James Capper

Rotary Paintings & Hydra Painter

The ROTARY PAINTINGS embrace the industrial colours commonly used in my sculptures, fusing and blurring the lines of block colour. With the radio announcements playing in the background in my studio, the UK daily government briefings soon became the inspiration for their titles, recording this blur in history of the monotony of days spent in lockdown! The works have a timelessness that echoes the history of modern art, bearing similarities to the painting Target (1961) by Jasper Johns and the bold colours of the hand-painted steel sculpture of David Smith. - James Capper

Albion Barn is pleased to present an exhibition of recent works by James Capper. 

The ROTARY PAINTINGS form a significant body of work which Capper has been developing since working in isolation in his studio during the first national lockdown. Engaging with the artist’s experiments in mark-making and hydraulic sculpture, the ROTARY PAINTINGS are created using the HYDRA PAINTER - a hydraulic painting machine. The first iteration of HYDRA PAINTER, built in 2015, is a basic machine consisting of a small square table with a hole in the middle to allow the spindle of a hydraulic motor through it, attached to which is a beam with paint rollers affixed to it. Despite initial successful tests, HYDRA PAINTER was packed away and sat in storage until Capper rediscovered the machine in March 2020, when the idea to make the ROTARY PAINTINGS was born from the repetitiveness of daily routine and the blurring of indefinite days under lockdown.

Capper’s new HYDRA PAINTER (2021) is a bigger machine. It handles more paint and advances the ROTARY PAINTINGS through scale, allowing for greater experimentation using a more expansive spectrum of colours. The paintings are created using the same colours of industrial paint that Capper uses to powder coat his sculptures, directly linking the ROTARY PAINTINGS to his wider practice. With the HYDRA PAINTER performing the manual movement of the artist’s hands, the mind is free to fixate on the fusing and blurring of colours, giving time to the artist to decide which paint to reach for next.

Each painting stands as a record of the day on which it was made. The dissonance between the perfectly circular and formal format and the paintings' titles, drawn from media headlines and government briefings, seems absurd and humorous. VACCINE PASSPORT, 2021 and IT'S PRETTY OBVIOUS YOU KNOW, THE CROCUS OF HOPE IS POKING THROUGH THE FROST AND SPRING IS ON IT'S WAY, 2021 encapsulate this.

Accompanying the exhibition of James's latest ROTARY PAINTINGS, Albion Barn is excited to announce the publication James Capper PATHWAYS IN MOBILE SCULPTURE, published by Albion Publishing with texts by Richard Cork, James Capper, Edward Campbell, Alexa Jeanne Kusber, and Guy Robertson. The book will be available for orders from June.