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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Made In Britain – Art Exhibition, London Miles Gallery

A new exhibition on Britain opened Sept 10, featuring Studio Diablo, Andrew Rae, Mr. Penfold and others.

Written by Gareth David


Man on Fire courtesy of Tim Shaw.

To be honest I had not heard of the Threadneedle prize before nor was I rushing to attend the preview party on Wednesday the 1st of September! The Mall galleries have managed over the years to develop a reputation as the purveyor of stuffy exhibitions.


Clee Hill courtesy of Boyd and Evans.

But no! No this new cool kid on the block of a prize with its decisively rock n roll intention of freeing figurative art from the shackles of conceptual taste. Move over Turner prize! It was a nice surprise to get acquainted with this young show at a time when similarly funded prizes are running scarce and the government siphons money erstwhile dedicated to the Arts to programs deemed more “in the public’s interest”.


Oil Baron courtesy of Martin Roberts.

Let’s huff a long sigh of relief! At last art on display that does not pretend to be what it’s not… Yep, for sale adiposity this dedicated art lover has been more than once unimpressed by the shovelful of bad abstract material pushed down her throat! But let’s not be mistaken by what kind of art Threadneedle is offering us either; theirs is a bold break from the past with a new kind of figurative art that does not pretend to ignore the Tate came that way and altered the artistic landscape.


Displace courtesy of Louise Folliott.

This year the public is encouraged to choose the Visitor’s Choice award’s £10, visit 0000 winning entry. Let me tell you what I was definitely not going to vote for! Some things seemed rather gimmicky to me such as the upside down portrait of Georgina by Oliver Jones. It’s upside down so it is clever so it’s in?

The exhibition’s booklet read, “our selectors have chosen a smaller but more coherent exhibition than previous years” with 2,170 submissions to arrive to a final 46. So why in the world choose such dreary artefacts that seemed to me to make more of a statement than to offer any redeeming value to the overall group! I was mightily unimpressed by Simon Carter’s Gulls on a Breakwater – it’s representational but hey look, doesn’t it seem abstract? Or Enzo Marra’s John Singer Sargent- it’s got thick paint and tonal Sargent palette. Is that all? Toilet pipes seemed to be all the rage this year…

But to be fair the overall level of work on display was very high. I fell in love with the sculptures and installations. Man on Fire by Tim Shaw (see above) got me all worked up and Stuart Mc Caffer (see below) got the crowd queuing to enjoy its view! Built like a shed, it reminded me of a watchtower somewhere in the Scottish Highlandds. The dichotomy between the sense of isolation and of space and freedom was interesting.


Den courtesy of Stuart Mc Caffer.

The prize spoke to me most when it was attempting to be political, daring, intriguing or just plain funny. Special mention to Wendy Elia’s Elsewhere, Jarik Jongman’s or Anna Adamkiewicz cabinet.

But my personal favourite was Caroline Walker’s surreal narrative. I am still haunted by the evocative psychological space this painting put me in. Very troubling.

The Threadneedle Prize for painting and sculpture runs until the 18th of September 2010 at the Mall Galleries, the Mall, London SW1.

Man on Fire courtesy of Tim Shaw.

To be honest I had not heard of the Threadneedle prize before nor was I rushing to attend the preview party on Wednesday the 1st of September! The Mall galleries have managed over the years to develop a reputation as the purveyor of stuffy exhibitions.


Clee Hill courtesy of Boyd and Evans.

But no! No this new cool kid on the block of a prize with its decisively rock n roll intention of freeing figurative art from the shackles of conceptual taste. Move over Turner prize! It was a nice surprise to get acquainted with this young show at a time when similarly funded prizes are running scarce and the government siphons money erstwhile dedicated to the Arts to programs deemed more “in the public’s interest”.


Oil Baron courtesy of Martin Roberts.

Let’s huff a long sigh of relief! At last art on display that does not pretend to be what it’s not… Yep, purchase this dedicated art lover has been more than once unimpressed by the shovelful of bad abstract material pushed down her throat! But let’s not be mistaken by what kind of art Threadneedle is offering us either; theirs is a bold break from the past with a new kind of figurative art that does not pretend to ignore the Tate came that way and altered the artistic landscape.


Displace courtesy of Louise Folliott.

This year the public is encouraged to choose the Visitor’s Choice award’s £10, help 0000 winning entry. Let me tell you what I was definitely not going to vote for! Some things seemed rather gimmicky to me such as the upside down portrait of Georgina by Oliver Jones. It’s upside down so it is clever so it’s in?

The exhibition’s booklet read, “our selectors have chosen a smaller but more coherent exhibition than previous years” with 2,170 submissions to arrive to a final 46. So why in the world choose such dreary artefacts that seemed to me to make more of a statement than to offer any redeeming value to the overall group! I was mightily unimpressed by Simon Carter’s Gulls on a Breakwater – it’s representational but hey look, doesn’t it seem abstract? Or Enzo Marra’s John Singer Sargent- it’s got thick paint and tonal Sargent palette. Is that all? Toilet pipes seemed to be all the rage this year…

But to be fair the overall level of work on display was very high. I fell in love with the sculptures and installations. Man on Fire by Tim Shaw (see above) got me all worked up and Stuart Mc Caffer (see below) got the crowd queuing to enjoy its view! Built like a shed, it reminded me of a watchtower somewhere in the Scottish Highlandds. The dichotomy between the sense of isolation and of space and freedom was interesting.


Den courtesy of Stuart Mc Caffer.

The prize spoke to me most when it was attempting to be political, daring, intriguing or just plain funny. Special mention to Wendy Elia’s Elsewhere, Jarik Jongman’s or Anna Adamkiewicz cabinet.

But my personal favourite was Caroline Walker’s surreal narrative. I am still haunted by the evocative psychological space this painting put me in. Very troubling.

The Threadneedle Prize for painting and sculpture runs until the 18th of September 2010 at the Mall Galleries, the Mall, London SW1.
Work by Mr. Penfold.

There has been a lot of excitement in Pop Surrealist Fanboy circles about the big show of American work in Bristol this summer. So the London Miles gallery’s latest exhibition is a very timely wake-up call to the fact that Pop Surrealism, cost with its Graffiti and Lowbrow fellow flavours, viagra 40mg has a very natural home here in the UK. We’re so culturally jam-packed with icons, cheap ironies and idiosyncrasies, its a recipe fit to burst kola-kube-sour onto your culture buds.
But any recipe needs skilled chaps and chappesses to cook it up. London Miles has done well to gather so many first rate artists, and the artists have done very well to respond to the British theme without being gimmicky or repetitive.
Andrew Rae depicts the “Great White Hunter”, a British Raj-style heartless toff in the colonies with massive moustache and blunderbuss, his Chai Wallah at his side, as they stand atop a pile of murdered target practise – a tiger, a unicorn, an elephant, a mermaid. All rendered in a gauche Tintin outline with a dulled palette of Imperial Tales for Boys, circa 1930.

The Great White Hunter
“Great White Hunter” – Andrew Rae

Contrast that with Kevin Wayne’s bas-relief revision of Richard Hamilton Pop Art masterpiece “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?”, now titled “…so depraved, so appalling”. He seems to suggest that, while people in the 60s thought the 60s was a bit crass, we in the present are far too witless and lost even to know that anything’s gone wrong.

Society
“Society” – Studio Diablo

Studio Diablo, on the other hand, presents us with “Society”, a bold and happily overpopulated image that chronicles one day’s happy-snapping on Brick Lane, cool people at the front, street cleaners at the back, the bagel guy half way down, set against East London’s beautiful streetlamps, CCTV cams and a lovely grit-salt bucket. It’s a big draw, and soon has a crowd standing around it only a little bit smaller than the one in it. It also doubles up as a partytime Banksy version of Where’s Wally. (I spotted him quick)
Other standout works include a a high-speed procession of three-eyed horses and assorted oddbods through the sky, driven on by the excitement of tea (by an artist called Mooselumps), a lovely bold pig-faced man asking for two sugars in his tea (by Mr. Penfold), and a surly Peckham Skingirl (who looks like she could use a nice cuppa, by Mr. Frivolous). And Xue Wang applies the laws of Mark Rydenism to Britishness by way of a very creepy big-eyed-girl in a chastity belt with a Henry VIII puppet.

A Grand Cavalade of Brew House streamer a la mode.
“A Grand Cavalade of Brew House Streamer a la Mode.” – Mooselumps

Don’t get the idea that everything here would fit neatly into a “California goes Laaandaan” Juxtapoz compendium. A lot of this work comes from purely British veins of illustration, graffiti and image. There has been a great liberation on both sides of the pond. This exhibition is the strongest sign yet that British talent no longer faces the choice between hiding away or selling out to the Saatchi scene. As recent years on Brick Lane have shown, barriers are coming down between art and graphics, plus a lot of disciplines we used to have to look down on.

High Tea
“High Tea” – Xue Wang

English Rose
“English Rose” – Ink Fetish

This is the best show I have seen for a while, in one of London’s tastiest spaces. Energetic, democratic, authentic, and even, dare I say it, affordable. It doesn’t have a big ego, doesn’t puff itself up. It just does what it says on the tin, as gleefully as possible. If Britain’s really got talent for a new dawn, this is the place to watch.

London Miles Gallery

Speaking of talent, the show runs concurrently with a little solo show corner. The work of Illustrator artist Mesh 137, a supafly stylist of the first order. Check out his orange teapot. Both shows until October 1st. Visit www.londonmiles.com for more know-how.

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