Two more openings at East London’s rather awkwardly named New Art Projects. The gallery has been making quite a mark over the last year or so, the relatively new space (on Sheep Lane, parallel to to the foodie infested Broadway Market and right by the Regent’s Canal over in Hackney). There’s been some outstanding art shows, some really refined collections of well curated art, New Art Projects has now become one of those art spaces that you know isn’t going to let you down, one of those places you can trust even if the artists might not be familiar names.
The very (very) white interconnecting basement rooms have been flowing with art in the last twelve months and tonight (May 20th) there are two shows opening. Big crowd outside in the street enjoying the early evening sunshine, that unmistakable hum of an art crowd. Scott Hunt’s “God is an American” is an immediately striking show, the large black and white pieces demanding your eye straight away. It isn’t immediately obvious what the medium actually is, large framed pieces alive behind the reflections in the glass, stylised photographs? Carefully painted pieces of American drama? We’re actually looking at finely-created beautifully figurative charcoal drawings, expansive pieces of glorious Americana, demanding pieces mixing “the monumental with the prosaic, the dramatic with the quotidian. By combining imagery from discarded snapshots…”. This is glorious, a wonderful collection of work, some o it slightly unsettling, some of it strange, all of it compelling, “narrative works that resist conclusive interpretation”. And yes, they are monumental, and yes, they are very American, of a time probably lost now? Is he telling us of better times? Nothing is that clear besides the glorious clarity of the pieces themselves, these pieces are wonderful, can’t really be charcoal, surely not? .
“Scott Hunt’s finely-wrought figurative charcoal drawings mix the monumental with the prosaic, the dramatic with the quotidian. By combining imagery from discarded snapshots, Hunt creates mysterious, funny, and often unsettling narrative works that resist conclusive interpretation”.
The rest on the New Art Project rooms are occupied by a deliciously intriguing group show called Hollandaise (both shows are opening at the sane time tonight) “Hollandaise takes the phenomenon of Hollandmania, a unique period in the history of the Netherlands and the UK, as its starting point, and features a host of Dutch and international artists”.
A combination of Dutch style, their rich tradition, a touch of humour and a tongue-in-cheek cliche or two, a celebration of many of the many golden ages of the Netherlands, a uniquely Dutch show and instantly recognisable as being so.
Hollandaise is a busy show (not too busy), a show that smiles, a show that challenges, a show that contradicts as it flows – painting, modern social comment, 17th Century celebrations,. a golden age indeed. It would be easy to let Hollandaise get a little lost in the shadow of Scott Hunt’s powerful Americana – that would be wrong though and most of those slightly strange “yankees” in Scott’s piece will have descended from those coming in through New Amsterdam with their blue plates and oil paints. The two shows housed together here make excellent sense, they compliment each other perfectly, nothing is overshadowed and one room once again leads you back in to the next as you circuit the space just one more time, circuit back to the Delft blue wallpaper, the coffee shop crack pots and the Facebook images, the rich paint, the gleaming metallic chairs and the work of Carla Arocha & Stéphane Schraenen, Yasser Ballemans, Boris van Berkum, Jemima Brown, Alex Hudson, Claire de Jong, Janice McNab, Vanessa Van Obberghen, Bouke de Vries, Brigitte Stepputtis.
Two more rather strong shows in Fred Mann’s so far rather rewarding New Art Projects gallery space then, he keeps on delivering. Both shows run from May 20th until June 9th, both are rather recommended, Scott Hunt particularly so (those charcoal drawings are ridiculously impressive), I think pretty much everything that has happened in this relatively young space has been recommend, on with the love-in then, get yourself over to New Art Projects (sw)
For more information visit the gallery website
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