ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Josephine Bacon at Bermondsey Project Space, Bill Lynch at The Approach, John McCarthy at Ben Oakley Gallery, Untangling the Perils that Tangle Us at The Koppel Project, Florence Peake at Richard Saltoun Gallery and…

Josephine Bacon

Where were who or what? We probably should? The art of repetition? 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, who reads this bit? What is this Five Art Things thing? We said all this last week didn’t we? And the week before and the year before, kissing big ugly sharks since when?

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, 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, 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 up in the next few days in no particular order, and still not a hint of selfie of any of us hanging out at the damn show next to a piece of art either, just five art things coming up…

Josephine Bacon

1: Josephine BaconEssere Umana: To be human  at Bermondsey Project Space – 16th to 20th November – ‘Essere Umana: To be human’ contrasts the eroticised female body with structures of isolation and abandonment. Bacon’s practice juxtaposes images of pornstars and fashion models with neglected barns, obsolete war bunkers and derelict airfield buildings.

Josephine Bacon says – “For many years the human body, specifically female, has been central to my work. Pornography, with the concept of the female body as an object or commodity, and popular notions of eroticism as manifested in advertising, top shelf magazines and internet porn have become subjects for exploration. Using a collection of tart cards found in telephone booths as a starting point I made a series of paintings of prostitutes. The format of the canvases – an elongated rectangle – echoes the proportions of a standard phone box. Each woman is contained within the space, often with limbs cropped, almost as though glimpsed through a half-open door. These women are not nudes in the tradition of life painting. They flaunt their bodies in soft-porn poses wearing bras and panties, stockings, sequined thongs, baby doll nighties. They may invite and provoke the male gaze but they gaze back with expression and agency.

In a deliberate move away from representations of the flesh I explored notions of isolation and desolation using images of abandoned water towers. Together with neglected barns, obsolete war bunkers, derelict airfield buildings, still bearing traces of humanity, they became totems in a desolate landscape, the forsaken water towers resembling angels guarding or watchful raptors scouring the bleak terrain for prey.

Eventually half-formed depictions of women, taken from magazine images, advertisements and sewing patterns were introduced. The sewing patterns evolved into a series that worked through a collection of dress patterns belonging to my late mother. The piece from the collection that inspired much of the work is the cover illustration for Simplicity 6970 showing six variations of one dress style. The models’ legs and faces had been scored and scribbled over with black biro with disturbing and sinister effect. They appear to have boxes or cages over their heads to conceal their faces. The original 1960s Simplicity pattern was easy to source and the heads of the models were revealed. This led to a series of portraits of the women. Through a process of obsessive drawing and painting each face acquired expression and became imbued with its own character.

The pattern pieces themselves are used in some of the drawings and paintings, either collaged onto the surface or as a painted representation of the paper piece. This was sometimes as a device to assert the flat surface of the canvas/paper, at other times they are stretched and distorted into ambiguous shapes. The boxes or head-covers appear too, as do the abandoned water towers; the women’s bodies echoing their spindly structures, the box-heads mirroring the water tank atop the fragile stilt-like legs. Both melancholic emblems of desolation and dereliction.

The most recent work here, made in the last few weeks, sees a return to the tart cards with a series of large drawings on pink coloroll paper and gold printed wallpaper. The figures, often headless, are almost crammed into the rectangle, with little or no context, filling the space entirely. Their bodies seem to burst out of the paper, their nakedness emphasised by the luridly coloured scant pieces of clothing.”

Bermondsey Project Space is at 183-185 Bermondsey Street (adjacent to White Cube Bermondsey) London SE1 3UW – 16th to 20th November 11am until 6pm

Bill Lynch

2: Bill LynchI am a Bird from Heaven’s Garden at The Approach – 10th November until 18th December –  “The Approach is delighted to present I am a Bird from Heaven’s Garden, a new solo exhibition by late American painter Bill Lynch (b. 1960, Albuquerque, NM; d. 2013, Raleigh, NC). Inspired from his frequent visits to the New York Metropolitan Museum combined with his love of the natural environment, Lynch depicted an array of scenes in his works: an array of birds, animals, blossoming trees, waterfalls, porcelain, statuettes and landscapes. Painting onto salvaged plywood, a process distinctive to the artist, his free-flowing brushstrokes betray his investment in Chinese and Japanese painting but also evoke his American roots. The main gallery will focus on Lynch’s paintings, whilst a selection of drawings will be presented in The Annexe”. More here

The Approach Gallery is hidden upstairs above the pub of the same name, they don’t really do signs, the door at the left end of the bar will get you there – 1st Floor, 47 Approach Rd, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9LY. Opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm with an opening late night, 6pm until 9pm on Wednesday 10th November.

Previous coverage from The Approach – ORGAN THING: Two new shows, two rewarding art shows at The Approach over in East London, Sara Baker’s excellent Hems and what is happening in Jack Lavender’s blackness?

John McCarthy at Ben Oakley Gallery

3: John McCarthyYou Iz A Machine at Ben Oakley Gallery – “McCarthy puts a whole new collection together for the Premier Showing of his large format collage paintings. Inspired by his love of vintage images, magazines, books and old comics”. Comic books, pop art, it may not be that revolutionary these days but when an artist grabs hold of it and does it well then…  “I’ve always collected vintage images. Old comics, magazines, posters and books, not in a ‘stick ’em in a big bag in the loft’ kind of way, but stored in large white boxes and placed in large white cupboards. Stanley Kubrick did the same thing (though his was a warehouse)  This lead to an idea of making paper collages of the ripped and torn images.Which in turn lead to another idea of making paintings of the paper collages. They were the same size. Sometimes you couldn’t tell which were the paper collages and which were the paintings. This exhibition brings them together for the first time; YOU IZ A MACHINE. The title of the show came from a conversation I overheard about getting things done. All artists are machines. JM”

The Ben Oakley Gallery is at 9 Turnpin Lane, Greenwich, London, SE 10 9JA. The show opens on the 12th November and runs until the 22nd of the same month, there’s an opening night on the 12th, 7pm until 9,30pm. The Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am until 6pm

Untangling the Perils that Tangle Us

4: Untangling the Perils that Tangle Us at The Koppel Project Hive, 12th November to 17th December  “The Koppel Project is pleased to announce the return of Kanbi Projects, the London based Curatorial and Art Advisory practice specialising in artists from Africa and the diaspora, presenting Untangling the Perils that Tangle Us, a group exhibition showcasing twelve artists, working on and off the continent, whose expressions engage the complexities of blackness as the world emerges from a global pandemic.

Curated by Adeola Arthur Ayoola of Kanbi Projects and Jumoke Sanwo, founder of the Revolving Art Incubator (RAI) in Lagos, Nigeria, Untangling the Perils that Tangle Us features some of the most exciting emerging artists of African descent including Nigerian artists Julius Agbaje, Adesina Adegboyega, Odinakachi Okoroafor, Anne Adams, Chiderah Bosah; US based artist Austin Uzor; Canada based artists Chukwudubem Ukaigwe and Iyunade Judah and UK based artists Hannor Uzor, Tobi Alexandra Falade and Paul Majek Odukoye.

Kanbi Project’s fifth exhibition is conceived as a liminal space in history. The exhibition through the practice of the participating artists seeks to present an unburdened yet authentic idealised imagery of the black lived experience either to re-imagine historical gaps and erasures, challenge contemporary narratives or to create alternative futures, one that transcends the current view on race, nationality or national belonging and offers a more diverse transnational, transcontinental and transcultural perspective.

The title of the show is inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book ‘Between the World and Me’ (2015), who writes “I recall that even then I had not yet begun to imagine the perils that tangle us.” In his book, the author speaks of the ‘plundering of the black body’ from an African-American perspective including police brutality and institutional racism. Untangling the Perils that Tangle Us seeks to reframe blackness through a visual dialogue and exchange of ideas and perspectives and features multidimensional works in painting, photography, video and sculpture”.

Untangling the Perils that Tangle Us opens at The Koppel Project Hive in London from 12th November to 17th December 2021. Find the gallery at 26 Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2AT (don’t get it messed up, they do have three spaces at three different addresses). The gallery is open 10am until 6pm Tuesday to Sunday. as for the “private view”, this just in – “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Untangling the Perils that Tangle Us Private View to be held at TKP Hive tonight has been postponed for Thursday 18th November 2021, 6-9″

Florence Peake

5: Florence PeakeSequel at Richard Saltoun Gallery –  “In honour and in support of Florence Peake’s performance at The National Gallery, on 10 December 2021, Richard Saltoun presents ‘Sequel’, a temporary exhibition & happening at 41 Dover Street”.

This show presents a series of interrelated works by Peake dating from 2014 to 2020. These dynamic paintings and sculptural reliefs are made using various media – clay, paint, plaster – and exist in direct relation to performances and gestural actions made by the artist.   Exhibited in support of Peake’s performance at the National Gallery, the works will be made available for sale with all the proceeds going towards the production of the performance.  The exhibition will open 17th November, with an “in-conversation” between the artist and Priyesh Mistry, Curator of Modern & Contemporary Projects at The National Gallery. Tickets can be booked via Eventbrite here.

The ever rewarding Richard Saltoun Gallery  is at 41 Dover Street, London. W1S 4NS. The exhibition runs from 17th November until 20th November 2021

And before we go, may we remind you that the Queen and Country on-line edition of the beautiful things that is the Art Car Boot Fair has now been extended until Friday 12th November, lots more details – ORGAN THING: Last weekend’s on-line edition of the Art Car Boot Fair has now been extended until this Friday with new work added and our pick of what’s left waiting for you…. That piece just there is by multidisciplinary artist Aaron Bevan Bailey, on of around 200 artists you can find at the Art Car Boot Fair until Friday evening

Aaron Bevan Bailey

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