Jo Dennis

Town Hall Disco

The oscillation between control and its absence lingers with us from the moment we grasp the structures that govern our lives. In Town Hall Disco, artist Jo Dennis uses abstraction to skilfully engage in this interplay of control, crafting works that brim with excitement and angst. The title, derived from one of Dennis' paintings, catapults us back to the initial social interactions of young adulthood—a time defined by teenage fervour and the desire to regulate the entropic nature of existence. Comprising works straddling the realms of painting and sculpture, these pieces feature surfaces that encapsulate history, embodying a visual language rich with the emotional weight of memories and a profound sense of place, whether real or imagined.

Jo Dennis, raised in a military environment with her father serving in the British Armed Forces, employs materials infused with both personal and political symbolism. Throughout the exhibition, many of her works are constructed using surplus military tent fabric as well as repurposed wood and metal. These materials, bearing marks of their prior use, carry a history that invites imaginative speculation. The military tent fabric is characterized by utility-type fastenings and sewn elements that influence the composition and painting technique. Leveraging the inherently three-dimensional nature of assemblage, Dennis builds upon the discourse of this movement pioneered by artists like Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg. She explores "the way 'overlooked stuff' could be collected together to be reimagined into something abstract and narrative in the same moment" and delves into how meaning is infused into the ready-made. Dennis finds it intriguing "how we create a sense of belonging or connection to places of ruination and dereliction." In this aesthetic exploration, Dennis' work intertwines with the emotional resonance found materials carry, both personally and politically.

Artists: Jo Dennis

Also happening at Town Hall Disco