19th November- 11th December 2022, Oceans Apart Gallery, Salford.
Windowpane was an exhibition of two bodies of work under one title. Both a solo exhibition by Alex Crocker and a group show of Manchester based painters, curated by Alex, Windowpane brought together paintings by Alex Crocker, Jenny Eden, Linda Hemmersbach, Gregory Howard, Matilda Wainwright and Rachel Wharton.
The exhibition marked the culmination of Alex’s Freelands Painting Fellowship, an opportunity which enabled Alex to paint and work with students and staff at Manchester School of Art over the last ten months. The title ‘Windowpane’ can be seen as a metaphor for the wider Fellowship, which created a collegiate atmosphere where conversations and dialogues across studios and between people are embodied in the paintings each artist has made. A Risograph booklet accompanied the exhibition containing an ‘in conversation’ between Alex Crocker and Jenny Eden held in Alex’s studio. The following is an excerpt from this conversation:
AC: The way you walk through the gallery means you enter the upper space first and then you go into the lower space. That transition helped me clarify who I wanted in the upper space because in some ways these paintings are like propositions, offering up questions about what painting can be. If you think about Greg’s paintings, they're often ‘becoming something’. I want there to be different sensibilities in a way. Propositions for different spaces within painting, like an index. But I don't know how much that will crystallise, or maybe I don't want it to. Maybe it's more of a mood or something. And then the whole show has only one title, so it feels like a kind of…
JE: …collective. It’s a bit, dare I say it, revolutionary to have a show of two parts like this. One part is a solo, one is a group, and yet it's all under the same title. Within two distinct spaces. I like that. I mean, I haven’t seen many shows like this in recent times. It feels exciting. As we move through the show, along and into your space, it’s like we navigate a collection of people's work that you’ve been around, or within, discussing all year. We're entering some kind of space of your experience, I think. Before entering your direct experience.
AC: They’re ingredients in a funny way.
JE: Ingredients rather than index.
AC: The conversations with you all and with your work have helped me think about my own work. I’ve been exposed to many different ways of thinking. For example, after speaking to you about your work, it made me think about the idea of psychological spaces and a painting having its own ‘psychology’. This isn't something I'm necessarily directly dealing with myself, but it's enriched the way I think about painting. And then with Rachel's painting I was really interested in the way she uses different painterly spaces.
JE: Interlocking or overlapping.
AC: Indeed. And looking at all this work and my conversations again, and this is not necessarily a direct point, but it's all these…yes, maybe ingredients is a better way of looking at it. Ways of adding to what I’m already doing.