13 June - 5 July 2014
Jim Hollingworth’s alter ego Jimp wanders onto the set of a B-movie horror flick only to have an accidental assignation with George Orwell chatting Beuys-style to a coyote with the ears of a hare. His Pinocchio nose and donkey tail grows as the anthropomorphic principle shifts into reverse gear. Played out in the dystopian social order of Jimp’s ribald imagination is the existential angst of the common people, living lives they don’t understand. The thin veneer of civilisation covering the troglodyte rawness of our baser selves is stripped away by his understated drawings, the cave of the gallery daubed with paper graffiti like the crude confident drawings of the ancients.
Jimp’s images reveal some of the oxymorons in the life of an average contemporary traveller, freeing the hunter-gatherer Hyde from Jekyll’s repressive propriety. The surreal moments in these humble scribings depict some of the true harshness, brutality, sometimes beauty and inexorable randomness of existence; the quiet comedy in the lo-fi production taps directly into our juvenile selves, exposing us to the emotions and curiosity of our adolescence. Jokes are multilayered and droll, as the banker and the vicar revealed in their gauche awkwardness stumble in emotional confusion, threatened by their imaginary ancestors, humiliated by their descendants. The artist shines a spotlight into the anonymous seething masses: each individual struggling with his own self-consciousness – a kind of exorcism, open, spontaneous, bloody and raw.
Steeped in Outsider art, sci-fi book covers, record sleeves strewn around the disenfranchised adolescent bedroom, floating in on the artworld like a breeze from an open window, Jimp is free to question our belief in fate, religion, taste and manners. Liberating the viewer to remember the imagination, fears and horrors of adolescence, purging our psyche of suppressed and denied feelings, whilst delivering an unwitting smile. Pleading, engaging characters trapped in their cartoon cells gaze out at the audience, soliciting empathy. We are all there captured in his world view, the wise and the frail, the social bully and the outcast, caught with our pants down in front of the crowd.
For Passengers, Jimp deploys his images en masse, colonising the available space and grouping individual drawings and paintings, varying in scale and density, as if they are words, forming phrases, sentences, rhymes — a storyboard branching and spreading in multiple directions through which the viewer navigates his own paths. The palette is constrained and the images — uncharacteristically — largely free of text, but together they form a complex web of narrative that feeds straight into the eye and brain.
Jim Hollingworth was born in Cornwall in 1979. Since studying an MA in Authorial Illustration at Falmouth University College he is based in both London and Cornwall working as an artist and illustrator. Heavily influenced by skateboard art, poster art and comics, his work spans themes of the sublime to the absurd and approaches drawing in a journalistic manner. His imagination runs free with a youthful enthusiasm, producing a prolific and varied body of work including live performance, murals and record sleeves. His work has been shown internationally including at The Saatchi Gallery, New Art Gallery Walsall and The Barbican Centre and is included in various international collections.