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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Drawing a diversion, John Martin Gallery

38 Albemarle St, london W1S, 5th July-2nd August

Written by Tanya Geddes

Serenading past swanky shops like Chanel, remedy buy information pills Prada et al, help information pills in the heart of the west end in order to get to John Martin Gallery, I was unsure of what to expect from this exhibition. Surrounding me were brigades of pashmina cladded women with bouffoned hair and sharp fitted chappies in business suits, making me feel…well a tad trampy in comparison (I’m not exactly a pearl wearing gal). I couldn’t help but note ‘this certainly ain’t no East London’. Expecting a traditional style of art, I entered the gallery slightly dubious but was pleasantly surprised.

The whitewashed space showcased Benjamin Jones, Chris Hipkiss and Farina Alam. What unites their work is an attention to detail as all artists’ works are intricate labours of love.

Flicking through Jones’ portfolio made up of child-like scrappy doodles, I noticed that there was a tension between a naïve perspective of distorted proportions in contrast to carefully drawn details. His pieces on the wall also display an awkwardness played out by a limbless baby mannequin who features in many of his works. His intricate pieces made from fine markings, words, and varying patterns gives his works the appearance of being collages. Your eye is instantly drawn in, wanting to soak up every feature whilst reading the text and simultaneously engaging with the processes of mark making. The playful sketches marry a creative mind with a bored figure who pops up repeatedly in his sketches. This brings about a feeling of inner frustration.

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Chris Hipkiss‘ sketches all feature rows of identical, multi-limbed androgynes, populating industrialised utopias. Within these, crops often spread their dark tentacles to the recesses of each corner of the page. Everything is synchronised and sprawling. Buildings and crops are neatly arranged suggesting a mechanical and artificial future where the central objective is to grow and produce. An eerie depiction of the future indeed!

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Farina Alam‘s captivating designs makes references to elaborate wedding dresses of a Pakistani bride. By distorting the shape she forces you to consider the societal position of the bride. However I only got this by reading the leaflet that came with the exhibition. What struck me most was the impressive patience she must have displayed to produce such carefully controlled prints.

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My favourite artist out of the three was Jones. The child-like style together with the delicate observations showcased an interesting tension between the innocent and experienced perspectives; which was unsettling rather than gratuitously dark or heavy handed. For an arty encounter that doesn’t necessarily involve pearls or pashminas why not take a trip down John Martin Gallery. The exhibition is sure to confirm that drawing is definitely diverting!

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