The Arts Council Collection have announced 60 works by 21 artists acquired in 2020-21, including pieces by Oliver Beer and Rachel Jones.
The Arts Council Collection is the most widely circulated national loan collection of modern and contemporary British art. Founded in 1946, the Collection reaches the broadest possible audience through long loans to public institutions, exhibition loans, touring exhibitions, as well as digital and print publications.
The Collection supports artists in the UK through the purchase and display of their work, and safeguards it for future generations, using the highest possible standards of collection care.
Recommendations to purchase innovative works of art that reflect artistic practice in Britain today are made by a changing group of external advisors to the Arts Council Collection Acquisitions Committee. For 2020-21 they were: Martha Barratt, writer, editor and curator; Ryan Gander, artist; James Green, Director, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange and Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery.
The Chair of the Acquisitions Committee for 2020- 21 was Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England. The three permanent members of the Acquisitions Committee are: Deborah Smith, Director, Arts Council Collection; Peter Heslip, Director, Visual Arts, Arts Council England and Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery, London.
Oliver Beer's musical background is a central influence on his film, installation, sculpture and performance. Working with found objects and sounds, as well as with his own compositions, the artist explores how the world exists across senses and forms. He is interested in the hidden acoustic properties of bodies and architectural environments as well as the sounds and memories contained within personal possessions. In his series Resonance Vessels, the artist suspends hollow objects from the ceiling that emit a sound when activated by the viewer, detected by motion sensors. Each vessel is fitted with microphones and speakers to amplify the pitch that naturally emanates from within. The notes we hear are determined by the object’s specific volume and geometry: they hum and sing as a wine glass may when a finger traces its rim. The group of vessels acquired are objects that were once owned by the artist and his family. Together they form a group portrait of the family, as well as of the changing material culture of Britain.
Rachel Jones's approach to abstraction is centred around an exploration of her own identity in relation to the depiction of Black figures in art from the eighteenth century to the present. She considers how they are understood and culturally reproduced and the potential role of these representations in dismantling power structures. Rather than repeating figurative models from history, she experiments with motifs and colour as a way to communicate ideas about the interiority of Black bodies and their lived experience. In her vibrant paintings, Jones grapples with the challenges of finding visual means to convey existential concepts. Repeating motifs and symbols create associative, even familial, relationships, underscoring their kinship as part of her ongoing investigation of identity. Abstracted forms of mouths and teeth, apparent in her work lick your teeth, they so clutch, 2021, indicate a symbolic and literal entry point to the interior and the self. These oral forms emerge and recede from view, suggesting a vivid inner landscape.
About the artworks:
Resonance Vessels (British Quartet), 2021
Vessels, microphones, speakers
© Oliver Beer
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lick your teeth, so they clutch, 2021
159.5 x 199 cm
Oil pastel, oil stick on canvas
© Rachel Jones
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