Nicola Green and Simon Roberts on Urbanautica
The exhibition precedes major solo exhibitions by both artists to be presented later this year. Viewers are encouraged to examine the role of the artist in recording political events and election campaigns through two different mediums and starkly contrasting visual languages.
Nicola Green's In Seven Days…, a series of seven silk screen prints, are the result of the artist's unique access and personal experiences within Barack Obama's first Presidential campaign. Between August 2008 and January 2009, Green was able to follow Obama and his team from his Democratic Convention speech in Denver to his inauguration in Washington D.C. Nicola went behind the scenes: collecting photographs, sketches and conversations with press, campaign staff and citizens as Obama made his journey from candidate to President. Using the wealth of source material she gathered, and inspired by what Obama's achievement would mean for her own mixed race children, Nicola produced seven silkscreen images, entitled In Seven Days…
These images are a distillation of her personal experiences on the campaign trail, which in turn express the broader narrative of this extraordinary journey.
Simon Roberts was the first photographer commissioned as the official British Election Artist, in which he created a historic record of the 2010 UK General election. The appointment was made by the UK Parliament Committee on Works of Art, and involved Simon traversing the length and breadth of the country during the official 24 days of the electioneering, aiming to capture as many political parties in as wide a variety of constituencies as possible.
Continuing in the spirit of We English, Simon photographed his Election Project from an almost 'birds eye view.' This allowed him a wide field of perspective, far removed from the up close and personal images that are familiar from news media. The final work comprises of twenty five photographs; one representing each day that he spent on the campaign trail, and a final photograph capturing an unexpected additional day: the coalition talks.
The combination of two such varying approaches to political art aims to raise questions about the role of the artist in a historical arena. The symbolic and almost reverent iconographic style of Green's silkscreen prints is placed in direct contrast with the anthropological in the images by Simon Roberts. Polarised in the results and vocabularies used, the two bodies of work reassess the role of political art and its historical legacy.