Old speak and lots of shade, nothing is the bomb around here mate, no one is smashing anything and we would never dream of being so full of ourselves as to suggest our selections were the “The Top 5 Exhibitions to see in London this week”, no, they are merely the five that are exciting us and yes, there is indeed every chance we’ve missed something. You don’t need another long-winded editorial introduction this week do you, did that last week, probably did it the week before, I’ll probably maybe do it again next week
Five more upcoming art things to check out this coming week. Hey, I know we asked you last week, but hey, have you noticed we;re being quite good at keeping to the weekly schedule so far this year? And like we said last time, we will try to do it most weeks, and yes this admittedly rather fractured Five Art Things feature is intended to be a regular, almost certainly weekly, or something like something near weekly thing – 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 recommendations come, as we already said up there, with no claims that they 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…
Five recommended Art show and things then…
1: Show Don’t Tell, an exhibition, at the Horse Hospital, a exhibition of what we’re promised will be “the highly individual works of five contemporary artists, Marc Almond, Sadie Lee, Jamie McLeod, Matthew Stradling, and Caitlin Ricaud, shown together for the very first time. Show Don’t Tell is a literary device and cinematic term. It is the technique of allowing a viewer to experience, relate to and gather information based on observation and actions, rather than written or spoken dialogue. The pieces in this group show draw on a variety of disciplines, all connected by the artists’ use of suggestion, fragmentation and implication”. The show opens with an artist’s reception on Saturday February 8th, 2pm until 5pm
Marc Almond came to prominence as the frontman of Soft Cell, having trained in Fine Art at Leeds University he went on to produce some of the most subversive and genre-defying pop music of the 80’s and 90’s, never belying his roots in Fine Art, which he has returned to in recent years. For this show he delivers his ‘Dadaesque’ montages and collages, which he calls ‘mood-boards’. Starting with a self-portrait that he then adorns with elements that are both sacred and divine from his unconsciousness and then crudely slicing and dicing them to create, almost religious-like shrines, with orgiastic abandon. Exotic festivities from his own Dante’s Inferno, with a wild cast of imagery ranging from endangered animals to savage brutes with fangs, diamond-studded collars, birds of paradise with axolotl eyes.
Sadie Lee is an award-winning British figurative painter. Her realistic, challenging paintings focus on a range of subjects, including the representation of women in art, sexuality, gender and the ageing body. Her paintings are a celebration of the personal politics of vulnerability, defiance and notions of ‘otherness’, with a strong sense of solidarity for her subject. Mostly known for her gritty portraits of people who sit for her, this series is an experimental juxtaposition, combining details of classical Rococco paintings with ‘70’s & ‘80’s pornography.
Jamie McLeod specialises in a curious hybrid genre, mashing up classic portraiture and blurring the lines between iconography and the graphic arts, creating cinematic-like cameos for his subjects to exhibit and expand within. Using the mediums of signage, printmaking and photography he conjures up pulp fiction images from the city’s lost and found using inks like a hypnotic-neon-hypodermic, electro-graphics with the noise and static included. Scratching and scrawling arcane symbols, poetry and the urban detritus he stumbles over into the very image. He focuses on territories where the flesh and the spirit are in eternal opposition, in a land of dead-end-chancers, exhibitionists, pop stars, femmes fatales, wrestlers, transvestites, criminals, poseurs and whores.
Matthew Stradling paints the body in sumptuous detail. The jewel-like colours belie the sometimes painful content. He delves into the realms of sex and death with delectation, making the painted flesh sparkle even as it speaks of its own fragility. His subjects are often the beautiful, the grotesque, the sexualised, the abject, the innocent and the damaged. For ‘Show Don’t Tell’ Matthew is unveiling a series of paintings he has worked on for many years which blend all these subjects in a new and perversely humorous way.
Caitlin Ricaud is a 20-year-old award winning student filmmaker from the London College of Communication. In 2018 she was commissioned to create 5 short films to be shown as an integral backdrop for Soft Cell’s grand finale concert at the O2 arena. Since then she has been in demand working continuously on music videos, short films, filming, directing and producing as a young ‘gun-for-hire’. Caitlin’s work ranges from documentary pieces to the more abstract, kaleidoscopic-dream-sequences .The themes she explores are the darker aspects of the self, delving into all that it is to be human, alternative lifestyles and sexuality, body politics, capitalism, the subconscious, hedonism, icon worship, prostitution, murder, religion and many more. For this show she is creating from scratch a provocative 15-minute installation piece for the main screen.
The exhibition, Show And Tell, runs from Saturday 8th of February – Friday 28th of February 2020 – Open Mon – Sat 12-6pm. The Horse Hospital is found at Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 1JD. (like we said last week, do go help keep it there) . here’s the Facebook event page for the show.
2: SAKI&Bitches, Everybody’s Welcome, Atom Gallery – opening this Friday evening, Friday 7th February – “Born in Japan, London-based, SAKI&Bitches cut her teeth in London’s street-art scene back in 2009, earning a reputation for her hand-painted paste-ups of “buxom and unapologetic” female characters which appeared on walls around Shoreditch. Over the past ten years her style has developed and become much more refined, with meticulously painted portraits on wood and canvas, and delicate pencil drawings referencing sensuality in Japanese culture. In this exhibition of new work she applies this new style to the hyper-sexualised and provocative themes of her street art – her pin-up girls clutch religious and pop cultural symbols with the confidence and sexuality of manga comics, and beautiful paintings and drawings are populated by a growing menagerie of seductive horned female devils, monsters and other nocturnal creatures. This is a world in which nothing is sacred – everybody’s welcome”. The exhibition will run from 8-29th February. The opening party, “to which everybody’s welcome!” is on Friday 7th February, more via the obligatory Facebook event page. Atom Gallery is at 127 Green Lanes, London, N16 9DA. here, once again is the damn Facebook event page.
3: Two solo shows opening at Stephen Friedman Gallery, two exhibitions by African-American artist Melvin Edwards and South African artist Kendell Geers, both opening this Thursday 6th February, (6–8pm).
African-American artist Melvin Edwards is celebrated for his distinctive sculptures and installations created from welded steel, barbed wire, chain and machine parts. Comprising new and historic works, this exhibition focuses on Edwards’ use of industrial materials and their symbolic associations to explore themes of race, protest and social injustice. The show is Edwards’ second at the gallery and follows his recent solo exhibitions at Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland and MASP, São Paulo. The exhibition is accompanied by a booklet with a commissioned essay by Eric Booker, Assistant Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem.
‘Love, By Any Means Necessary’ is a solo exhibition of new works by South African, Brussels-based artist and curator Kendell Geers. The title of the exhibition derives from the protest movements of the 1960s and is inspired by a statement by Malcolm X about the use of violence in political liberation. Describing himself as an ‘AniMystikAKtivist’, Geers weaves together diverse Afro-European traditions and a complex socio-political activism laced with humour and irony. The exhibition is accompanied by a booklet with a commissioned essay by Yala Kisukidi, Philosopher and Curator of Yango II Biennale, Kinshasa 2020.
Stephen Friedman Gallery is at, 25-28 Old Burlington Street, London, W1S 3AN.
4: Ages of Innocence at James Freeman Gallery – Opening: Thursday evening, February 6th, 6:30pm until 8:30pm An exhibition about the loss of innocence, with paintings by Aron Wiesenfeld and Christopher Noulton. “We are pleased to present ‘Ages of Innocence’, an exhibition of paintings by two contemporary artists: Aron Wiesenfeld and Christopher Noulton” so say the gallery. The work looks rather intriguing,/.
Aron Wiesenfeld is an American painter renowned for enigmatic work. His figures in solitary landscapes capture a sense of departure and of leaving innocence behind. Decidedly contemporary, the scenes are redolent of disaffected youth, alienated from society and adrift in magical environments, be it floating on boats amidst glittering leaves or swarmed by a flamboyance of butterflies in a field. At the same time they are also deeply informed by the history of painting: his elongated figures echo the Mannerism of El Greco; sunset waters, the Impressionism of Monet. The influence of American painting also flows strongly through his work: a girl on a rock recalls Andrew Wyeth’s ‘Christina’ turned around to face us, and the sparse solitude of Edward Hopper finds a new voice, albeit tempered with a sense of the fantastical. Wiesenfeld’s work brings these diverse influences together in paintings that explore the experience of uncertainty, and the abandonment of the familiar for a journey into the unknown.
is a British painter who creates an imaginary world from idealised fragments of the past. It is a playful place of lush green fields and art deco architecture, where dressed-up characters relive a version of England long lost. Play exists on many levels: in the bird’s eye view that observes toy-like vehicles speeding through tidy landscapes; in the mischievous characters who vandalise bucolic villages and then sneak away; and in the Barbarella-like figure who cuts armies of paper soldiers in defence of her childhood fortress. This is all presented in a half-light that evokes the mistiness of memory, whilst lending the work a cryptic undercurrent. The inscrutability of the actors’ motives recalls how unintelligible the adult world is to a child. Cutting is mysteriously abundant, of paper, of topiary trees, even in how the evergreen landscapes and motifs recur pattern-like across the paintings. Noulton’s peculiar vision constitutes an imperfect recreation of innocence tinged with the complexities of adulthood, and explores how nostalgia for simpler times can relate to a longing for the unfettered freedom of play.
‘Ages of Innocence’ opens on Thursday 6 February, 6:30 – 8:30pm. and runs from 6th February until 29th February. James Freeman Gallery is at 54 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0PD.
5: Toby Mott: Empty The Archive at Cultural Traffic Arts Project – “Following on from a recent sale of a detention line painting at Sotheby’s in London, works from this series will be available, everything on a first come first served basis.A few items from the Grey Organisation archive will also be available. The Empty The Archive project is a way of relinquishing some of my art works that have built up over time. From childhood oil pastel works to 1980’s Central School of Art life drawing studies, early 1990’s wax crayon works from my time in Los Angeles and dip pen and ink drawings made in London throughout the 2000’s, to sculptural works. Simply attend the exhibition pay what you can for a work of your choice and take it away with you. All I request is that you post a photo of the received work in situ adding the hashtags #EmptyTheArchive #TobyMott”
The opening late night reception or whatever you’d like to call it is on Thursday 13th February, (6pm until 8pm) although the show opens on Wednesday 12th Feb and runs until16th Feb., (Midday until 5pm). Cultural Traffic is, for this show, to be found at 198 Kensington Park Rd, Notting Hill, London, W11 1NR.
And while we’re here, don’t know too much about this one but Kelly Sweeney was rather good at her Horse Hospital thing last week
LGM-1 – A group show curated by Nathan Baumber at The Function Suite, opening night, 6th February, 6-9pm. The Function Suite is at 25 West Ham Lane, London, E15 4PH