Billy Fraser & Mitch Vowles
Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix 26th August - 23rd September 2021
The ‘Wishbone’ analogy is a quintessentially British concept, the folkloric finale to a traditional Sunday chicken dinner. A performative event that requires two people, the accepted narrative being that the puller who receives the larger part after the break makes a wish. A completely collaborative event, however one resulting in a victor and a loser. On one hand, it can provide momentary loss and disappointment, however, this is outweighed by the hope, luck and optimism garnered by the winner. Superstition of this nature seeks a positive outcome, as the momentary, nonsensical, chance act is overlooked in favour of the far greater ambition and aspiration. Unbroken, therefore, the wishbone becomes the muse that embodies hope, potential, optimism, symmetry & togetherness.
Billy Fraser’s artistic timeline is one of fact and fiction, contradiction and clarity. The artist’s practice combines material innovation and experimentation with a deep-rooted fascination for expanded linear narratives. Existing within both a historical timeline and that of subjective experience, Fraser’s artworks seek to speculate on, and investigate, the majestic epoch-making events of the natural, industrial, technological and nuclear eras. Past, present and future. Solemnity and absurdity collide in works that mine both the pop-cultural and socio-historical context of human achievements, as well as Fraser’s own memories of wonder and awe. Primed fireworks, prize goldfish and space exploration are at once celebrated, subverted and undermined, culminating in artworks that both tantalise the viewer visually and rewards them upon further contemplation.
Mitch Vowles’ practice utilises repurposed and recontextualised found objects, presented in such a way as to question their cultural significance. Through investigating the presupposed status and inherent associations of objects such as snooker tables or Levi jeans, Vowles elevates these previously mundane or overlooked objects by imbuing them with a fresh dialogue that reflects his own personal memories, working-class upbring and social standing. Additionally, the artworks address wider cultural concerns surrounding British identity, subculture and the class system, challenging conventional artistic forms and preconceived societal notions of ‘art’ or ‘the artist’ by drawing attention to colloquial spaces and symbols of the working-class and demonstrating art’s accessibility and potential for social mobility.