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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Harry Pye’s Values at Sartorial Contemporary Art: Exhibition Review

I've known artist Harry Pye for many a moon: we once worked together on a free magazine called D+ in the Truman Brewery, and since then I've followed his career with interest. I asked mutual friend and fellow fan Liz Cook to review his latest solo exhibition at the Sartorial Contemporary Art gallery: Harry Pye's Values.

Written by Liz Cook

Everybody_is_Somebodys_Fool_Harry Pye
Everybody is Somebody’s Fool by Harry Pye.

It was a treat to review Harry Pye’s Values, his latest solo exhibition at the Sartorial Contemporary Art gallery. Values is a much smaller exhibition than his last show Getting Better in 2009, which was a veritable visual feast of painting.

Friends_by Harry Pye
Friends by Harry Pye.

Values is entirely different; and using the smaller gallery downstairs Harry Pye is very cleverly treating us to a whoopie pie of a show (apparently cupcakes are so yesterday!) On entry to the gallery I was immediately drawn to Friends 2010, a co-creation with Gordon Beswick. I got a super shiny press image of it but I also came across this image of Gordon Beswick blow drying Friends before taking it on the bus to Sartorial Contemporary Art, which I found far more appropriate because it is typical of the realness of Harry Pye’s paintings and it made me smile… (this isn’t just any blog, you lucky readers get the real stuff).

Gordon Beswick blow drying friends before taking it on the bus to sartorial
Gordon blow drying Friends in the kitchen.

The next painting I was drawn to was of Marcel, another co-creation, this time with Rowland Smith. Marcel is a humble fairy cobbler and life has taught him that sweet is the sleep of the working man. How poignant that a traditional artisan at work has been chosen to represent the pleasure in life when we have all but lost our shoemaking skills to industrial manufacture. The time when we again value the skills and products of the tradition artisan can not come around a moment too soon.

The Humble Cobbler by Harry Pye
The Humble Cobbler by Harry Pye.

I went round the exhibition twice so I could experience it properly as a multi sensory experience where everything is connected, and I recommend that you listen to Harry’s latest project, The Values, the band that Harry Pye has formed with fellow artists. The world that Harry Pye and friends create makes me feel happy and connected, even when the subject matter is sad.

No_Justice_Means_No_Peace_by Harry Pye
No Justice Means No Peace by Harry Pye.

On the bus on the way home I read the Rebel Magazine, the inhouse publication of the Sartorial Gallery which was launched to co-incide with the exhibition. It contains a free EP of tracks from The Values, whereupon I stumbled upon an updated version of the new ten commandments… they sound good to me!

THE NEW TEN COMMANDMENTS: HERE ARE THE VALUES OF THE VALUES…
1) FIGHT THE POWER (and support the little guy)
2) KEEP HOPE ALIVE
3) TRY AGAIN, FAIL AGAIN, FAIL BETTER (and remember that, “ridicule is nothing to be scared of”)
4) BE MORE CONCERNED WITH ACHIEVEMENT THAN RECOGNITION (Try and make a brilliant record like The Beatles did with Rubber Soul, Ian Dury did with New Boots & Panties, Mark E. Smith did with Extricate, or The Magnetic Fields did with 69 Songs… but just enjoy the praise rather than believe it.)
5) KEEP THINGS SIMPLE (Because when you get complicated you get sad. And when you get sad your luck goes.)
6) LOVE MUSIC
7) HATE RACISM
8) TRY HARD, GET BARRED, GET BACK, WRITE BRAILLE, GET JAILED, JUMP BAIL, JOIN THE ARMY IF YOU FAIL.
9) ALWAYS GIVE VALUE FOR MONEY
10) GO OUT THERE AND BE WONDERFUL (As Brother Marvin once put it, “We are all sensitive people with so much to give… Let’s get it on.”)

*oh look a number 8 turns into a smiley face, how apt* – ED

Our full listing for this exhibition can be found here. Make sure you get along before the end of the month.

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3 Responses to “Harry Pye’s Values at Sartorial Contemporary Art: Exhibition Review”

  1. Anon says:

    You should have sent someone other than a fan to view this shower of mediocre dawbs. How much did Pye pay you for this boot licking review?

  2. Anon says:

    To suggest that Pye is anything other than a terrible painter is a disgrace to art journalism.

  3. Amelia says:

    Oh dear ANON you really don’t like Harry Pye do you? Now, everyone is entitled to their view, but this smacks of the bitter and twisted. I happen to like artwork that looks somewhat naif, and I also like what Harry Pye does. So deal with it. Hop along now.

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