It surely is time to think of First Thursday as something that happened in the past now, it certainly didn’t happen in East London last night. Sure, there was a gallery open here and another one way over there, but then there’s gallery openings in East London every night, went to a Hackney gallery opening last Monday, another East London show on Wednesday, there’s more opening this Friday if you know where to look, and yes, there were a couple last night, but the notion of First Thursday as a thing to go explore and all that reaching out and engaging and people who don’t usually go to art galleries coming out and the fact that that engaging situation at the start of each month is now sadly over and done with is disappointing.
There was no real evidence to be found on-line of anything much First Thursday flavoured happening, we did search on-line in advance, once again the official Whitechapel First Thursday website offered absolutely nothing in terms of information (although they were busy flogging tickets for their Fist Thursday bus tour, where did it go? Did anybody go on it?). Absolutely no evidence of First Thursday happening at the Whitechapel gallery itself when we dropped in on the way to Stolen Space, really does look like the time has come to consign it all to history and nor mention it in terms of anything other than historical context… Enough, East London First Thursday is dead, on with the exploring of art on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday of the first second third or whatever week it happens to be.
So last night we went out exploring the streets of Hoxton, Shoreditch and Brick Lane once more, we saw drawing shows, we checked out the hypocritical artistic contempt spewed out by Creative Debuts again this month over at the Black and White building, sticking their corporate logo on every generic print on sale surely is a piss take? Who are these jokers? Have you read the bulshit on their website? What a load of utter horseplop, and they claim to be artists?! We checked out Redchurxh street where the usually reliable Studio1.1 for once let us down and the designer label shops that have now totally and utterly taken over the street now seem to have taken on First Thursday for themselves – high price fashion shops talking of openings and private views and dishing out beer and wine like they’re art galleries – that street is no longer for the likes of us. We explored lots of things, Stolen Space once again stole the evening, this rime with a show called Assemblage, true, they didn’t have that much competition and although we did find other openings, there really was nothing else worth out time or space last night besides Assemblage
‘ASSEMBLAGE’ – CHARLIE ANDERSON, TERESA DUCK, TELMO MIEL, JORAM ROUKES, ASHA ZERO and STUART SEMPLE
“Assemblage, a comment on the selfies, popular culture and the social disorder of the modern age. ‘Assemblage’ brings together six artists who’s work plays with these elements; pointing out the ridiculous and twisted world which has become our reality. Working in a realistic style, these surreal artworks take on an abstract quality to create a visual explosion for the senses”.
Six artists in the two rooms of the East London gallery, six artists sharing an obvious energy and a link or two, obvious in a positive way, nothing is obvious here and once again this is a strong exciting show – “a collection or gathering of things or people”, and assemblage on canvas, an assemblage of paint and pieces and print-like imagery put together, play-with pop, pop art. The circular pieces at the front of the gallery, two Asha Zero pieces and a first glimpse glorious treat, it doesn’t look like painting when you first look at it, it doesn’t occur that it isn’t collage, as collage pieces they’d be exciting, as a flat acrylic painting the pieces really are treats, the exquisite slices of culture, fragments of things, layers….
“Asha Zero is a South African artist who meticulously paints fragments from popular, commercial, and street culture, which he fashions into what appears very convincingly to be collages. His work is a response to a society where, increasingly, the identity of the individual is defined, altered and negated through the growing omnipresence of a digitised culture. In this era where the personal has become impersonal, Asha Zero’s work plays with ideas of identity and confusion, altering the very medium itself to appear as something else entirely”.
There’s a lot of energy in this show, dare we say a lot of attitude? There is a lot of attitude in here on those beautiful Stolen Space brick walls and while the comic book tabloid newspaper imagery of Charlie Anderson may not thrill quite as much as Asha Zero’s paintings, this really is a show that works so well as one assembled whole and it really would be wrong to cherry-pick and single out – and those large Anderson pieces do work as bold pieces of strong twenty-first century pieces of historical pop art – there are so many things to pick out and revisit in this show, it isn’t that there are hundreds of painting in here or that the show is over whelming, more that there is so much to explore in the pieces that are on the walls, so much to revisit and experience in Teresa Duck’s classical pop art oils – thinking about the show now, there really is a need to stop everything and return to the gallery right now, go soak some more of it up, explore those bananas and cuts of meat and slices of newspaper and sampled remixed pop art updates.
“Teresa Duck is a contemporary British painter, living and working in the North East of England. Her work combines formal realist painting with abstracted elements, alongside working in sculpture and assemblage. Her work explores identity and aspects of contemporary culture. With tongue in cheek references to sexuality and consumerism, her work creates a bright and comical world, while incorporating cynical comments on modern society”.
And I really would love to talk to whoever pull this show and these artists together, this really is a pleasing assemblage of assemblage..A good art show doesn’t just happen, a hang needs so so much careful consideration, the right combination of artists, weeks and months of thinking about, days of hanging and rehanging and moving about, this is a fine fine show. ..
“Scottish artist, Charlie Anderson is known for his epic scale paintings composed of layered hand painted fragments from advertisements, postcards, posters, newspapers, street flyers and magazines. The post-punk effect achieved through this intensive process of layering stencils and paint results in a vibrantly textured and visually stimulating portrait of contemporary culture.Anderson’s work samples elements of history and society to document urban life, refocusing on the subtle details that our contemporary attention span sometimes fails to appreciate. His provocative and engaging subjects inspire an exciting visual experience, inviting and implicating viewers into his playful and compelling commentary”
and if it wasn’t so carefully considered and so well put together in terms of a show and if the work wasn’t as equally considered as the whole show is then there surely would be a temptation to talk of punk rock? There is that feel, and yes there is energy and attitude, punk rock suggests something immediate and throwaway, anarchy and chaos, and while the work and the show may hit the viewer in an immediate way but it really isn’t immediate or throwaway, there is a busy attack of very bright art in here, Assemblage is so much more than mere punk rock throwaway though – much much more – maybe a new wave post punk assemblage of style and substance, something built on those original punk rock frameworks, a public image, a depth of thought, a positive challenge, an exciting art show, some glorious paintings. I like this show, I like almost all of it, I do like those big Charlie Anderson pieces and I do really those complex Telmo Miel distinctive instinctive bold pop art pieces on that wall over there, those pink petals do smile for me….
“A muralist and image-making duo from the Netherlands, Telmo Miel create artworks that are both surreal and realistically rendered, with a tremendous amount of detail and vibrant colour. Combining multiple elements in a single composition, they layer references to the human and animal worlds to create complex creatures and fantastic scenarios. With positivity, humour and a touch of the romantic, their work is arresting and epic”
There isn’t too much here from Joram Roukes, the piece that is hanging (there was only one wasn’t there?) hangs back and lets the other piece grab you first, it might just be the strongest thing in here, but this really isn’t about picking out pieces or names, this is a whole…
Dutch artist Joram Roukes’ work reflects on everyday life situations, observed, filtered and reassembled in a collage-like way. The resulting works pose a fragmented yet cohesive view on today’s society and human behaviour. Joram mixes traditional techniques, urban influences, pop culture imagery and fantasy, creating a world of the obscure yet familiar. He achieves a unique and inspired visual style with which he can communicate his many observations of the Western World.
Stuart Semple really is assembling in some kind of right here right now bliss, that Sex Pistols logo might be forty years old but it does still feel like now in the middle of that painting there – still very current next to the social media icons and the slashes of post teen zombie, his energetic mix of acrylic, charcoal and spray-paint on canvas, his blasts of colour, his short sharp shock and his hey look mass culture, his painterly language…
“British artist Stuart Semple’s works comment on the emotional and spiritual impact of mass culture on the individual. This is re-imagined with a playful, exuberant and sociological language which make his style so unique. His hybrid compositions often comprise of disparate appropriated and found elements which he weaves into alluring surfaces that encapsulate a deep critical analysis of contemporary culture. His world is one of low-culture internet trash, 90s nickelodeon colour palettes, indie music, obscure music videos and cultural theory straight out of the 60s Frankfurt school”.
Hey, I was a little critical of Stolen Space on these pages a couple of months back, cynically smiling at the way they play it safe, since then the gallery has presented two really stong engaging exciting painting shows, this one follows last month’s presentation of some bold work for Jason Woodside and Evoca1 in November. Assemblage, a comment on the selfies, popular culture and the social disorder of the modern age and a collection of paintings that once again make a visit to Stolen Space essential once again this month. (sw)
Assemblage runs at Stolen Space until December 23rd. Stolen Space is at 17 Osborn Street, London, E1 6TD
Click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show and get a fractured flavour and a vague idea…