Tom Glover in conversation with Ken Banks
Everything is connected.
Something has as much value as anything else.
Everything happens through chance.
Kenneth Banks creates roads between the seemingly random and the obscure. Mapping out chance encounters, happenings, products and the people that constitute our world, and how we interact with it. His work in ‘Forward: New Art from Birmingham’ begins from newspaper stories, random number generators, and selections and spreads into myriad collections of beings, places and people. The lines that connect these entities are fast, the fabric is huge, with the lines dragging your eyes across it, constantly finding new themes and ideas, symbols and artists, all random and all connected.
It is a cartography of Ken’s process. The process of creating is the work, with the final product reflective of its surrounding and its construction, which is done without a thought for the result. His fixation is on the line, on the new, drawing connections between things deemed so unrelated and
distant that he is connecting them in our minds as much as on fabric. The physical construction of the work has much to do with his experience as an engineer, but its visual quality leaves too much up to chance, is too abstracted, to derive from the precise world of engineering.
There is a vitality to the work, the lines that flow throughout the piece pulsate as they move across the fabric, attempting to replicate the world they derive from. Banks’ fascination with how chance encounters shape our lives and the lives of others informs his work, the billions of possibilities chosen and ignored, accidentally or otherwise, are displayed through his diagrams and fast lines. Everything that Ken has connected has as much value in the piece as everything else does, they all share equal power in how the art is presented and how it is seen. The sections of his work interact with each other as much as individual objects and entities interact with each other in real life.
This vitality is something Ken is keen to invest more heavily in, as he is becoming increasingly interested in colour and three-dimensional works, wanting to fill large spaces and immediately catch the attention. He wishes for the work to be malleable, for people to interact with what he creates, producing art that can reflect the people who enter inside the gallery. His work is as personal as it is abstracted, accessible and confusing, regardless of the form they take.
The work creates the road less travelled by. Ken Banks holistically forces unforeseen connections between disparate things, abstracted to exhilarating effect.