Archives for posts with tag: photography

New Contemporaries @ ICA


Popped into this exhibition last weekend to have a nose around at some young guns, particularly at George Little who i’ve been keeping my eye on for a while. Unfortunately they had excluded his large canvas from the London edition of the show so was left with just a small painting and an installation to enjoy.

There was some excitement on my behalf though as i spotted none other than Mr Saatchi lurking in the bookshop. He looked a bit shifty, like he was going to lift something. You’ve got to give Charles his dues – he’s not an ivory tower sort of collector, he likes to get down and dirty with the students.

This iteration of New Contemporaries felt like a “light ” version of the Liverpool show. I guess the space in the ICA is limited, but i felt like i wasn’t quite getting the whole picture, especially after having a look at the catalogue. So in no particular order my highlights from the exhibition, which are mostly all painters:

Tara Tingleff   ( ) – header image is also hers.


Anita Delaney  (  – This photo shamelessly stolen from )


Emanuel Rohss ( )


George Little ( )


Max Ruf ( )


This exhibition is now finished but you can always check their website.


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.

BA Art Practice @ Goldsmiths

I though this graduate show deserved a post because a) there was some great work and b) they produced a lovely catalogue of the show and not only that, they gave it away free!

I’d never been to Goldsmiths college before and can now understand why it is such a successful art college. How can you not be inspired when this is the view from your studio window:

So without further ado here are my favourite ten works in no particular order:

Alex-jeronymides-noire : A crazy potato sound system. (how could he know i love crazy potato sound systems?

Pedro Magalhes: Don’t you ever have an urge to call a number written on the street. I do. I’m gonna call this one when i summon the nerve.

Emma Sinclair: Harnessing youtube to make a rather interesting microwave based fireworks display.

Taneisha Kitchen: Bondage taxidermy.

Jolene Farren: Architectural and abstract

Kyungmin Lee (detail): Unusual bubble abstracts

Rose Fooks: The room smelt of cheap perfume. Thats not a title, it did smell.

Dominique Dunand-Clarke: Nelson esque office spaces.

Kat Day: taking you into the virtual world of a dolls house.

Joanna Ng Shuhui: Adding human sound effects to everyday moving inanimate objects, surprisingly enjoyable.

That’s all. Roll on the Postgraduate show.

Slade MFA @ UCL

Visited the MFA show at the weekend. Quick post but wanted to share this photo as i thought the dressing of the main building was absolutely incredible, something that wouldn’t look out of place in Venice Bienalle.

Overall the work inside was variable but there were some notable exceptions:

This photographer. I didn’t get a name. Can anyone help?

And the ever impressive Alexander Ball:

Worth a look if you’re in the area. I think you’ve got till Friday.

Marcus Coates @ Kate MacGarry

Marcus Coates is an eccentric (to say the least) conceptual artist. His work centres around the link between the human and animal world, often refashioning himself in the mindset and image of an animal to become a conduit between the two worlds and to aid communication between the inhabitants of both.

Looking at the work “crucifixes for various amphibians 1973 – 2000”  He appears to have began his artistic career torturing animals rather than channeling their thoughts, but he was only 5 so i’ll let him off. We’ve all tortured a few animals in our time (i remember getting a newt stoned with my mate Piers once).

Coates work makes me laugh. I really like his “Self portrait underground (worcestershire)”, pictured top, that really made me chuckle. There is no doubt that if Marcus had experienced a less supportive upbringing he would probably be that strange man who sleeps rough and everyone knows in your local town but crosses the road to avoid. But i bet we all secretly wish we could live a life free of societies self imposed boundaries. And to top it off Coates is getting paid for it. Who’s laughing now?

Don’t go and see this exhibition, it’s finished.

You can always visit this shiny website to find out more:

The Catlin Art Prize @ London Newcastle Project Space

More Collectors than ever seem to be happy to take a risk on a young artist . For those looking for something exciting and challenging, emerging artists can offer affordable unique works. (Lets face it, no one really wants editions).

One reason more people are buying “new” is the high cost of established artists driven by the increased demand for contemporary art in general. Another reason is that financial speculators see what happened to Hirst’s values over the last 20 years and want a piece of the action.

There’s also something else i believe thats driving purchase of new work, and it’s down to the rise of online curation. Cool hunting as it’s also known. New art imagery is snapped up and propagated on websites, tumblrs and blogs (look, you’re reading this now). What this does is create is a PR network for artists within the target market that is buying work: 30 something, digital savvy, highly paid, creative professionals. When an young artist is suddenly appearing worldwide, you’re getting some guarantee of “good” and thus more inclined to buy in.

The Catlin Art Prize is a prime example of the cult of the new. A great venue, great curator, great artists and hefty financial support from a sponsor enabling it to happen.  I thought the exhibition was brilliant. A really impressive show any artist would be happy to be a part of, even an established one. I listened to people chatting excitedly at the show, students i think, hoping it was going to be them next year. (and this was two days after the private view) My photos really don’t do justice to the quality of the hanging and the lighting. It was top class.

So if you’re a collector you can thank Art Catlin for making it tougher to find that fantastic new artist before everyone else. And we all know it’s not going to get any easier (or cheaper)

Here are my favourite three artists from the show:

First: Ali Kazim

My vote for best in show went to Kazim. His work is more reserved than a lot of the other artists, but still waters run deep. Kazim demonstrates incredible craft, emotional depth, and multi disciplinary talent. His obtuse self portraits, executed in pigment we’re so technically brilliant it was as if he was laying himself bare for everyone to see. The clincher though was Untitled (heart). A sculpture of gentle magnitude. Executed in human hair it was an beautiful metaphor for the fragility of the human spirit. I expect big things for him.

Second: Max Dovey

I really liked Dovey’s work. The idea of capturing the last day of terrestrial analogue TV resonated with me. All of a sudden I was a kid again, watching older relatives run around like headless chickens attempting to record the entire Live Aid concert, unaware that pretty soon technology would render this practice redundant. Dovey’s cassette collection is more likely to contain Jeremy Kyle and Quick Cash! loan ads, but I think it’s a more profound snapshot of society than anything else.

The Last day of TV is part document, part monument, part personal statement, and probably the best use of increasingly rare VHS tapes, ever. (Although with all conceptual artists I always sort of think they’re having me on, and those tapes are probably all blank, but then who’s going to be able to watch them soon? Dovey’s got us over a barrel). I’ll be watching closely to see if Dovey continues to create engaging executions whilst capturing the zeitgeist. If so, perhaps he’s got something.

Third: Jonny Briggs

Briggs has been getting plenty of shine recently. He’s currently at the Saatchi Gallery and seems to be the artist of the moment. The reason he’s in my top three is his mastery of a wide range of mediums. In the last year i have seen strong video, sculpture and photographic work from him. I don’t know if i connect with it on a personal level (strange, because i like dark work) But his executional skill and mastery of theatre within an image impresses me. A Standout work for me is “Regeneration”

The Catlin Art prize runs until 25th May. Go see it.

There might not be another show as strong as this till Art Catlin 2013.

Red Mansion Art Prize @ Royal Academy

Last thursday i popped into the private view of the Red Mansion Art Prize.

The prize is awarded to one artist from each of the leading art schools. Each artists is invited to spend some time in Beijing and then exhibit some work that is influenced by the visit.

The place was packed when I arrived. Lots of graduates. Four out of the eight artists exhibited video art, which was hard to enjoy, due to the level of noise (students) and inadequate headphones. The one video piece i did see and enjoy i found out had actually been produced by a chinese artist and was being “presented” by the artist involved. (does that count?)

I did get a chance to have a chat with the artist Alexander Ball. He’s a fantastic painter who had taken the residence as an opportunity to explore some new print based avenues in his practice. I’m really looking forward to seeing more from him. (work from him is first image)

Got a few photos, but as ever staff are always hot on the cameras. Annoying.

Yelena Popova is another painter i’d keep an eye on. She was in the New sensations exhibition last year. She produces beautifully ghostlike abstract images with the subtlest dyes, onto untreated linen.

Open till the 26th of April if you’re based central.

Jeremy Deller @ The Hayward Gallery

Jeremy Deller has made me fall in love with community art. Normally the phrase would make me run a mile. I’d imagine blue rinse brigade sculpture workshops. But through the eyes of JD even forced creativity can be beautiful.

I’ll admit ignorance. Until recently i thought Jeremy Deller was a crime writer. I didn’t know he had won the Turner prize. I had no idea of the sort of art he produced. What turned me onto him was a BBC2 documentary on the eve of his current show. It covered the man and his seminal works. What i saw opened my eyes. I made a date in my diary to go to see it in the flesh.

This Saturday i turned up at 10am on the dot to make sure i was the first person in the gallery. This tactic paid off. The first room of the exhibition was a re-creation of his first ever exhibition, set up in his parents house whilst they were on holiday. As no one else was around it felt like i had a fairly intimate insight into the artists formative years, especially as i was able to sit on his toilet (trousers up obviously). You could see the embryonics of his future achievement on the walls.

To cut a long story short. The rest of the work was incredible. Deller facilitates and curates the human spirit. It’s conceptual art, but with substance, weighted to the gallery floor with the ballast of reality. I’m going to be straight with you. I was, on a couple of occasions, close to tears. Tears of joy.

I have trouble expressing how i feel when i see Deller’s work. When i try to describe it i have all this emotion inside my chest me trying bust through my ribs. I cant get it out quick enough. I try to post rationalise my feelings, but just start spouting empty rhetoric. It’s indescribable. It’s burning wonderment at how incredible life can be. It’s like stumbling across a beautiful sunset whilst on your way to the off licence, stopped dead in your tracks, rushing on the knowledge you were able to experience it.

Often art is designed to remind you of your insignificance. Deller is much more optimistic. An artist that is able to capture and distill the human spirit in their work. He reminds the individual how wonderful they are and that their life can mean something. Deller plants himself firmly on the park bench of life and keeps his eyes peeled. He encourages you to do the same. Thats what makes him a fantastic artist, and in my eyes one of the most significant conceptualists ever.

If I haven’t made it clear to you by now. I really, really, really enjoyed this exhibition.

Please i implore you, go and see it.

Ends 13th May.

Katie Paterson @ Haunch of Venison

Haunch of Venison is owned by a major auction house. So if an artist is picked up by them you can be pretty sure they will be around for a while. Good news for Katie Paterson then, who has a solo exhibition at the Eastcastle street venue.

When i read the press release from her 100 Suns exhibition, i was reminded of some suspect advertising awards entries:

If anyone reading this works in advertising they will be familiar with the term “scam” whereby an agency creates fictitious work, or produces work that was never commissioned or paid for by the client. All for the sole reason of entering awards and making the agency look really creative. Pretty much everyone does it.

Anyway these are excerpts from the HOV press release about Katie’s Work:

(1) As the World Turns (2010)

Adapted record player, vinyl record of Vivaldi’s four seasons

An adapted record player that rotates in synchronisation with the earth ( one revolution per 24 hours) playing Vivaldi’s four seasons. If performed from beginning to end the record would play for four years. The movement is so slow it isn’t visible to the naked eye, yet the player is turning imperceptibility.

(3) Black firework for dark skies (2010)

Firework remains, wooden display box

A single black firework set off under dark skies, in an unannounced location. It’s charred remains are now all that exists.

(6) Dying Star Doorbel (2008)

Sensor, loudspeaker

The sound of a dying star, a tiny hum close to a middle C, played every time a visitor opens a door.

I’m sure Katie’s creative intentions are genuine, and i can understand the emotionally uplifting nature of the ideas. But when you read stuff like this, and there is little craft to back it up, it does make you wonder if you are being taken on an interstellar wild goose chase.

To sum up. The ambition of Hirst spliced with the astronomical sexiness of Professor Brian Cox.

One for the conceptualists definitely.

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