Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art

Parasol unit (Exterior)
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Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is a not-for-profit art institution and registered educational charity that operates purely for public benefit. The core activity of Parasol unit is an outstanding exhibition programme which shows innovative and thought-provoking work by international contemporary artists and hosts a full programme of related educational events. The foundation mounts four exhibitions a year in a variety of media: sculpture, painting, installation, video and photography, including some specifically commissioned works. Most of the exhibitions are accompanied by a publication, an artist's monograph or catalogue, which is distributed worldwide.

Venue Type:

Gallery

Opening hours

Tues – Sat 10.00 – 18.00
Sunday 12.00 - 17.00

Admission charges

Free entry

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Martin Puryear, Big Phrygian

Martin Puryear

  • 19 September — 6 December 2017 *on now

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to announce a solo exhibition of works by the distinguished American artist Martin Puryear. Showing in London for the first time in a public institution, this exhibition spans almost 40 years of the artist’s career and presents over thirty works, including sculpture and works on paper.

I value the referential quality of art, the fact that a work can allude to things or states of being without in any way representing them. Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear’s abstract sculptures are extraordinary. His reductive forms have a unique aesthetic and are loaded with a poignant sense of cultural history. Puryear explores human identity and politics with such intriguing subtlety that viewers cannot help but be enthralled by them. Meticulously constructed from a diverse range of materials, usually wood, most of his sculptures are hand-made by the artist himself using traditional techniques. Puryear’s working methods are clear testimony to his deep respect for skilled craftsmanship and his intense appreciation of the natural materials he chooses to use. The artist’s approach to his materials, his ability to use them to define both interior and exterior spaces, along with his inherent sensibility, all combine to produce profoundly considered works, infused not only with poignancy, strength and fragility but also with subliminal readings of our collective history.

In the ground floor gallery are large-scale works, such as the Big Phrygian, 2010–2014. This five-foot tall cedar-wood sculpture, painted bright vermillion, resembles the distinctive conical shape of a Phrygian cap. People of ancient Eastern Europe and Anatolia wore such caps, which in the modern world have come to signify the pursuit of liberty. More surreal is The Load, 2012, a wooden cube-shaped structure mounted above an axle connecting two found wooden cartwheels. This mobile cage, or cart with a long pulling shaft, has inside it a single gigantic eyeball looking out to the rear. Any viewer looking in through the wooden grid at the eye’s dark glass pupil will find their own reflection captured within the cage.

In the first floor gallery, the elegant curvilinear lines of Puryear’s sculptures grace various wall pieces, and in particular Phrygian Spirit, 2012–2014. This mixed-media wall sculpture, made predominantly of Alaskan yellow cedar, simply defines the negative space of a Phrygian (liberty) cap. In contrast to the fragility of that piece is the sheer solidity of the iron sculpture Shackled, 2014, which recalls the shackles worn by slaves when they were taken to America – a clear commentary on social history. Some visitors may relate this work to Puryear’s colossal Big Bling, 2015, a forty-foot high, multi-tiered, public commission sculpture recently exhibited in New York’s Madison Square Garden.


Print-making, too, has always been part of Puryear’s practice and a selection of prints are presented in a separate gallery on the first floor of the foundation.

On the outdoor terrace of Parasol unit is the towering – almost eight feet tall – evocative bronze work Question, 2013–2014, which appears to rise up like a shiny, twisting liquorice lace and anchor itself to the ground in a bulbous gourd-shaped form.

Curated by Ziba Ardalan, the Martin Puryear exhibition is accompanied by a publication, a limited edition and a full programme of related educational events aimed at involving the public.

Parasol unit appreciates the generous support of the Henry Moore Foundation and Matthew Marks Gallery.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
The Spaces In-Between with artist educator Sarah Pimenta

Half-Term 2-Day Youth Project: The Spaces In-Between

  • 23 — 24 October 2017 10am-2pm *on now

Half-Term 2-Day Youth Project | The Spaces In-Between
With artist educator Sarah Pimenta
Monday 23 October & Tuesday 24 October, 10am - 2pm

£45 per participant (for both days) | Booking required | Suitable for ages 10-14 yrs

Are you a budding young artist eager to experiment with exciting materials? If so, come along to our 2-day workshop inspired by the works of American artist Martin Puryear. Learn how to work with print blocks and the special printmaking technique Chine-collé, as used by the artist himself. At the end, create an imaginative group sculpture using inventive household objects.

Social Fabric has experience leading innovative workshops, teaching, lecturing and creating stunning printed textiles in over two hundred educational establishments including schools, community venues and corporate settings.

Book Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/half-term-2-day-youth-project-the-spaces-in-between-tickets-37065668412

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 14-15

Admission

£45 per participant (for both days)

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/half-term-2-day-youth-project-the-spaces-in-between-tickets-37065668412

Martin Puryear, Question, 2013-14, Bronze, 222.2 x 272 x 87 cm.

Guided Tour: Martin Puryear Exhibition

  • 26 October 2017 7-8:30pm

In conjunction with Museums at Night October 2017, join us for a guided tour of the Martin Puryear exhibition led by artist Veronica Ryan who will speak about each of Puryear's extraordinary abstract sculptures and his works on paper. His approach to materials and inherent sensibility result in profoundly considered works which touch issues of identity and politics with intriguing subtlety.

Veronica Ryan is an artist who currently splits her time between New York and the UK. She completed a residency at Tate St Ives from 1998 to 2000, where she worked in the former studio of Barbara Hepworth.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • Any age

Admission

£8/6 (conc)

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/guided-tour-martin-puryear-exhibition-tickets-37041752880

Martin Puryear, Shackled, 2014. Iron, 70 x 78 x 21.3 cm.

Panel Discussion: The Work of Martin Puryear

  • 14 November 2017 7-8:30pm

Panel Discussion | The Work of Martin Puryear
With Richard Deacon, Dr. Jon Wood and Dr. Ziba Ardalan
Tuesday 14 November, 7pm

£8/6 (conc) | Booking required

The discussion will focus on Martin Puryear's unique practice and its impact on contemporary art. Artist Richard Deacon, Dr. Jon Wood, Research Curator at the Henry Moore Institute, and Dr. Ziba Ardalan, Founder/Director of Parasol unit, will share their perspectives on abstract sculpture today. Join us for this panel discussion as we find out more about this artist and his extraordinary works.

Book Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/panel-discussion-the-work-of-martin-puryear-tickets-37041018684

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • Any age

Admission

£8/6 (conc)

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/panel-discussion-the-work-of-martin-puryear-tickets-37041018684

A Poetry Evening with Robert Montgomery

Poetry Reading: A Poetry Evening with Robert Montgomery

  • 30 November 2017 7-10pm

Poetry Reading | A Poetry Evening with Robert Montgomery
Thursday 30 November, 7pm

£8/6 (conc) | Booking required

Join us for a night of poetry readings with artist Robert Montgomery and a selection of contemporary guest poets invited by the artist.

Book Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/poetry-reading-a-poetry-evening-with-robert-montgomery-tickets-37066710529

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • Any age

Admission

£8/6 (conc)

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/poetry-reading-a-poetry-evening-with-robert-montgomery-tickets-37066710529

Stick it with artist educator Alexandra Hughes

Sunday Family Workshop: Stick it

  • 3 December 2017 2-4pm

Sunday Family Workshop | Stick it
With artist educator Alexandra Hughes
Sunday 3 December, 2 - 4 pm

£2 per child, £3 per parent/carer | Booking required | Suitable for over 5s

Bend, curve, lattice, support, tie, twist - these are some of the verbs you will consider in this exciting workshop creating fantastical sculptures. Construct large and small-scale forms using wooden sticks, rods, wooden bamboo canes, pipe cleaners, straws and other interesting materials. Make your own unique sculptures and think about the space in which they stand in.

Alexandra Hughes is an artist and artist educator: helloartisteducator.tumblr.com

Book Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sunday-family-workshop-stick-it-tickets-37064866012

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 11-13
  • 7-10

Admission

£2 per child, £3 per parent/carer

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sunday-family-workshop-stick-it-tickets-37064866012

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
14 Wharf Road
London
Greater London
N1 7RW
England

Website

www.parasol-unit.org

E-mail

info@parasol-unit.org

Telephone

020 7490 7373

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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