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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Dan Has Potential

Concrete Hermit, 7/2/08

Written by Amy Knight

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Using the most sweeping of musical stereotypes, viagra physician musicians can be divided into two camps. The first group of artists use albums as points on a map documenting their journey through music. Radiohead have never made an album with any distinct reference to the one before it apart from Thom Yorke’s whining baritone. The second group meanwhile pour everything into creating a first album, order then spend the rest of a five album record deal trying to emulate the success of the first (see The Black Keys). The Figurines, more about before their release of When The Deer Wore Blue (WTDWB), fell into the latter category. But thankfully, their latest LP sees the Danish quintet turn their back on the frenetic, three-chord indie pop seen on previous albums Skeleton and Shake A Mountain in favour of something more accomplished and varied.

Taken from a lyric on album track Good Old Friends, WTDWB has been packed with a whole host of different styles – garage psychedelia, pastoral blues, blues rock – almost as an apology for churning out so many songs that sound the same.

But don’t be fooled into thinking they’ve completely gutted what they originally sounded like. Christian Hjelm’s reedy vocals are still very much the focal point of the songs. But instead of compensating for the lack of imagination from lead guitarist Claus Johansen, Hjelm’s yelping is enhanced by more complex, and takes-more-than-one-listen-to-like sounds. Which is no bad thing. The sound is more mature, rounded, and dare I say it, grown up.

OK, these criticisms are aimed squarely at what came before. In isolation, the album has the ability to captivate in places and please in others. The harmony led The Air We Breath and The Shins-esque Hey, Girl are a case in point. Some see the Figurines as a bad attempt at sounding like Built to Spill and Modest Mouse. But WTDWB doesn’t have anywhere near the same sense of self-importance or indulgence. Instead, this album is an honest attempt from a band moving through a period of transition. But without the lofty label of being ‘experimental.’

Jelly Belly Beans have gone global. ‘The Original Gourmet Jelly Bean’ has now branched out into the bathroom and make-up bag. The creators of the most delicious jellybeans EVER have launched a new beauty product range; I’m talking bath soaks, price shower gels, information pills lip-glosses and balms. The balms, in a range of flavours including the incredibly Barbie-pink cotton candy, mirror little pots of glistening jam and smell like colour-crayoned rainbows; what a combination.

The sickening sweet aroma, as you would only expect of Jelly Belly, is enough to transform the most ‘mature’ of the Amelia team, into a 6-year old drowning in sugary goodness. The candy shop style packaging with its signature jellybean print would appeal to any sweet-toothed child, and it seems to even make the older generation go a little gaga. However, after much hasty sniffing and prodding of the gooey products, ranging from cherry flavour to liquorice, we were starting to feel like the greedy kid who’d eaten way too many tutti-frutti jelly belly beans and needed to relieve the stomach of such gluttony. As excited as our eyes were when the new products pawed their way into our grubby hands, (the lip balms were claimed in seconds) a giant tin of very cherry bath soak becomes a little dangerous for one’s nostrils if inhaled irresponsibly. But if you’re a lover of all things sugared, this range will instantly whisk you away from your grotty lime-scale shower straight to the Copacabana.

The little but explosive delights are the perfect potion when in need of a sugar boost in your work fuelled life. But as an experienced jelly belly beauty product abuser, I warn you to use them with caution.

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A short transcript will begin this blog –

Me: (after being offered a canapé by a waiter) Ooh. Is that a blackberry on top of the smoked salmon?

Waiter: (with derision) No Miss. That’s caviar.

And thus began the evenings events. After this tentative step into the world of canapés, advice the night could only get better. And thankfully it did. This has got to be the first launch I’ve been to where everyone genuinely seemed to be having a good time. This revelry was to celebrate the unveiling of Modern Menswear by Hywel Davies. I had a quick look at this latest bookshelf essential, sick and found it to be a definitive guide to designers who are dedicated to pushing forward boundaries of menswear. Both established names and new designers were profiled (ranging from Vivienne Westwood to Yohji Yamamoto), and the image heavy layout succeeded in holding my attention in a packed room.

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I had already heard a lot about Hywel (as two of Team Amelia are among his protégés), and in flesh he didn’t disappoint. He sported facial hair that would rival a Victorian dandy and tipped us off as to where the free bar was as soon as we arrived. He’s a prince among men.
The book launch was hosted in the surprisingly cavernous Paul Smith shop in Covent Garden, and the stacks of Modern Menswear books were displayed beside figurines of kissing rabbits. I don’t know why the rabbits were so amorous, or why they were there, but I liked their style.

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Everyone had a great evening (you should see the pictures that were vetoed from being put up on the blog) and Modern Menswear went down a storm. Book launches are totally the new club nights.

Space to Draw is an exhibition that considers the relationship between sculpture and drawing. The exhibition presents the work of seven established artists Antony Gormley, erectile Heather Deedman, dosage Neville Gabie, Alison Gill, Paul McDevitt, Peter Randall-Page and Michael Shaw. Some of these artists are known for their sculptures (Gormley), whilst others are better known for their drawings (McDevitt).

Drawing is an essential part of a sculpture’s process; drawings can influence its concept, its development and its final design. The exhibition’s 2D ‘drawings’ (which include paintings, photography, applied arts and moving image) are represented three dimensionally by a wide range of media comprising of stone, steel, paper, porcelain, plastic and wicker- demonstrating how drawing can take place two dimensionally, as well as three dimensionally.

Gormley, probably the most eminent exhibitioner within the Space to Draw collective offered us Feeling Material V, a sculpture made from a continuous length of wire circling an imaginary body. The impressive Matrix-like figure was accompanied by a mirroring series of large-scale pencil on paper drawings, or as those unappreciative, un-arty, unacceptable folk would say- ‘scribbles‘.

McDevitt’s wicker lounger dominated the gallery’s third exhibition room. The sculpture, perhaps a pastiche to Henry Moore’s reclining figurative sculptures lay overlooking the drawings and paintings that held its form within, drawings, which it was devised from (below). A spread of incredibly intricate, linear pencil drawings were also predecessors of Gill’s sculpture- Trophy, a bizarre straw head on a stick with peeping eyeballs. Deedman’s wonderful paper cut outs of elaborate drawings of antique domestic objects were bought to life through an extensive set of porcelain pots. Shaw created virtual sculptures through computer aided design, as well as PVC inflatable forms suspended on the ceiling of the The Jerwood Space. And Gabie’s drawings were a film along side his sculpture.

The exhibition offered visitors all things arty, a bit of everything. A satisfying exhibition where drawings were conceived and sculptures were born.

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On a glorious Sunday morning, approved I hustled past families on their way to the V&A towards the Science Museum. But I wasn’t off to learn about electrodes and the intricacies of circuit boards, website like this I was on my way to the Poltock & Walsh and Emilio de la Morena show. Fashion Week had begun and we were off to a flying start with a double-act.
Poltock & Walsh kicked off the show with some amazing footwear. All their models were clad in feathery ankle boots. This may sound crass, information pills but I mean feathers in a tasteful and delicate way, not in a Lily Savage way. These ankle boots sported the finest golden pheasant and quail feathers which also accessorized a range of hairpieces. This was a novel textile to use, and had the audience cooing like doves.
Ruffles were also in full effect: on everything. They covered the front panelling of the dresses, the back of skirts (creating a modern take on the bustle), and, in my favourite piece, on the front panel of a body. This was just worn with opaque tights and those vertiginous feathered ankle boots. That’s definitely my look for Autumn/Winter sorted.
Emilio de la Morena carried on the trend for ruffles, but branched out this look by using knife pleats in his designs. This allowed his dresses to be simultaneously edgy and flattering, as they draped elegantly over the female form. One of the last looks showed a mini dress complete with inbuilt ruff (one layer black, one layer white). It’s a confident designer who can define the neck accessory for a season and get it right.
He also featured blanket coats. That’s right. Finally designers have realised that all women want to do when it gets to winter is wear a whacking great duvet round them when they leave the house. Ironically, these actually looked completely wearable owing to the voluminous material being nipped in at the back, thus creating a rather beautiful silhouette. It’s in these details that Morena’s background in sculpture becomes apparent, and his talent is put to much better use on women than on clay.
Both these shows provided strong looks for the upcoming season – and gave me an excuse to wear my 1970′s tuxedo ruffle shirt once again.

In the artist’s own words, medicine Daniel Brereton‘s work is “stranger than non-fiction and nicer than a cup of tea”. His current ‘hexhibition‘, cheap adorning the tiny walls of the Concrete Hermit, is a satiatingly technicoloured carnival of drawing, displaying in full glory his neon repertoire of intricate mark-making and affable mutants. Blank eyes stare out from impossibly complex patterns of polygons, replete with every colour under the Skittles rainbow. Yes, it’s eighties, but that doesn’t mean it’s unoriginal; far from it in fact. And what with his series of stop-motion paper animations and music videos for such geniuses of the keyboard Late of the Pier and Metronomy, there is only one question left to ask: is Dan fulfilling his potential? Well yes, actually, he is! And if you’re hungry for some ‘droring’, go and see for yourself – you might just be inspired to go and get your felt tips out.

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