The Effects – New exhibition by Turner’s House Artist-in-Residence
Turner’s House in Twickenham has been transformed by a multi-media collection of colourful artworks and audio throwing new light on Turner’s practice.
A series of sculptural works by Henry Coleman, their current artist in residence, has adopted and adapted the house’s histories to explore Turner’s investigations into the emotional scope and perceptual effects of coloured light.
The site-specific installations build on Turner’s friendship with the architect Sir John Soane, drawing a thread of coloured light between the work of the two artists and their mutual interests.
Turner’s House, formally known as Sandycombe Lodge, was conceived, adapted and created during a richly creative period for both men as they worked up landmark public lectures on perspective and architecture for the Royal Academy, a vanguard site of Enlightenment thought. It’s possible to see the house as a record of those debates, making it an ideal canvas for Henry’s play with colour, light and shadow. Working directly into the fabric and grounds of the house the sculptures and audio add new dimensions to the spaces of the house.
The title, The Effects, draws on a description of Turner’s early work as an architectural draughtsman and copyist where he was employed for his ability to produce luscious and broad-stroke watercolour ‘effects’ to bring to life other people’s prints and sketches. The ‘effects’ are the lightning touch, the colour and the sublime drama that give shape and life to an artwork.
Appearance, or, Occupation of Space is a building-wide installation that changes the viewers’ experience of the house by altering the nature of the light that we view it by. Vibrantly coloured lighting gels have been applied across all the window panes in the building, altering the light that enters and determines the spaces, and changing the tone and resonance of each room.
Syllabus, a spoken-word piece, rolls in the background of the rooms as a partial and fragmentary set of readings taken from Turner’s Royal Academy lecture series, voiced by AI.
In the gallery space, Polythemus and Solus, two linked drawing series, are portraits of the single window in Turner’s bedroom at Sandycombe Lodge framing the view Turner himself would have stared out of into the morning sun and across the evening light. Here, light and the view are constructed from layers of pure colour, suggestive of the changing lights of time and climate.
Installed in the garden, Union is a pair of arched glass screens through which to view the house and it’s gardens. This twinned and repeated arch is a recurrent motif in Soane’s architecture and this pair of coloured glass screens are imagined as a re-siting of a lost ‘viewing glass’ from Soane’s house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The title recalls the ‘The Union of Architecture, Sculpture and Painting’, the first published guide to the Soane’s house, evocative here as a description of Sandycombe Lodge itself and the creative union between Soane and Turner.
Appearance, or, Occupation of Space will be installed until April 16th ; the exhibition of paintings, Polythemus and Solus will remain in the small bedroom until early June and Union will remain in the garden for a year.
Turner’s House opens Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm; turnershouse.org; Turner’s House, Sandycombe Lodge, 40 Sandycoombe Road, St Margarets, Twickenham TW1 2LR.April 12, 2023