ORGAN: Five recommended art things – Oliver Clegg, Tongue-tied at Mamoth, Richard Walker at Coningsby Gallery, Pam Evelyn at The Approach, For the Record, the Art of the Album Cover, Andrew Salgado at Beers, 36 days until the Art Car Boot Fair, Burst and…

Five more art things. five art things, five more art things happening somewhere around right now or 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 recommended things coming up soon that we think you might find as interesting as we do.

And while we’re here, working out which galleries to go to this week, galleries in Ukraine are being destroyed, artists are carrying guns to defend themselves, lives are being destroyed. and like we said last week, it seems wrong to be thinking of going to an art gallery, then again it feels more important than ever. Five art things happening now and coming up in the next few days in no particular order, just five art things happening around about now

Oliver Clegg

1: Oliver Clegg – Tongue-tied at Mamoth – 8th April until 15th May 2022 – “Mamoth presents a solo exhibition by British-born, Costa Rica-based artist Oliver Clegg (b. 1980, Guildford). Entitled Tongue-tied, the exhibition is a homecoming of sorts, the artist’s first solo presentation in London since 2008, following several years living and showing in New York before relocating to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.  Clegg is among a generation of British artists who have helped to bring the medium of painting back into the spotlight, both nationally and on the international stage. In 2021 he was selected for inclusion in The Anomie Review of Contemporary British Painting 2, an anthology showcasing solo exhibitions by sixty of the leading British painters of today.

Mamoth is at 3 Endsleigh Street, London, WC1H 0DS. The gallery is open Wednesday through to Saturday, midday until 5pm (1pm until 6pm on Saturdays). There’s an opening night on Friday 8th April, 6pm until 8pm. 

Richard Walker – ‘Be a Hobo (Moondog)’, mixed media on canvas, 25 x 30cm 2021

2: Richard Walker – American Prayer at Coningsby Gallery– 11th – 23rd April 2022 – “Richard Walker explores the influence of the American countercultures and subcultures of the 60s and 70s on his life, work and themes for the ‘American Prayer’ exhibition.”

The main inspirations for my new work are the musicians, poets and writers from the pioneering days of American culture, many have passed but I have included several who are still working, but all my selections, while not all well known, are forces of nature and create their own personal iconographies. Starting with Walt Whitman, the 19th century visionary, way ahead of his time in his frankness and honesty. I have two characters from the Beat Generation, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs who, with their wild uninhibited poetry and prose were at the centre of the post war sexual liberation and counter culture revolution. Another fascinating and much respected artist is Moondog, the blind and homeless street musician in New York City whose simple jazzy and often tribal compositions were unique. The psychedelic era is represented by Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison – both full of rich and vivid imagery. Then there are the characters on the margins: the minimalists and the experimental jazz composers. Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Arthur Russell, Annette Peacock and Tim Buckley, who are all mainly left field artists with a singular, and sometimes radical vision.  I have selected the above, as they have been a soundtrack to most of my life, quietly influencing my work along the way. The resulting images are personal but also direct and accessible due to the link with the words and music. In the last couple of years I have discovered Ben LaMar Gay, a jazz experimentalist from Chicago who¹s eclectic ecstatic music cannot be categorised. The perfect character to update my project and lead out on a high note. (There will be a CD available to purchase during the exhibition, with all the artists featured). The exhibition runs from the 11th until the 23rd April 2022. Private View: Tuesday 12th April 6pm – 9pm.  ‘A Sea of Possibilities’, a talk by Richard Walker will take place at 7pm on 20th April in the gallery.

Coningsby Gallery is at 30 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 4RJ. The gallery is open 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday (The Coningsby Gallery is located 350 yards from Goodge Street Underground station)

Pam Evelyn – Built on Clay at The Approach

3: Pam Evelyn – Built on Clay at The Approach – 7th April 2022 – 15th May 2022 – Rather looking forward to this one, the Approach have been on a roll recently with recent shows like John Stezaker’s Double Shadow and Sara Baker’s excellent Hems as well as Jack Lavender’s blackness

“The Approach is excited to present “Built on Clay”, a UK debut solo exhibition of paintings by Pam Evelyn. The show title takes its name from the geological composition of the city of London, which has a predominantly clay foundation. As a material, clay is volatile and unpredictable, it shrinks and expands depending on its water content imbuing it with the capacity for collapse”.  

The Approach Gallery is hidden upstairs above the pub of the same name, they don’t have signs outside, it isn’t obvious,, the door at the left end of the bar will get you up there, there is sign above the door, the address is 1st Floor, 47 Approach Rd, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9LY. Opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm

For the Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover

4: For the Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover at The Photographers’ Gallery – 8 Apr – 12 Jun 2022 – “For the Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover celebrates the unique ‘object d’art’ that is the Album Cover and reflects upon its role in shaping and making artists – both in front of and behind the camera”.

“For the Record  brings together over 200 album covers, highlighting the central role photography plays in defining artists and bands, and showcasing some of the most iconic album covers of our times. While many of the ‘artistes on the covers will be instantly recognisable, the exhibition illuminates the often overlooked and multifaceted contributions of photographers and other visual artists to the identity of the ‘stars’ and the labels themselves.

Featuring work from such photographic and artistic luminaries as Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, David Bailey, David LaChapelle, Ed Ruscha, Elliott Erwitt, Guy Bourdin, Helen Levitt, Irving Penn, Jeff Wall, Joseph Beuys, Juergen Teller, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Richard Avedon, William Eggleston and more, many of whom had their careers launched through their cover images, the exhibition also looks at the contribution of a range of equally visionary, though perhaps lesser-known artists, photographers, graphic designers and creatives.

The exhibition is arranged around a series of thematic-led ‘chapters’, presenting the physical covers themselves, and exemplifying both singular and longer-term creative collaborations such as Lee Friedlander’s symbiotic relationship with Atlantic Records (and including his covers of such greats as Hank Crawford and Ray Charles) and Francis Wolff’s iconic black and white work with the Blue Note jazz label (which in some cases features the original working prints alongside the covers). The exhibition also considers the significance of the visual iconography adopted by a range of other musical genres.  While the highly stylised graphics of the Hipgnosis design agency exemplified a technicolour, surrealistic, and utopian imaginary world for Pink Floyd, other choices of artwork illustrate how the album cover has repurposed and re-appropriated many of the century’s anonymous press and social documentary images that have acquired symbolic status beyond their original meaning.  This is especially evident in the series of covers for historic blues recordings released by the Yazoo label in the 1960s, featuring startling documentary images from Jack Delano and Dorothea Lange (amongst others) reflecting the conditions in America’s deep south.

Shining a light on the myriad ways this platform has been used by artists and labels, this extensive presentation offers a love letter to the much-prized 30cm x 30cm square format that is the Album Cover, while offering a fascinating journey through significant moments in musical, artistic and cultural history”. 

The Photographers’ Gallery is at 16-18 Ramillies Street, Soho, London, W1F 7LW. The gallery is open Tuesday through to Saturday, 11pm until 7pm – Entry is £5 / £2.50 Concession

Andrew Salgado

5: Andrew Salgado – A Never-Setting Sun at Beers – 9 Apr – 14 May 2022 – Fair to say we’re not big fans of the Beers way of doing things, with their dubious pay just to submit policies with their open calls, their rather questionable hundred-artists-who-were-fool-enough-to-pay-to-be-in-this-book style publications that they present as some kind of reflection of what’s going on. They were never that friendly where we were based over the street from each other in terms of galleries on Vyner Street, never did seem that interested in anything happening in any of the other galleries around them and they’ve made it quite clear what they think of us.  We do like the art of Andrew Salgado though and although Beers would probably rather not have any coverage from us (they made that quite clear as well) “Andrew Salgado returns to Beers for his fifth solo show with the gallery, following both 2020’s Strange Weather and 2016’s The Snake. The new body of work is both a critical look at the creative process, as well as a deep-dive into various themes of interest to the artist”.

“This particular body of work has undergone an interesting journey, originally intended as a response to Derek Jarman’s autobiography, Modern Nature, the works began to take on their own identity over the course of the past year in his studio.

Salgado approaches themes of failure, inspiration, and exuberance with his wry sense of humor and trademark style, but states that, at its core, the show is ‘about making mistakes.’ This time around, those Salgado-isms seem tempered. Gone are the bells and whistles and loud proclamations (well, not completely,) but Salgado has edited the works to a place of quiet introspection. He seems comfortable pursuing a quieter path. The resulting body of works are more reflective, introspective, and metaphoric, but also maintain an element of silliness, the fantastical or absurd, pulling inspiration from his ongoing love of literature, poetry, and Greek Mythology.

“Look at this endless horizon, this never-setting sun.”

Supporting Exhibition Text by Sasha Bogojev (writer & curator):

“Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards,” Søren Kierkegaard stated in the mid-19th century, suggesting that existence can never be fully understood. While encompassing the hopelessness of the situation, the Danish philosopher did leave just enough room to consider chronicling one’s time in the hope to contribute to this lost cause. And one of such efforts, Derek Jarman’s meditative and stimulating diary Modern Nature, is quoted as the direct source of inspiration for Andrew Salgado’s latest body of work comprising Never-Setting Sun. The poetic title is referencing the infinity of time in which we’re given a tiny moment to experience everything we recognize as a lifetime, as well as suggesting the positive, sun-lit ambiance which permeates the energized imagery. Besides the obvious tributes to the English film director, stage designer, author, and gay rights activist (Modern Nature, A Chrysthanthemum For Derek Jarman, both 2022), the Canadian-born artist who is currently also experimenting with the written word format, is channeling Jarman’s contagious urge for deliberate acts of love and appreciation.

With some of the images being based on real-life people or moments, and others on stories told by iconic characters that can be used as metaphors (Icarus, Matejko’s Stańczyk), most of the works straddle reality with occasional ventures into full-blown fantasy. Showing sympathy for tragicomic heroes and urging for kindness towards the idea of making mistakes, Salgado is having a special spot for the stories and protagonists that aren’t playing by the rules. Prompted by their legacy and attitude, he is now more evidently steering away from the expectation that things need the reason to exist in the painterly environment and is frequently playing with proportions, perspectives, and feeling less restricted in general. This concept extends to the body of work as a whole through a vague connection thread between the pieces, which creates a loose “before and after” outline instead of a clean, linear narrative. With each of the works carrying a distant clue to another one, the first and the last painting in that chain are completely unlinked. Evoking the dynamics of the stream of consciousness, they are another remnant of Salgado’s passion for reading and writing that seems to have opened a new way of expression.

Portraying almost exclusively male figures, regularly nudes, the poeticism in the work goes beyond his earlier concerns about gay identity and is now encompassing all of male identity. Although rarely portrayed with the expressive articulation of emotions, it’s the interaction of his muses with their surroundings and their body language that conveys the emotional and psychological setup of each scene. Borrowing Jarman’s vision of absolute resistance and individuality, with an exception of a couple of bawling figures (Estuary To Sea or Dancing To Nabokov, both 2022), the protagonists are portrayed mostly indifferent, yet firmly grounded within their surroundings. Even when falling from the skies (Dear Daedalus, 2022), they are resolutely creating a space for themselves within sometimes dubious environments (Kestrel Spring, Solstice (Stanyzk’s Escape), Last Parade, Everything Was Beautiful (And Nothing Hurt), all 2022), channeling the distinctive, surrounding-imposed trait of queer nature.

Sincere in his intention while fundamentally playful, quirky, or mischievous in his process and delivery, Salgado is not shy of stylizing his imagery and fully utilizing the materiality of paint and painting as a medium. Moving away from factuality and reason, the nuances become the playground in which the work strives and is able to tell stories about humanity, not through images of faces but with the atmosphere that extends over the entire picture plane. And although packed with drawing, painting, spraying, collaged cutouts, and a riotous color palette, the work doesn’t feel overworked. The fundamentally simple compositions imbued with drama, complex atmosphere, and intense emotional settings are allowing for the classic values and approaches by the likes of Gauguin or Matisse to intertwine with contemporary atmospheres and subjects which are of interest to his contemporaries such as Hernan Bas, Anthony Cudahy, or Louis Fratino. Often pushed to the very edge of becoming colossally intricate and contrived, this quality becomes work’s essence, successfully underlining points the artist is interested in. Bringing some sections awfully close to falling apart, this tension is used to glue the image into a compact whole. The physical, gestural manner of paint application leads to powerful, vibrant images in which slathering and layering of materials evoke a sense of dynamic and movement, while the composition still holds the ambiance of calmness and joy. In the end, the laborious technique reveals both the raw materiality of mark-making as well as the subject matter, placing those two aspects of the work in the same position to compete with each other in capturing and nurturing the viewer’s attention. Sasha Bogojev (writer & curator)”

Beers is found at 51 Little Britain, London, EC1A 7BH. The gallery is open Tuesday through to Saturday 10am until 6pm, 11am until 5pm on Saturdays

Andrew Salgado

And while we’re here, two things you need ot put in your diary or mark on your art calender

The Electric Art Car Boot Fair is  taking place at Lewis Cubitt Square, Kings Cross, London on Saturday May 14th from 2-7pm.. There will also be an on-line version of the Electric Art Car Boot Fair happening between 14th May and 16th May, tickets are on sale now via that link you just passed, you can also find more details there on the official website..

And we can now quietly mention this ….

The Five Points Brewery Yard…

Five Points X Cultivate: Art Show in the Yard – Sunday 12 June, Midday – 8pm – The Five Points Brewing Company and Cultivate are coming together with artists from all over London and beyond to host our first Art Show in the Yard. Expect a gathering of painters, performers, art stalls, installations, music and plenty of Five Points pints all under the iconic railway arches in the big Five Points yard, just down the road from Broadway Market.

Cultivate, once a gallery based on Vyner Street, now nomadic, founded by artists Emma Harvey and Sean Worrall, Cultivate has been a thing for eleven years now. Art events in condemned warehouses, Edwardian dress shops, in formal white walled galleries, at dog shows, in car parks, in an old greengrocers, on line, on market stalls, at the seaside. Cultivate is about artists coming together to make things happen. Five Points have been brewing with passion and integrity in the heart of Hackney, East London, since 2013. Modern and vibrant beer, always unfiltered and unpasteurised. Bottle, can, keg and cask.. Participating artists to be announced soon, Emma and I have our curating hats on right now pulling it all together….

And….

Burst – The next Monthly Cultivate on-line group show, Burst will open on Tuesday April 26th. Once again hosted on the Organ website, the link will be here once the show opens. Once again a show curated by Cultivate founders Emma Harvey and me, Sean Worrall.

More of this next week, probably….

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