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Jim Rattenbury

Jim Rattenbury studied fine art in Cheltenham and London, where he specialized in sculpture. A private scholarship brought him to the Spanish coast, near Estepona in 1968 and resulted an exhibition ‘Coming Together’ in 1969 in Bahia Dorada.

He moved to Spain in 1971, where he worked with architects on sculptural installations and made jewelry and sculpture using silver, gold, wood, and stone. After moving to Zürich in 1978 he began exhibiting and held the first of many one-man shows in 1982.

Although Jim uses a wide variety of mediums and materials, most of his works are wall-based, two- and three-dimensional pieces. He also makes free-standing sculptures, including commissions; several of these are on public display including commissioned sculptures for Nestles in Germany and the UK, the Bank of New York, the Royal Mint in London,  Priors Court School colection in Newbury, and the Henley-on-Thames Arts Festival.

Interview with the artist:

As an artist you use different mediums and techniques. How do you balance the tension between sculpting, painting and printing?

You could say when painting, the artist is making a window into another world and, at the same time, an object which is a part of this world. I tend to use the physicality of the painting as an object as the basis for my work.

I do in a sense make “windows” into other spaces but as someone who also makes sculpture, the physicality of the object and its place in the environment are important issues for me. The degree to which these two criteria are resolved determines to some extent how successfully the piece turns out.

A great deal of my three-dimensional work over the years has been wall-based sculpture but just now the emphasis is on the painted or marked surface.

One attraction this type of work holds for me is freedom from the physical restraints of structure. Nothing has to physically hold together – apart from staying on the surface of the paper or canvas or panel used as a support. The images and the paint can come together or go their separate ways. Illusionary or real, forms can rise above or sink into the surface, impasto paint and applied objects can add a physical presence, marks can be buried to re-emerge later. Time, history and change in this way become elements of the work and evidence is revealed when layers are cut into or rubbed through, revealing what lies underneath. Currently I often use paint, print and sculpture all in the same pieces.

Are you experimenting with any new ideas or techniques?

At present I find photographic images interesting starting points for works and by submerging the surface in wax, or applying random gestural marks over the surface, for example, I can subvert the photographic image to varying degrees and bring it into the body of my work as a whole.

I’m also interested in the chance results from chemically controlled reactions as in my use of patinations on copper, for example, where I used chemicals and heat, as well as the use of various chemicals on iron-laden paint to produce rust on the paper. This involves making an image, usually on paper, then applying the chemical wash, which transforms the image dramatically – and, to some extent, uncontrollably! This is exciting when natural processes take over the creative process and it can lead you in unexpected directions.

Working in these ways over the years I’ve built up a vocabulary of forms, marks, and devices, which interest me in that they have a resonance, or a presence beyond their often-simple appearance.

To what extent has the climate and light in Spain influenced your work, particularly your sculptures?

I think it’s influenced all my work and not just the sculpture – although you have to remember that Southern Spain has been a part of my working life now for many years, even when I lived in the north. Of course, the use of shadow, and of colour – sometimes intense, but often bleached and weathered by the extremes of climate – are important elements in my work. A lot of the materials I use connect me to the landscape and the earth – rust, lime, copper, wax, iron and clay, for example. My studio is in the countryside on a hilly, rocky landscape of almond, olive and carob trees. In the summer, it is bone dry and the air shimmers with heat. In the winter it’s lush and fecund, waiting for any opportunity to burst into life again when the sun hits the saturated ground.

This is certainly a dynamic place to live and I do find it feeds the creative process.

Education:

1969-1970 Private Sculpture scholarship in Southern Spain
1965-1969 Gloucestershire College of Art, Cheltenham
Ravensbourne College of Art and Design

One Man Shows:

2010 Galerie Bollag, Zürich, Switzerland
2007 Centro cultural “El Convento”, Gaucin, Spain
2004 Broomhill Gallery, Devon
2003 Galerie Bollag, Zürich, Switzerland
1999 McHardy Sculpture Company, London
1998 Galerie Evelyn Bergner, Wiesbaden, Germany
Galerie Armand Gaasch, Dudelange, Luxembourg
1996 Galerie Ursula Rövekamp, Zürich, Switzerland
1995 Green Park Gallery, Bath, Avon
Galerie Immanenz, Frankfurt, Germany
Galerie Ursula Rövekamp, Zürich, Switzerland
1993 Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff
Galerie Zuta, Wiesbaden, Germany
Galerie Ursula Rövekamp, Zürich, Switzerland
1990 Galerie Ursula Rövekamp, Zürich, Switzerland
1988 Galerie Erno Merisce, Bern, Switzerland
1987 Galerie Ursula Rövekamp, Zürich, Switzerland
1985 Galerie Ursula Rövekamp, Zürich, Switzerland
Galerie Loeb Bern, Switzerland
1984 Galerie Esther Hufschmid, Zürich, Switzerland
1982 Galerie Marlyse Jossevel, Zürich, Switzerland

Selected Group Shows:

2011 Gallerie Ormelett, “Sommerutstilling 2011” Tjøme, Norway
“Kunst Zürich” with Galerie Wild, Switzerland
2009 Bollag Gallerie, Zürich
“Kunst Zürich” with Bollag Gallerie, Switzerland
Otras Visiones, Estudio Charo Escobar, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
2008 Bollag Gallerie, Zürich
“Kunst Zürich” with Bollag Gallerie, Switzerland
2007 Limberhurst Arts Center, Cambridge
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Genalgaucil, Spain
Bohun Gallery, Henley on Thames
“Kunst Zürich” with Bollag Gallerie, Switzerland
2005 Accrochage, Bollag Gallerie, Zürich, Switzerland
2004 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Bohun Gallery, Henley on Thames
Marimonte, Gallerie Bollag, Zürich, Switzerland
2003 Seeking the Light, Printspace Gallery, London
2002 Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden. Art Gaucin, Spain
The McHardy Sculpture Company, London
2001 Gallerie Wild, Frankfurt, Germany
Artists Of Fame And Promise, Bohun Gallery, Henley
Royal West of England Acadamy, Bristol
The McHardy Sculpture Company, London
2000 Royal West of England Acadamy, Bristol
The McHardy Sculpture Company, London
1999-2000 Surface and Form, Workplace Gallery, London
Artists Of Fame And Promise, Bohun Gallery, Henley
The McHardy Sculpture Company, London
1998 Artists Of Fame And Promise, Bohun Gallery, Henley
Royal West of England Acadamy, Bristol
1997 Artists Of Fame And Promise, Bohun Gallery, Henley on Thames
Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, Surrey
Royal West of England Acadamy, Bristol
The McHardy Sculpture Company, London
1996 “44th. Sausalito Art Festival,” Calif., U.S.A.
Millfield open
1995 “43rd. Sausalito Art Festival”, Calif., U.S.A., 1st. prize
London Art Fair with Martin Tinney Gallery
Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, Surrey
1994 Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, Surrey
London Art Fair with Martin Tinney Gallery
1993 Art For Sale, organised by the Guardian, London
1992 Art For Sale, organised by the Guardian, London
Edinburgh Art Fair with Martin Tinney Gallery
Galerie Conrad, Basel, Switzerland
1991 London Art Fair with Martin Tinney Gallery
1989 “Millfield Open”, Millfield
Bath Art Fair with Pratt Contempory Art
1988 Bath Art Fair with Pratt Contempory Art
1986 Bath Art Fair with Pratt Contempory Art
1982 ART 13 and ART 14 Basel, Switzerland
1981 ART 13 and ART 14 Basel, Switzerland
“Blick von Aussen” Zürich, Switzerland

Studio visits welcome by appointment

Address: Finca Alborán Studio
Camino de Gibraltar S/N
29480 Gaucín (Málaga)
Spain

The track to the studio is 1.2 Km from the village and is well maintained for driving.
It’s also a beautiful walk with the offer of refreshments and a return ride.

Tel: +34 675 070 036 (Mobile)
E-mail: mail@jimrattenbury.com
Web: www.jimrattenbury.com