Yok Is Home – Yok Joaquim at Hoxton Arches, East London, August 2021 – Sometimes it has to be about the sum of it all rather than just the individual parts of it. It does feel genuinely exciting to walk in and see it all together in front of you there in that railway arch of an East London space – art shows almost always look good in here, this is an expansive space, a proper art space, it hardly ever feels understated in here. This is as much an installation as an exhibition of canvas based art on a the walls of a gallery, the visual imagery further down this page really does all the talking you need. Born in Manila, Philippines in 1998, Yok’s bold black and white style here in the very white Hoxton arch is certainly imposing. The show, put on by Moosey, an art group based in Norwich, feels big, it feels like an event (apparently most of the work has sold already). I’m here early in the afternoon, the show’s already been open for over a week already, there’s no one here but me, it still feels like an event though, that really must be something to do with the sum of it all, about the whole thing, the whole show as one.
This is essentially pop art, cartoon pop art. This is urban art flavoured pop art, some of it feels like Keith Haring, maybe not the challenge of Haring, well definitely not. Does some of it feel rather Robert Crumb, some of that almost absurdist 60’s flavoured cartoon style that could maybe be questioned as a little too much of a throwback to more sexist times? Not sure about some of that naked woman imagery? Do like those big black flowers and those clouds are blissful on a mellow sunny Friday afternoon at the end of a rather absent summer, is there a touch of Michael De Feo in the room, a positive hint of “The Flower Man” in those bold three dimensional shapes that really do make this show work?
Is there an innocence to Yok’s art? Others have said childlike but no, not with some of that imagery. Some of it could be fantasy, the sense of art being for everyone? “Art is life, and life is art” as Keith Haring once said, it does almost feels like outsider art in some ways, certainly art that’s making no concessions, it feels exciting all together in the big arch, how much there actually in in the individual pieces once we step away from the impact of the whole, but this is an exciting exhibition, (SW).
Hoxton Arches is right by the Hoxton overground railway station. The show goes on until Sunday 29th August.
Please click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show