The Modest Magnificent, Well Hung at Hoxton Arches – It was a quick one, some of the best art shows are, bang, there it is, open and then, almost before you’ve had time to go, bang, shut again, I kind of like that. I kind of like that you’re forced to make make time, make an effort, a commitment. East London’s Well Hung Gallery have taken over Hoxton Arch (at no doubt considerable expense, that place is not cheap to hire), a show that opened on a Thursday night to reportedly big crowds, and closed again on the Sunday.
The Modest Magnificent, a group show, happened last weekend in the big arch space in the railway arch by Hoxton overground station and yeah, I know, what’s the point in writing a piece now? The exhibition has already happened. These things do need to be documented, these art shows that come and go, they do have to be recorded, acknowledged, at least the (many) good ones do – there’s years of it here on the Organ website now (and further back in print), shows that in times to come will mostly be forgotten, shows like this deserve to be recorded, marked in some kind of way, and this was one of those good shows. Well Hung do pretty much operate in the areas you might call “urban art” although with work from people like Lee Eelus, Robert Sample, that excellent piece from Ange Bell (small in scale yet rather big), those three rather fine pieces from Mark McClure, David Shillinglaw of course, Jim McElvaney and a number of others, that boundaries are vague (and becoming more and more vague).
As a body of work, as one whole thing, as an exhibition The Modest Magnificent might not be throwing down any massive challenges, it might not be offering anything revolutionary, and yes, not everything in here works, but this is a very (very) good show (and does it always have to be revolutionary?). This is an exhibition alive with interesting work, with some very good art (with some maybe not so good). Overall, this is a very good show, this is a good looking show, and yes, well hung. That pink bear ushering us in along with those yellow balloons that draw us in past the Zabou piece painted out front of the arch (Zabou is getting very photorealistic these days). It feels healthy in here on Sunday morning, healthy amounts of people, doors wide open, a welcome offered, something missing at so many of the more formal, more aloof galleries, and it is good to see Well Hung stretch out like this, their own Hoxton space is rather small, this is a strong statement from the gallery (again)
The bold colour of the Eelus paintings stand out on the right as you go in, the aforementioned rather gorgeous Ange Bell piece Sneakers, Joseph Loughborough’s blueness, David Shillinglaw’s work always appeals, Electric Mud indeed. The Mobstr pieces in the back room are fun, the close groupings of Ben Rider pieces, do like those three Mark McClure paintings, Elizabeth Power’s chair, there’s lots to enjoy in here, lots of painterly goodness, a healthy dose of attitude, warmth, a touch of graphic pop, some of it maybe not to my personal taste but good all the same. And so another are show happened, maybe not entirely magnificent, far more than just modestly good though. (sw)
As always, do click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show of phots (some of them ‘borrowed from the gallery’s own social media feed)