UNDER SCRUTINY - PRIVATE VIEW - Chris Blunkell and Max Kimber
Time & Location
About The Event
California is a paradox – simultaneously familiar and exotic, both for those who know it well and those who have never been there. A lower middle class boy from east Kent, I didn’t leave British shores until I was 16. Nonetheless, TV and films brought Los Angeles into my life on a daily basis without my ever having to seek it out or pay particular attention – Columbo, The Monkees, The Rockford Files.
I first visited California in the late 1980s, not long after my sister Jane had relocated to Laurel Canyon. Then, as now, I found LA to be contradictory and fascinating – fast, vulgar, bewildering and beautiful. For a painter, the interaction of the natural and built environments, and the pin-sharp light that falls upon it, is a gift. Houses in these places can seem like miracles of both engineering and imagination – built elegantly in ways that accentuate rather than offend nature. You can get drunk on just design in California, and I do – regularly.
One weekend quite recently, a group of us rented a house in Palm Springs. Naturally, it had a pool, which came into its own when the sun dropped behind the mountains, the furnace-like heat abated, and the underwater lighting produced dramatic effects. On our last night the women of our party performed an inpromptu and beautiful slow motion water ballet. Despite having ruined myself with tequila, I was sufficiently alert to grab my camera. The results were blurred and streaky, but good enough, later, to form the basis of paintings.
Sat by that pool and watching the swimmers, one of our party – David, an ex-pat Brit who does stunt driving in movies, observed that everything built in California is very consciously designed to be a stage for some kind of human performance. I think he is right. Motels, for example, are the setting for trysts, overdoses and murders, and even the humblest building seems to carry with it the potential for hosting some outrageous transgression or personal transformation. With a brush in my hand, I try to capture some of this potentiality – so exotic, yet so familiar.
Max can usually be found under a mountain of paper cuttings in her studio in Fordwich, Canterbury as she tries to piece together vintage images and words. She sees collage as an “exciting treasure hunt” because she never knows what she's going to make until she finds the pieces that fit together somehow!
Max graduated with a first class BA Hons in fine art from the University of the Creative Arts, Canterbury in 2012 and is currently languishing in Intermission from an MA in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent. Her film Cusp won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Experimental Film at Exposures film festival 2010 and Best Original Film at the National Student Film Festival 2011. Her work has been shown in the Royal Academy Summer Show and in museums in Berlin and London.