ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Louise Bonnet at Galerie Max Hetzle, Thirteen Paintings Inspired by Nick Cave, Richard Artschwager, Vivian Suter, Them at Redfern Gallery, The Offending Article at Transition…

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Five more art things? This week’s picks? The art year got off to a decent start with the first of four installment of Cacotopia 04  at Annka Kultys Gallery last week as well as that rather packed and buzzing Punk4MetalHealth fundraiser at Stash Gallery over at that den of delight that is Vout-O’Reenee’s,underneath that church, and yes, the bits of Condo2020 we managed to explore last weekend as well, and the first Oust of 2020 sighted (although I expect there are quite a few more out there already).

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Five more art things then, five upcoming art things to check out then. We will try to do it most weeks, yes this admittedly rather fractured Five Art Things feature is intended to be a regular, almost certainly weekly, or something like something near weekly – an almost weekly round up of recommended art events. Five shows, exhibitions or things we rather think might be worth checking out. Mostly London things for that is where we currently operate and explore, and like we said last time (and the time before), these five recommendation come with no claims that these are “the best five” or the “Top Five”, we’re not one of those annoying art websites that ignore most things whilst claiming to be covering everything and proclaiming this or that to be the “top seven things” or the “best things this weekend”., no, this is simply a regular list of five or so art things coming up soon that we think you might find as interesting as we do, five art things coming in in the next few days in no particular order (and yes, there are six, things are starting to get busy

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Louise Bonnet

1: Louise Bonnet: New Works at Galerie Max Hetzle – opening 16th January (6pm until 8pm) – “Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to present new large-scale paintings by LA-based artist Louise Bonnet, in her first solo exhibition in the UK. Known for her portraits of voluminous bodies, Bonnet presents the weight of human stresses and emotions in physical form.  In her paintings, the figures’ bodies swell and bloat to exaggerated proportions, as though heavy with the feelings of the mind. Simple actions, like kneeling or hiding, stretch and bend the bodies into uncomfortable extremes, often bringing the figures to the edge of the canvas itself. Interested in the tension of limbs, muscles and the materials that cover them, Bonnet transforms the human form as we know it, all the while retaining a masterful sense of corporeality”.

Galerie Max Hetzle is found on the First Floor, 41 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NS. The shows runs from 16th January until 29 February

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2: Thirteen Paintings Inspired by Nick Cave at Charlie Smith London – opening on Thursday, 16 January (6:30- 8:30pm) – “Charlie Smith London is delighted to invite curator and collector Angela Koulakoglou to present Words that transform, vibrate and glow: 13 paintings inspired by the lyrics of Nick Cave.  The exhibition was conceived over a year ago and its timing is prescient; Cave’s latest album, Ghosteen, was released with a hallucinatory painting as its cover in October 2019. Unprecedented in their visuality and striking in their ability to conjure apocalyptic landscapes, all the songs on Ghosteen are visions. As Cave embarks on a world tour in 2020, a conversation between his lyrics and painting becomes all the more relevant”.

‘I can’t write a song that I cannot see’, Cave once stated in an interview. Having started his career as a painter, he soon turned to song writing and over several decades has produced a body of lyrics unparalleled in their consistent richness, unforgettable imagery, and unique combinations of darkness, humour, despair and hope.  Drawn from songs written throughout his career, from the famed Peaky Blinders signature tune Red Right Hand to the early and more obscure Release the Bats, the thirteen paintings included in this exhibition are testimony to the fertile but often unexplored territory that lies between the arts. Three of the artists present are musicians: James Johnston was in fact a member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds between 2003-2008; Emma Bennett is the bassist for Dear Thief; and Daniel P. Carter, who also hosts BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show, performs with metal group Krokodil. The participating artists represent different generations, backgrounds, and ethnicities and they approach their art in different ways.  Each one has ‘seen’ their painting in Cave’s lyrics in a reverse trajectory to that of the poet. Connecting word to world, the paintings in this exhibition occupy the space in between, opening up new imaginative possibilities. Deeply personal, unexpected and moving, poetry meets image in these thirteen powerful paintings that stretch our sensory and spiritual boundaries”.

Curated by Angela Koulakoglou, the full line up of artlists is  Emma Bennett, Daniel P. Carter, Nadine Feinson, Maggi Hambling, Florian Heinke, Sam Jackson, James Johnston, Susanne Kühn, Concha Martinez Barreto, George Shaw, Dominic Shepherd, George Stamatakis and Rose Wylie

Charlie Smith London is at 336 Old Street, London,  EC1V 9DR  The (so called) private view: is on Thursday 16 January 2020, the show then runs from Friday 17 January until Saturday 8 February 2020. The Gallery is open Wednesday until Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment

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Vivian Suter

3: Vivian r, Tintin’s Sofa at Camden Arts Centre – opening Thursday 16th January, (6.30pm – 8.30pm) – “Vivian Suter’s (b. 1949, Buenos Aires) paintings are born from the terrain and habitat that surrounds their making.  Working amid the wilderness of her lakeside studio in Guatemala, her large, unstretched canvases are hung outdoors to absorb the traces of falling leaves, rain, passing animals and mud.  Presenting the finished works as an immersive cacophony—suspended, overlapping and environmental—Suter’s streaked and soaked canvases, swathed in colour, form a permeable membrane between nature and civilization”.

Camden Arts Centre is at 1 Arkwright Road, London, NW3 6DG The show runs from 17th Jan 2020 until 5th April.

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Richard Artschwager

4: LIVE IN YOUR HEAD. Richard Artschwager’s Cabinet of Curiosities at Gagosian Gallery (London, Davies Street), opening night Thursday 16th January (6pm until 8pm) –  “There isn’t any art until some creature sees and consumes it. And has a reaction”. – Richard Artschwager. “Gagosian is pleased to present Live in Your Head: Richard Artschwager’s Cabinet of Curiosities, an exhibition spanning the five decades of Artschwager’s career, and his first in London since 2003”.

“Live in Your Head was conceived specifically in response to the Davies Street gallery space, with its wide plate glass window giving on to a busy Mayfair thoroughfare. The installation will be visible from the street, its components arranged like objects in a Joseph Cornell box. It also recalls a sixteenth-century Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosity—a collection of specimens, relics, and other marvels that was displayed as a microcosm of its owner’s knowledge and experience. Artschwager studied science and mathematics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York before and after serving as an intelligence officer in the Second World War. In making art, he revealed an empirical fascination with artifacts both extraordinary and banal, deriving surreal results from everyday sources, whether through shifts in scale or transpositions of forms from one material to another”. Gagosian Gallery is at 17-19 Davies Street, London, W1K 3DE. The show runs from 17th Jan until 7th March

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The Offending Article

4.5: The Offending Article – Rosemary Cronin and Stuart McKenzie at Transition Two Gallery – opening 17th Jan (6:30pm – 8.30pm) – “Lost in a restless cycle of wash, rest, rinse, spin, dry The Offending Article draws upon objects that communicate loss trauma through the fading of their very objectness.  Taking poetry as a starting point this exhibition sees Rosemary Cronin and Stuart McKenzie explore the affects and associations of the abject and banal. Mixing ‘male,’ ‘female,’ meaning, metaphor, signs and semiotics Cronin and McKenzie breakdown slippery associations to make time stand still through the sensory seduction of their disrupted objects.

Transition Two is at 110 Lauriston Rd, London, E9 7HA – Hidden slightly around the corner on the street just off the roundabout, we’re rather enjoying the born again thing that is Transition, far better then that tower block they hid in.   The Offending Article runs from 18th Jan until  9th Feb.

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Duggie Fields

5: THEM at  Redfern Gallery – “The Redfern Gallery is delighted to present THEM, an exhibition examining the work of five artists who came to prominence in the early 1970s, Duggie Fields, Derek Jarman, Andrew Logan, Luciana Martinez and Kevin Whitney. – Curated by James Birch, the show’s title derives from an article of the same name written by the cultural historian Peter York for Harpers & Queen that appeared in October 1976. With great acuity, it sought to unravel an aesthetic sensibility apparent in young Londoners of the time. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue which includes essays by the playwright Polly Stenham and the cultural historian Barry Miles, as well as interview by art historian Adrian Dannatt with Peter York

To be ‘Them’, York wrote, was to be part of ‘a mysterious aesthetic conspiracy’ prepared to sacrifice almost anything to ‘look interesting rather than sexy’. This ‘look’ was a highly refined form of camp and came at a time when, according to York, ‘marketing of all sorts of things sold to non-queer people.’

York cited many things that weren’t Them, but also those who personified it. These included the singer and songwriter Bryan Ferry and the fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, while the David Bowie film, The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), which he considered a Them movie and Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World contest as the ultimate Them event.

The date of its publication is significant, because one month later on 26 November, The Sex Pistols released Anarchy in the U.K., an event that effectively swept away the concept of Them.

This exhibition, which brings together more than twenty works dating from the late 1960s to the 1980s, in­cluding paintings, sculptures and collage, examines the aesthetics behind the concept of THEM through the prism of art. While some of the five featured artists were named in York’s article— Andrew Logan and Duggie Fields are labelled as ‘The Gang’ —this was not a movement in any sense, but a sensibility around which they all loosely confederated.

It is perhaps in Kevin Whitney’s Chelita Secunda (1969/70), a monumental portrait of the late journalist and fashion stylist Chelita Secunda, that this spirit is most evident. The work, rendered in oil, depicts Secunda spilling out of the window of a sports car, her arms flailing as she clasps a small revolver. Dangerous and carefree, the smudge of glitter under her eyes alludes, perhaps, to her role kickstarting the glam rock revo­lution of the early 1970s.

Created a year after he graduated from Chelsea School of Art, Duggie Fields’ Fireside Cookies (1969) pres­ents two young women in swimming suits sprawled on a rug in a kitsch, domestic setting. Quotidian items surround the subjects — clothing lies scattered across the floor alongside half-read books and burning ciga­rettes, while beside the glowing fire sits a coal bucket and household plant. Combining elements from dispa­rate vocabularies, Field’s painting is a masterclass in exuberant, post-Pop figuration.

In contrast, Derek Jarman’s The Kingdom over the Sea (1987), strikes a darker note. One of his celebrated Black Paintings, it was created shortly after he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986 and acts as an autobi­ographical visualisation of his psychological mindset at that time. Embedded into tar are various found objects such as a candle and smashed glass in which words have been violently scratched, acting as a metaphor for Jarman’s reaction to his diagnosis.

The late Luciana Martinez de la Rosa’s epic painting Pru Pru (1981) offers a homage to Manet’s Olympia. However, here the reclining nude female figure is accompanied not by a servant but the artist herself attired in a kimono-like garment, a nod to the influence of Japanese prints in the original work. One of the so-called ‘Blitz Kids’, the band of fashionable club-goers that dominated the cultural dialogue in the early eighties, this work embodies that spirt of assimilation and artful contrivance. Also influenced by 16th-century Florentine court portraitist Bronzino, de la Rosa´s canvases are anything but diffident; her vivid palettes include magen­ta, tangerine and sheets of gold leaf; boldly modelled, her women are powerful, confident and mostly nude.

Andrew Logan is represented by his iconic Pegasus sculptures, Life Birth and Death (c.1980s). Constructed from fibreglass, glass, resin and glitter, they link back to the artist’s childhood obsession with Greek and Ro­man myth; his imagination was fire fired by the tale of the winged white horse that sprang from the severed neck of the Gorgon, slain by hero Perseus. His very first Pegasus in 1980 was built in six weeks and presented at the London premiere of the Alternative Miss World film, then paraded through Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Fulham. At least one new Pegasus has been created in each decade since. In white, red and black, these three Pegasus symbolise three different aspects of existence – life, birth and death – which is interchange­able according to the viewer’s perspective.

Says James Birch: ‘It is more than forty years since Peter York wrote about Them. It was a time — perhaps the last time — before culture became commodified. And while its time in the spotlight was fleeting, it has endured and the art created by the featured artists remains as fresh and exciting, almost timeless, and is still invested with the power to provoke and disorientate, amaze and excite.”

Redfern Gallery is at 20 Cork Street, London W1S 3H, the show runs from January 22nd until February 15th. Opening hours – Mon – Fri 11.00 – 5:30, Sat 11.00 – 2.00

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Kevin Whitney

 

 

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