David Cheeseman – Once ever After: Thrice Removed
15.11.19 – 14.12.19
(image: David Cheeseman 'Once ever After: Twice Removed' 383×290×81(h)cm, 2014, glass, tape, carpet and furniture (7,752 glass boxes, each 58mm cubed) installed at Birmingham City University, Margaret Street in 2014)
Domo Baal is proud to present a solo exhibition of work by David Cheeseman. The exhibition runs concurrently with 'The Twin: Coventry Biennial' where his sculptural installation 'Matters Not' (bronze, acrylic, stainless steel, neodymium magnets, film reel tin, Persian carpet, synthesised diamond, 2018/19) is the central piece at The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, and 'Drawn Breath' a solo exhibition of Cheeseman's recent work at Tintype Gallery in London.
The exhibition here focuses on a single large–scale extraordinary sculptural installation: 'Once ever After: Thrice Removed'. It has been sub–titled 'Thrice Removed' to reflect the three different spaces and occasions where it has been installed. It was first exhibited in 'Solid State: Reflections on the real' curated by Jane Dixon at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge in 2001. This solo exhibition is organised together with Mhairi Vari, David Cheeseman's partner and long–term collaborator whose practice is represented by domobaal, and Tintype who represent David Cheeseman's practice. David died of cancer one year ago, and it is was his expressed wish that this work could be exhibited in this particular space. We are all delighted to have the opportunity to honour this wish and David Cheeseman's work.
"In David Cheeseman's large–scale work 'Once Ever After' we are led to question visually what is happening. Apparently solid objects, a table, a chess–board, chairs and a carpet, are deconstructed, encased in small glass cubes and reconstructed into a fragmented vision of its former self. Each glass box, some of which stand empty as a platform to support and isolate the elements from their surroundings and the floor, suggests a unit of measurement, an individual component from which an entire molecular structure of solid matter will be formed, but it is also this reductive process which has caused the fracture. The minimalist grid contrasts with decoration of the mock Victorian carpet and repro furniture to form a kind of history painting, a memorial to a moment in time."(1)
The use of translucent and light–reflecting materials were instrumental throughout David Cheeseman's practice. John Wigley, Associate Professor at Birmingham School of Art, writes about David's MA degree show at the Royal College of Art, London in 1988: "As I remember it, for his graduation show, he covered the floor in one of the showing rooms wall–to–wall with thousands of glass medical slides. It was semi–dark and one could not enter, but with a strange light emanating from the floor surface. The vocabulary of his work was present even then: interests in light, illusion, alchemy, fragility, fragments make a whole, etc. It was the same space in which Gavin Turk failed his MA graduation two years later, another ambitious piece about absence and presence. His career was made."
David Cheeseman first exhibited at domobaal in 'Magic within Reason' in 2004, a group exhibition curated by Annie Cattrell, when he showed a bejewelled levitating object. From the text for that exhibition: "He is interested in the 'theatre of illusion' believing that the 'aura' surrounding the magician lies somewhere between that of the priest and the scientist: It requires a level of discipline, precision and understanding of scientific principles alongside an intuitive grasp of psychology that encourages us, the audience, to talk 'about the beyond'" (2). This remains ever pertinent to 'Once ever After: Thrice Removed'. In 2008 Mhairi Vari and David Cheeseman presented their joint solo exhibition 'Analogue' at domobaal.
In 2016 when David held his solo show 'Slime Mould Logic' at Tintype, he and Maud Cotter, whose solo exhibition 'Matter of Fact' was drawing to a close at domobaal, held two in–depth conversations, one in each artist's exhibition on the same day. The talks were part of the 'two talks and a walk' event in which International Lawns (a design agency fronted by Andrew Curtis & Niall Monro) generously provided all attendees with a bespoke annotated map offering up a selection of research reflecting on the quality, quantity and placing of Lawns – in this case – between the two participating galleries. Recordings of both talks can be accessed using the links at the end of this text.
During his career David Cheeseman completed public commissions and was the artist in residence at Gloucester Cathedral. In 1991 he was awarded the Oppenheim–John Downes Memorial Award and in 2001 he participated in the touring exhibition 'Multiplication' organised by the British Council.
Other notable exhibitions and awards include 'Dumfounded' at Battersea Arts Centre (1999), 'ArtFutures' at the Royal Festival Hall (2000) and 'On the Other Hand' at Gloucester Cathedral (2006). David Cheeseman was awarded the Rijksakademie Fellowship in Amsterdam (1987/8), The Gulbenkian Rome Scholarship in Sculpture (1988/9), and The Henry Moore Fellowship in Sculpture at Coventry University (1995/6). In 2015 he completed a residency at Lydney Park Estate in association with Matt's Gallery London and also presented a Fig.2 at the ICA in collaboration with Ole Hagen and astrophysicist Roberto Trotta. In 2016 he held a solo show 'Slime Mould Logic' at Tintype.
David Cheeseman taught extensively in the UK and was Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Birmingham City University.
(1) Jane Dixon writing in the catalogue published for 'Solid State, Reflections on the real' at Kettle's Yard about the first version of 'Once Ever After' exhibited in Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, September to November 2001.
(2) From the press release for the exhibition 'Magic within Reason' at domobaal in 2004.
> Twice Upon A Time: Magic, Alchemy and the Transubstantiation of the Senses, Conference held at the Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR), keynote address by Grace Williams & David Cheeseman: Vanishing in Plain Sight on 26/27 June 2014 (49:30 min)