Thames-Side Studios Gallery

Good and Bad Government
Frank Creber, Michael Johnson, Andrea McLean, Victoria Rance

Exhibition Dates: 7-22 April 2018
Preview: Friday 6 April 2018, 6-8.30pm

The title of the exhibition Good and Bad Government refers to the Ambrogio Lorenzetti mural from 1338-39. Lorenzetti's task was unprecedented, for the local council called upon him to paint allegorical depictions of good and bad government and to represent the effects such regimes would have in the town and the country. The result is the first panoramic city/countryscape since antiquity, and the first expansive portrait that we have of an actual city and landscape. Lorenzetti fused the topographical, the symbolic and transcendent in his vision.

These frescoes embrace the city and the wider country and the links between them, the vitality and humanity but also the huge social problems faced. The murals are a touchstone for this collaborative project which is co-curated by the artists who will visit Sienna to ignite opportunities for direct emotional engagement with the frescoes.

Artists Andrea McLean, Victoria Rance, Michael Johnson and Frank Creber have spent many happy hours working alongside their communities at the bottom of the telescope looking upwards at the machinery of government. Their diverse works tell a story about how the messy detail of a citizens lives are inextricably linked to the broader narrative of history, politics and belief systems. The show features images of the built environment and our complex engagement with nature. The artists, who will make new work for this exhibition, share an affinity with each other’s work and have a connection based on a deep commitment to observe and narrate personal chronicles about the social and physical landscape of their neighbourhoods.

A symposium on the exhibition and its subject matter Good and Bad Government will be held in mid-April.

About the artists

Frank Creber
"Good government syncs with communities, however communities sink with bad government." Frank Creber is based at Thames-Side Studios, and is Artist in Residence at the Bromley by Bow Centre. As one of the founding artists he has spent the last thirty years developing Community Arts programmes, and making paintings that focus on local community life. Solo shows at Art Space Gallery Islington (2004, 2006, 2008), Walking on Water, ExCel London (2014), Lloyds Register (2015), Canary Wharf Level39 (2016).

Michael Johnson
"I draw in order to connect with the world around me" Michael Johnson has exhibited widely in solo and group shows including the Threadneedle Prize, the Marmite prize, Lynn Painter Stainers, RA Summer Exhibition and was shortlisted for the Ruskin Prize. He has work in the Museum of London and in collections around the world.

Andrea McLean
"My Streets are my Ideas of Imagination...My Houses are Thoughts; My Inhabitants Affections, The children of my thoughts walking within my blood vessels..." William Blake. Andrea McLean lives and works in Ledbury, Herefordshire. After art college Andrea spent a year living in Italy with a British School at Rome Abbey Scholarship. She has a circular painting A Contemporary Mappa Mundi in the British Library collection where it is displayed near the entrance to The Map Room. She recently exhibited in Hereford Cathedral's Mapping Inspirations exhibition (2017) and The Royal Academy of Arts' exhibition At the Edge of Printing (2016).

Victoria Rance
"The Trickster has taken centre stage in contemporary politics, and we seem fascinated and transfixed, unable to restore sense and re-assert liberal values." Sculptor and film maker Victoria Rance has been based at APT Studios in Deptford since 1996. She was awarded The Mark Tanner Award for Sculpture in 2003 and a Deptford X Award for her film I Wish in 2014. She has shown widely nationally and internationally, particularly, over several years, in Istanbul.

Image: Ambrogio Lorenzetti, The Effects of Good Government (detail), part of a cycle of frescoes known as the The Allegory of Good and Bad Government, 1338-39.

Thames-Side Studios Gallery, Thames-Side Studios, Harrington Way, Warspite Road, Royal Borough of Greenwich, London SE18 5NR.

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