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A reinterpretation of Hokusai and Dürer in new work based on Old Masters
The show of Ann-Marie James at Lyndsey Ingram this summer coincides with a series of shows dedicated to the artist in public museums throughout the UK this year.

LONDON.- Lyndsey Ingram present their first exhibition of the British artist Ann-Marie James (b. 1981) in collaboration with Karsten Schubert. In this show, as well as in a forthcoming project at Kettle’s Yard and several solo shows in museums across the UK, James reimagines and reinterprets historical images, creating vibrant and innovative work.

At Lyndsey Ingram, James will present new work referencing two master printmakers, Kanagawa Hokusai (1760 – 1849) and Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528). A series of nine vivid, abstract paintings on aluminium panel respond to Hokusai’s The Great Wave (c.1829). These will be shown alongside intricate, monochrome drawings inspired by Dürer’s clouds in Madonna with a Monkey (1498) and The Sea Monster (1498 – 1501). A fully-illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, with an original essay by art historian Dawn Adès.

James’s work will hang alongside original impressions of old master prints, including of Dürer’s The Sea Monster, which has been generously loaned by the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. The show is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with a scholarly essay by art historian Dawn Adès.

James combines traditional printmaking techniques with painting and drawing to create unique works with complex layers. She seeks to transform images and materials into something ‘rich and strange’ in the words from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. For James, metamorphosis – the notion of alchemy and transformation, taken from the writings of Ovid and Kafka - is at once a source of inspiration, an artistic technique, a metaphor for the creative process and for how we perceive the world around us:

‘I am interested in how we repeat images and ideas in one long cultural conversation – a narrative that stretches back to antiquity and myth. So I start with a recognizable image that I can transmute into something else. I quote the image as a found object in my work, using it almost as a brush mark. In the case of the Hokusai, I am quoting the whole work. With Durer, I am using details – quoting excerpts.’

In her ‘After Hokusai’ paintings, the artist layers screen-printed motifs of Hokusai’s iconic wave. Using silkscreen as a form of mark-making, she produces an elusive image whose viscous swathes of Prussian blue paint cause the surface to swim before our eyes.

‘I am drawn to the ubiquity of Hokusai’s wave,’ she says. ‘We see this image reproduced and resized everywhere - posters, postcards, even an emoji – yet it is always recognizable. I want to explore the idea of reconfiguring this iconic image, transforming it into something new. There is a constant act of visual excavation.’

The ‘After Dürer’ drawings reference Dürer’s clouds, which James isolates, extracts and makes rubber stamps from. These repeated shapes become the foundational building block for her drawings. The complex layers of drawing and print weave a dense web of delicate lines and tracery. Her work retains a memory of the source image while transforming it into an abstract composition with its own visual language.

Ann-Marie James (b. 1981) was born in Buckinghamshire, UK and currently lives and works in Suffolk. She graduated from Wimbledon College of Art in 2012 with an MA in Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art in 2010 with a Postgraduate Diploma, and Central Saint Martins in 2004 with a BA (Hons) Degree. James has exhibited in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Venezuela and the United States. Her work is in public collections including: the British Museum, London; The British School at Rome, Rome; Chelsea College of Art & Design Library, University of the Arts, London and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Awards include: the Artists International Development Fund travel award, Arts Council England (2016); The Derek Hill Foundation Scholarship at The British School at Rome (2013–2014); MFI Flat Time House Graduate Award, supported by the John Latham Foundation, London (2012); The Jealous Graduate Print Prize, London (2012) and The Queen's Award, Central Saint Martin’s Scholarship Awards (2003).

Residencies include: The British School at Rome, Rome, Italy (2013), Headspace (supported by the Daiwa Foundation), Nara, Japan (2011) and Lantana Projects, Memphis, Tennessee, USA (2006).

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