Aspex is proud to present Double Dutch, the recent work of the artist Ben Cove. It is with a mixture of sadness and celebration that we honour the promised exhibition that was programmed before Ben’s unexpected and untimely death from a short illness.
Working with Ben’s sister, Melanie, we are excited to present a new installation that Ben had planned with his usual meticulous attention to detail. We feel happy to have been able to realise his intentions.
Cove’s work explores the nature of painting and the object by installing paintings within large found images and sculptures. These investigate ideas of the constructed world, with reference to a broad range of influences, including 20th century modern architecture, art, design, museology and furniture, which Cove referred to looking at “out of the corner of my eye”.
The resulting works bring an innovative interpretation as Cove kept his influences at bay and challenged himself to work more and more intuitively. Cove’s choice of colour is celebratory and appealing and yet within this palette neon colours jar to invigorate the work. Structural shapes define areas, extended with wooden oak sculptures and reliefs that encourage the viewer to explore the work from all angles.
Melanie Cove said of her brother’s work: “Ben was an experimental artist who explored video, installation, sculpture and drawing but could not resist returning again and again to paint. His inquisitive nature pushed him to re-approach painting at different points in his career bringing an exciting freshness to his practice. His recent works, shown here, sing with a joy of colour and form whilst playing with depth and surface. The elegance of the final paintings, however, conceals radical reworking which took confidence, which Ben revealed in the time-lapse films he made of the paintings’ evolution. This, for me sums up my brother, as well as his work; calm and composed on the surface but continually striving to be remade better.”
Dissenter (Ben Cove 2015, image courtesy of the artist’s estate)
“I wouldn’t say that I’m a painter, I don’t describe myself as a painter specifically, I’d say that I was an artist who happens to use quite a lot of paint.” – Ben Cove interviewed by Morgan Quaintance for Resonance FM, Studio Visit, 10 January 2016.
Ben Cove studied architecture at the University of Nottingham prior to completing a further BA in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University. In 2008 he was also awarded an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Recent solo projects have included Modern Language, Peter von Kant Gallery, London; Ben Cove, Three Works Project Space, Dorset; and Vernacular Hangover, Acme Project Space, London. He has been included in many recent group shows in the UK, Japan, Germany and Canada including: The London Open, Whitechapel Gallery, 2015; Indefinable Cities, Airspace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent and Art Takahashi, Hikone, Japan, 2015 and has been selected for the John Moores Painting Prize 2016 on display at the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool 9 July – 27 November 2016.
Director of Aspex, Joanne Bushnell said: “We are both proud and sad to be presenting Double-Dutch a fantastic collection of Ben’s work. We hope the exhibition will be a wonderful celebration of his artistic practice, which I have followed attentively over many years. I have valued the opportunity of working closely with Ben’s sister Melanie Cove to bring his work to our audience, and thank the Cove family for their support and trust.”
The exhibition will be open to the public from 2 July 2016, with a preview on Friday 1 July, 6 – 8pm.