LUDIC: Aly Helyer, Iain Nicholls & Joel Tomlin 

+ VEIL: Iain Nicholls & Tom Szirtes 

8 October - 21 November 2015 

Aly Helyer interrogates representations of the self. Her paintings excavate the performance of character, the ruptures, tension and violence at stake in our image and the apparent conflict of our desire for a singular depiction of identity. Duality, and the impossibility of a unified self is at stake in the paintings, as her portraits push at the edges of the frame and dissolve into surfaces. The slippage between subject, background and foreground creates a dark and absurd tension that simultaneously seduces and repels. Helyer lives and works in London and has an MA in Painting from Chelsea School of Art.   

Iain Nicholls was born, lives and works in Darfield near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. Nicholls’ paintings are inspired by landscapes, cycle routes and journeys near his home. He works from photographs taken on these journeys, which purposefully contain sparse information, allowing more space for the imagination once back in the studio, where memory and familiarity also come into play. The painting itself, like an abstract painting, is of equal import as the subject. Nicholls studied painting at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art.   

Joel Tomlin was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and worked as a blacksmith before moving to London to study painting at Chelsea School of Art. He works sculpturally chiefly with wood and bronze, often with painted or patinated surfaces, influenced by ArtePovera and Informel. Attracted to a sense of nature, the edges of 'civilisation': the edges of towns, abandoned meadows and ragged fields that appear in the writings of Virgil. Tomlin finds the presence of a simple fig can be the connective tissue between ourselves, Greek Drama, the Shepherds of Arcadia and the familiarity of the green grocers display.   

VEIL is an innovative art installation that uses virtual reality (VR) technologies to transport visitors into an alternate reality where they can experience art in new and extraordinary ways, and in the process subvert the gallery experience. VEIL is a site-specific piece that explores the concepts of recursion, alternate realities and space referencing the works of Diego Velazquez, Casper David Friedrich, Hans Holbein and early pioneers of film and is a collaboration between the artist Iain Nicholls and creative technologist Tom Szirtes. Prior to becoming a professional artist Nicholls spent ten years designing computer games and creating graphics for games companies in England and California. Tom Szirtes is the founder of Mbryonic a creative technology start-up that specialises in the use of interactive digital media.