James Capper’s collection of drawings at Modern Art Oxford are perfect for the busy but intrepid art lover. Site specific work can move mountains and indeed James Capper has designed Ripper Teeth from workshop and concept Drawings, as shown on the walls, to tear open the earth around Rose Hill.
A loose real life Ripper Tooth is stationed in the gallery shop and the thick metal of it contrasts with the thin paper it begins its development on. Capper’s work grows in conjunction with a planned redevelopment of the Rose Hill area and photographs of the arm-like machine he has designed angled into the grassy turf are thrilling. I have not yet trekked out to the Rose Hill site yet but the paper drawings behind the design process flesh out the drama of the event. I feel connected by the drawings to the Rose Hill space that the digger is demolishing or picking at. I am there in spirit for these technical sketches bridge the gap between two dimensional art and sculpture. I can see the three dimensions of Capper’s inventions in my mind.
One design is entitled, ‘MOUNTAINEER Front View’ and is dated 2009. This is a machine that comes at the viewer at such a forthright angle it is highly convincing. From the clever use of perspective it is a little disarming.
Primary colours are used sparingly but in a bold block style to make Capper’s construction designs come alive. This is achieved with great effect so the ‘Rollout Bridge’ design, lives up to its name. With a bit of imagination the layout of each drawing fleshes out a whole new world surrounding it. The simple sketches such as ‘TREAD TOE Telescopic Arm’ have elegance in the same way a lean machine finds a functional purpose. The power of pen and ink on paper here is impressive as it achieves the almighty push required to move solid earth. There is much power in the elbow of James Capper for the design of ‘Ripper Teeth in Action 1 & 2’ does just what it says in the title.
Lita Doolan (DI Reviewer), 02/09/11