are carving dolls out of stone, cold and one lost meal away from starvation; flash forward to the 1980s and we’re making films about dolls possessed by dead serial killers. There’s definitely something to be said about our remarkable consistency. These two cultural moments at opposite ends of our history reflect both a continuity of practice and a very ingrained habit. We just can’t help ourselves, sucking up everything in the pursuit of our self-identification. We’re complete addicts.

But there’s a big problem.

In our mad scramble to stamp on and manufacture things to speak for us, in our fundamentally appropriative behaviour as a species we’re imbuing our objects, images and signs with an unholy potential. Flint heads to Flintstones and jeans to memes, as we seek to ritualistically define ourselves with stuff, like your worst nightmare they instead gain the power to dictate to us as a consequence of projection, appropriation, use and circulation.

But hold up- It’s been a while since we were starving and carving. Where all the monsters at? When the rivers of blood and token blondes have become fodder for memes and ancient trinkets are being pulled out of the ground, we know somethings afoot.

They’ve being boiled, sifted, re-claimed.

Turns out we have a secret weapon. When our favourite things start to influence and proliferate dangerously in our habits, our fatal attraction strikes; there’s a reason we found our stone doll in the mud. When we sense a threat to our hegemony we exhaust our target through overuse, and our over-agent entity gets consigned to our ever-growing dress-up box of cultural detritus, ready for us to play with like a killer dressing in its corpse. Just think of every sitcom catchphrase or 80’s horror film ever.

But what happens when you become aware of it?

This show is interested in the moment where culture becomes aware of its own autonomous mechanisms. As transient systems of distribution allow us to replace carving with ‘gramming as a primary means of stamping ourselves onto the world, do we not end up in a position where self-reflexive habits become an ingrained reality of contemporary existence? Does a learnt awareness and subsequent hijacking of our deconstructive pathology offer artists a route through which to pause, change or dissect the cycle of appropriation and cannibalism?

What happens if we just dial it up?

Download: Fatal Attraction PR.pdf

About the artists:

Matt Ager is a graduate of the Royal Academy Schools and Camberwell College of Arts. Recent group exhibitions include Sleeping Procession, CASS Sculpture Foundation, Several Options, HPFA, Berlin, The Window Was Left Open Though The Door Was Shut, Ada Road, London. Recent solo shows include Gusto, Studio Leigh, London and Sunday School #11, Dam Projects. Ager lives and works in London.www.mattager.com

Ellie Barrett is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art and Lancaster University. Based in Lancaster she is currently undertaking a PHD and is co-director of GRAFT. Barrett was the Director of The Royal Standard, Liverpool and is a founding member of the You’re Beautiful Collective. Recent exhibitions include General Store curated by Hewing Wittare, London, Eminent Domain, New York and Artists and Food, Elmer, London. www.elliebarrett.com

Billy Crosby is a graduate of Camberwell College of Arts. Crosby was the recipient of the Vanguard Court Studio Prize (2016), with an accompanying solo exhibition at Camberwell Space, Props. Crosby was a prize winner in the John Moores Prize for Painting 2018, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Recent group exhibitions include Salt Castles, Lewisham Arthouse and Changelings, The Flying Dutchman, London. Crosby lives and works in London. www.billycrosby.co.uk

Beth Collar is a graduate of the Royal College of art, The Princes Drawing School and London Metropolitan. Collar won the Mark Tanner Prize for Sculpture in 2016/2017. Recent solo shows include Cloaked output vol 2: spirals of focus, Primary, Nottingham, Thinking Here of How The Words Formulate Inside My Head As I Am Just Thinking’, Matts Gallery, London, No, No, No, No, Cell Project Space, London, Seriously, Standpoint Gallery, London and 11/50, ICA, London as part of Fig-2. Collar lives and works in Berlin. www.bethcollar.co.uk

Sessa Englund is a graduate of SUNY Purchase, New York and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Englund is a co-founder of Disclaimer Gallery, New York and CURA. Recent group exhibitions include Games of Ceres, King’s Leap, NY, Something’s come between us, Songs for Presidents, NY. Recent solo shows include A Suspended State In Last, Guest Spot at the Reinstitute Gallery, Baltimore and Sympathy for Trolls, East of Elsewhere Gallery, Berlin. Englund lives and works between New York, and Sweden. sessa.website

Doireann Ni Ghrioghair is a graduate of Chelsea College of Art. Recent group exhibitions include We Only Want The Earth! curated by Jim Ricks, Adobe Backroom Gallery, San Francisco, and I Am A Beautiful Monster, Arthouse1, London. Recent solo shows include Deflated Capital II, MART Gallery, Dublin and Deflated Capital, Platform Arts, Belfast. Ni Ghrioghair lives and works in Dublin. cargocollective.com/doireann

Milly Peck is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, and the Ruskin School of Art. Recent group exhibitions include Like No Other, Annarumma Gallery, Naples, Hot Milk, Post Institute, London, Launch Pad: Th-th-th-that’s all folks!, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester. Recent solo shows include The Slip, Tintype Gallery, London; Pressure Head, Assembly Point, London and LOUD KNOCK, Matt's Gallery, London. Peck was the recipient of the David Troostwyk Studio Award 2016 and is a current recipient of a Jerwood Visual Arts Bursary. Peck lives and works in London. www.millypeck.com

Michael Pybus is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and Goldsmiths. Pybus was the director of WELCOME SCREEN, 2013-15. Recent solo shows include I'm Sure They Have Very Different Painting On Their Own Walls, Jelato Love, Palma, Mallorca, Anything Can Happen In Life, Especially Nothing..., Tatjana Pieters, Ghent, Belgium, HOLLOW, Thierry Goldberg, New York, USA, Pretend The World Is Funny And Forever, Amor, Mexico City. Pybus lives and works in London. www.michaelpybus.com

Chris Thompson is a graduate of Camberwell College of Arts and SUNY Purchase, NY (Exchange). In addition to Fatal Attraction, curatorial projects include Changelings, The Flying Dutchman and Show Home, Safehouse, London. Recent group exhibitions include Drawing Show, 41/42, London curated by Christopher P. Green, and the Barbican Arts Trust Annual Open, 2017. In 2017 Thompson was a recipient of an Eaton Fund Grant. Thompson lives and works in London. www.christhompson.eu

Felix Treadwell is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and Camberwell College of Arts. Recent group shows include Hand Luggage, Pierre Pourmet, Bordeaux, France, Floored, Camberwell Space, London. Treadwell was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, touring to Block 336, London. Recent solo shows include Dark Age, L21 Gallery, Mallorca, Spain and Rupert and Friends, Union Gallery, London. Treadwell lives and works in London. www.felixtreadwell.net

With support from Eaton Fund, Flints and Thames-Side Print Studio. Graphic Design by Studio Novel @newstrangeunusual

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