Posts tagged London
Solo Show of Harlem artist Stan Squirewell at Gallery 8, London | April 1-13, 2019
Untitled.jpeg

FACTION Art Projects is delighted to present a solo show of Harlem-based artist Stan Squirewell at Gallery 8, London. Following an exhibition of Squirewell’s work at FACTION’s Harlem space, the FACTION team is bringing him to London for a display of multilayered collages, which through elements of mythology, sacred geometry and science, tackle themes of race and memory. This marks Squirewell’s first solo show outside the US. A Private View of the exhibition will be held on April 2, 2019 from 6-9pm.

Squirewell’s newest works, which have evolved over two or three years of archival study and exploration, are heavily influenced by a recent revelation of his paternal ancestry.

Louisana.jpeg

Squirewell says:

‘For most of my life I believed my family were African Americans who had arrived to the US on slave ships, and it wasn’t until my twenties that I discovered my true heritage, that they were indigenous Americans. As a teacher working closely with the national curriculum I constantly see how history, even now, is curated. My art attempts to rewrite these assumed histories. The beauty of the works capture the viewer, but it’s the ugly that intrigues and leads them to look deeper.’

Rediscovering his ancestry has prompted Squirewell to question his identity, particularly in the western hemisphere. It also speaks to his battle with the omnipresent slavery narrative, when he himself comes from a black family that is not believed to have a history of slavery. Through portraiture he challenges histories and presents a more empowering narrative for black identity, seeking to change the terminology around the very word ‘black’.

The portraits have a16th, 17th and 18th century aesthetic with a contemporary awareness. The depicted figures are both real historical figures and fictitious characters that are in some way related to the artist. Through demonstrating the misrepresentations of history, they critique what we colloquially describe as fact. Each artwork is complete only after he ceremoniously burns both the collage and its hand carved frames which include motifs and markings from ancient indigenous American and African cultures.

The titles of Stan Squirewell’s works reference particular moments in our shared history. One work entitled ‘Willendorf’, is inspired by the prehistoric female figure of ‘Venus of Willendorf’, while another, ‘Amerindian’ refers to the ‘$5 Indians’ - those who, 125 years ago, paid for falsified documents that proved them to be Native American.

Ameri.jpeg

About Stan Squirewell:

Stan Squirewell was born and raised in Washington, DC and currently lives and works in Harlem, New York. His artistic training began at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Since graduating he has continued his tutelage under many of DC’s legends including artists Michael Platt and Lou Stovall. Squirewell, is a painter, photographer, installation and performance artist. His work is multilayered and his subject matter tackles themes such as: race and memory through mythology, sacred geometry and science. He draws his inspiration from theory books, science fiction movies and novels, avant-garde jazz and indigenous storytelling. He is a (2007 MFA) graduate of the Hoffberger School of Painting where he studied with the late, Grace Hartigan. Squirewell is the first winner of the Rush Philanthropic and Bombay Sapphire Artisan series. He has performed with Nick Cave (SoundSuits) at the National Portrait Gallery and Jefferson Pinder with G-Fine Arts. He is privately and publicly collected, his works are in the Reginald Lewis Museum, the Robert Steele Collection and recently acquired by the Smithsonian for the African American Museum (2015.) Squirewell is currently exhibited as part of ‘Fashioning the body’ at projects+gallery in St. Louis alongside Bisa Butler, Soly Cissé, Renee Cox, David Antonio Cruz, Kenturah Davis, Hassan Hajjaj, Basil Kincaid, Mario Moore, Chris Ofili, Fahamu Pecou, Katherine Simóne Reynolds, Jacolby Satterwhite, Mickalene Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.

About FACTION Art Projects:

FACTION is a flexible collective, from the team behind the hugely successful Gallery 8 and Coates & Scarry in London, who have created a unique model for artists and gallerists to work together. FACTION addresses the changing market place and the erosion of the traditional art market, where galleries were gatekeepers for artists. FACTION provides artists with promotion and opportunity to access collectors and a wider audience, with all the support of a gallery but without the constraints of the traditional model. They aim to deliver a program of artists that is diverse and inclusive. FACTION launched in February 2018 at Gallery 8 in Harlem, New York and since then has become strongly imbedded in the Striver’s Row community and a highlight of Harlem’s cultural scene.

For more information please contact Anna Beketov, anna.beketov@damsonpr.com, +44 (0)20 7812 0645

Writing About Art: Podcast Interview with Emily Steer, Elephant Magazine

Let's go behind the scenes of Elephant Magazine!

I have been a long time fan of Elephant and recently got the amazing opportunity to interview editor Emily Steer. Emily shares her personal story and talks about how she took an untraditional route to journalism, overcame imposter syndrome and eventually established herself as the editor of this leading art magazine.

This episode includes bonus tips for artists and gives insight into how contemporary art editors discover new talent.

Emily Steer, Photography by Hannah Miles

Emily Steer, Photography by Hannah Miles

Elephant West. Photography by Dirk Lindner

Elephant West. Photography by Dirk Lindner

Emily’s Artist Picks

Maisie Cousins

Maisie’s work is repulsive and seductive at the same time, a squidgy conglomeration of weird food and lots of oily liquid, with beautiful colour palettes including pops of electric blue, pale pink and minty green. It’s fun and celebratory—a glorious mess. Maisie was the first artist to show at Elephant West, and she created a wonderful environment that made the space feel so playful. She is a classic Elephant artist.

https://elephant.art/event/maisie-cousins-dipping-sauce/

Maisie Cousins

Maisie Cousins

 Ramona Zoladek

Ramona has just won the Elephant x Griffin Art Prize, and her work is a subtle balance of manmade and natural elements, with delicate pea shoots growing through the cracks. It is political work which draws its viewer in first and foremost through visual intrigue.  

https://elephant.art/life-hangs-urgently-balance-ramona-zoladeks-sculptures/

Ramona Zoladek

Ramona Zoladek

 Ben Sledsens

I have a (perhaps childish) love of animals in art, and I especially enjoy Ben’s work. His animals are wild but oddly regimented, made sleek and elegant in his working of them.

Ben Sledsens

Ben Sledsens

 Tristan Pigott

Tristan’s practice is really developing at the moment—he’s currently studying sculpture at the RCA and his dream-like paintings are currently getting even more of a hallucinatory edge. There’s something really languid and peaceful about them, even in their weirdness. 

Tristan Pigott

Tristan Pigott

 Anna Liber Lewis

Anna is the next solo artist to show at Elephant West, alongside the musician Four Tet, who she has known since childhood. Her paintings are lively and gutsy, and often sexual without being explicit. There’s a great energy to her work.

Anna Liber Lewis

Anna Liber Lewis

 Hun Kyu Kim

More animal paintings. Bunnies wearing umbrellas for hats, woodland pig parties and eyeballs drinking martinis; Hun Kyu Kim’s work is like Beatrix Potter on acid.

Hun Kyu Kim

Hun Kyu Kim

 

Robin Francis Williams

Robin created one of my favourite paintings at Frieze, depicting a crazed-looking woman combing her hair with a fork. Her work is bold and frenzied, and her depiction of light is stunning.

Robin Francis Williams

Robin Francis Williams

Elephant Magazine’s Manifesto

0312-ELEPHANT-MANIFESTO-20181008.01-pdf-600x849.jpg
The Courage to Enjoy It: Podcast Interview with Andrew Salgado
IMG_3806.jpg

On this episode of Art and Cocktails, Kat interviews contemporary artist Andrew Salgado about the inspiration behind his recent exhibition at Angell Gallery, his approach to painting, bringing pleasure back to art-making, the importance of rest for artists and much more.

Andrew Salgado is a leading young figurative painter with over a dozen sold-out international exhibitions, including London, New York, Zagreb, Miami, Cape Town, and Basel. In 2017, Salgado was the youngest artist to ever receive a survey-exhibition at The Canadian High Commission in London, accompanied by a 300-page monograph, both of which were entitled TEN

“The large scale, gestural paintings of Andrew Salgado explore concepts relating to the destruction and reconstruction of identity – a process that he views as re-considering the conventions of figurative painting through a pursuit toward abstraction. Salgado questions the nature of identity and even the act of painting itself as something monstrous, allegorical, or symbolic. Incorporating Classical archetypes alongside a wildly inventive approach to his chosen media, Salgado’s work defies categorization. Recent works include collage, mixed-media, and even hand-dyed and hand-stitched linen and canvas. ”I am interested in how my paintings operate independently from their literal figurative foundation, and how they might deconstruct through colour choices, reduction of forms, and triumph of materiality to become something altogether otherworldly.”

- Beers London

Andrew’s new exhibition at Angell Gallery, Toronto:

BLUE RAINBOW

ANDREW SALGADO

October 4–27, 2018

Bodily Experiences: Interview with Sara Anstis

Sara Anstis was raised on a small island off the Canadian west coast and draws and lives wherever she finds good light. Her investigations take place at various sites, and with different social groups. Discomfort and bodily experiences cause her work to evolve through drawings and installations that question the image of the body and the desiring look. 

She is currently completing the postgraduate drawing year at the Royal Drawing School in London.

www.saraanstis.com

Anstis_3.jpg

You were born in Sweden, grew up on an island off the Canadian coast, and now live in London studying at The Royal Drawing School. How has living in these very different environments influenced your artistic approach or outlook?

I grew up on Salt Spring Island, which is a small and very creative community. I haven’t been back there since my father died, and in my mind, it remains the idyllic space I roamed barefoot as a teenager. I think it has been the most important and formative environment for me artistically.

Anstis_7.jpg

Although much of your work is rendered in graphite charcoal, your more recent work has adopted the use of color as well as elements of further abstraction. Tell us about this development. What inspired you to diverge in style as well as palette?

I change the medium I work with to fit the subject of my work. Right now, I am looking at male bodies performing survival tasks in the contested location of “wilderness” and trying to figure out my attraction to survivalism reality television shows. Using color became essential as I realized that color forms a large part of this attraction; the surrounding greens of plants is what gives these bodies a soft bed to lie on. In Bluets the author, Maggie Nelson, tries to map her fixation with the color blue and its connection to her sexuality, her melancholy, and the female gaze, through poetic writing. Through drawing, I am attempting something similar, to speak of how these notions merge with my greens. I’m also putting together a publication with writings from seven artists, which is a re-imagining of a classic wilderness survival guide.

The figures in your drawings are often layered, overlapped, or twisted, transforming into different modes of being. Can you tell us about the highly psychological effect these bodily distortions create in your compositions?

The outlines of our bodies are deceptive. Skin is porous and many foreign organisms live inside us. In Vibrant Matter, Jane Bennett talks about skin as “a superficial indication of where an organism ends and its environment begins” – this is something I think about in relation to my figures melting into each other and sometimes their surroundings. Drawing other bodies, from life and from photographs, also has to do with merging and becoming part of; in the act of drawing, something is exchanged, which changes both the drawer and the observed subject. I often draw the body of the lover, whose skin is a surface on which I project existential questions and whose presence enhances the horrors of scopophilia, abjection, and domesticity.

Your artist statement states that your work, “question[s] the image of the body.”

Can you discuss this in relation to your most recent drawings?

At the moment, I’m transfixed by images of men alone in nature, particularly in a reality

television about survivalism called Alone. When I first saw an episode, I wasn’t sure why

Anstis_6.jpg

I was so attracted to the images it portrayed, so I decided to unpack this attraction. I think it concerns the gender politics around the figure in the landscape, typically a romanticized man or a man in the Romantic tradition seeking out natura naturans, and the eroticism and vulnerability of this figure interlaced with greenery. It also has to do with envy, as

I’m very comfortable with solitude and spending a lot of time outside, and with my connection to the Canadian west coast, which is where the series is filmed.

In my recent drawings, I’ve been getting my ideas from survival courses I’ve taken where we might butcher an animal carcass or build fires with limited tools. My position as an outsider visiting survival groups allows me to examine the contradictions inherent in their activities and the unethical nature of my desire. I want to depict masculinity from a desiring female standpoint, which I find a lack of in the images I’m exposed to.

What has your experience been like working in a creative environment at The Royal Drawing School? Tell us a bit about this program and what it was that drew you to it.

I’m really enjoying it. It’s a one-year postgraduate program during which we draw from observation while developing our studio practices. Often, we are in the life room, but also in Kew Gardens drawing plants, or in different museums in London studying paintings, drawings, and prints. The sensation of being watched while I draw in public places is something I’ve gradually become accustomed to this year. I applied because I wanted to develop my visual language after I finished my MFA in Sweden, as I felt that I knew my work, but I’d lost touch with my materials. We’re working towards three exhibitions that will happen this coming winter at the drawing school in Shoreditch, at Space

Studios in Hackney, and at Christie’s London.

Anstis_9.jpg

Is there any specific artist whose work has helped shape your aesthetic? Are there other artists currently working primarily in drawing that inspire you?

I couldn’t say there’s one artist in particular, but right now I am absorbed by Carol Rama, Bronzino, and the 15th century Italian painter Lorenzo Monaco. In terms of drawing artists, my friend Behjat Omer Abdulla never ceases to amaze me. His projects have an incredible sensitivity in how they approach difficult narratives. I saw a talk given by

Catherine Anyango Grünewald recently, and her tactile and painful relationship with

graphite, paper, and erasers really resonated with me. Others include Vanna Bowles,

Alphachanneling, and David Shrigley,

If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go next? 

My studio.

Claire Brewster

Since I could first pick up a pencil, art was the only thing I was really interested in. My journey to become a professional artist has involved living in Spain and Romania and working for a high-profile architects’ practice, amongst other things, whilst always working on my art. I have been living and working in London for over 25 years. My work has been exhibited and published widely and is in private collections all over the world. 

My process involves collage, painting, pouring, stippling, and layering paint on paper or card. My aim is to test the limits of the paper and paint. I am looking for reactions between the paint and the paper and how one layer of paint is impacted by the preceding layers. There is often buckling, cracking, and distortions in colours. The unpredictability of this is a thrill to me. I am always testing the materials, colours, and textures to act beyond what I expect and can control. I encourage the paint to do things it’s not supposed to do to create happy accidents. 

I use figures cut from glossy magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Tatler, as an act of subversion I cut up the magazines, collecting pictures of women, taking them from their original context. I transform them beyond recognition to create ethereal yet provocative works that question our notions of identity.

www.clairebrewster.com

The Cycle of Life: Interview With Jennifer Nieuwland

I am an emerging artist living and working in London. I am fascinated by the concept of time and the cycle of life we all go through. In my recent work our older and younger selves are merged to create an ambiguous ‘other’, portraying our physical change through time and hinting at the connection between past, present and future. 

The figures are suspended, floating in space and time and there is a sense of solitude and transience about them. I have painted them the actual size of a baby to give them a delicate and intimate feel. Some are cocooned or suspended in what looks like ethereal matter, suggesting an otherworldly space. I am trying to convey a sense of the mystery and fragility of life while also trying to capture an ‘eternal essence’. The narrative is about the power and inevitability of time but also our beauty and resilience. 

My work has been selected for the Emerging Women in Art exhibition and the National Open Art exhibition in London this year. I have also exhibited at the Wallace Collection earlier this year. 

My desire to add depth and intensity to my work was inspired, in part, by the works of Freud, Alice Neel, Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon and their ability to transmit a deep and unique psychological narrative. I am also interested in the Dutch Masters, their use of chiaroscuro and dark backgrounds. 

I am primarily self-taught. I took Art A level and got offered a place at Central St. Martins but at the time I decided to pursue a different career path until recently. I have attended short-courses at various London art schools and have been working with oils in my studio for the last two years.

jennifernieuwland.com

Past_present_future.jpg

Tell us about your artistic background. You mention that you are self-taught. When did you know you wanted to become a painter?

I had a great art teacher at school and deep down I knew I wanted to be a painter but I gave up a place at Central St. Martins to study at the London School of Economics and then pursued a career in branding and traveled the world for a while. I picked up painting again after 12 years or so and started taking short-term courses at various London art schools after which my passion for painting was truly re-ignited and I decided to practice it full-time. 

Nearly_there.jpg

When did you develop an interest in the human figure and the aging process? 

I have always been inspired by people and I love painting portraits and the figure. Through life/portrait classes in London, I developed my technical skills and I became fascinated with older people due to the wrinkles/lines and more complex pigmentation of their faces, lending them more depth and character. I began to contemplate the effect of time on our physicality and wanted to capture the shift from the baby skin to older skin, both being quite translucent and fragile. I had been working on some 'hybrid portraits' of family members and I decided to transpose the idea of the hybrid onto the aging process, creating ambiguous beings where the baby's body is merged with its older self.

A_life_.jpg

What do you hope to show the viewer through your recent paintings?

I am trying to capture a sense of the fragility of life but also the beauty of it through the passing of time. I am experimenting with different representations of figures; some are floating alone in darkness to reflect the solitude we experience, especially at the beginning and end of life, their delicate white dresses add an element of fragility but also luminosity. Some are 'sheltering' on what looks like the ethereal matter to give them an otherworldly feel and a sense of transience. I have started to introduce symbolic elements such as the moon, butterflies, and stones to add depth to the narrative. My backgrounds are often dark, representing fear, emptiness and the unknown but the figures are luminous and somewhat 'angel-like' representing life and light.

How do you decide what figure to paint and which portrait to place on the bodies in your work? Describe your creative process.

I tend to pick the face first, it has to transmit something meaningful to me and have intensity, something soulful about it. I work with people from life and also from photos and images. Often there is both an inner strength and a sense of melancholy about the faces I choose, the latter links into the narrative of nostalgia and time. I am hoping to go beyond physical mortality and capture an eternal 'essence'.

The figure comes second and the pose depends very much on how it fits with the face, it has to look like the body and face belong together. The pose also has to contribute to the message and narrative, some are in an almost fetal position cocooning themselves, others in more 'cherub-like' poses.

Reminiscing.jpg

Name a few artists that influenced your work up to this point. 

My desire to add depth and intensity to my work was inspired, in part, by the works of Freud, Alice Neel, Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon and their ability to transmit a deep and unique psychological narrative. I am also interested in the Dutch Masters, their use of chiaroscuro and dark backgrounds.

A soul.jpg

Share a favorite quote or piece of advice. 

I have a lot of favorite quotes but one I like is "The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art." When I paint it is the only moment where time stands still.

What do you have planned for this year?

I have a group exhibition coming up 21st-25th March where I will be exhibiting some of my work at Burgh House in Hampstead London through Ecclestone Art Agency. I have also sent my work to quite a few competitions that I am waiting to hear from so fingers crossed!

Carla Kranendonk's Collages at Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery

Carla Kranendonk creates large-scale collages that are informed by both her experience of the African diaspora in her native Amsterdam and her travels to West Africa and the Caribbean.

Paper painted with bright patterns is combined with embroidery and beadwork, as well as photographs of figures from African culture and Kranendonk’s own family. The resulting works represent a travelogue, a collection of memories and references.

The works are not simply a record of the artist’s experience of Africana, but also an interpretation. Perspective is manipulated. Figures are flattened into a two-dimensional format set against panels of texture. Shading is replaced by thickly-painted lines.

The collages are studies of colour and pattern, which foreground the strength and expressiveness of femininity in a light-hearted visual language. Jewels and handbags assert the individuality of each woman, whilst talismans cast them as spiritual leaders. The recurrence of shoes evoke movement, the prospect of a journey. The compositions are completed with traditional domestic props, such as teapots and flowers, which the women interact with in state of rest.

Kranendonk’s works have been exhibited in the Netherlands and the UK, as well in Miami, New York and Los Angeles. This is her first solo exhibition with the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery.

On view from February 28 - April 14, 2018 in London. 

Learn more

The Space in Between: Interview with Morgan Ward

I have always retained an interest in the concept of the painting’s picture plane, and significantly, how this can be manipulated. In my practice, I aim to investigate the relationships between colour and the interaction of forms. Questioning how one might choose to fill the space of a canvas as an object, and whether paintings can communicate and inform themselves. A key aspect is the expansion of a space, both physically and as an abstract illusion.

I have adopted and developed a practice that allows me to constantly interrogate problems and outcomes. Persistently working from preliminary studies in a sketchbook and allowing them to inform, but not dictate, my paintings. Thinking about communication between paintings and how paintings can be viewed as an object in space, not just a flat surface that reacts only with the eyes. Wanting the paintings to interact as a body of work, interconnecting within itself, translating forms and using colour suggestively to signify space and build these networks. Using the space around a painting to play an equal role in how the painting is consumed by the viewer as the content of the picture plane. Where a painting begins and where it ends, your entry point of a painting, and where you are allowed to enter a painting. How adjacent space can alter how paintings communicate and how the viewer can be manipulated in a space to react a certain way towards specific works.

www.morganwardartist.com

Studio-M-Ward-1-Edit-reduced-file-size.jpg

What is your artistic background?

After living in London my whole life, I decided to take the plunge and completely change scenery and study Fine Art at the University of Chichester in the South of the UK. I returned to London where I live and work in my studio and from then on my practice has continued to grow.

When did you start exploring the idea of paintings in relation to their space and environment?

Like most artists, you start from a very early age producing works from visual stimulation of what is around you, be that your friends or family, scenery, or anything you can get your hands on. But, I always found myself so much more interested in the space in between and how that changed the space/object(s) adjacent. I suppose it derived with the formal thinking of compositions and the curating of a visual plane.

untitledpainting_oilandacrylicwashoncanvas_182.88x152.4_2017.jpg

We love the intensity and installation-like effect of your work. What would you say your current work is about?

The central questioning of my practice has been that of what constitutes the space of painting. How one might choose to fill the space of a canvas as an object, and whether paintings can communicate and inform themselves through relational proximity. In thinking about communication between paintings and how paintings can be viewed as an object in space, not just a flat surface that reacts only with the eyes has led me to explore work in series wanting the paintings to interact as a body of work, interconnecting within themselves both singularly and across the sequence as a network in actual space.

Your palette is absolutely stunning. How do you come up with the color in your work?

My colour palette has derived from many many studies and paintings and it’s a continually growing thing that I carry around in my brain. Its kind of organically grown from itself, testing colours and knowing what works and what doesn’t and manipulating these good and bad relationships between colours to open and close and illusionistic space in a fixed object in reality. But I do get into phases of really overly enjoying a specific oil paint colour, it sounds like such an odd obsession, but its so satisfying finding a colour that’s just exactly what you are looking for.

Morgan Ward 2.jpg

Give us a glimpse into your process. What is a typical day in the studio like for you?

I always like to get started with just throwing a colour down into a sketchbook and pushing to see what I can do with it. Give myself a line on a page and make myself produce a composition relation to that specific line as a focal point. Once I get started with investigating one tiny idea or a colour it always leads to something hopefully substantial, I find myself spending a whole day just exploring one form or one colour to the limits of what it can or could be.

Morgan Ward 1.jpg

What are some of your interests outside of art-making?

Now this may seem a little odd, but I have a slight obsession with collecting plants… Wherever I go I always find myself picking up a plant or two or a type of pot for them to go in, it does a great job of brightening up my studio, I always enjoy buying the plant that looks a little worst off than its counterparts and bringing back to life.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an artist?

Keep going, everyone always says to just keep producing what you feel is right, never forget your artistic direction wherever it takes you, trust your own judgement, always question things and just go with it!

Dina Brodsky: "Cycling Guide to Lilliput" at Pantone Gallery

Dina Brodsky

Cycling Guide to Lilliput

2 February – 4 March 2018
Opening reception Thursday 1 February | 6–8 pm

Dina Brodsky was born in Minsk, Belarus and emigrated to the United States as a child. She studied at The Amsterdam Academy of Fine Art in The Netherlands, The University of Massachusetts and The New York Academy of Art. She has had prestigious solo exhibitions, and participated in many group shows, in Europe and the United States. She currently lives and works in New York.

She makes small, circular paintings on copper discs of carefully observed and recorded landscapes. Hers is a classical technique, deploying skillful handling of colour, tone and texture to describe specific location, time of day, weather and atmosphere. The paintings are produced in series and document particular journeys: long-distance ones which the artist makes on bicycle. The artist refers to these journeys as one of the great passions of her life. Each painting in the series is a return to a significant place and moment, xing a visual memory in an exquisitely rendered miniature.

The artist was drawn to the format by her studies of Islamic miniature painting and illuminated manuscripts. She has arrived at a technique which allows for intensely condensed expression, an effective way of concentrating and distilling experience. Her content references the painters George Inness and Albert Bierstadt, great documentarians of the romantic American landscape. In such subject matter she sees a similar repository of human experience and aspiration.

Dina Brodsky talks of the miniature as an aid to meditation, an object which encourages intimate contemplation. The paintings are devices for the recall of significant personal memory. In their uniform and systematic configuration they operate like stations of the cross, acting as associative triggers to access the painter’s world. The circular format of the painting echoes the artist’s bicycle wheel. As the artist continues her journey it turns, generating new views and situations, new material for her miniature paintings, Lilliputian in scale, but big in effect.

For more information:

www.pontonegallery.com

CAMA Gallery - London's first space dedicated solely to Iranian Art

In late November 2017, CAMA Gallery launched an exhibition of 30 Iranian artists in anticipation of opening their permanent space in London’s St. James’ in early 2018.

CAMA Gallery are the pioneering market leaders in Modern & Contemporary Iranian art. Following the success of their live online gallery and exhibiting space in Tehran, they now look forward to the inauguration of their new London gallery in St. James’. CAMA marked their arrival in the capital with an exclusive drinks reception at London’s iconic Hotel Café Royal in Mayfair.

The opening reception event centered around an exhibition showcasing the works of Iran’s best contemporary and modern artists, including the masters Sohrab Sepehri, Bahman Mohasses and Parviz Tanavoli. Committed to bringing the booming and increasingly accessible Iranian art scene to the heart of London, CAMA offer access to exclusive, premier works. CAMA Gallery aims to be a leading force in the growth and expansion of the art industry in Iran and the Middle East. CAMA showcases art of all genres in physical galleries and online, offering contemporary artists exposure and global recognition.

Artists exhibiting at the launch:
Mansour Ghandriz, Parviz Tanavoli, Jafar Rouhbakhsh, Massoud Arabshahi, Nasser Ovissi, Sohrab Sepehri, Monir Farmanfarmaian, Manouchehr Yektai, Bahman Mohasses, Reza Mafi, Sirak Melkonian, Mohammad Ehsaei, Abdolreza Daryabeygi, Nasrollah Afjehei, Parviz Kalantari, Ebrahim Faraji, Hossein Mahjoubi, Manouchehr Motabar, Hossein Ali Zabehi, Taha Behbahani, Jamshid Samavatian, Behzad Shishegaran, Nosratollah Moslemian, Reza Hosseini, Maryam Salour, Ali Nasir, Ali Nedaei, Fereydoun Omidi, Bita Vakili, and Masoud Keshmiri

Images below are works by artists included in the exhibition or represented by CAMA. Please visit the gallery website for more information or contact Anna Beketov, Damson PR: anna.beketov@damsonpr.com or +44 (0)20 7812 0645.

Photographs of Liquid Light: Interview with Olivia D'Orazi

Creative Director and Designer Olivia D’Orazi creates mesmerizing, psychedelic photographs and projections inspired by the natural beauty that exists all around her in her home state of California. D’Orazi studied fashion merchandising and marketing before studying creative direction in London, where she first debuted her talents in video in the form of what the artist refers to as “liquid light shows.” Her hypnotizing work is a kaleidoscope of color, revealing a depth of beauty in her native flora as well as the American southwest landscape. Join us as we discuss with D’Orazi the aesthetic influence of the 1960s/70s in her work, her experience in the music scene in London, and the artistic motivation that comes from traveling.

 

Where does your creative talents come from? Have you always considered yourself an artist?

I never considered myself an artist growing up but always thought of myself as a creative person.  I had an interest in photography and film from a very young age. I wasn’t the best at traditional art forms such as drawing and painting, which when I was young is what I thought meant you were an artist. It makes me laugh now when I think about it. It wasn’t until I attended the University of the Arts London I discovered my artistic talents and really started to pursue a career as one.

You’ve grown up in California, surrounded by its naturally beautiful landscape. Has this influenced your aesthetic eye?

It has a huge influence on my aesthetic eye and work! I grew up in a small forest town in Northern California in the Sierra Nevada foothills called Paradise. There was never much to do in Paradise, but it is very beautiful and I really appreciate going back there now. I think the fact that it was so secluded forced me to be more creative and seek out adventure. When I was seventeen, I moved to Long Beach to study Fashion Merchandising & Marketing at California State University, Long Beach. Living in Long Beach allowed me to explore Southern California, and now at 27 I am based in the cute area of Echo Park in Los Angeles. The landscapes of Northern and Southern California could not be more different, but I find inspiration in both of them; from photographing the stunning forests & coasts of Big Sur (my favorite spot!) to the cacti & palm trees in the deserts of LA.

Let’s talk about your creative process. How do you achieve such mesmerizing, saturated colors in your work?

A lot of my creative process is a secret! I took a long time developing my own tools and skills while I was studying in London, which are still constantly changing and evolving as I grow as an artist. I shoot all of my photos and films on my iPhone. My whole life I've been big on color and patterns, which clearly has translated in to my work. I want to make the world a more colorful place! My art is how I show my view of the world.  

Do you use analogue film or digital tools, or perhaps both, in your photography?

I use a bit of both. Not really analogue film, but certain techniques I use to create are not digital. I tend to merge the two.

You not only work in photography, but in video as well, creating projections and music videos. Can you tell us about your psychedelic films and video projects?

Yes! I love working in video! My dreamy psychedelic aesthetic actually started because of the first video I made. While I was studying in London, I was given the assignment to create a film. It could be of anything. We had to select an image for inspiration and go from there. I am heavily influenced by my love of the countercultures of the 1960’s and 1970’s, which I get from my creative, musical, hippie parents who grew up in these eras in the San Francisco Bay Area. I had wanted to create my own liquid light show like those from the 1960’s. So, I selected an image of Jefferson Airplane performing with a liquid light show for my inspiration and went from there! In 2013, I created my first liquid light show using traditional techniques from the 60's mixed with my own modern twist. From there, my psychedelic, trippy, dreamlike style was born! 

As a result of this assignment, I started creating and working on more videos in this aesthetic. At one point I was creating up to 10 films a week! The 2nd psychedelic film I made was for fun to a Night Beats song and they ended up using it as a music video. After I created this film, I purchased my first projector and started creating projections and live visuals for events and bands including Night Beats. The music scene in London was incredibly vibrant at the time and I was fully immersed in it. I was constantly making great connections with musicians, bands and event producers. Lucky for me they liked what I was doing, which led to some great opportunities. Just six months after creating my first Liquid Light Show, I was selected to exhibit my psychedelic films at the world renowned Royal Academy of Art in collaboration with a Dennis Hopper exhibit! It was one of the most surreal and exciting moments of my life, I was only 24 at the time. I also was able to start touring as a live visual artist through my new connections! My first tour was in England and Italy. Touring is one of my favorite things to do as it combines my loves of art, music and travel. It’s a very inspiring adventure! Last year, I worked with the amazing women of Stonefield, a rock band composed of four groovy sisters from Melbourne, Australia. I created a music video for them and then did live visuals for them when they toured LA earlier this year.

You’ve previously lived in London, studying at the University of the Arts. Tell us about this experience. Did your time here alter the development of your work?

Before I attended University of the Arts I did not consider myself an artist. Before I had even finished my BA in Fashion Merchandising I knew I wanted to move to London, as it was my dream city. I applied to UAL and was accepted into their Creative Direction Honours BA program. I moved to London in 2012, three months after graduating from Long Beach. From there, my creativity and art took off!  It was like being on a constant vacation with never-ending inspiration right at my fingertips! The people, music, art, style, and culture was and is indescribably cool and exciting. It was my perfect dream world for that period of my life. I was rarely in university, which allowed me the time to completely immerse myself in the city and explore every corner of it as well as travel the rest of the UK and Europe. My friends who were born and raised in London still to this day joke about how I've seen more of London then they ever have or will! My art developed because of London and I'm forever grateful for my time there.

How has your travels changed your personal perspective or the way you approach your artwork?

Traveling is what keeps me sane and fuels my creativity! I can get bored with places pretty easily, as I constantly need new sights and sounds to inspire me and my creations. Like most creatives, inspiration comes and goes, and if I'm seeking it I know I will find it in travel. There really is nothing like traveling and exploring new places. It is so important to see how others live and take yourself out of your comfort zone. From my travels, I’ve learned about myself, developed my art, and met some of my best friends in the whole entire world!

Besides producing work in photography and video art, do you work in any other creative avenues?

My mom and I have an eco-friendly fashion and home décor line together featuring my art as the prints. My mother is an incredibly talented designer and seamstress. We teamed up to create our own line that fuses our design talents together. We started this venture back in 2013 with tote bags while I was still studying in London. When I moved back to California in 2015, we expanded and began designing our womenswear line and our home décor of pillows and canvas wall hangings. It’s super fun to work together! My mom creates all of our sewing patterns and beautifully sews every piece. It's awesome because this collaboration allows me to utilize both of my degrees and creatively work with my mom who is my best friend!

What music do you find particularly inspiring to listen to when creating your art?

It depends on my mood, what I'm working on and the weather (definitely inspired by gloomy, rainy weather)! But I am always listening to music when I create. Usually it ranges from It 60’s rock n roll to 70’s folk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, my absolute faves!) to modern bands like Animal Collective, DIIV, and Phoenix to name a few.

Nikoleta Sekulovic at Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery

Aletheia - the Greek philosophical term that defines ‘unveiling, uncovering, the Greek notion of Truth

Nikoleta Sekulovic creates in the tradition of Odalisque portraiture, and yet by choosing to paint mothers, she redefines her subject as both parent and muse. 

The female form is depicted in a muted palette, devoid of props and distractions.  Through this, Sekulovic strips her subject of external expectations, revealing them in a more authentic state as opposed to traditional expressions of sexuality. The looser lines celebrate the imperfections and irregularities of the human body and recall Egon Schiele's Vienna and the minimalism of Gustav Klimt's studies.

'My approach so far has been to focus on less rather than more. I try to use fewer lines and a simple colour palette. I search for ways to bring movement into the contours of the figure or into the skin. I believe the figure needs to breath. It needs to reflect something of the human fabric, which is that we are both orderly as well as complex, angular as well as curved.'

A mother herself, Sekulovic’s process becomes as much about productivity as about reduction. Painting is a time to step back into the studio for still reflection on the different elements of her subject matter, who in turn is pared down and given repose on the canvas.  As Sekulovic has observed,  ‘muse’ as a noun represents a source of artistic inspiration. But as a verb, it means ‘to think about something carefully and for a long time’. 

Sekulovic was born in Rome to a German mother and a Serbian father and is presently working in Madrid. She has exhibited in London, Paris and New York. Her first collection for the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, the exhibition's paintings take their titles from the fundamental principles of Greek philosophy. Just as Sekulovic looks back on these basic precepts for inspiration, she in turn presents an unadulterated and honest version of femininity.

November 29 - December 22

For more information please visit www.rebeccahossack.com

Claire Brewster

"Since I could first pick up a pencil, art was the only thing I was really interested in. My journey to become a professional artist has involved living in Spain and Romania and working for a high profile architects practice, amongst other things, whilst always working away on my art.

I grew up in Lincolnshire and have been living and working in London for over 20 years. I’ve been pursuing art as a profession since 2000 and recently made the jump to work on my sculptures full-time.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to exhibit my work widely – from Manchester Art Gallery to Sydney, Australia. You can see my sculptures in public and private collections all over the world, including:

The Corinthia Hotel, London
The Hayatt Hotel, New Orleans
The Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh

I have also been lucky enough to have my work published in many magazines and books including – Vogue, World of Interiors, Marie-Claire Maison, Casa de Arbitrare, Paper, Tear, Fold, Rip, Crease, Cut – Black Dog publishing and Underground Maps – Lund Humphries.

In 2012 I am pleased to say I was invited to be an inaugural member of the Perrier Jouet Art Salon and Prize. The salon meets twice a year and awards a prize to an artist/designer within 5 year of graduating."

- Claire Brewster

Martha Zmpounou

Martha Zmpounou is a visual artist based in London. She holds a degree in Fine arts and Painting from Aristotle University of Fine arts and in 2011 she completed her MA at Central Saint Martins College of Art. Since then she has been awarded several awards including the De Laszlo Foundation Award (2011) from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Secret Art Prize, and she was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize (2015) and the Ashurst Emerging artist Prize (2017). Her work has been exhibited and published widely in the UK and abroad. Some of her exhibitions include the Jerwood Drawing Price, the Royal society of Portrait Painters, the Royal Institute of Watercolour Painters, The Threadneedle Prize, the Discerning Eye, Modern Panic III, Xhibit and AOI’s best of British Illustration Images 35. Her work was selected to be published several times at Aesthetica’s annuals, Creative Works and ArtMaze magazine (summer 2017). Her professional portfolio also includes collaborations with several clients including Nike and UAL. 

Statement

My recent work revolves around the idea of the portrait as a means and space of exposure. It seeks to subvert the apparent glorification in portraiture and invoke the fragmentary and the discursive. I mostly like using a colorful mix of water based media and working from the fashion and pop culture, masking and layering are deployed to create figures whose identities emerge out of a play of hiding and revealing. I seek to create fragmented and grotesque portraits that touch upon the misinterpretation of the human figure in media and evoke the undermining of the idolized personas that are portrayed, balancing between beauty and repulsion.

Interview: Rebecca Louise Law

Rebecca Louise Law is an Installation Artist based in East London, specialising in artworks made with natural materials, namely flora. The physicality and sensuality of her site-specific work plays with the relationship between man and nature. Law is passionate about natural change and preservation, allowing her work to evolve as nature takes its course and offering an alternative concept of beauty.

Notable commissions include ‘The Flower Garden Display’d’, (The Garden Museum, London), ‘The Grecian Garden’ (Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens), ‘Outside In’ (Times Square, New York) and ‘The Beauty of Decay’ (Chandran Gallery, San Francisco). Law’s work has also been exhibited by Bo. Lee Gallery, Broadway Studio & Gallery, and at sites such as the Royal Academy and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

www.rebeccalouiselaw.com

How did you become involved with your installation work? Did you start out drawing or painting at first? Share a little bit of your story with our readers. 

I started installation work whilst studying fine art at Newcastle University, UK. I began my degree with printmaking and painting, but by my fourth year I was only making installations. I always had a fascination with nature and wanted to create an artwork that could portray the natural world how I saw it. Working 2D felt limiting and I always felt like I wanted to create more of a sensory experience. I swapped my paints for flowers in 2003 and I have been experimenting with flowers as a sculptural material ever since. The natural experience is still at the core of my work, and with each new artwork I challenge myself to push this concept further.

How do you come up with your projects? Tell us about your process and inspiration. 

Every installation is about the human interaction with nature. I look at each space and how it is used, what country or culture I am in, the patron, natural symbolism and the history of the surrounding land. Every new space has a story, and I like to research as much as possible. Ultimately the artwork should be a physical experience, and I either like to compliment or work in contrast to its surroundings. I aim towards creating an artwork that transports the viewer into a space that shows a glimpse of the natural world suspended in time. I like to be reminded of all this earth provides us. 

What do you love to do when you are not working? Do you have favorite places to travel? 

I travel internationally with work and I love seeing the world, but it is always to cities and urban spaces. I live in London, so when I do get free time I love going into the countryside to absorb the natural world. Some of my favourite trips have been in the UK. Last year I went to Cornwall and Scotland. It was great to be reminded of what we have here in the UK. 

What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far? 

I really loved my last exhibition in Denmark. The museum was so idyllic, my work looked like it belonged there. It was great doing an exhibition that showed all aspects of my art practice. The installation was an entwined canopy of every flower and piece of copper that I have ever saved. The collection had so much handiwork and time entwined within it. To see all I had saved and how far I had come in using flowers as a sculptural material excited me for the future.

What would you say to a younger artist who is searching for their niche? What did you wish you knew when you first started?

The best piece of advice I had was at university. A tutor told me to look into my past and childhood; identify who you are and what you want to communicate with the world. Being an artist is lonely, try to wean yourself off affirmation and people pleasing, never concentrate on money, and stay true to your heart.

Tell us about a few events or shows you have planned for the near future. 

I have installations exhibiting in France and California this summer and an exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens, London in October 2017. This show will be an exploration of the flower as a sculptural art material and how it has been used throughout history.