For Want of (not) Measuring

  • 25th Jan - 24th Feb 2024
  • Stephen Lawrence Gallery

For Want of (not) Measuring brings together artists Ron HaseldenJim HobbsPatrick Adam Jones and John Timberlake who explore the problematic and poetic use of systems and measurement. Whereas measurement often focuses on quantitative results, the artists instead choose a metaphysical approach to exploit the corporeal use of measuring apparatus as a vehicle for critique. Here, surveying sticks, cameras, physical grids, and light meters (amongst many other tools) are all used to point out the futility, absurdity and impossibility of truly knowing the world around us; seascapes and passages are investigated though their human relationships to the measurement of time, perspective, location and memory.

Ron Haselden

Ron was born just downstream from Greenwich and visits to the Maritime Museum were quite frequent when young. Meridian zero establishes a place as either a beginning or ending and travel always comes to mind – travel and distance – in either direction. 

The work Passage exists currently as a small sculpture for a large scale pathway to be later constructed in a field for a period of time at La Land Chauve, in Brittany, France, surrounded by trees using lightweight materials…coloured fishermans’ cord supported on fine 3 meter high steel rods enabling people to be able to walk through.

For the Greenwich exhibition it is being reconstructed as 1.70m long structure built in fine rod and coloured cotton in high relief to be suspended across a wall. 

Jim Hobbs

For the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Jim Hobbs has built a large scale sculpture/structure which houses the filmic installation H(xy)/V(z) = Ø. The work stems from an interest in the nocturnal and the use of artificial lighting to create or enhance an augmented form of vision. The recollected experience of being blinded by lights while driving at night is the catalyst for a series of loosely linked moving images and graphics which in turn create a type of hallucinatory experience. The film is projected onto a monumental blackboard surface which has been enhanced with a hand-drawn grid made with engineers’ chalk. The structure/screen relates to Hobbs’ father’s work at General Electric, where automotive lighting was tested out by projecting street scenes onto a gridded wall and then shining head lamps onto it – measuring the technical/numerical/ visual range of the light while also destroying the superficially projected image. The piece also includes a 4.1 audio installation* where sounds gathered from various light sources (using electromagnetic microphones) have been manipulated and edited into a multi-frequency soundscape. *Special thanks to Jono Crabbe for the edit and mastering of the audio.

Patrick Adam Jones

The current work is a continuation of an ongoing series based on The Schiehallion Experiment of 1774 which attempted to calculate the density of the Earth. Here, there is an interest in how we continue to use measurements in an absurd manner as a way of packaging our relationship to the world around us, making safe, explaining away, avoiding, etc. Working with a surveying stick on a mountain or in a gallery, the work begins as photographic documentation of “performative measurements” which in turn become the source material for drawings, collages and paintings. Within the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, these will be assembled in response to the measurements of the gallery and the “measurements” of the other artists work.

John Timberlake

John Timberlake’s pair of large sea paintings, Beyond the Wall Lies the Ocean, executed in oils on linen, are painted from viewpoints of actual immersion, as if the viewer is struggling to keep their head above the waves. Whilst referencing genre painting and the fabled fathomlessness of the ocean, Timberlake’s paintings also resonate with the historical specifics of Greenwich’s history at the centre of empire, the oceanic of psychoanalysis, and of course, climate change and rising sea levels.


The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with a text by Stephen Kennedy; Design by Elena Tzilini; Installation Team: Max Holdaway and Lauryn Keift-Wilshere; Sound Editing and Mixing (Hobbs): Jono Crabbe; Sound Installation (Hobbs) FTV support.

Image: Elena Tzilini, Photo Credit: ‘Building The Sackett Receiving Reservoir 1898 – Engineering Party Members’,  Source:  Westfield City, MA Photo Archive.