David Ward Slow Time

Slow Time presents a selection of over 100 works by British artist David Ward (b. 1951), made over the last forty years. Ward is most widely known for his photographic and light works of the 1980s, performances later in that decade and architecturally-related works using light, glass and sound from the 1990s to the present.

This extensive exhibition includes drawings, photography, collage, painted reliefs and film. Shown together for the first time, they reveal lines of continuity that have persisted over four decades, representing Ward’s study of the world – that is, of light, the body, the activity of line and the sensitive nature of surfaces.

Early collaged photograms combine ordered, repetitive motifs with delicate, unpredictable lines of exposed light. An hypnotic film projection of an Amazonian river surface transcends its subject matter to become abstract, almost immaterial. Multiple line drawings convey the stasis and motion of figures in a live performance. Elsewhere, a series of photographic works depict Rodin’s The Age of Bronze, revealing the cast’s tarnished surfaces, yet almost ethereal and otherworldly presence. And a series of recent pastel ‘colour fields’, each comprising two paper sheets, densely filled with pure pigment, are harmonious and alluringly tactile, yet blank and inscrutable.

Slow Time also features a new film, The Analysis of Beauty, filmed in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. Comprising two sequences of footage projected one above the other, the work examines – literally – the two aspects of the beautiful fanvaulted ceiling: above and below. The work is rich in juxtapositions: light and dark; the divine and earthly; craft and utility; grandiosity and the prosaic.

A fully illustrated publication accompanying the exhibition will be available from the Gallery Shop, featuring a specially commissioned essay by Suzanne Cotter, Senior Curator and Deputy Director, Modern Art Oxford.

David Ward: Slow Time is a John Hansard Gallery exhibition organised in collaboration with Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, where it will be exhibited from 21 March to 10 May 2009. Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation.

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