A new contemporary art space in Cambridge City centre: open by appointment and during exhibitions and events.

Tamsin Morse & Jo Chate ‘Outliers’
15th June–4th July 2024

https://www.tamsinmorse.com/

https://www.jochate.com/

EVENTS

Fri 14th June: Private view 6–9pm. All welcome.
Fri 28th June: Artists interview with Jennifer Thatcher, 4:30pm RSVP Note: now at earlier time.

OPENING TIMES

Thurs–Sat 12–6pm, or by appointment with the artists

 

Outliers is a two-person show that presents recent paintings by Jo Chate and Tamsin Morse in Q & C (Quip and Curiosity) Gallery, Cambridge. Showing together for the first time as a complimentary pair, they describe themselves as ‘outliers’, standing at the gate of the contemporary art world but feeling detached from it. Whilst being mothers, they are still artists. And yet, it is precisely as women, that they have a deeper understanding of its prejudice against women artists. Like the characters from French Novelist Camus in The Outsider, they are watched with strange eyes in a noisy club and seen as reckless intruders who do not conform. Not only as women but also as humans who have lived multiple identities, Jo and Tamsin are questioning conformity as outsiders with their strengthened souls hardened by accumulated life experience.

 

“I was chasing / a lonely feeling / all these hurdles / fell in a puddle / Lost in mind / Lost in time / Don’t Press rewind / Don’t press rewind”- Rewind, Cleo Sol

 

Jo Chate paints as a dancer, with music imprinted in her brush strokes. Engaging in contemporary dance, she integrates movement and music as vital elements in her painting process. The titles of her works often come from lyrics she listens to, echoing the rhythm invisible in her painting. In her work, Jo frequently searches for places that seem to exist elsewhere, imagining real places as fictional, much like film settings. In Lost in Mind (2024) she uses the reflection of the external space to reset the model’s original scene, resulting in a bizarre dislocation. Through her lens, the lifeless mannequins become protagonists, each narrating its own story. Up close, she paints characters that are imperfect and fragile – they might lack limbs or look as if they might have a tendency to fall. From a distance, these fragmented figures float like ghosts, being absorbed into the background. 

 

Using homemade gesso (primer) that gives a chalky feel similar to frescoes, she creates paintings in faded colours with some collaged images collected from daily life and photographs, to create her utopia. In Metano (2023), the landscape is framed like a wide establishing shot in a film without human presence before moving in for the close-up. It prompts the question of what the next shot is, and this is where our own narrative begins. It might be the world she rebuilds for us – decayed but with a flame of hope, a momentary mirage that bites the last cry for love.

 

“Some good and some bad, but freedom of speech must not be forgotten. And sticking to your guns when something feels wrong must be permitted.” – from Tamsin Morse on Instagram

 

If Jo Chate is giving us space to imagine, then Tamsin Morse is a storyteller and a humorous judge questioning existing convictions – if those who stand on the moral high ground are the ones in authority, then she is the one tickling them, satirizing power, mocking seriousness, and making them absurdly live again on her canvas. 

 

Within this core conviction, Tamsin’s spicy colours serve as the venom of her satirical contemplation. Her palette is vibrant and aggressive yet thought-provoking, especially in The Garden of Eden (2023) where the intense colours balance between beauty and toxicity. She conjures up a contrasting world between perfect form in art and society and its true substance with sculptures of Adam and Eve standing still in front of collapsing houses. Her use of animal imagery mocks and dissolves human-cantered arrogance and absurdity. The lines of her drawings dance within the colour blocks, complementing each other, walking side by side. This is one of her core thoughts, unconsciously brought into her canvas. 

 

The fixed definitions of various figures blur under their brushes, but they are strangely amplified by this technique making the audience look and closely examine them. This gaze turns into a mirrored relationship, questioning us: in these worlds separated from the main body, where do you stand in all this?

 

It has been an intimate conversation between half a glass of wine, a blush, and three of us under clear weather after rain. Opening up in this cold world is rare, and sticking with your brush is hard. When outliers start telling their own stories, it reveals the most straightforward truth of another side of the human world, and this might be the real driving force of our ever-living society.

Written on a clear summer night in May 2024

–Emma Yifan Wang