Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art

You Get What You’re Given, Hoxton Arches, 17 Nov 2016




Catherine Borowski’s white banisters are lined up along the concrete floor in rows, which gives a strange illusionary quality to them and eerily evokes the rows of graves at a war memorial site. Banisters could also signify a passage of ascension or descent; stairways are somewhere you rarely stop on, they are part of a journey. Seriously, actually, when you consider ‘the banister’ in isolation there is more to them than you think. Everyone can project their own memories on these inanimate objects. The Artist said she was always jealous of friends that had stairs as a child, it signified a more comfortable living, having grown up in a flat on an estate. Also, she said, her mother was buried in a memorial graveyard in the Middle East, where Borowski was never to find her gravestone.

Another piece is a clothes rail built into a section of wall. Assorted hangers are on the rail, some with clothes on them, some with their dry-cleaning plastic covers on. A framed print of human figures lies on its side on the ground. The blurb tells the story of the day Borowski cleaned her mother’s wardrobe out after she had passed, found 45 years worth of hangers and a Henry Moore sketch never to have been hung on a wall stuffed in a plastic bag behind the clothes.

On the walls around the banister installation are the artworks of Lee Baker, whose style evolved out of a passion for Manga among other things. His most recent output is along the Japanese theme of ‘Mono’ (or transience). These are large floral pieces, which leave the canvas with an unfinished look. Most are dramatic and scaled up, bold, stylised flowers, on bleak, winter-like backgrounds. The rough surfaces mimic rust and concrete and are a perfect foil to the smooth block colours of the floral shapes on top. He has taken this approach one stage further in the installation on the back wall. An old mattress is the canvas, with the stalk of the Chrysanthemum running onto a piece of chipboard and an old ripped sheet below. There is a wooden palette and other building materials arranged around them in a disused state. Materials you might find in a squat perhaps.

On the right wall are a series of pieces by Baker from 2015. They are scaled down, framed, detailed sections of stripped wall, the kind you would find in a house halfway through renovation after the stripper has been used. A nice simile with the banisters somehow. Its always a pleasure to find sixties wallpaper which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Del Boy’s flat under the surface of the obligatory magnolia upper coat. It’s a lingering memory, a visual history of the people who lived the place. Also too, it is a micro history, here depicted in micro form. Each brick in the fresco model versions are about a fingerprint in length.

In the backroom is an installation by Olivia Hegarty. A jungle of what looks like starched paper, or white fabric, is dangling from string at all different heights. When you touch it, and you cant avoid it as they are purposefully packed into the room, the material crumbles. It’s brittle and you realise its something else, it’s filo pastry. A frivolous, beautiful idea and the shadows dance in the light.
You Get What You’re Given @The Hoxton Arches.
Thanks to Nathan Sonic for the incredible photos.





Dystopolis: The Awakening, Dogboy solo show at Stour Space






Once upon a time on an imagined weird alien planet not so dissimilar from our own, stories play out in incredibly detailed hallucinogenic landscapes.

Some scenes are about the daily grind; like commuting about town, taking your gimp for a walk, underground factory slaves toiling while the tube rattles by, scientists performing weird experiments surrounded by odd gadgets and multicoloured tentacles, and some serious space mining business on a stellar surface.

Other scenes delve into the underbelly of these Crang-like being’s debaucherous recreational pursuits.

There are bars where unanimous projectile vomiting is the thing to do, wild rock concerts, trippy raves, lavish house parties and chillaxing in the pool in some tropical space-scape while a robot-head-hoover-thing brings you cocktails.

As possibly callous as their society might be, they do know how to party, that’s for sure.

There’s something a little of the ancient Roman, Mayan or Egyptian about these folks with their odd rituals and lives. And there are odd symbols everywhere, tongues and tentacles, clouds and bums.

A section of this exhibition shows single characters, fleshing out the details of some of the more notorious figures of this world. The more you look, the more you find in this works. It’s like peeling a psychedelic onion; a sci-fi novel ‘with your eyes’ if you will.

One of the pieces (not shown in the images above) is a huge graphite sketch scene split into a tryptic. It re-imagines the beautiful madness of Hieronymus Bosch’s heaven and hell and other similar works.

You can see the bond between some of art history’s heavyweights in the macabre and the surreal (for instance Goya) in what Dogboy has produced in this collection.

Get down to Stour Space and check this out till October 2nd 2016, 9am-5pm daily

(Stour Space also has a really nice cafe where you can sit by the canal front and mull over the increasingly dire fate that has befallen Hackney Wick… but thats another blog…coming soon).


The Doodle Man, Hoxton Gallery

You can imagine what The Doodle Man did in science classes at school. Go visit him at his gallery show to see what happened next; it’s amazing. He took 8 days to cover almost every inch of wall space of the two rooms at the Hoxton Gallery, Old St, mainly with one never-ending monochrome doodle piece. He’s also done a table and chair set,canvases, a moving video doodle, and prints to buy at reasonable prices. Plus he’s there doing his doodle thing in his doodle outfit, looking wicked. We salute you Mr Doodle.




The Future Can Wait, Kounter Kulture and Saatchi – 4 Sensations

The Truman Breweries’ triple art fair extravaganza: Kounter Kulture, Saatchi – 4 New Sensations and The Future Can Wait, are most definitely worth a visit and more so as they are exactly zero pounds entry.

The Future Can Wait stands out as being something special due to the diversity of content and the vast warehouse setting lending the perfect space for mind-bending installations.

You are greeted by a huge statue of Bert from Sesame Street (by Christopher Davies) rotating continuously, creating what can only be described as a perpetual mono-brow. Genius.

Janak Odedra’s clever Project KA’ is an assemblage of found car-parts recreated into the shape of a car. The parts now defunct from commercial purpose are transformed into useful objects of artistic purpose.

Aisling Hedgecock is another artist who uses human debris as a material for her work. ‘Saracen’ is a group of hefty structures made up of mini polystyrene balls which now resemble a futuristic coral reef. Their appeal is their transient state, unlike Project KA their form is not fully complete, a live organism.

Licking Dogs’ by Angela Bartram is beyond the bizarre, but apparently not beyond the realms of contemporary art, as it is a video of a woman snogging a dog. Snogging; defined by full tongue on tongue action. The dog, it must be said, is now probably very confused about human interrelations.

Among other gems are Andrea Gregson’s ‘Borrower-sized’ fantasy worlds. Peep through wooden boxes taken from her Headspace and Wonderland exhibition in 2006. Also Kim Rugg’s intricate collages made from the front page of The Guardian. Each letter down to the very smallest type has been painstakingly cut and re-arranged so that they are in alphabetical order and stuck back on the page.

And Gordon Cheung’s enormous triptych, ‘Death Cuts Full 1’ with his signature background made from stock listings, draws you into a fantasy landscape of trippy perspective.

Kounter Kulture centers on themes of sub-culture; heavily concentrating on the ‘Street Art’ genre, kitsch, cartoon and pop art legacy, print and graphic design trends.

Pieces from old favourites such as Eine put up a minor appearance alongside the main body of less established artists, there also a few pieces being flogged from high ranking artists such as a David Hockey print and a spot painting print signed by Damien Hirst going for around 25k. Probably the most highly priced art work in the whole fair.

William Tuck, is exhibiting a very Koons-esq series of oil paintings, smoothly painted to the point of giving the impression of lamination. They consist of porn-star women recreating Bottichellian style scenes. Questioning how the original paintings might have been received in the Renaissance by some, along with presenting a merge of high art with newsagent top-shelf literature. Interesting, but perhaps something not particularly ground-breaking.

Snuck into a corner are Laurie Hodgekin’s Vanitas paintings of evil technicolor monkeys, intricately painted so each hair on the monkeys has a spiky realism. Although small paintings, these are significant as they push against the mainstream with their heavy gold frames, Dutch master painting style and warped Gremlin figures.

Stephen Dryden‘s, ‘Undo‘ and ‘What About My Mother‘ are rather more removed from the central theme of the fair. They are faceless figures made out of woollen threads which unravel past the shoulder into a woollen mess, as if they are melting into the floor. Very Antony Gormely in a fresh and inspiring way.

Works from Stuart Semple and Nathan James including paintings from the MASH UPS exhibition are also present (see earlier review on Art Sleuth).

And Wang Zhi Jie series ‘ Little Girls’ portraits with blown up heads and popsicle colours twist the Manga genre.

Unfortunately 4 New Sensations, an art competition in collaboration with Channel 4 was not entirely sensational, but showed the budding possibilities of fresh out of college artists. Which is the whole point.

Definitely worth a jaunt, among the four winners, Mark Davey’s moving rotary contraptions and the paintings Robert Sherwood stand out.

Photos all from The Future Can Wait in order from top to bottom:

© Aisling Hedgecock, Gordon Cheung, Kim Rugg, Angela Bartram, courtesy of The Future Can Wait


Brilliant gallery exhibitions opening this week

Is everyone gearing up for art week? Here are a couple more exhibitions that look to be the best and most out there stuff running alongside the big art fairs.
Look out for much coverage towards the end of the week, Art Sleuth is getting out the Miss Marple glasses, smoking a Columbo style cigar, wearing a Dick Van Dyke stethoscope, donning a Poirot-like moustache and pinging away on her typewriter like Jessica Fletcher after a hat trick of murders in Maine.

‘All This Time’ The Vanity Group’s second show at The Crypt – St Pancras Church:

Site-specific art in the crypt of a church. Sounds exciting!


The next week it its the turn for No Place Projects, a project group that exhibits in traditional spaces who hold an interest in drawing to sound and installation, and “are united by a common interest in responding to issues and ideas concerning place and space.”

All This Time: 11 – 19 October 2008

No Place Projects: 24-30 October 2008 12-6h

The Crypt, St Pancras Church, Euston Road, Kings Cross NW1 2BA

Julian Opie at the Lisson Gallery:

Julian Opie Antonia with evening dress, 2008 Inkjet on canvas 120 x 86.5 cm Installation view: © JULIAN OPIE. Recent Works, MAK, Vienna, 10 June – 21 September 2008 Photo: Dave Morgan Courtesy of the artist and Lisson Gallery

Major exhibition showing 40 of Julian Opie’s works from LED installation to painting. Opening is tomorrow night Tuesday the 14th Oct.

15 th October – 15 th November

Lisson Gallery
52-54 Bell Street
London, NW1 5DA

Elevator Gallery 1st Birthday Bash – this Friday 17 th October

Game for a bit of a shindig? I’d pop along to Elevator it looks like fun:

Live Art, Music, Art, Film, Installation and DJs including a live performance from HK119 AND there will be a one eyed psychic!

Check out the blurb:
Musical performance also from the French sensation Douce Angoisse, Random Connection Quest, and lots more. Meet a one eyed Psychic and receive a free art gift and reading. Artist Mark Mcgowan will breakdance before your eyes. The Singing Darlek will perform a rendition of Happy Birthday. Play traditional party games and win prizes! Fun for all. Party into the night….

A bar will be available and vegetarian canapés will be offered throughout the evening. Entrance is free



Vegas Gallery – Fake ID group show:

International group of artists. Preview on Saturday the 18th

Jemima Brown Morten Viskum Michelle Deignan Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven Risk Hazekamp Simon Willems Angie Reed Deborah Schamoni Caron Geary

Somebody needs a wax.

Another Roadside Attraction Gallery. Richard Owen – Moods for Moderns

Richard Owen’s work uses Modernism as the starting point for investigation. He uses the visual language of the 20th century ‘movement’ to produce a series of motifs, reliefs and semi-functional objects that examine our relationship to design, art and consumerism.”

18 October – 15 November 2008
Open Friday to Sunday 12 – 6 pm
Preview 17th October 6.30 –9pm

Surpine Studios – Cian O’Neil. Meat Works

Solo exhibition by the Irish painter of goulsome paintings influenced by Dutch painting school, anatomy and Michaelangelo.

Preview: 17th of October (6-9pm) open for only the Saturday and Sunday after 12-6pm.

Surpine Studios – 255 Amhurst Road, London.

ALSO ALSO ALSO!!! 1st Xmas Art Xposure 08 – Those of you who loved Hackney Wicked, word on the street is there will be a Christmas collaboration, which will be a merge between a ‘Victorian freak show and a German Christmas Market, with a touch of eccentric English jumble sale thrown in’. Fantastic!

Concrete and Glass opening night

At Heart of Glass exhibiton (all images Francis Ware, courtesy of the artist.)

Richard Bullock Everything’s Not Going To Be OK 2008 Wood, wax, acrylic, animal remains 11 x 2.5 x 2.2 m

Alistair McClymont The Limitations of Logic & the Absence of Absolute Certainty 2008
Fans, humidifier, scaffolding 300 x 200 x 230 cm

Adam King Curiositas (Cave of Terror) 2008  Mixed media  Dimensions variable

Orlando Mostyn Owen Cerberus 2008 Mixed media Panel 200 x 250 cm, installation variable dims. (Look through the bears eyes if you dare…….!)

Rebecca Nassauer’s installation room in Cordy House. Some Way Home

last photo by Matthew Brindle for Beach Blanket Babylon, Shoreditch

Heart of Glass is set in the maze of dark hidden basement rooms in Shoreditch town hall, had a queue going round the block last night, and for good reason. It is an ideal environment for installation-based shows and this one showing 33 progressive artists’ work is a must see. Alistair McClymont created a mini cyclone from fans, scaffolding and a humidifier, Kate Terry had used a room to attach fine threads crossing diagonally from ceiling to floor, Adam King hung the weird and wonderful ‘Cuirositas (Cave of Terror)’ structures made from plastic household items and mutli-coloured patterns. Everything from the taxidermy of Polly Morgan to a forest of trees and wax created by Richard Bullock has made this exhibition an incredible experience. Be prepared for the disturbingly creepy Cerberus by Orlando Mostyn Owen. All in all an exploration into the darker side of art.

The Saatchi Online opening was buzzing with the likes of Russell Brand mincing around the show and a man with a certain similarity to Russell dressed in a long black robe, white mask and huge black hair. Just a coincidence I suspect.

Highlights from the show included Murizio Anzeri’s Late at Night. Real hair has been sculpted into a faceless ethereal being. Also by Anzeri are old 50’s family portraits, sewn into with ‘spyrograph’ patterns leaving isolated bits of the face, an eye or a mouth. Elements in these works echo the Chapman Brothers’ defacing of old Victorian portraits.

Sarah Douglas
, explored personal subject matter through her subdued pastel paintings with stylistically blurred figures and domestic settings.

Sam Zealy melded art with science in his installation made from two huge magnets attached to posts by wire raised horizontally so that at least an inch of pure air separated the two in the middle.
Continuing to support up and coming artists through the Saatchi Online program, this exhibition shows the promising potential of these young artists.

On Curtain Rd I stumbled upon Rebecca Nassauer’s installation room in Cordy House. Some Way Home is a floor structure of circular lamps connected by wires with mini cities made out of thin plastics on top. Concerned with the placements of refugees and their precarious journeys, this structure seems to expand on Mona Hatoum’s Undercurrent, 2004 made from electrical wire and light blubs. Binoculars are provided to view each, which puts a physical distance between the viewer and the object, perhaps suggesting our own mental detachment as UK citizens to the plight of refugees.

Favella Descending at Village Underground is a film installation made up of huge screens facing around a central viewing point. As the name suggests you are taken through favellas with each screen showing a different perspective on the architecture and people that make up the Mineira in Rio, one of the most dangerous and poverty stricken favellas.

Concrete and Glass art exhibitions continues free from Saturday onwards for around a month. This is just a selection of exhibitions from 35 open galleries.

Another Alternative Art Fair….Free Art Fair ’08

Oooops missed one! Thank you Jasper Joffe for kindly pointing out another art fair definitely worth visiting.

The Free Art Fair, taking place on two streets near Marble Arch is a fair with a difference. Jasper has arranged it so all the art work gets given away free to visitors, the little people. The people who should be getting the art. Right on Jasper Joffe! And this is no small fry. Saatchi favorites such as Mathew Collins and Stella Vine plus others taken from over 50 emerging international artists exhibiting over the 7 days.


Artists Anonymous Centre of Attention Matthew Collings Jimmy Conway-Dyer Sacha Craddock Stuart Cumberland Adam Dant Stephen Farthing Rose Gibbs Luke Gottelier Alex Hamilton Peter Harris Pablo Helguera Saron Hughes Lee Johnson Sayshun Jay James Jessop Chantal Joffe Jasper Joffe Peter Lamb Cathy Lomax Amanda Loomes Marta Marce Bruce McLean Alex Gene Morrison Stephen Nelson House of O’Dwyer Harry Pye Danny Rolph Martin Sexton Bob & Roberta Smith Terry Smith Geraldine Swayne Chris Tosic Gavin Turk Markus Vater Stella Vine Michael Ward Douglas White Charlie Woolley

With performances by: Laura Wilson Frog Morris Lee Campbell Mark Dean Quinn Dora Wade Adrian Lee Jenny Baines Rebecca Birch Kate Hawkins Jordan McKenzie Charlotte Young Victoria Melody Alex Staiger Peter Bond Sarah Turner Daniel Lehan

13th-19th October

14, 19, 21 New Quebec Street and 5, 8, 16 Seymour Place
Portman Village, London W1H

nearest tubes: Marble Arch and Edgware Road

Open Monday to Sunday 11am till 6pm