Artists Suky Best and Rory Hamilton have been collaborating on works exploring the cowboy myth, investigating themes of heroism and eternal narratives of the lone stranger coming to put things right before disappearing into the sunset. Through video and print this exhibition shows work with a strong aesthetic flavour; hand worked, yet graphically clean, using visual stereotypes while exposing their banality and frailty.
Suky Best and Rory Hamilton
Artists Suky Best and Rory Hamilton have been collaborating on works exploring the cowboy myth. They have been investigating themes of heroism and eternal narratives of the lone stranger coming to put things right before disappearing into the sunset. Through video and print this exhibition shows work with a strong aesthetic flavour; hand worked, yet graphically clean, using visual stereotypes while exposing their banality and frailty. Flat clear silhouettes replace the dusty blur of the Wild West.
In these works whether video or print only the hero or his companion (be they horse, tracker or love interest) are transcribed onto the finished image. All extraneous detail is removed. When a cowboy ties up a horse and walks into a building, the horse and rider are boldly drawn, the building only existing when the rider walks behind a column, the cowboy defining the world around him. The hand drawn nature of the video animations means the artist has decided in every frame how to interpret the cinematic image into a drawing. Often the invisible foreground objects are more resolved while the main character may shimmer and distort.
Some of the films represent a transcription of a classic scene while other show scenes from several cowboy movies. These collaged works depict instances of the archetypal kiss scene or the decisive gunshot: moments of clichÃ© and repetition within the genre. The films are a constructivist assemblage of scenes from cowboy films. The stereotype of lone hero appears as an amalgam of cowboy actors over the years. The swagger crosses generations and genres; the chase on horseback becomes continuous throughout the years of the popular western.
Suky Best is an artist working with print, animation and video. She has recently completed a Wellcome trust funded SCIART project making animations for hospital outpatient areas and will be making Extinct, an exhibition of animation and print, part of the Silicon Fen series commissioned by Norwich School of art and Design and Film and Video Umbrella.
In recent years she has had commissions from: English Heritage (as part of a YOTA/SWA/DA2 project) at Cleeve Abbey in Somerset. She made a 40 second film for travellers Tales an INIVA Commission, a series of video to print works as part of Dartmoor Insight for AHA/Da2 and was Fellow in Printmaking at the University of Wolverhampton (funded by the Henry Moore Foundation).
Rory Hamilton studied sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art and Multimedia at Central St Martins. He has worked on digital screen based and installation projects for over ten years. In 2002 he completed the work â€œGeneric Sci-Fi Quarryâ€ (with Jon Rogers) as part of the TV Swansong project. This was a large scale outdoor event using multiscreen projects and specially commissioned sound. He has been a tutor and researcher in Interaction Design at the Royal College of Art for seven years. His research there with Jon Rogers involves Art and Visual Perception and has recently received funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. He has been a keen fan of western movies for many years.
Private view: Friday 6 May 6 â€“ 9 pm
Image: Suky Best and Rory Hamilton, Wild West, 2005, video still
Danielle Arnaud contemporary art
123 Kennington Road
London SE11 6SK UK