Five five five, five art things, five more London art recommendations, five art things in no particular order, five things that are about to open, five things that interest us, five things that might interest you, an ongoing series of recommendations, five things that look like they might be genuinely interesting or exciting and not a carpark insight. Those car parks promised much three or four years back before the egos kicked in, shame really, they could have evolved and become so so so much more than something that’s content to just celebrate itself in such an insular way. Enough of that, need a little more than an underdog, art excites, hot on the tail of that beautiful Lennie Lee show and those Dan Witz paintings over at Stolen Space that you can still catch until February 25th, here’s five more things, London things for that is where we are….
1: Matthew Day Jackson – ‘Still Life and the Reclining Nude’ opens at Hauser & Wirth (London) on 28 February (6pm to 8pm) – the London gallery is apparently “delighted to present Matthew Day Jackson’s upcoming exhibition, ‘Still Life and the Reclining Nude’. The artist’s interdisciplinary practice explores a myriad of aspects of human experience and draws from sources that reveal both our intrinsic inventiveness and its counter-point, our ongoing capacity for destruction.
The exhibition will feature an entirely new series of still life paintings and bronze sculpture. As Jackson explains, ‘I am interested in exploring how certain ideas, forms, images, narrative structures and traditions are manifest in the present. The process by which they are severed and dismembered from the past is how they are enlivened.’ Utilising the conventions of still life and the reclining nude figure in combination with a precise use of material and form, Jackson critiques these traditions, their cultural placement and his own authorship in relationship to these ways of working.
The series of still life ‘paintings’ are direct representations of Jan Brueghel the Elder’s and Younger’s genre defining series of flower paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, made during a time of Dutch colonial expansion and exploitation. The significance of these works for the artist is their simultaneously beguiling and prosaic qualities; they are both an exuberant expression of nature’s bounty and a visual manifestation of power and wealth. While the era was one of burgeoning scientific knowledge, Jackson signals the pitfalls of the ceaseless misuse and abuse of the natural world. This concern ties into the American environmental movement and issues of sustainability that have been explored in Jackson’s previous works. If Brueghel’s paintings are a celebration of nature as a divine gift to humanity, Jackson presents an alternative to this view since for the artist, ‘each work is a meditation on exploration, the past found in the present, and is a critical discourse of technology and our persistent tendencies to open Pandora’s Box.’
Throughout Jackson’s oeuvre, process and materiality as a conduit for meaning has been a recurrent theme. The flower ‘paintings’ are entirely composed of artificial and manufactured materials such as Formica, plywood and epoxy. These materials have a personal resonance for Jackson and are imbued with memories from his past and his own ‘American experience’. The use of these substances is a meditation on the domestic environment, aspiration, class and impermanence. In ‘Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase’ (2017), Jackson encloses the delicate form of the screen-printed and in-laid flora within a poured lead surround. This metal has associations of poison or death and, in this manner, the artist signals a memento mori ingrained in the fabric of the work itself.
The sculptures that feature in the exhibition have arisen from Jackson’s interest in, ‘how we assemble and constantly reformulate our identity through our own form’. Works such as ‘Untitled’ (2017) are both a contemplation and critique of the tradition of the reclining figure – frequently nude and female – which came to define notions of beauty in the western canon. For Jackson, appropriation is a means of investigation and mining the past is a way of understanding how collective knowledge and received ideas come into being. In this exhibition, the works draw on his consideration of the odalisque as the ultimate eroticised representation of the body on display for a spectator. The interest in delving into the relationship between race and past preconceptions of beauty was inspired by his reading of ‘The History of White People’ by the acclaimed historian Nell Irving Penn.
The human relationship with nature and our inclination to see human form in inanimate objects – a form of ‘pareidolia’ – has inflected Jackson’s versions of the reclining figure which are composed of found forms. The artist sourced broken and rotting branches, detritus from unseen corners, during walks in Wyoming and New York, casting these components in bronze to create the parts for his human representations. In this way, he encourages us to examine our own tendency to see and project ourselves onto nature, equating the human body with a landscape, a profile of mountains or a vista. The Scottish thistles that are depicted in the reclining figure sculptures are representative of how we define what is beautiful, or desirable in nature. These weeds are considered invasive in much of North America and, for Jackson, these plants relate to larger contemporary conversations regarding insurgents, refugees and immigrants. As he explains, ‘with their inclusion in the sculpture, I wish to turn a critical eye on how we define and classify that which we see as ‘other’ or undesirable.’ For Jackson this examination of human nature has repercussions because, ‘the more we look to the past and our interaction with tradition, history, images, forms and mythology, the more we can address the current situation.’
2; Charlie Evaristo-Boyce – Amazing Amazing Amazing Amazing – ” Charlie Evaristo-Boyce is a 21st century pop artist who transforms the ordinary into the iconic. His prints celebrate the unassuming images found among the urban detritus of everyday life. Through mirroring and exaggerating these sources, he creates a hyper-real version of reality While much of his inspiration is drawn from pre-existing imagery found in commercial graphics, food packaging and advertising, Charlie also creates prints from details found within his own photography. These images are cut up, manipulated and printed on a large scale to accentuate the colour and detail, opening the viewer’s eyes to previously unseen aspects. Charlie has his own adhoc approach to printing, which ensures that each print is unique. In August 2017, during a residency at Printworks London, Charlie was challenged to create an immersive print based installation. Through workshops with community groups, a vast city was constructed entirely from screen-printed cardboard boxes. Here we are exhibiting a select few of these printed sculptures along side new canvases and editions”.Opening night is 21 Feb 2018, 6pm until 9pm. The show runs until March 21st. Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery is at Stour Road, Fish Island, Hackney Wick, London E3 3NT
3: Faith Ringgold – Paintings And Story Quilts, 1964-2017 – Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is delighted to present the first European solo exhibition of acclaimed African-American artist Faith Ringgold from 23 February to 28 April 2018. The show comprises a small selection of 1960s paintings from her renowned American People Series alongside an overview of her ‘story quilts’ from the 1980s to the present. Coinciding with the exhibition, Ringgold will be in conversation at Tate Modern on Thursday 19 April, with an introduction provided by Frances Morris (Director, Tate Modern).
“Throughout the 1960s, Ringgold produced politically charged paintings that shattered the notion of the American dream, highlighting racial and gender inequalities rife in society. Rendered in a style that synthesises post-Cubist Picasso, Pop Art and traditional African sculpture and design, the figures in these paintings reflect the tension arising from interracial contact and the psychological substructure of racism in everyday life, a far cry from the utopian aspirations of the civil rights movement happening at the time. The flat planes of colour and thin glazes of paint speak to the influence of Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden upon the artist’s work.
From the early 1970s, Ringgold was instrumental in the organisation of protests against the predominantly male art world. Focusing her attention upon the Whitney Annual, Ringgold demanded that 50% of the artists should be female. In 1971, she set up Where We At, Black Women Artists, Inc (WWA), a collective of black female artists who felt neglected not only by the mainstream but also by the male dominated Black Arts Movement and the largely white Feminist one. Ironically, many years later, Ringgold’s work is now on display at the Whitney Museum in An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection. In addition, the collective efforts of these female African-American artists including Ringgold were the subject of a recent exhibition at Brooklyn Museum, New York titled We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85, which is now on view at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo.
In the 1980s, Ringgold shifted her tone, moving away from the explicit works of the previous few decades. At the time, the artist was looking to appropriate a medium that was historically associated with femininity, yet could be implemented for subversive means. In 1980, Ringgold collaborated with her mother Willie Jones, a fashion designer and dressmaker, on her first quilt, Echoes of Harlem (1980), now in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. This proved to be a formative experience for Ringgold. Tapping into the rich tradition of African-American quilt-making, and combining it with her love of European painting and the written word, Ringgold went on to develop her now legendary ‘story quilt’ technique. That the artist’s great-great-grandmother Susie Shannon was born into slavery and produced quilts for plantation owners lends Ringgold’s work a deeper, personal register.
Ringgold’s solo exhibition at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery brings together a rich selection of works that follows the artist’s passionate and poetic exploration of issues relating to race, gender and history throughout her career”.
The Faith Ringgold show opens on February 22nd (6pm until 8pm) and then runs from the 23rd Feb until April 28th. Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is at 6 Heddon Street, London, W1B 4BT
4; Context: Gallery Artists & Collaborators, a group show at Charlie Smith London – opening night, Thursday February 22nd – “In our first exhibition of the year, Charlie Smith London is pleased to offer a unique opportunity to view our gallery artists and key collaborators in context. The ahow will feature work from Peter Ashton Jones, Emma Bennett, Kiera Bennett, Tom Butler, Dan Coombs, Florian Heinke, Sam Jackson, Reece Jones, Kate Lyddon, Eric Manigaud, Wendy Mayer, Hugh Mendes, Alex Gene Morrison, Gavin Nolan, Dominic Shepherd, John Stark, Geraldine Swayne, Barry Thompson, and Gavin Tremlett
Gallery Director Zavier Ellis states: “In some ways a gallery artists show is a pretty dull and unimaginative thing to do. But, on the upside it enables our audience to digest our stable in context. We are mostly a painter’s gallery, albeit with a curatorial emphasis that embraces every medium when appropriate. The artists we exhibit are technical, but this is nowhere near enough in itself. You will find that each one of them makes work with an intense emotional, philosophical or psychological charge, and so their work operates in a challenging, profound way. These artists are lateral thinkers who know that the trajectory of history is not as linear as is often presented, and that everything operates in a complex, non-hierarchical, interconnected way. Embracing doctrines and tendencies from the modern and postmodern periods, as well as near and deep history, they conduct their investigation without irony or sentimentality, but rather with positive affirmation, intelligence and deliberation.
Added to the gallery artists in this show, we have invited others with whom we collaborate regularly, who work in paint, pencil, charcoal and installation. So in actual fact, a potentially dull and unimaginative idea becomes an intriguing and engaging proposition. This is not for everyone, but those that get it will be rewarded for their conviction.”
The private view or opening night or whatever you want to call it is on the 22nd February from 6:30pm to 8.30pm. Exhibition Dates Friday 23rd February to Saturday 31st March, Gallery Hours: Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm or by appointment Address, 336 Old St, 2nd Floor, Shoreditch, London EC1V 9DR. Charlie Smith London
5: Jan Frank – New Paintings at Nahmad Projects – “Join us for the opening of Jan Frank: New Paintings, his first solo show in the UK. The exhibition will showcase new paintings and drawings in a progression from figuration to the abstract. In addition, the show will include two large-scale sculptural installations realized in the 1970s. In the words of the art critic Adrian Dannatt, Jan “continues to embody the paradigm of the New York painter,” having been molded by friendships with American greats including Willem de Kooning and Chuck Close. The paintings expand his exploration of line, layering and repeating appropriated contours made by himself and other artists.
“For more than a year I drew after the nude, finding descriptive line to put into stages of abstract configuration. This process still keeps going. I now work from a large body of existing lines, by other artists and myself. These are enlarged and screenprinted onto the canvas. These lines are pure, they are tools. My archive of lines is very selective, a vocabulary of my own.” – (Jan Frank on the exhibition Jan Frank: New Paintings, 2018). Opening night, 22nd February (6:00pm – 9pm)., the show runs until April 20th – Nahmad Projects is at 2 Cork Street, London, W1S 3LB London.