Articles Tagged with: shoreditch

A Long Way From Home – RSVP for the private view now!

We are very excited to be launching our next show, A Long Way From Home with Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz next week!

 

A Long Way From Home - Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz

Igor Moritz

 

Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz are two incredibly exciting early-career artists whose work shares a vibrancy that is expressed through their shared passions for form, line, and colour.

Two unique artists are paired because of their individual, but shared experimentations with figuration. Each artist brings their distinct perspective to their subjects, which both distorts and exaggerates certain formal qualities to enhance the whole.

The title ‘A Long Way From Home’ refers to the adventure and experimentation present in the practice of both artists, who have approached the show collaboratively despite living on separate continents and never having met in person.

The curatorial style of Delphian Gallery will make its mark on the show also, which will result in a exhibition of works by two intriguing artists, that forms together almost as if it is by one creator, while still maintaining the distinct integrity and individuality of each.

A Long Way From Home - Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz

Kevin Perkins

For more details and to RSVP for free tickets visit the link below.

HERE

To request the catalogue of available works please email
info@delphiangallery.com

Exhibition kindly supported by theprintspace.

 

To see photos of the Open Call, in which Igor was exhibited, please go HERE

To see photos of Obscurely Prophetic, in which Kevin was exhibited, please go HERE


NEXT SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT – A Long Way From Home – Kevin Perkins & Igor Moritz

We are incredibly excited to announce that our next show A Long Way From Home opens on the 17th of January!

Kevin Perkins and Igor Moritz are two incredibly exciting early-career artists whose work shares a vibrancy that is expressed through their shared passions for form, line, and colour.

A Long Way From Home - Kevin Perkins

Kevin Perkins’ work from our inaugural group show ‘Obscurely Prophetic’

Two unique artists are paired because of their individual, but shared experimentations with figuration. Each artist brings their distinct perspective to their subjects, which both distorts and exaggerates certain formal qualities to enhance the whole.

The title ‘A Long Way From Home’ refers to the adventure and experimentation present in the practice of both artists, who have approached the show collaboratively despite living on separate continents and never having met in person.

A Long Way From Home - Igor Moritz

Igor Moritz’s work from our first Open Call

The curatorial style of Delphian Gallery will make its mark on the show also, which will result in a exhibition of works by two intriguing artists, that forms together almost as if it is by one creator, while still maintaining the distinct integrity and individuality of each.

To request the catalogue of available works please email

Info@delphiangallery.com

 

To RSVP for the private view, please click this LINK

 

To see photos of the Open Call, in which Igor was exhibited, please go HERE

To see photos of Obscurely Prophetic, in which Kevin was exhibited, please go HERE

 

 

To see


Hayden Kays Interview

Hayden Kays has an upcoming solo show with our friends theprintspace, the private view opens at 6:30pm on Thursday the 8th of November, so we thought we’d catch up with him and ask him a few questions about the show.

Hayden Kays - Complete Kunst Show

Hayden Kays – Complete Kunst Show Flyer


Will this be a show of new works, or have we seen some of them before?

‘Complete Kunst Show’ is a collection of new and older works, a lot of which have never been committed to print before. It’s the perfect place to buy a little something for someone you don’t like that much.

You court controversy in a lot of your work, what is it about this close-to-the-wire work that interests you?

I’m frequently accused of being controversial and I just don’t think I am. I think life is fucking controversial, half the world if starving to death, while the other half is stuffing their faces. We are able to pipe oil out of and around the globe at breakneck speed, but we’re not capable of piping clean drinking water to everyone. Life is controversial.

Hayden Kays - Complete Kunst Show

Can’t See The Forest For The Corporate Disease

Have you ever had any negative responses to your work, and what has this taught you about yourself and your work?

I’ve had every kind of response to my work. I find the praise often more uncomfortable than the criticism. If I’m talking to someone and they say they love my work, I say ‘thanks’ and that’s usually the end of it. It’s difficult to build up on love. If someone says they think ‘it’s fucking shit’, now we’re starting at such a low foundation the only way is up. It’s hard to get worse than ‘fucking shit’.
How much control do you think artists have over how their work is received?
No control, or very little at the most. I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the potential baggage people are bringing with them when viewing my work, I try to flick and prod different areas of the baggage. This said, everyone is packed totally uniquely so as an artist i’m only ever making assumptions about potential responses.
Often the work i’m most pleased with falls flat and the flippant work is praised. There’s no rhyme or reason and that’s the reason I love it.
Hayden Kays - Complete Kunst Show

The Land Has Had Its Fill

Why do you do it, are you trying to change the world?
I’m not deluded enough to think I can change the world. I’m only able to change my world.
Art can open doors, Art can really move you, Art has got me here, Art gets me going, I believe in Art, it’s just sceptical of me.
If you were to be remembered for one thing, what would you like that one thing to be?
That I wasn’t concerned with being remembered.
Whats the most valuable thing you’ve ever stolen?
Hearts.
Hayden Kays’s Complete Kunst Show runs until the 12th of November at theprintspace – 74 Kingsland Road E28DL
See more of Hayden Kays work HERE

Arrested Motion Interview

We were  recently interviewed by art historian Hector Campbell for Arrested Motionwho recently sat down with our co-founder Benjamin Murphy, to discuss the history of the gallery, our own unique approach to curation, our inaugural Open Call exhibition, and the upcoming exhibition with Florence Hutchings, Seating Arrangement.

Hector Campbell (HC): Delphian Gallery has existed in one manifestation or another since 2013’s ‘Group Collective are Kunsts’ exhibition, could you explain how the gallery first came about? And how it has subsequently evolved into its current model?

Benjamin Murphy (BM): My co-director (photographer Nick JS Thompson) and I have been working together for a number of years after we met when he wrote an article about me in a magazine he used to manage. I went on to write for the magazine, and we both started co-curating one another’s shows. We both developed a deep love of, and interest in, the art of curation, and so decided to curate our first show in my old studio. It has been a real labour of love for us, which has built gradually into what Delphian is now – a peripatetic style gallery that takes the championing of exciting, emerging art as its key aim.

HC: Delphian, meaning ‘Obscurely Prophetic,’ derives from the Greek mythological oracle at Delphi. What was the rationale behind choosing ‘Delphian’, and how does it’s meaning underpin the gallery’s vision?

BM: Well firstly, we wanted something that was Googleable, as well as something less vapid than just both of our surnames. We decided upon Delphian because it is vague enough to not be too constrictive in what we can show, as well as being something with its own character. “Obscurely Prophetic” is, in a concise two-word phrase, one which we believe all the best art accomplishes. We believe that the most successful and thought-provoking work is informative, but in a non-didactic way.

arrested motion interview

Delphian Team – Directors Benjamin Murphy & Nick JS Thompson, and Curator Wingshan Smith

HC: As an artist-run gallery, what advantages or insights does this offer you, as opposed to more traditional gallerist or art dealers?

BM: I think we understand the position of the artist more than a lot of gallerists or curators do, as we are both artists in our own right. This gives us a unique insight into both sides of the coin in terms of how a show is put together and run, from the artwork production point, up until the curation of a show and the sale of an artwork.

As well as this, we try to curate cohesive shows that could be read as a single artwork in their own right. The way we curate is quite experimental, as we believe there is nothing less interesting (or damaging to the artworks themselves), as a show in which all of the artworks are hung at eye-level around the gallery. These types of shows often encourage people to stand in the middle of the room and just rotate themselves 360 degrees, they leave feeling like they have seen all of the artworks – when of course they often haven’t. We want to curate shows that are essentially immersive artworks in themselves, that are ethereal and only exist in the moment, until the heterogeneous works are divided up again and are either sold or sent back to the artists. We believe that curation is an art form in itself, and it is this philosophy which guides how we curate.

HC: Previous exhibitions have included photographers Aaron McElroy and Carson Lancaster, and more recently contemporary painters such as Bertrand Fournier and Kevin Perkins. Does this range of artists and mediums reflect your personal interests? And how do you select which artists to exhibit?

BM: We try to show a diverse range of works that are entirely unique, whilst highlighting possible underlying connections or similarities, as well as playing with ways in which differing styles contrast. We spend a lot of time going to shows, as well as countless hours on social media, scrolling through things like Instagram looking for new talent. We also run a separate Instagram account called @Daily_Contemporary_Art, which is great for discovering new artists. Every week a new artist has control of the account and shares their favourite living artists, and we find that it is often the student artists that share the most exciting work.

arrested motion kevin perkins

Kevin Perkins

HC: You also had your most recent solo exhibition, Lavish Entropy, at the gallery earlier this year. How did this experience compare to your previous shows, acting as not only the artist but also the gallerist/curator?

BM: It was great, I often take a quite hands-on approach to the curation of my own shows anyway (often aided by Nick), so in that sense, this was no different. I’d recommend every artist do this at least once in your career, as when you have full creative control over something you can be as wild and as experimental as you like without anyone trying to curtail your vision. Don’t get me wrong – the curatorial teams at galleries are often incredibly helpful and teach me things about my own work that I wouldn’t have realised otherwise, but it can be incredibly freeing having absolutely no constraints sometimes. This kind of thing is great, and you are able to take bigger risks than usual, and this teaches you what does and doesn’t work in a way that you wouldn’t have been able to see without this freedom.

HC: This year the gallery ran your inaugural Open Call submission exhibition, why did you want to undertake this competition? And what did you learn from this first iteration?

BM: It was so great, and through it we discovered so much great art we wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for the open call. We wanted to make it as easy as possible to submit, so as to get the most submissions possible. We didn’t charge for entry, and our good friends at theprintspace printed and mounted it all for us, so there was no cost to the artists. This also meant that, as the artists only had to send us a jpeg, artists from all over the world could submit and not have to worry about shipping or insuring their work. We received over 8000 submissions in total and were awestruck by the diversity of it. There are many artists who we would have loved to have included but couldn’t because of size and space constraints. As well as Florence Hutchings, another of our favourite artists Bertrand Fournier entered, whom we hope to present a solo show with next year.

HC: For your latest exhibition, Florence Hutchings, who won the aforementioned Open Call competition, presents her debut solo show, Seating Arrangements. How important is it for you to champion young artists such as Florence?

BM: Florence is great, she has done so incredibly well at such a young age and yet still doesn’t really seem phased by it all. She is very down-to-earth, which is nice to see from someone who is already reaching levels of success that most artists can only dream of.

We aim to discover and support young, emerging artists because we feel this is where the most exciting and unique work is coming from. We are in a position to be able to help out the careers of these young artists like people did for us when we first started showing, so it is incredibly rewarding in that respect.

We get to nurture this often raw and unbridled talent early on in an artist’s career, and look forward to the time when artists like Florence outgrow us and sign with Gagosian – for it will happen, especially in her case.

 

To read this over on Arrested Motion, click THIS LINK


Andy Dixon at Beers Contemporary

One of our favourite painters Andy Dixon is having a show at one of our favourite galleries Beers Contemporary. See you at the private view!
Andy Dixon at Beers London

Andy Dixon at Beers London

For his first solo exhibition at Beers London, Andy Dixon presents Alchemy, an exhibition that brings together a collection of artworks depicting paintings-of-paintings and patrons’ homes.

Art has long had a tumultuous relationship with the matter of its own value. Seemingly arbitrary elements can positively or adversely affect the price at which a painting will sell. Take colour, for instance – paintings prominently featuring the colour red, for example, sell for a higher price point, due to it being a lucky colour in the Asian market.

Dixon plays with this discussion and subverts it somewhat, asking the question: what is the value of a painting of a valuable object? By depicting his own paintings situated in the living spaces of his patrons, he is adding to a lineage of artist studio paintings, in which the artist would paint their immediate surroundings. In the case of Matisse’s Red Studio, for example, these would often include examples of unfinished artworks. In Dixon’s pieces, the artworks’ grandiose properties seem diminished – their vividness lost amongst the similarly brightly-hued surroundings. They become just another item of furniture. Whilst Dixon most often depicts objects of wealth as created by others in his work – Versace jackets, silk shirts, Jeff Koons tote bags – in this series, he points to his own paintings as the commodity. In doing so, he knowingly eschews the creative aspects of his paintings for the commercial ones.

Andy Dixon at Beers London

Andy Dixon at Beers London

It seems that Dixon has become willingly complicit in ‘the game’ which he has thus far admired from a short distance – but this is clearly the natural progression for his work. Other pieces on exhibit are those that can be interpreted as paintings-of-paintings, where acid-tinged renditions of reclining Venusses, equestrian portraits and erotic renaissance pieces are bordered by candy-hued gilded frames rendered in paint. By focussing on the depiction of these artistic tropes with such a contemporary style and colour palette, Dixon forces us to view them in a new light – without the barriers of who painted the work, or when it was created, we are forced to look at what is depicted on a much more surface level, and consider the capitalistic implications.The title of the show, Alchemy, is a reference to the traditional pursuit of turning a base metal into gold. And this is what Dixon manages to do so masterfully; he takes images which are so ubiquitous in Western art and, through his own kind of magic, creates something wholly new and desirable out of them.

 

***

Andy Dixon is hyper-aware of art’s relationship with money. Signifiers of wealth abound in his large acrylic paintings, which take as their subjects stately lords, reclining nudes, ornate ballrooms, bathing beauties, and prominent paintings of the aforementioned motifs. Borrowing content from Renaissance art, Flemish still lifes, and Google Image searches of “most expensive vases”, his subject matter is selected on the basis of public expectation of what an expensive painting should look like. By sampling content verified as valuable by the market, Dixon positions his own work to ask, “What is the value of a painting of a valuable object?”

Our value of art is truly a phenomenon that operates on a set of rules distinct from the ones that govern the rest of our world. Paintings which feature the tropes Dixon samples from perhaps at one time had social or political agency but are now simply commodities assigned value by the highest bidder. Paintings of expensive things are themselves expensive things collected by the wealthy to promote the luxury lifestyle. However, Dixon isn’t out to mock the affluent. Rather, he is a complicit player in the game; his larger paintings of upper class social scenes tend to feature his own previous paintings hanging on the walls in the background. As Alex Quicho writes in Luxury Object, Luxury Subject, “His postmodern non-interest in either vilifying or reifying luxury cooly transmutes its weirdness.” A self-taught painter, he treats his high-brow content in a crude manner, matching a vivid pastel palette with rough line treatment. His practice has recently expanded to include 3D sculptures which mimic the figures in his paintings—absurdly disproportionate, yet still created with an eye toward beauty. In this way, Dixon’s own appreciation of his subject matter is evident; and while his work questions the subjective valuation of artwork, it also proves that it doesn’t necessarily detract from its beauty.

ANDY DIXON (b. 1979, Vancouver, Canada) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Solo exhibitions include: ‘Expensive Things II’, Winsor Gallery, Art Toronto (2016); ‘Expensive Things I’, Winsor Gallery, Art Toronto (2016); and ‘Leisure Studies’, RHG, New York (2015). Group exhibitions include: ’10 Year Anniversary’, Joshua Liner Gallery, New York (2018); ‘Art Seattle’, Windsor Gallery, Seattle (2017); and ‘Art Toronto’, Windsor gallery, Toronto (2016). Dixon first group exhibition with BEERS London was in ‘O Canada!’ (2017). Dixon’s solo showings with BEERS London include ‘Pronk!’, Volta Art Fair, New York (2017); and ‘How Much do They Cost?’, Pulse Art Fair, Miami (2017); with an upcoming solo show in the London gallery in October 2018.

Andy Dixon at Beers London

Andy Dixon at Beers London

Before this, Beers hosted Kim Dorland’s great show, which can be read about HERE.


Kim Dorland – Terror Management Theory

One of our favourite galleries Beers Contemporary is soon to present Terror Management Theory from one of our favourite artists Kim Dorland. The details can be found below.
For his first solo show at Beers London, Canadian artist Kim Dorland presents ‘Terror Management Theory’, wherein the artist offers a modern-day reimagining of the concept of Memento Mori.

Dorland has long explored the concept of Memento Mori, which, when translated from Latin, means ‘remember that you have to die’, and represents one of the longest standing conventions in the history of art-making. In early history, Romans of the Stoic school of Philosophy pronounced the need to face death in a steadfast manner: ‘Death smiles at us all,’ wrote Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius before his death in the year 180 AD, ‘all we can do is smile back.’  Art history traces various religious beliefs and the paintings that accompanied myriad historical periods as reminders of the need to eschew earthly pursuits and work towards living a Godly life. This fascination with death can be traced back to as recently as the Victorians, whose Memento Mori photographs depicted the living posed next to bodies of deceased family members, like morbid curios of a bygone era.

It is a way of thinking that seems to have been lost on most western cultures in recent times. For Kim Dorland, Terror Management Theory’ is a contemporary reimagining of Memento Mori: ‘a psychological theory,’ he states, ‘about being confronted with the knowledge of our death, and how that makes us act and think… it has been very much on my mind these days that the state we’re in on so many different fronts (environment, politics) is pretty ominous.’ 

Perhaps as humans we have always felt we were living near the proverbial ‘end times’. The Great War, World War II, the Cold War – all modern-world examples where humanity seemed to lie under a proverbial Sword of Damocles*, its future tentative and uncertain. And Dorland’s work has always housed a sort of unease, eeriness, or looming sense of danger – even when at his most playful. This tendency towards normalisation in the face of such world-changing events – is it testament to mankind’s resilience or naivety? Art has always reacted to its social and political context, and it seems that Dorland is responding as such:

‘The show is my imagined extrapolation of that theme – obvious portentous signs that are a bit more dramatic – but not that far off,’ he says, ‘an imagined “how far do things have to go before we notice or act?” It’s not meant to be an overtly political or “statement” show, but it’s definitely what’s on my mind these days. I don’t think there’s any way to avoid it.’
Certainly, Dorland’s trademark subject matter is once again at play: solitary figures in nighttime forests, owls gazing ominously back at the viewer, self-portraits laced with visceral ‘blobs’ of impasto paint. But there is also a playfulness in both his approach and his titling: Plein Air Painter replaces that ominously shadowy figure in the woods with another tradition in painting: the open air painter, an approach favoured by the Modernists as they watched the changing of the daylight and seasons. In Self Portrait at 44, the artist wryly mentions his age as another subtle, albeit humorous, reminder of one’s own morbitity. Have a Nice Day is perhaps the most outwardly tongue-in-cheek, referencing the currently topical ‘plastic-crisis’, the fragility of life, and the entrapments of life in a single, rather banal image. There are (not so) subtle allusions to zombification, biohazards, teenage posses, a vampire (or two), as well as a few other horror-movie clichés thrown in (haunting sunset, long-haired girl), and of course, a couple of traditional Memento Mori scenes: a skull bursting with flowers, one bright blue, and one starkly black. These two stand in as metonym for all of Dorland’s practice: at once haunting, simultaneously overabundant expressions of some sort of mania, be it gleeful or haunting, situated between extremes: the sheer rapture of artistic expression…life, and – of course – death.

Damocles is a figure featured in a single moral anecdote commonly referred to as “the Sword of Damocles”, an allusion to the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power. Wikipedia

***
Kim Dorland’s works remind us of the power of nature and the impact that humanity has upon our environment. His paintings are typically inspired by the landscapes of his native Canada, as well as more traditional landscape painting and portraiture such as that explored through Tom Thomson, of Canada’s famed Group of Seven who painted in the early 20th Century. But what is perhaps most indicative of Dorland’s trademark style is a seemingly post-punk aesthetic: like glowing embers from a fading campfire, Dorland’s tableaux suggests the harsh burn-out of a long party, a suburban riot, or a torrid affair. Through their use of bright colours and thickly impasto paint, Dorland’s scenes often depict a relatively tongue-in-cheek idea of modern life versus nature: graffiti-ridden walls, bridges encroaching into the wilderness, sunrise in suburbia littered with beer bottles, or trunks of trees with expletives ‘carved’ into their bark with paint. Certainly, there is a sinister undertone to his perspective, but they are presented and levied by their sense of humor and apparent irreverence. Even his figurative work operates similarly, where portraits of friends or family members emerge almost conceptually: often through a vigorously applied mountain of paint, as though the paint were a type of metonym or stand-in for memories. Other times, faces are ghostly, shadowed or obscured behind hoods and blankets. Applying paint in a fevered, immediate manner, Dorland uses a combination of flattened acrylic grounds layered with viscerally and liberally applied oils. Lately, his approach combines ‘digital painting’ with his instantly recognizable style. These are paintings that prefer to elevate their medium – as opposed to their subject matter: Dorland has alluded to celebrated painter Frank Auerbach as a pivotal, early influence, stating he’d “never seen anything like it, the way the material looked and felt. It was sort of icky’. Like Auerbach, Dorland paints his subjects with a sense of freedom from traditional representation combined with an unsettling, almost violent immediacy. Like Auerbach, it seems to provide – for both artist and viewer – a method of exploring humanity and the uncanny while simultaneously keeping it at a curious psychological distance.

KIM DORLAND (b. 1974, Alberta, Canada) lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. He graduated with an MFA from York University, Toronto, in 2013, and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver, in 1998. Solo Exhibitions include: ‘Same Old Future’. Arsenal Contemporary, New York City (2018); ‘Nemophilia’, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver (2017); ‘Get Out’, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montreal (2017); and ‘I know that I know Nothing’, Angell Gallery, Toronto (2016). Group exhibitions include: ‘Aidas Bareikis, Kim Dorland & Bill Saylor’, Mier Gallery, Los Angeles (2016); and ‘Major Works’, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver (2016). Dorland was the Globe and Mail’s ‘Artist of the Year 2013’. His works can be found in the collections of the Art Gallery of Alberta, Musée D’art Contemporain De Montréal, The Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, The Richard Prince Collection, the Taschen Collection and The Contemporary Art Foundation in Japan. Dorland’s first group exhibition with BEERS London was in ‘O Canada!’ (2017). He will have his first solo exhibition with BEERS London in September 2018, entitled, ‘Terror Management Theory’.


Florence Hutchings Interview

Florence Hutchings is one of our favourite artists here at Delphian Gallery, and we were thrilled when she entered our Open Call exhibition in the spring. She then went on to win the competition, and as a result has her first ever solo show ‘Seating Arrangement’ opening with us on September 6th.

Benjamin Murphy sat down with her recently to ask her a little about her work, and what she has in store for us.

Further details about the show and private view can be found at the bottom.

How do you deal with success at such an early stage in your career?

I would say that the idea of success for me right now is a weird thing, for me success isnt selling a painting (or not), or getting it into the show, it’s the way you feel when you leave the studio at the end of the day. For me 8/10 times I probably leave the studio feeling frustrated at not making what I envisaged. The success for me comes on those 2/10 days when I feel like I’ve resolved something, it’s almost like an ecstatic buzz feeling which was so worth all the frustration.

Yeah my studio time is often as frustrating. I suppose what I mean is, I know that if I’d have been as successful as you (both in terms of sales and shows) when I was still studying, I would not have dealt with it well. How do you stay grounded and not the egomaniac I know I would have become?

Hahah, I suppose I’m surrounded by lots of people who inspire me and who i look up to, they’re probably the people keeping me grounded.
On top of that although I greatly appreciate all the opportunities and experiences I’ve gained from my art I don’t think it would ever really change me as a person.
I know when I was a student my style, direction, and intentions changed often and drastically, and I think obscurity allows an artist to change as is their will, whereas notability curtails this. Do you still feel free to change directions if you ever chose to?
Yes for sure- change is often important in my work. I tend to work on a theme at one time and get completely obsessed by it, for instance within this show the motif of chairs appear in most of the works. However although these all have a similar subject matter I try to approach each piece with a new attack – it’s what keeps the process exciting for me. That’s why just over these recent works from the show I have used: oil paint, acrylic and spray paint (for the first time), collage, paper works, canvas works, pieces which are massive and pieces that are really small. I tend to paint whatever I feel like as well, nothing really constricts me – I’ve painted cars, shop fronts, clothes rails, fruit markets, the every day interior and so on. It’s when I start to repeat the way I approach a painting that I know I’m doing something wrong and instantly try to change things up.
Why do you have such an affinity for painting the everyday, and how are you able to imbue ordinary objects with the significance that you do?
I love painting the everyday – I suppose that stems from drawing from life, as most of my paintings are references from lots of drawings. I tend to draw in my flat and rarely in the studio which I suppose is why the interior comes into so often. But I do really enjoy taking something so mundane and giving it character and life. It’s a subject matter which has appealed to me since my first year at Slade and I enjoy seeing how far I can explore it and open it up.
I suppose that’s what painting is, taking a mundane object, which is a simple tube of oil paint, and giving the material some emotional significance.
Yeah exactly – and the same with drawing something so simple as putting pencil to paper can be so exciting and inspiring – it was Bonnards drawings that really got me excited about art when I was younger.
How closely do you try and render the chair you see in front of you?
Well I originally draw them from life but the chair never fully looks like the chair in front of me – I suppose I’m just as interested as the space around the object as the object itself, that’s why in some of the works the chair motif is simple and the background very built up. The ‘wonkiness’ and the character comes from my drawings rather than the chair itself
How have you approached this new solo show, and what can we expect from it?
So this is my first ever solo show which has been quite nerve-racking but also really exciting. I’ve been lucky enough to have a studio space over summer (with thanks to Oli Epp for a residency in June). The series of works for this show started with a set of A6 drawings of all the chairs in my flat- I went from making works this scale to 180x170cm canvases which although challenging, I ultimately wanted to approach a massive painting with the same expression as a small piece. Some of my works in the show I was happiest are the A1 paintings on paper – I felt that the paper really loosened me up and made me approach this subject matter in a new light – the chairs became much more abstract and obscure, you can hardly tell they are chairs in some of the pieces. I enjoy that ambiguity, I like it when people have to guess and make their own narrative for what it is in the painting.
Seating Arrangement opens on Thursday the 6th of September.
Delphian Gallery at theprintspace, 74 Kingsland Road London E2 8DL.
The Facebook event for the private view can be found HERE
We are expecting the guest list to fill up very quickly so make sure you rsvp to the Eventbrite HERE
The exhibition is kindly supported by theprintspace.

Jesus Leguizamo

Jesus Leguizamo

Jesus Leguizamo is a figurative painter from Bogotà, Colombia who recently featured in Saatchi’s list of new and upcoming artists. His works are rich in detail and are incredibly tactile. They are portraits of vivid memories and abstract concepts including themes such as fatherhood, war and love. Sections of his paintings are intensely focused or canbe confused in a haze of passionate expression through colour and form.

Many today may disregard the value of paintings that delicately render our physical appearances in a world of camera technology and cheap means of reproduction. Everyday, millions of images of us go online on Instagram and Facebook. All of us share our experiences to preserve a moment in our lives in order to say, “Yes, this is me. I was here.”

However, painting in the realm of art has far more complexities in the way of attaining a multi-facetted essence of our existence. Throughout history we have always been drawn to images of human faces in the pursuit of stories they may tell. Personal histories and relationships are embedded in each brushstroke. Works like the paintings by Jesus Leguizamo are not simply faithful recreations or most detailed copies of how a person looks like. What is truly revealing is when we turn our attention to the information the artist chooses to omit,blur or distort and the reasons behind these decisions. It’s through these balances that we gain insight. The human sphere isn’t so stable as a photograph, nor are the ideas that define who we are.

The hand touching paintbrush on to canvas is the hand that presses the camera shutter. Two kinds of reality interpreted: a layered thoughtfulness as opposed to spontaneity as seen in nature. Both can be equally exciting but through contemporary figurative painting, we may be more fruitful in discovering interwoven dynamics of conscious and unconscious intentions within layers of paint.

To the viewer, Leguizamo communicates the mind’s eye. All surroundings are condensed to blocks of light or dark. Sometimes steams of light are permitted, or thick dabs of paint that recall violent emotional links. Actions are often concentrated on and our eyes are drawn to the way a scholar scratches his head in frustration or the lingering gaze of a soldier, dressed and ready to go into combat. We cannot read any other aspect of his expression or know with any clarity what he truly looks like. Striking impasto paint, fleshy tones of redand brown evoking images of healing wounds, obscure most of his face. Is this the echo of a loved one’s memory? Or does it foreshadow emotional and physical trauma to come? Where the photograph is a window to the eyes, the painting is a window to our inner selves.

Leguizamo’s work is so accessible because it gives us the thrill of uncovering clues to the human condition. From understanding others, we can begin to understand ourselves.

Words – Wingshan Smith


Conversation between artists Benjamin Murphy and Billy Childish.

 

Billy Childish is an artist who is as prolific in painting as he is in poetry, prose, and music, all of which coalesce to form a coherent body of work that would take most people four lifetimes to create.

His work transcends the gossip about his character, be it his involvement with a prominent YBA or his short-lived membership of a certain art movement.

His work is created from a conceptually free mindset, and his work shuns the pretentiousness enacted by the more self-conscious. He believes that art should be autonomous and that the viewer must read each work as they see it.

On top of all of this, Billy Childish is one of the most genuine and well-mannered men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Below is the transcript of a conversation I had with him last year before his solo exhibition The House At Grass Valley at Carl Freedman Gallery.

 

BM – What relevance does the House at Grass Valley have, to both yourself and this body of work?

BC – Most of my paintings come from an immediate response to images, this was in response to a photograph of their house in Grass Valley California. My friend Johnny’s father built the house and I have visited there with my wife who is from California. My work is carried out very quickly, the response is very automatic. There’s little mental process, just this quick reaction – it’s how most of my work is undertaken. It’s not important that there is a real house Grass Valley. People might want to know the story but a painting is in another world that lives beyond the location. The ‘real’ almost becomes immaterial.

BM – Why did you choose to include the works of Russian Literature: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Gogol etc.?

BC – These people had a visceral engagement with life, and decent human integrity. I like people with moral depth and intelligence. All of these things are not bound in time; I believe a painting collapses time. That sounds grandiose in a way…

BM – You mean its universal?

BC – Yes, the paintings are difficult to place, you could place them anywhere in the last hundred years, but I would also counter that they are very modern. They acknowledge their history if you like, and wear their hearts on their sleeves. I declare my loves and celebrate my influences, which is something that artists used to do.

BM – I think the reason most artists these days are more reluctant to share their inspirations is because they are trying to claim that they have entirely original ideas.

BC – Yes, they want to pretend that they have invented everything themselves. We’re in this situation where art is tied to fashion. Art is almost trailing behind fashion, rather than leading from the front, so people are hugely worried about how to find themselves and how to be original rather than authentic. It’s very adolescent.

BM – A lot of artists don’t become relevant until long after they’ve died and society has had a chance to catch up.

BC – Absolutely, you can be so far ahead of the curve that you appear to be behind it – I’m one of those guys. It can be a problem if you’re career minded, but lucky for me I’m not. I paint the paintings that I want to paint when I want to paint them, I don’t do anything for an audience. There’s nothing more dated than the contemporary.

BM – Would you say you were an obsessive, is it a compulsion?

BC – I think that we’re all obsessive and compulsive. Whether it’s: somebody who’s obsessive about working in a bank; or tidying their house; or someone who’s obsessively creative.

BM – A lot of your inspirations (Van Gogh, Dostoyevsky, Munch) make works about isolation. I see that same isolation in a lot of your work, be it painting, prose, poetry etc. Is that a concern or an inspiration for you?

BC – I suppose I have been trying to work out who I am and what that might mean, it takes lot of introspection. I was not given a lot of good information as a young man, and I come from quite a fractured background. I was finding maturity and a path through all of that. I now know the value of being here and the value of integrity, truth, and honesty. It’s taken a long while, and its not through my cleverness or my abilities, its through luck and grace.

BM – You had a tough upbringing in certain ways; do you believe that artists who have suffered some kind of hardship are naturally better artists?

BC – I think a lot of expression, and trying to understand the world can come from dysfunction. If somebody is burdened with suffering it can be a very valuable tool for them.

I’m sure art encourages mad men, and I’m sure it helps some mad men.

BM – So would you say that these works are more autonomous than your early works?

BC – I’m in them, but I don’t use the same piece of brain as I used to. The hand that drew in the caves is the hand that draws now, there’s no gap. It’s primal, because its unconscious and it’s beyond time. Beauty is highly underrated, and so is craft and aesthetic. I often say to people I don’t make art I make pictures; I leave art to the artists.

BM – That’s the opposite of what a lot of contemporary artists would say.

BC – That’s because I’m being sarcastic and in fact they’re not artists. If something needs to be in a gallery to be recognized as art, it very possibly isn’t.

BM – With conceptual art, do you not believe that the crafting of an idea is enough rather than the crafting of a material?

BC – Anything can be enough; I don’t have any problem with conceptual art. I’m happy for Tate Modern to be full of conceptual art, for it to be a Sunday outing for families, and for it to be like an amusement park.

But I would also say that a lot of conceptual art has devalued its own language through overuse. The same can be said of abstract art. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t have relevance or value but if you have a diet of only chocolate it makes you sick.

Society and art are all so diabolically mundane because it is very easy to big up rubbish and very easy to dismiss the real. Very few people can tell the difference. But the real will always survive and will eventually raise itself to the surface in good time.

When I talk about this stuff people think what a dark view, but I have a total optimism in this.

BM – Do you think that the art world nowadays is too celebrity-focused?

BC – Society is obsessed with celebrity, and there’s no reason why art would be excluded from that. It’s that adolescent trend, the decadence of the world we live in. The art world personifies that decadence. It’s all greed; greed is borne of a lack of confidence, and a lack of spiritual belief. It’s not because these people are bad but that they lack self-confidence. We feel that we’re in competition with each other, and that’s because we’re a spiritually bankrupt decadent society. But truth and goodness will always survive.

BM – A lot of your work is quite melancholy, would you agree?

BC – Melancholy is underrated; there is a very melancholic feel to the world. A lot of people misunderstand melancholy; in a way it can be an introspective and calm place. It’s not going to obliterate you, it just tones everything down – its not misery. We’re such a mixed bag of emotions, and we have to understand that we live beyond them. There are a lot of quite dark things in my poetry because one of my favorite things is a black humor. Often people are surprised that I’m quite lighthearted.

BM – Do you think that for you your work is a way of excising some past demons?

BC – I think it does happen, it’s all tied into this existential feeling of being lost and alone without god.

It doesn’t matter where the problem is it’s just how much you identify with it. And being able to not identify with those aspects of ourselves, just recognize them. The ones who find it difficult are the ones who get stuck in identifying themselves as a particular aspect or qualification; they become defined by events that have happened to them, or their abilities.

The things we are always looking for is freedom, either by controlling others or by greed and money and power. But we’re seeking what we already have, and causing mischief for others in the process by looking in the wrong places. It stems from a lack of confidence in ourselves and a lack of self-awareness. One of the main jobs in life is loving yourself; you don’t have to become some kind of saint, you just have to have the guts to get to know yourself, and realize that your problems and defects are perfectly ok.

(Originally published in This Is Tomorrow Magazine)