Five things then, five recommended art things and like we said last time, go we need an introduction? All very simple, five art things coming up or happening right now, same as we said last time, a born again regular (unless it all falls off the edge of a cliff again) almost certainly weekly, or something like weekly, a weekly round up of recommended art events, shows exhibitions and things we rather think might be worth checking out, dates for you diary and such. Mostly London for that’s where we currently operate and explore, and no claims that these are “the best five” or the “Top Five”, we’re not one of those art websites that ignore most things whilst claiming to be covering everything and proclaiming this or that to be the top thing or the best thing. this is just regular list a five or so art things we think you might find interesting. A little more mainstream this week, relatively so, but hey, that’s the way it crumbles sometimes. Art is good for you …
1: NASSER AZAM: Salful Malook at Saatchi Gallery – 30th May until 10th June – Nasser is known for his official portrait commission of Malala Yousafzai at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham, artistic expedition to Antarctica and Athena in the London City Airport, which at 12 metres, it is the tallest bronze sculpture in the UK. His new series of abstract and large-scale paintings (approx. 10ft x 12ft), created in situ on the banks of one of Pakistan’s highest lakes, were inspired by the fairy tale like poetry of Sufi saint Mian Muhammad Bakhsh.
Here’s some words from the gallery – “Nasser Azam will unveil a new series of abstract and large-scale paintings at the Saatchi Gallery, London from 30 May to 10 June 2019. The exhibition Nasser Azam: Saiful Malook, follows the artist’s pilgrimage to lake Saiful Malook, a secluded paradise near the mountains of Kashmir. Lake Saiful Malook was made famous by the Sufi saint and poet Mian Muhammad Bakhsh (1830 – 1907) in his poem of the same name, and is located in modern-day Pakistan close to the military controlled Kashmir border. The poem was popularised in the 90s by the qwaliyan (a genre of music based on the devotional poetry of Sufism) musician Nushret Fateh Ali Khan, who translated it into song and introduced it to the West. It tells the story of a Prince of Persia who starts a restless journey to the lake in search of a fairy princess he saw in a dream. Inspired by the poem, Azam visited Saiful Malook in August 2018, with British Indian composer Soumik Datta and British Indian photographer and filmmaker Souvid Datta. Each artist created work in situ on the banks of the lake, one of the highest in the country. Azam’s paintings that form the exhibition in London follow the thematic journey of the poem, interweaving ideas of enlightenment, struggle and sacrifice with his own life and work as an artist”.
2: Emma Amos, Vivian Browne and Chemu Ng’ok, ‘My Kind of Protest’ – Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is delighted to present ‘My Kind of Protest’ , an exhibition of works by Emma Amos, Vivian Browne and Chemu Ng’ok. Working across different time periods, each of these artists creates psychologically charged portraits addressing what it means to be a black woman in a society ruled by men. While some of these works date back 60 years, they remain no less relevant in today’s fraught political climate and the three artists share a common, still unresolved and pertinent struggle. This intergenerational exhibition will comprise a rare 1960s oil painting from Vivian Browne’s first major body of work, important historical works by Emma Amos from the 1980s and 1990s, and new paintings by young Kenyan artist Chemu Ng’ok. This show opens tonight, Wednesday 22nd May and then from Thursday May 23rd until…. well they don’t say… ,ore details via www.houldsworth.co.uk. Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is at, 6 Heddon Street, W1B 4BT London, United Kingdom. Lots more info via the Facebook event page.
3: Anna Reading’s new solo show at Standpoint Gallery is on right now – “Installed across a vinyl floor collage, Anna Reading’s The Pothole presents a series of new sculpture and performance works developed over the past year. Combining layers of surplus commodity materials, including shredded foam, gravel, oyster shells, bitumen, chip forks and cardboard, Reading creates a highly tactile and fragmented environment within Standpoint Gallery. The gallery becomes a physically animated space, in which the figure and its surroundings interconnect. Performances will take the form of direct interactions with objects, simultaneously responding to their effect whilst also projecting meaning. Traversing sculpture, moving image and performance, Reading’s practice addresses the absurd relationship between the organic and the synthetic. Sculptures appear familiar and puzzling at once, existing between life form & architecture, ancient & futuristic and decay & regeneration. Reading aims to foreground the illogical, the emotional and the sensory”. The show runs until 22 June 2019, Wednesday to Saturday, 12 – 5pm, entry is free, Standpoint Gallery is at 45 Coronet Street Hoxton London N1 6HD,
4: Jake Wood-Evans. “Legacy & Disorder – This May, Unit London presents a new solo exhibition by British artist, Jake Wood-Evans. “Legacy & Disorder centres around Wood-Evan’s fascination with combining the past and present. The artist’s large-scale oil paintings and drawings convey an altered atmosphere and re-appropriated view of 18th-century subjects, including; portraiture, seascapes, and figurative compositions.
The painterly works draw on the legacies of Old Masters through a layer of abstraction, depicting familiar, yet obscured content matter – updated for the digital age. Taking influence from the work of John Constable, J.M.W Turner, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, and George Stubbs, among others, Wood-Evans’ next generation painting style retains recognisable elements that allude to the conventions of art history. Wood-Evans’ ethereal, unsettling pictures evoke a haunting beauty; as the artist describes, his work is ‘a process of conflict with the ambiguous space between representation and abstraction.’
Legacy & Disorder follows Wood-Evans’ recent 2018 museum exhibition REPORTRAIT at the Nottingham Castle Museum and previous solo exhibitions, Subjection & Discipline and Transitions with Unit London. The upcoming body of work is focused around the creation of a transient, enveloping yet imploding, space for his fragmented historical figures to inhabit.
Coming to this body of work via a period of concentration on landscape paintings last year, the artist – much like one of his biggest idols, Thomas Gainsborough – has found his interest piqued in the pictorial setting of a subject. The area that surrounds his central figures has become a fertile ground for a new energy and experimentation. The works evoke a dream-like version of the countryside idylls and stately landscapes found in the portrait backdrops of powerful and influential 18th-century figures. Aesthetically, the paintings are both joyful and profoundly unnerving, suggestive of the uneasy dreams of an English ruling class that cannot quite believe in its own rhetoric and grandeur. The figures, vibrating with ambivalence, are situated in a space that seems to refuse to stand still.
In a departure from his previous body of work, the surface of Wood-Evan’s new canvases have a smooth, glossy and delicate finish, despite retaining an intense richness of perspective and volume, achieved through the artist’s use of colour and light. Alongside precise attention to detail and studied craftsmanship, there is an obvious joy in experimentation and looseness of application. Reworking and reusing previously painted and discarded canvases, Wood-Evans introduces an anarchy of shape, form, and colour, which reflects the magnificent pandemonium of life, past and present, in chaotic, colliding overlay. A heightened focus on the grandiose fabrics and dress worn by the subjects is prominent in the artist’s work. Wood-Evans’ figures are dichotomies, they appear in a state of fluidity and transformation. They are simultaneously both relevant and threateningly obscure. The artist has placed clues and suggestions in the works, leaving them open for interpretation. Ultimately, Legacy & Disorder offers a refuge amongst the sublime beauty and tranquility of the paintings, and the turmoil of a constantly shifting, fractured reality.
5: Theaster Gates, ‘Afro-Mingei‘ – “White Cube Mason’s Yard is pleased to present ‘Afro-Mingei’ by Theaster Gates. Featuring a new body of work, the exhibition draws attention to aesthetic modes and classifications; to pre-determined ways of understanding culture and to how these emerge from and connect to history, race and society” The show opens this Thursday evening, 23rd May, “Admission is free, everyone welcome” .The show the nruns from 24 May until 22 June 2019. White Cube Mason’s Yard is at 25 – 26 Mason’s Yard, London SW1Y 6BU. More here
And while we’re here, the Art Car Boot Fair is getting closer, the first of the participating artists we’re officially announced this week…