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News Release - Issued by Kunsthuis

"The Broken Toys Reassembled"

Huddersfield Artist Dex Hannon, also known as China9, Evil Jesus and Dexuality Valentino exhibit work which explore Digital vs Painting, Past vs Future.

Kunsthuis presents work by The Broken Toy Company. 4 artists with 1 mind, a collective with a twist, alongside acclaimed sculptor Richard Mackness. Kate Kenney will also showcase oil paintings in our art cafe.

Open View Meet the artists on Saturday 17th October 2015, 1pm – 4pm with a live Poetry, Art and Music Performance at 3pm.

Dex Hannon, ¼ of the Broken Toy Company will be performing Colours Sound Synaesthesia Font Project. This is an experimental work that attempts to bring together three creative art forms: poetry, art and music live at 3pm. Sculptor Richard Mackness and painter Kate Kenney will be present in the gallery to meet and discuss their creative practice. Visitors are also welcome to explore the ecological gardens which feed an abundance of inspiration to our artists. No invitation necessary – all welcome.

The exhibition runs from Friday 16th October – 15th November 2015

Kunsthuis is open Wednesday - Sunday, 10am – 5pm.
Exhibition location: Kunsthuis Contemporary Art Gallery at Dutch house, Mill Green Farm, Crayke, York, North Yorkshire, YO61 4TT.

Huddersfield’s Dex Hannon, also known as China9, Evil Jesus and Dexuality Valentino is greatly interested in the literary concept of heteronyms, referring to one or more imaginary characters, a term invented by Portuguese writer and poet Fernando Pessoa. Dex has adopted this concept in order to create as four artists and personalities. Each creator who is a part of the Broken Toy Company has his own voice, his own identity, his own way of working only they share the same vessel.

“I have allowed certain parts of what makes the whole, be that emotional, behavioural or intellectual to have a heightened life of their own. To be real. For example, Evil Jesus is something very dark that is in me, Dex Hannon is very much the intellectual part of me, Dexuality Valentino is my joy, unalloyed fun and China9 is the expressive uncontrolled part. You could say that all of us become different people dependant on our environment.”

The four artists have only ever exhibited together on one occasion before but Kunsthuis believes it is now time to reassemble this collective with a twist. The Broken Toys features geometric, digitally-enhanced paintings and macro photography by Dex Hannon; China9’s bold, colourful abstracts; experimental paintings created by Evil Jesus, many of which have been created after a five-day period without sleep or sustenance; and surreal, tiny canvases by Dexuality Valentino.

Dex Hannon's The Chaos-Agriculture series is an examination of humanity's attempt to move forward whilst holding onto the past. Using radical geometry and abstracted form to create that tension between past and future - the known (shape) and the unknown (abstract). Once the artist has created the painting, he then completely reconstructs it digitally, taking apart the original painting, working from photographs and with digital software, reconstructing the work to enhance the concept, or give the work new meaning.

Dex began his artistic career at Manchester Metropolitan University with a degree in design and art direction and had planned a career in graphic design. But his thoughts began to turn to fine art after working in graphic design for some time and made the decision to pursue art and writing. He paints in acrylics and oils as well as using Molotow markers, digital techniques and photography, and writes poetry and short stories.

“Being a Mancunian now living in Yorkshire I feel quite spoilt. Yorkshire is beautiful it has opened my eyes up to nature. I have obsessed over the life-cycles of dandelions and have taken 1000 of photographs of them. I have enjoyed capturing the beauty and tragedy within the seasons. Yorkshire has made a photographer of me.”

Another newcomer to the gallery is acclaimed sculptor Richard Mackness. Now based in York after having lived in New York and London for some time, Richard's creative practice includes commercial projects and design from his sculpture studio at his company Urbis Design. He has shown his sculptures extensively around the UK, in Europe and the U.S.A., including at the Whitechapel Gallery London, Aldeburgh Festival, Ikon Gallery Birmingham, Lehmbruck museum Duisburg and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Richard will show sculptures that reflect upon human physicality and which elucidate his twin interests in natural forms and manmade objects.

“I have spent my life making things. As a child, river clay from the banks of the Ouse at my home near York allowed the roman soldiers, animals and monsters of my imaginings to find form. Inspiration abounds in York, an ancient city with a large population of statues, figures and grotesques to fascinate and delight.”
Kate Kenney's oil paintings will also feature in our art cafe. Kate is influenced by the inherent beauty of her surroundings, the soft pastel shades of the coast; vibrant Autumn leaves against a sombre bark and bright blue sky; the curve and line of the field. In 2014 Kate lived in North America for seven months and the paintings in this exhibition are from her explorations there: the Shenandoah Mountains; Coastal Maryland and Lake Westlemkoon, Ontario Canada.

This is a fantastic opportunity to explore Crayke’s stunning scenery in autumn time along with our latest exhibition. For those who love walking there is a circular pathway that runs through the Dutch House and into the fields and woodland areas, along with lengthier walks in close proximity to the site. You can then return to relax in our cosy art cafe. The perfect destination for the whole family this Autumn.

For further information about the Open View and exhibition please contact:

Kunsthuis Gallery
T: 07495270007

PR contact:
For images, interviews with the artists/gallery owners and further information please contact
Clare Nattress:

Notes for editors:
The Broken Toy Company Background
There was a chap called Derek. Nobody wants to be a Derek, even Derek's don't. Neither did Derek's friends, so they called him Dex. So he became Dex. He felt more comfortable being Dex. It flowed better and didn't make him sound like he was 54 and living in Basingstoke.

Dex Hannon was an artist living and working in Manchester. All was hunky dory after graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University and he settled into a normal suburban artist lifestyle, he had an agent Comme Ca and all was going well. He took a position as art teacher in a secondary school in Wythenshawe even though he did everything possible to fail the interview. (true story) Due to his long hair, 'shouty' style and pointy beard the kids nick-named him Evil Jesus. He only discovered his nickname after an incident at lunch time. All the kids where queueing to ingest some none chicken, chicken mcnugget type, none food. They were bowing down and prostrating themselves in front of him. Which led immediately to being called into the Headmistress's office and accused of starting a cult in her school. Which was not true. He just shouted a lot and had long hair and a beard. Everything else is circumstantial.

After leaving the school his then partner suffered a terrible psychotic episode two years of hospital and medication and not entirely great times led to him moving out and abandoning art almost completely for 5 years. Only returning when he was trying to come to terms with what had happened. He tried to replicate what had happened to her by locking himself in a room with no food, water, sleep for 5 days to create work that took him to the brutal edge of his psyche. The work became the work of Evil Jesus. He took the name given to him by the students to reflect the horror of that time. 5 days of pouring out your darkest thoughts and feelings does take its toll. He awoke in hospital suffering from exhaustion. Evil Jesus very rarely works due to the damage it can cause to the vessel. Which all the other artists need.

When living in Chorlton his then housemate, an Indian DJ called DJ Wondergupta decided from that day forth he would be known as Dexuality Valentino. The Valentino part? He was 2 hours from Valentines Day having been born at 2am on February 15th. The name suited the psychedelic, twisted world he was creating. The work began from taking a doodle for a strange walk across post it notes in various administration roles, whilst on the phone he would doodle strange creatures that would then all become one larger piece. He then started working on much smaller pieces that featured these tiny doodles alone. He wanted to make a doodle feel special. The name stuck fast. He began writing poetry and also ran a music night for 7 years.

During this time he was haunted by a recurring dream where the characters from Dexuality's paintings would cut themselves out of the paintings with power tools and try to get back into his head. He decided there was only one option. He began working on a new body of work. This work had the bold colours of Dexuality's work but the lines were loose. So the creatures didn't feel trapped in the painting and could come and go as they pleased. He decided to take on the name he had given himself when he worked as a graffiti artist. China9. This is the only name he ever gave himself. The rest where given to him.
The trick worked. The nightmares ended.
Dex Hannon had now moved to Yorkshire he took the rest of the Broken Toys with him. It seemed the right thing to do. He started working on a new body of work this began as studies of farm field patterns which then began to morph into impossible building structures. All these he concluded was due to reading Sociologist, Alvin Toffler's book, Future Shock. The work became the Chaos Agri-Culture work. As he was finishing the works they never felt like an ending. He felt they demanded something else. He began 'digitally remixing' the work. He took the original painting and title and took it in one of three ways. Either enhancing the original concept, or turn the concept on its head. Or completely re-imaging the work and only using the bones of the original painting. This work became Retro-Futurism. A battle. Painting vs Digital. The original vs the remix.

Calling this style of working 'digitally remixing' does hint at his repressed desire to be a musician. This is also obvious in his work Colours Sound Font Project or Synaesthesia Font Project. Begun in 2000 but due to the limitations of technology he had to shelve it for 12 years. He has now teamed up with two MA Students at Huddersfield University to make this project work. The concept was to create a language of colours and sounds. So that the poet, Dexuality Valentino would be able to make music and art whilst he performed his poetry. Alex Baker created the sound engine and Reuben Thomas the Animation engine. As Dexuality performs the poem, the poem is typed into the program and it creates a sonic and visual response.

Richard Mackness
'The hand is integral to the different manifestations of human intelligence.'
The Thinking Hand, Juhani Pallasmaa, 2009.

I have spent my life making things. As a child, river clay from the banks of the Ouse at my home near York allowed the roman soldiers, animals and monsters of my imaginings to find form. Inspiration abounds in York, an ancient city with a large population of statues, figures and grotesques to fascinate and delight.
So, it was a natural decision for me at 16 to head to the city's Art School; there I learned that creativity comes in many forms, and that one should remain true to one's instincts.

I have since pursued my own work, helped others with theirs (as a sculpture tutor and as a commercial sculptor working for more established artists) and worked with museums, companies and corporations as a maker and in design. So have I informed and funded my art practice.

I believe the imprint of touch and the human actions recorded in an object are important. Objects we encounter in the world are experienced through our physical being - we estimate, measure and reveal the world to ourself as a reflection of the body we possess.

And for me, sculpture is a particular discipline; it is a story told in form, mass and surface. It exists in space, sharing the world with every other thing, like a human being.

Kate Kenney
Kate is a plein air landscape painter whose preferred medium is oil.
Kate likes to paint beautiful things: the soft pastel shades of the coast; vibrant Autumn leaves against a sombre bark and bright blue sky; the curve and line of the field. She also loves to travel. In 2014 Kate lived in North America for seven months and the paintings in this exhibition are from her explorations there: the Shenandoah Mountains; Coastal Maryland and Lake Westlemkoon, Ontario Canada. “ I enjoyed the discipline of scouting a view and then painting; of packing the car with everything that I would need for a trip; of the complete focus on painting with no distractions”.

Kate paints in the Yorkshire landscape to strengthen her deep connection with it and that was also true of her time in North America: “Some of my closest friends live in North America but this was the first time that I have painted there and I absolutely loved it. There is a very strong tradition of plein air painting in North America and I met with great kindness and support from the people whose land I worked on”.

Kunsthuis opened in May 2014. It is a brand new vibrant space to encounter both contemporary Dutch and British art. The gallery sells paintings, ceramics, bronze sculpture, jewellery and more. It is a bright and quiet space away from the hustle and bustle, perfect for relaxing and enjoying art.

Kunsthuis sits within Dutch house, Crayke. Owners Cecile Creemers and Sjaak Kastelijn moved to Yorkshire over six years ago and began running their Dutch café amidst a wildlife garden in 2010. Sjaak worked as Head Gardener for York Museums Trust when the couple first arrived in Yorkshire – he now focuses on the business full-time. Drawing inspiration from its wild surroundings, Kunsthuis offers something new to Yorkshire, presenting Dutch contemporary pieces alongside works by respected British artists.