Archives for posts with tag: Appropriation

Duncan aged 40 @ Skylight Studios

This former graffiti writer continues to progress into conceptual territory without giving up what he loves; making a mark. “Margate” the title of his latest exhibition explores the place that was once a Londoner’s favourite holiday destination, but after decades of neglect is now undergoing regeneration as a cultural and artistic hub.

I made the effort to visit this show on the east coast only to be greeted on arrival with a downpour of such magnitude it broke my umbrella. But my pilgrimage was richly rewarded. I discovered another strong collection of work from this passionate and convivial artist, who very kindly took the time to talk me through the work. Duncan continues to travel on his nomadic journey, acting as a conduit to the culture and history of each place he visits, via his multi media practice which includes performance, video, sculpture, printmaking and photography.

Setting up the exhibition was a video work. The artist had spent the day as a tourist, dressed top to toe in his trademark idiosyncratic, bootleg Ralph Lauren clothing (Shorts and t-shirt this time, but lucky for him it was sunny that day).

Like any visitor to the Margate beach who ends up using the local chalk to write their name on the surrounding walls, Duncan did the same, But a lot bigger. A series of photographs on aluminium and installations charted his use of sea water, chalk and a garden rake to produce 40 meter sand tags and chalk murals bearing his name. These monoliths were always meant to be transient and disappeared as quickly as they arrived due to the effect of the tide, sun and rain.

“Cats and Dogs”, took it’s title from from the weather based colloquialism. (Particularly apt considering my earlier soaking) It was a collection of homemade animal portraits collected from charity shops in the surrounding areas. I noticed one of the feline portraits was committed to paper in 1964. It was touching to see long deceased animals staring back at me from the gallery wall, I for one was happy they had found a new home.

Continuing his theme of printmaking with local delicacies Duncan presented “Bag of Chips” and “Donuts” , two unique portraits of these ritualistic objects. What lived a short life as a high carb high fat snack, became immortalised as an intellectual endeavour. What’s really interesting was the way the substances in the food (sugar on the donuts, oil on the chips) reacted with the inks to create a signature effect of their own.

I think the artist has captured the true spirit of Margate. On first view the work may seem a flippant, ironic take on the common man, but in reality it’s insightful, touching and just a little bit life affirming. With the cultural developments in the area, like the Turner Contemporary and growing artist community, the exhibition sums up the transgressive nature of the locality; documenting where it came from, and helping cement where it’s going.

Don’t visit this exhibition it’s finished.

Linda Aloysius @ Madder 139

I visited the ever accommodating Debbie Carslaw at Madder 139 last weekend to check this exhibition out. Her gallery is situated in Whitecross street, located in the area between Old Street, Farringdon and Barbican. It had a lovely villagey feel, with lots of families and locals around. Inside the gallery Linda Alysois was showing a collection of semi-figurative sculptures that are linked to notions of female identity.

 The sculptures brought an immediate smile to my face. Their anthropomorphic forms and various titles based on slang used to describe women, gave each piece a distinct character and life of its own. What really made them special was that they had been constructed from reclaimed materials. Things that were supporting structures, seats, or walkways in a previous life (that had supported, offered comfort or been walked on) had been reincarnated into role that was metaphorically similar, in that they were representing a human condition and not a structural one.

At first glance you might think these sculptures were made to deliver the artistic equivalent of a one-liner but spend some time with them and you will discover a depth that touches on universal themes we can all relate to, be it woman or man. That’s what makes great art.

till 28th april

Carlos Noronha Feio @ IMT Gallery

I’d spent all week working on weedkiller and had come to the conclusion that the best way to sell it was too construct a nuclear cloud out of pressed dead weeds. (don’t ask)

Then, on the thursday when i was walking home from a few private views in shoreditch, i spotted some people hanging around in a space i had never seen before. Like any self respecting enthusiast that indulges their passion thoroughly, i popped in uninvited for a quick look. And there it was: A series of collages based on catalogued plant forms, made out of pictures of nuclear explosions. I nearly dropped my ice cold free beer. A lovely lady called Lindsay Friend talked me through the work, and i have to say i was impressed.

Fate might suggest that i should have purchased some of this work. I didn’t. I may live to regret it but i’m a believer that any art i buy i shouldn’t be able to make myself. Obviously this artist had a more profound message than my rudimentary commercial conceptualisations, but the honest truth is i could have probably achieved a similar result with photoshop and a google image search.

Till April 8th:  Go and visit.  It was lovely

Matt Lipps @ Josh Lilley

Appropriation. They call them Mash ups now. Not a millisecond goes by now without a member of the public uploading one to youtube, or icanhascheesburger or whatever website.  Everyman and his dog is now equipped with i-movie and photoshop and by god nothing will stop them humorously re-editing a hollywood film or dubbing someones home movie of a kitten to a Rick Astley song.

I’m of the opinion that Steve jobs has got a lot to answer for.

Right, anyway.

Appropriation worked brilliantly well for Warhol and Hamilton. But now the serious contemporary artist has to approach the technique of appropriation quite carefully. It’s normally under the guise of art history or cultural preservation. They carefully select, refashion and recycle their source imagery to create what seems to be an entirely new artwork with enough of a nod to the original to suggest academic endeavour. For example: William Daniels. (Abstract paintings of hand built models of famous paintings) or Glenn Brown (paintings of photographs of famous paintings, re painted in the style of another famous painter).

In Matt Lipps case, it’s photographs of 3 dimensional sculpture collages of old photos. (one step further then blake?)

I have to say i quite like them.

This exhibition finished Feb 17th. So don’t go and see it you’ll only be disappointed. Although by now there will probably be another exhibition installed at Josh Lilley, so maybe you won’t, they seem to have a lot of good ones.