john ros & tash kahn
swiss cottage gallery, 2018
Photography (c) Charlie Cousins
The history of how a community treats citizen’s rights directly reflects our broader society, both now and in the past. A person’s ability and desire to protect basic human rights is a factor to how strong the fabric of community may be, allowing people to be free citizens capable of living life to their fullest. Looking back in time reveals our triumphs as well as our shortcomings as a society.
Tash Kahn is interested in the differences and character of each of the London Borough of Camden’s voting wards and how things have changed over the years: has history left its mark or have areas changed beyond recognition? How do the inhabitants ‘inhabit’ the new, constantly changing space? Using these questions as starting points she has travelled to each of the borough’s 18 wards, taking Polaroids, collecting ‘finds’ and recording local sounds.
Ros has looked back at voting districts throughout the borough, considering how they influence our identities as citizens. How does each new boundary shape identity? Ros has researched several spaces and times within the current boundaries of the borough, looking at voting trends since women have been given the right to vote. In doing so, he has marked out visual representations of the area questioning: What is boundary? What is citizenry? How does one affect the other?
The two artists bring these ideas together to collaborate in an exhibition that celebrates 100 years of the women’s right to vote, focuses on aesthetics and ethics, and why people do what they do.
About the artists
Tash Kahn studied Fine Art at the University of East London in 1995. She predominantly works site-specifically, using a location's immediate surrounding area and local history as starting points. She is interested in how people relate to art, the conversations it generates and how it makes them feel.
Kahn has exhibited both nationally and internationally, with a recent collaboration at Stand4 Gallery in New York with John Ros and Karl England. The site-specific exhibition took place in Brooklyn and London, and continues to be an ongoing virtual project. Group exhibitions include: The Mechanical Reproduction of Dust (2018) Stand4 Gallery, New York; Asymmetrical Intersections (2016) SHIM, New York; DOLPH: The Directors (2015), DOLPH, London; Bread and Jam III (2015) 54 Whitbread Road, London; Skim (2015) ASC Gallery, London; Circus TM, Belmacz, London.
In 2014, Kahn co-founded the visual-arts project DOLPH, and has helped facilitate 22 exhibitions, making partnerships with two Lambeth primary schools, UAL Wimbledon, The Royal College of Art, as well as numerous artists in the UK, New York and Berlin. DOLPH provides an alternative way for the community to engage with contemporary art, as well as being an invaluable learning and networking resource for artists. She is also a freelance editor for Penguin and Sluice Magazine.
John Ros is an artist, curator, professor, and activist. He currently lives and works in New York City and Harrisonburg, Virginia, US. He obtained an MFA from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, in 2013 and a BFA from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2000.
Ros is an Assistant Professor of Art at James Madison University’s School of Art, Design, and Art History, where he also serves as the Director and Chief Curator of the Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art. He has taught at the City Literary Institute (London, UK), Brooklyn College (New York, NY, US), SUNY Binghamton (Binghamton, NY, US) and the National Academy of Art (New York, NY, US), and has lectured as a visiting artist at NYU: Steinhardt, London Metropolitan University, George Mason University, North Florida Community College and Jefferson Technical and Community College among others. In 2015 Ros founded studioELL, an alternative, transient and hybrid space for higher education in the studio arts, where he is currently the Director and teaches a variety of courses.
During the past 20 years, Ros has worked on more than 65 exhibitions with over 200 artists. He founded two alternative gallery ventures, pocket, (2002-2005, Binghamton, NY, US) and galleryELL, a transient, hybrid gallery, (2008-2016, New York, NY, US), and has been involved in many artist and non-profit initiatives such as; Art Director of Perspectives International (2005-2008, New York, NY, US), Board Member of Spool MFG. (2004-2005, Johnson City, NY, US), and Museum Educator at the Hillwood Art Museum (2000, Brookville, NY, US).