Robert James Anderson is a painter and performer based in Europe. William Howell-Jackson designs garments and has a background in performance; he currently lives in London. The pair have been close creative allies for many years.
ArtHouse Jersey provided the two artists with physical space, funds, and focused time to continue discussions and material investigations into the potential intersections of their respective crafts. A shared training in the performing arts enabled them to translate this discourse into a live performance at Chateau Vermont, Jersey, in September of 2016, the culmination of two weeks in residence.
This work of ephemera featured examples of paintings-cum-garments, live "dressing", and a spatially transformative fabric-based installation that came to life during the event as the performers -- the artists themselves and special guest poet Juliette Hart -- interacted with it. An invited audience were served refreshments throughout and given their own agency in deciding where to go, what to touch, and how long to remain. In this way the work flirted with the lines between theatrical presentation, art gallery opening, and fashion runway show, which are traditionally governed by very different audience conventions.
'The work was well attended and received, with the majority of audience members remaining for its whole two-hour duration. It served as a still uncommon example of interdisciplinary and process-made-public performance art and led to great conversations among its viewers and its creators both in its immediate aftermath and in subsequent days. It prompted different ways of thinking about how we get dressed, what is considered viable as a garment, the symbiotic relationship between fine art and fashion, gender in clothing and private/public rituals of dressing and art making. In such a way it embodied the spirit of openness, inquiry and fluidity that epitomises this age of humanity.' - Robert James Anderson.