Where were who or what? Still still poking at things like we did here last week? Same stuff, different day (or week or year). We already said all this, we almost certainly do need to (or maybe don’t need to do?) do that five art things thing again don’t we? We probably should? The so called season has kicked in now, all that cheap wine and warm beer and Just a bit more of that glue that holds the who or what together. The art of repetition? Where were we? No one ever reads the editorial at the top, we could say anything here. We are kind of still repeating ourselves whilst under stress, did you even notice the repeating? Do you just cut to the chase every single time?. And well, we could do it again, we could? We could? We really could? Shall we? Who reads this? What is this Five Art Things thing? We said all this last week didn’t we? And the week before…
So five art things, five more art things happening somewhere around right now, or coming up any moment now, five art shows to check out in the coming days . Hey, I know we said it last time and yes this admittedly rather fractured Five Art Things feature was and 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 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 (and not a selfie of any of us hanging out at the damn show next to a piece of art either), just five art things…
1: Jonny Green at New Art Projects – Private view Thu 9th Sep 6.30pm, exhibition runs until – Sat 30th Oct 2021 – “New Art Projects are delighted to present our first solo show by Jonny Green. For his most recent series of paintings his starting point was news from a Polish friend in 2020 that the Polish government had started to introduce draconian laws that designated ‘LGBT-free zones’. He took three society portraits by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) of women depicted resplendent in their finery and painted them as men. Each painting was then given a Polish name with a specific meaning Leonek- (Strong as a Lion), Ondrey (Manly) and Gerek (Ruler with a spear). Since making the first three works his interest in Edwardian portraiture and gender politics has moved and developed to form this exhibition. The life of John Singer Sargent’s and his paintings in particular, with their implicit assumptions of the sitters’ privilege and wealth, have fascinated Green. The trappings of wealth, and the ephemera displayed around Sargent’s sitters speak clearly and broadly about the values of his time, and about the high society he wished to portray.
Jonny Green was especially drawn to a portrait of Vernon Lee, a pseudonym for Violet Paget (1856-1935) in the Tate Gallery. A lifelong friend of Sargent, a ‘lesbian writer of supernatural fiction’ who during her life refused to be labelled as a lesbian, despite always dressing ‘à la garcon’. The sexual ambiguity of this picture and its sitter is extraordinary for its time. Sargent, a lifelong bachelor was involved in a moneyed group of central European intellectuals and free-thinkers, who were more accepting and indeed more radical than the society of the time “Many gay men, flamboyant performers, intellectuals, he was very comfortable with all of them.”
Green has chosen to look again now at the world and milieu inhabited by Sargent and his circle, at a time when gender pronouns and identity is being questioned again. In our current climate gender fluidity is more open, and more recognised, with many public figures declaring themselves to be somewhere on a spectrum that defies categorisation, and where a new generation believe in acceptance and inclusion outside of traditional gender binaries.
These paintings also make reference to Marcel Duchamp and his alter ego RRose Sélavy. The character of “Rrose” was Duchamp’s project to destabilise the viewer’s perception of him as an artist. By becoming “Rrose,” Duchamp played with contemporary 1920s drag conventions and by adopting a woman’s persona, Duchamp undermined the normal male or ‘heroic’ connection between the artist and his work. “Rrose Sélavy,” (“The erotic is life”) proposes that the sexual power of an artist might not necessarily come from an Orphic tradition, and that the origins of both artistic creation and sex are more fluid. For this exhibition Green has instead flipped the gender of the sitter, suggesting that the role of the society doyenne is equally as fluid.
When making these paintings Jonny Green has used a combination of digital collage and artificial intelligence to re-gender these sitters. However, he has intentionally avoided satire and he has struggled to make his sitters sympathetic and avoid any sense that they may appear ridiculous or funny. The resulting pictures look right and natural and appear to exist as society portraits that co-exist with and within their age. They are a playful look, and antidote to the emerging far right politics that seek to re-write the history of a more fluid time and place and instead offer a playful glimpse into a world of freedom that might have existed behind closed doors, but that began to change both art and society into the world we know today”.
New Art Projects is at 6d Sheep Lane, Hackney, London, E8 4QS. Just by Broadway Market, not far from the Regents Canal and a stone’s throw from Beck Road.
2: Unity – D*Face, Kai & Sunny, and Shepard Fairey Group Show. Opening nigght, Thursday 9th September, 6 – 9pm, the exhibition then runs from 10th September until the 26th – “StolenSpace are pleased to welcome world renowned artists, D*Face, Kai & Sunny and Shepard Fairey in an unique collaborative exhibition. The artists have enjoyed a longstanding relationship throughout the decades, which has now sparked the idea of a collaborative exhibition. It is completely fitting that these three artists should display their work together, with each being inspired by nature, relationships and, the politics of the world. These themes are woven together by their shared expertise of design led graphic aesthetics and clean line-work. Their individual yet complementary styles have developed over time alongside their friendship; starting from a shared college experience between D*Face and Kai & Sunny, which led to Kai & Sunny’s first exhibit held at StolenSpace Gallery, to the 20 year long friendship between Shepard Fairey and D*Face, and Kai & Sunny exhibiting and collaborating with Shepard Fairey at Subliminal Projects in L.A. The recurring themes of unity and nature in each of the artists’ work, can be used to visually explore the power of nature as a force for change, as it encourages humanity to come together as one and inspire a romanticisation of a better world for the future generation. The current climate we are living in demands the need for human connection and consideration of our planet and ourselves. This exhibition responds by uniting the talents of three styles, and friends, who can express these issues through the powerful medium of their art. Consisting of around 30 collaboratively worked pieces , including a collaboration printed edition, this show will be a truly unforgettable, shared narrative”.
3: Sara Barker: [hems] at The Approach, opening night Thursday 9th September and then until 23rd October – Now this looks promising , “The Approach is excited to present [hems], new sculptures made by Glasgow-based artist Sara Barker. Originally commissioned for her solo exhibition at Cample Line, Scotland, in 2020, Barker’s sculptures were made during lockdown. Using the limited materials and space around her, Barker has produced – by hand – a series of domestically sized wall-mounted reliefs, incorporating painted and moulded brass, steel and aluminium as well as everyday materials such as wood, cardboard and wire”.
The Approach gallery is up above the pub of the same name, 1st Floor, 47 Approach Rd, London E2 9LY. There’s a not really that obvious door inside the pub just to the left of the bar There’s also a Jack Lavender exhbition opening at the gallery on the same night. Wonder why they don’t have a sign ot any indication that there is a gallery behind those doors, part of the aloofness of art I guess?
4: SAKI&Bitches, Shi no no me at Sway – opening night 16th September and then until September 25th. “In celebration of her 10th anniversary, SAKI & Bitches will be back at Sway Gallery with her new series of works. Her solo exhibition, ‘Shi no no me’ will feature original works including her iconic Yujo/Geisha paintings, as well as pencil drawings and prints. In keeping with her dedication to capturing and telling the story of ancient Japanese courtesans, SAKI reflects and combines her own emotions in these new works for the first time.
“Even though my previous works were affected by thoughts and emotions of mine at the moment of the creation, I never tried to express my feelings or intentionally include them in my art. The way I create was a mix and match imageries to tell some stories. It was just physical shapes and objects to create some emotions. For this exhibition, I added my own emotions or my emotions led to certain imageries, which was very fresh but scary. It’s great to see how my works changed and progressed in 10 years.”
The title ‘Shi no no me’ means ‘dawn’ in English, This exhibition will be the beginning of her new decade and introduce to you a new and raw expression of SAKI&Bitches”.
Sway Gallery is at 70-72 Old St, London, EC1V 9AN
5: Late Works 4 at Gallery 46 Opening: 12th September 2021, 5pm until 10pm – “The fourth iteration of the original Late Works event, where a group of musicians spontaneously improvise music in response to two painted folding dressing screens. The musicians are asked to respond for a total of 30 minutes to each screen, with them being rotated midway through the performance. The screens themselves stand in front of both the audience and the musicians, with everyone, including the musicians, experiencing it simultaneously and for the first time. Three years after the first iteration of this event in September 2018, the newest screens by Finlay Abbott-Ellwood & Oliver Pearce will be responded to live by a group of musicians on the evening of Sunday 12th September.
Elsewhere in the space, the other 6 screens painted by Alice Bloomfield, Jade Delmage, Fergus Polglase, Ethan Reeves, Jack Shearing & Daniel Kerrison Stock will be on display for the first time since the events they were created for. You will be able to listen to the recordings from these first three events as you view the artworks, but please bring your own headphones! Late Works is a nomadic series of live intermedia events and permutable collective of artists, musicians, writers, designers, filmmakers and dancers, with a monthly radio show on Resonance Extra. Each manifestation of Late Works is governed by a set of pre-determined rules and instructions, aimed to encourage discourse, collaboration and exchange
Gallery 46 is found at 46 Ashfield Street, London E1. The art itself is on view on the 11th and 12th September, Midday until 6pm on the 11th, midday until 10pm on the 12th.
6; We should mention that Hugh Mendes show that Charlie Smith London has on at the Truman Brewery Gallery right now, it opened last Tueasday evening and goes on until this Sunday. – “CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present a Hugh Mendes retrospective exhibition at The Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London. Consisting of over 100 paintings and spanning 20 years of work, the exhibition will provide a fascinating overview of Mendes’ career. He is known for political and obituary paintings, where he adopts the visual language of newspapers and renders in trompe l’oeil”. We did run a rather frasctured review testerday, explore our thoughts, a whole load of images and full details here
The exhibition is at 11 Dray Walk, The Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London E1 6QL Dray Walk is where Rough Trade Records is, the show is just across from Rough Trade and runs from Wednesday 8th until Sunday 12th September 2021 (11am until 6pm besides Sunday which is Midday until 5pm
And yes, we fi cemebrate ten years of Cultivate, Cultivate is an Organ thing as you probably know, we did quietly note out tenth birthday the other day. We will be along with a bag load of news shows to celebrate this fact any moment now – ORGAN THING: Happy birthday to us, Cultivate is ten. It was ten years ago today, that mad rush of a take over, the naked red men, Vyner Street, First Thursday and…
And while we’re here, it would be rude not to park this here, a show over in Richmond featuring Julia Maddison alongside a rather enticing line up at One Paved Court
More of this kind of thing next week I expect… maybe…