Views / Backstage Pass London

New generation of local artists hold group show at Museum London

Collaboration and spontaneity is the name of the game for this gang of London artists.

Marc Bell, James Kirkpatrick, Amy Lockhart, Jason McLean, Jamie Q, Peter Thompson and Billy Bert Young are featured in an exhibition opening Friday at Museum London called L.O. Today, a name taken from one of their zines.

Several members of the group are also painting a mural in the museum’s lobby.

“The mural is a large collaborative piece we are making up on the spot. We have no preconceived notions. We’ve picked out a few colours and brushes and that’s it,” says James Kirkpatrick.

The experimental go-with-the-flow approach to working is something the artists have in common when creating their individual pieces as well.

“I didn’t know what the final result was going to be. I would sit down, start making something, and it would be a surprise in the end,” says Jamie Q about one of her fabric pattern pieces on display, which also appears in her book, The Possibilities are Endless.

“I’m interested in what happens when you’re in the process of making something,” she said. “It’s a place of making intuitive decisions about what you should do next — a colour, a shape or a material — it’s sort of playful.”

Although the individual works of the artists are identifiably different, their allusions to the Forest City tie them together.

“A lot of our work is inspired by London or fuelled from the energy of the city, and the history of noise and experimental music here,” says Kirkpatrick, one of five artists in the show who attended H.B. Beal Secondary School.

Kirkpatrick’s sound sculptures, paintings and zines reference the work of a generation of avant-garde experimental London artists that came before him: The regionalists — including Greg Curnoe, Ron Moppett, Murray Favro and other members of the Nihilist Spasm Band.

“Some of the most experimental work in Canada is coming from London,” says Kirkpatrick. “A lot of artists here are one step ahead, but haven’t always been supported by the environment.”

His self-proclaimed “craziest piece yet” — an interactive video and sound sculpture called A Gold Coin for Each One of Them — will be on display at the show.

“It’s an audio-video synthesizer I reprogrammed, and put my own digital paintings into,” Kirkpatrick says. “You can play different beats on it, which affect the images and change them to make them work like a kaleidoscope and do other weird things.”

The opening reception for L.O. Today is 8 p.m. Friday at the museum. The exhibition runs until Dec. 15.

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