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In ( Matters of the Soul)

11/11/2021 - 17/12/2021

In (Matters of the Soul)

Pv 11th of November 6-9pm

Exhibition run from 12th November until 18th Dec 2021

In (Matters of the Soul) is a group show of 7 contemporary  artists based in London at ASC Gallery. Stephen Nelson, Jane Millar, Olly Fathers, James Tailor, Stephen Palmer, John Bunker and Lex Shute.

21 grams was the disputed weight of a persons soul as measured in Duncan MacDougals 1901 experiments on people before and after death.

Does artwork have soul?

“In (Matters of the Soul”) is a celebration of material artwork, of artwork that has its own hybrid identity and that has its own soulful body.

Certain work defies classification, playing with its own materiality and the illusion of what its seems to be. Other work plays with the legacy of the previous life represented in its material and the soulful spirit that could lie within.

There is also something of an “incorporeal essence” that resides In (Matters of the Soul) put there by the artists hand.

With “Animism” you have a belief that objects, places and creatures have a spiritual essence which could also include aspects of human handi-work and art. Animism has been ascribed to certain indigenous peoples that often don’t have a corresponding word for animism. Infact animism is a “anthropological construct”. For certain native American Indians for example objects can be imbued with magical qualities that are delicately connected to the forces of nature and matter.

“Do you like good music, that sweet soul music “..Arthur Conley.


Stephen Palmer.

The starting point for Stephen Palmer’s recent paintings and drawings is a model made from a sheet of white or black A4 paper that has been defaced through a series of actions. The paper may be first scribbled on with blue or red biro, and sometimes more defined geometric shapes are added also in biro. It is then folded, screwed up, ripped and finally unfolded as if an attempt has been made to once again make the paper good. Many of these models get discarded before one of them seems right to be the subject of a painting or drawing, rendered in gouache or pencil on another sheet of A4. The resulting works reflect both an undoing of formal geometry, grid systems and mark making, and a celebration of negation as a positive, creative act.

Stephen Palmer lives and works in London. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Back Put Together it’ (two-person show with Roland Hicks), Vane, Newcastle upon Tyne (2019), ‘The Flesh of Thought’, Blyth Gallery, Imperial College, London (2019), ‘Creekside Open 2019’, APT Gallery, London (2019), and ’Humble As Hell’, The Kurt Schwitters Merzbarn, Elterwater, Ambleside (2017).


Stephen Nelson

Stephen Nelson creates three-dimensional anthropomorphic pieces through a skilful understanding of his use of materials, both found and created, whilst imbuing all with a potent sense of loss and mortality. They are an archive of observations, of experiences and gestural references, taken from things that physically exist in the world, and also those glimpsed through his own prism. They straddle a playful sense that the objects may transmute into further forms, whilst having clearly settled into a state of being – almost as if the inner life of inanimate objects might prescribe and reform themselves. Nelson’s current work focuses on a new series of three-dimensional realisations of a series of watercolours of skulls, created whilst living in Palermo.

Stephen Nelson was born in Liverpool.He has a masters in Fine Art from Birmingham Polytechnic (1985).He lives and works in London where he established his sculptural practice. In 1999 Stephen was appointed the Arts Council of England Helen Chadwick Fellow in Sculpture , during which time he developed a series of works about wolves that related to his time spent at the British School of Rome and as a research fellow at Oxford university. Since 2015 he has run a self- funded, not for profit gallery space called MACC is southern Italy.


John Bunker

John Bunker works with print media, defunct advertising remnants and other urban detritus gleaned from city streets. He combines these elements with more traditional mediums to produce visually exquisite yet sometimes disquieting wall based assemblages. They are built up of internal relations of incongruous shaped parts to create a new whole without use of a rectangular stretcher or traditional support or surface. Working with extreme changes in scale and materials, Bunker’s free reining abstractions channel both a brutal materiality and elegant formal relations creating illusive yet potent images.

John is a London based artist with a studio in ASCs bow  building…having curated and shown in its Unit 3 project Space..” Chysanthemum”  with new work from John opens from 13th November until 28th November 2021 at Unit 3 Projects,Bow. John is also a Turps mentor for their Turps Art School programme.


Jane Millar

Jane Millar makes wall-based ceramic sculpture, working within a new context of contemporary ceramics, and starts with the idea of energy within the unseen interior of a ceramic object, and its actions on a surface. The work explores a territory between ideas of what is natural and unnatural; between plant, material culture, body, and earth. For an upcoming residency at Hogchester Arts she is developing objects in scrap materials and clay to explore resemblances, repetitions, echoes and memory.  She lectures in Fine Art practice and occasionally curates projects as part of her creative practice, including the Curious Art trails at West Norwood Cemetery, 2012 & 2013. Her work was selected by Brian Griffiths for Creekside Open 2019, by Alison Wilding for the Creekside Open 2017. Previous projects include Votive, with the Clayworkers Union for the Thames Festival; Space Shift at APT Gallery, curated by Sarah Kogan;  Fuzzy Objects at San Mei Gallery, Brixton (collaborating with Nicky Hodge & Janet Currier), Pretty Ugly at Thameside Studios Gallery curated by Andrew Ekins and Sarah Staton’s Supastore: Sunshine and Slingbacks, South London Gallery, 2021. She developed an artists’ project of future imagining, New Doggerland, which launched at Lumen Crypt Gallery in May 2019, and continued in New Doggerland at Thameside Gallery, Woolwich, in February 2020. Jane is a member of the Associated Clayworkers Union.


James Tailor

My work is not circumbscribed to any particular medium, I take assemblage as a vehicle for exploring the mnemonic and affective qualities of found objects. Countering the dematerialising character of mainstream visuality, my practice goes back to an embodied materiality that links the personal and the social.

The melancholic severance inherent to the discarded objects I integrate into my assemblages is countered by the unifying quality of an obsessive reworking through acrylic paint. My obsessive application of acrylic paint showcases a desire to display an engagement in the kind of labour intensive work that, since conceptualism the artistic field has seemed to be less passionate about. My fastidious although sometimes fetishistic and even addictive process suffuse my work with human presence and a sense of artisanal fulfilment that transforms melancholy into mourning.

Through impasto, draping, sculpting, casting and pleating, I work against the materials so as to convey a sense of uncertainty that avoids cognitive decodification and looks for affective responses. There used to be a point where I anchored my work to painting and although there is an undeniable link to that medium, this is no longer a primary concern of mine. Allowing my works to exist, as they are, somewhere in between painting and sculpture, opens new possibilities. Turning melancholy into material form, I aim at creating indexical objects that point at the way human intuitions have been compromised by a dematerialised notion of a conceptual world.”

James Tailor is a london based artist that studied at Central Saint Martins MA  and has shown internationally…That includes the 2020 show “Capacity” at The Smallest gallery in Soho and in “ Bound” at Peer Gallery London in 2018.


Olly Fathers

I Like to use simple geometric shapes and forms to create visually stimulating works that intend to play with space and take the viewer on a visual journey. I use a variety of materials, assembling them in different ways to make works that reference a variety of inspirations from Architecture, design, culture including early computer technology and graphics.

The creation of these works is very much in the process of making. I sometimes see them almost like a puzzle that I’m figuring out until they feel complete.”

Olly Fathers is currently based in Brixton having studied at Wimbledon College of Art .His work has been collected worldwide and he is  regularly exhibiting in London and Europe .He has show at Saatchi gallery on multiple occasions.



Lex Shute is a London based sculptor working predominantly in glass, agates, lead, steel and concrete, and a painter in oils using techniques of automatism and free association. Addressing the relationship between spiritual discourse, feminism and ecology, her practice aims to form a speculative spiritual system. With a background in Anthropology she traverses different time periods and cultures to explore aspects of female power in reference to visionaries, witchcraft, mediumship, the occult, mythic archetypes and craft.  Shute’s work reflects on the primacy of the natural world in our spiritual development, from the chemical enlightenment of natural hallucinogens and their impact on the evolution of human consciousness, to the magical properties of crystals, semi-precious stone and the vision inducing material of glass. With an interest in fictional realities and sci-fi utopianism, and through a syncretism of different philosophical, religious and cultural practices she proposes a counter culture and alternate system of belief.

Lex Shute (b. 1972, London) read Sociology at the University of Greenwich before studying Fine Art for three years at the University of the West of England. She subsequently gained a Postgraduate Diploma from Chelsea College of Art and a Masters degree from the Royal College of Art. Solo exhibitions have been Future Proof, Opus Gallery, Newcastle (2011) and Of Truth of Clouds, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Berkshire (2013). She has been shortlisted for the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, the Rising Stars Prize, won third place in the Woolgather Art Prize and in 2019 was awarded a place on the Travers Smith CSR Programme. Her work is held in private collections in the UK, USA and Germany as well as the Cill Rialaig Arts Collection, Ireland. She published an artists’ book In Search of an Author (ArtCircus Books) in 2016.



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