ORGAN THING: Desire Lines, David Small and Jeremy Willett’s paintings and wallpaper conversations at East London’s Studio 1.1 gallery…



Desire Lines… “David Small’s extravagantly coloured (yet finely controlled) abstract paintings will be exhibited upon the severe optic disruptions of Jeremy Willett’s black and white wallpapers, themselves abstracted from photographs of brutalist urban wallscapes”.

from correspondence between the artists…

“‘Synth like’. It’s almost as if imagining a wilderness, an organic, biological mesh of industrial decline – a jungle overwhelming an edifice, a public sculpture, an art studio – through a ‘synthetic’ filter. As your process of rendering imaginings of organic forms through digitised means, are then again regurgitated through a craft that is in itself non-digital…(or maybe un-digital is a better phrase.) It’s cyclical, and it makes me think of the heavily patterned rugs hung on the walls in The Shining, put there by Kubrick to subliminally make the audience feel trapped, as if in a maze. But that’s the reference, isn’t it? The jungle – as you say, overgrown. It’s saturation, and it’s a feeling or sense of both object, the field, ambience and noise, growth and decay. Lots of words I know, but I have a fine scotch in my hand and am very excited by the images you’ve sent. I love the granular, pixelated quality of the two tone. I’ve always thought about how I can make my work seem tangible and virtual at the same time. Never managed it, but the combination of the print and painting seem to point it in the right direction.The sculptural element of the print really comes across, and also the deterioration, from what feels like oversaturation of process, which I love. there’s also an over-blowness about them. Like they’re ready to burst. As if you could imagine the print and painting ensemble to be micro and macrocosmic to some extent. The fine detail and the ever-expanding. Ever play the guitar? Like a Fender Twin Reverb amp on the clean channel, then switching on a Hyper Fuzz pedal. Make any sense?…”

Of course none of the gallery blurb or the artist’s statements had been read ahead of the show, it was merely a hopeful cut through Redchurch Street on the way to another show down Brick Lane and that off-chance that something might be happening, that the red door might be open and in that almost defiant way that the Studio 1.1 space hangs in there, there will still be a little bit art amoungst all the designer label imposition and gentrification of Redchurch Street.  Redchurch Street was once an East London street alive with energy, with art and lots of exciting galleries and artist-run spaces, beside the small Studio 1.1 space there’s nothing left now, we’ve said all this before though, we won’t lament today.  Yes, the red door is open (as it so so often is), it does bring a smile whe nthat red door is open,,,


No idea who these artists are or what the show might be about? Just walk in with no idea and see what we find.  Those rich paintings have an immediate impact, impressive use of colour, rich, warm, precise, inviting, glowing, this looks to be exciting but what’s going on on these walls?  What’s happened  to the white walls of the gallery?  Hand printed silkscreened wallpaper, digital black and white patterns from Jeremy Willett so it seems. The conversations just don’t work in here, the wallpaper is an annoying distraction, interference, digital fuzz, the busy back and white at odds with the subtle colours and shapes of the paintings.  Not sure what the two of them are trying to achieve here (and I still haven’t read very much in terms of the artist statements, maybe i should have done in the gallery, artists statements can be so annoying, art surely shouldn’t need words and statements and explinations?).

These painting are exciting, alive, they’re warm, beautiful, they deserve unhindered white walls, they deserve peace and quite and not the jarring digital noise of the wallpaper, and the paper itself maybe deserves a wall all to itself without the distraction of the beautiful painting?  And now, thinking back, was there a wall without a painting hanging on it? A wall featuring just the wallpaper?  The fascination of Digital imagery taken to textile repeat pattern is as old as computers themselves, this is an interesting take on the idea and yes, the paper is deserving of more investingation but it is the paintings and not the wallpaper or the conversation between the two artists and their art , it really is the paintings that are exciting in here (really should read the artists statements in a moment).

David Small’s beautifully coloured, equisitly toned paintings are wonderful, they’re extravigant, they glow, they’re inviting, they’re strangely organic, they feel precise, crafted, controlled abstraction, and yes there is that optic disruption of the wallpaper that is dangerously close to being an annoying distraction and now I have read some on that correspondace (reproduced up there) I can get what the two artists are trying to do within the space, but no, brave but it just doesn’t work.

Love these paintings of David Small, no idea who he is, never heard of him before, (apparently both artists live and work in London)  love the colour, the flow, the texture, the organic curves, the use of paint, the exciting dynamic glow of the pieces. And yes that wallpaper and the art of Jeremy Willett needs to be explore again on another day, there’s cerailny lots more to explore in his urban extraction and his digital processes, but I do love these paintings…


Unfortunetely the show ends today, August 27th.  If only Studio 1.1 were a little better with their publicity and letting people know what’s going on, the current news page on their website tells us what’s coming up in 2016 and the notions of social media or mailing lists seems to be beyond the otherwsie excellent gallery, just a case of cutting through Redchursh Street and hoping the red door is open then, feel lucky to have have caught Dabid Small’s paintings yesterday.  (sw)

Click on an image to enlarge or to run the fractured slideshow….


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