How’s this for a collaboration? Artist Quentin Jones, who counts photography, animation, painting and filmmaking among the tools of her trade, has teamed up with spatial designer Robert Storey to create the setting for her new exhibition in the The Vinyl Factory Space on London’s Brewer Street, with Robert creating a set for each of Quentin’s works.
It’s an ambitious project, but the collaboration has proven an incredibly innovative way to bring Quentin’s two-dimensional and screen-based works to life in a large and open space. Intrigued by how their partnership on the show worked and eager to find more about her influences, we had a chat with Quentin Jones the day after the show opened…
What made you decide to work with Robert Storey on this exhibition? How did you first come across each other’s work?
The space for the exhibition is huge – so much bigger than anyone imagines. Most people have been bowled over by the scale of the set up before anything else. My work is often on small scraps of paper, video screens, and generally not in formats that could stand up by themselves in this epic long room. So I knew I needed someone to translate the room into a structure that my work could live in or on.
Robert and I have been working together since both of our careers began, he was the natural choice. He has a strong sense of the viewer’s experience, and builds with an architect’s eye – rather than just thinking about ‘“set" as something decorative. It must be something spatially sensitive for Robert. I knew he would be perfect for this project.
What was Robert like to collaborate with? Do your ideas fit together very naturally?
I think it was quite easy for both of us in that we have a quiet and solo “design” stage where we do our own thing, sketch and bring together thoughts, and then we truly collaborate as the walls go up, I paint on some of them, and we generally critique each other. I think both of us have quite flexible approaches to our work. We are perfectionists, but don’t think that perfection is achieved by sticking to a pre-formulated plan. We are fluid and spontaneous and because of this projects can surprise us in their results.
What are your key influences when you’re making your work?
For the new paintings for this exhibition I was inspired by painters’ work I saw in LA in September. I was shooting a TV commercial there and had tonnes of time off between meetings so spent an afternoon at LACMA, and then another at the MOCA downtown. Particularly I spent time thinking about Motherwell’s mark making and how I could see certain unintentional forms on his canvases. I was keen to play with layers of accidental and intentional paint and collage.
Looking at the exhibition now, what are you most proud of?
I think that I set myself a challenge and rose to it without knowing how it would be received or really what the final products would be. But in terms of the work, I am really pleased with how the new largest scale of work came out – a simple idea to make tiny collages as sketches, then blow them up and see how scale effects how I wanted to paint on them and how the images changed as they grew. They are quite physical things with such depth. When you go behind them and see the light shining through, you will kind of get what I mean.
Quentin Jones with Robert Storey: The Fractured and the Feline will run until 13 December at The Vinyl FactorySpace in The Brewer Street Car Park. For more information go to our London exhibition listings site, This at There.