Works * CV
Jamie Shovlin is interested in the tension between truth and fiction, reality and invention, history and memory. His work combines extraordinary facility as a draughtsman, printmaker, painter and writer with conceptual complexity and playfulness. His painstakingly researched and executed works merge inherently flawed systems, pseudo-scientific exactitude and doubtful philosophical propositions with the seemingly objective experience of the archive. Through his projects Shovlin questions how information becomes authoritative and explores the way that we map and classify the world in order to understand it.
Shovlin is perhaps best known for a series of ambitious projects, including Naomi V. Jelish (2001-2004) and Lustfaust: A Folk Anthology 1976-81 (2003-6), in which the artist constructed extensive and seemingly real archives, which were then revealed to be elaborate fictions. The Jelish archive consists of drawings, newspaper cuttings and other ephemera relating to a 13-year old prodigy who had disappeared with her family in mysterious circumstances, along with notes and inventories made by John Ivesmail, a ‘retired science teacher at Naomi's school [who had] unearthed a collection of the teenager's remarkable drawings’.
In The Evening Redness in the West, a wide variety of interrelated materials form a cohesive body of work woven around the disparity between reality and idealism whilst exploring the narratives and fictions that a nation projects into the world. In this three-part project, Shovlin posits a historical overview of the United States of America by filtering it through a variety of domestic and political media sources including his personal art historical canon and his parents' record collection, which consists of predominantly American music from the 1960s and '70s. Taking as its starting point a number of carefully chosen events from recent American history, the work is a subjective exploration of American history, politics and culture and charts an era of dramatic change in both American and global politics, spanning from the depression of the 1930s to the present day.Jamie Shovlin studied at the Royal College of Art and lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Tate Britain, London (2006), City Gallery, Leicester; Artsway; Talbot Rice Art Gallery, Edinburgh and Hatton Gallery, Newcastle (2006/07); the Contemporary Art Museum in Rome, Grand Union, Birmingham (2010), and Ibid Projects, London (2011).