There is an intense pleasure in looking at something that makes your toes curl into your shoes, buy more about purchase your face contort with disgust, and laugh all at once – a bit like smelling your own fart. Concrete Hermit opens the year with the an exhibition in the style of “the Contemporary Grotesque” – five artists working with drawing, painting and sculpture to create something remarkably gross that you can’t quite peel your eyes from.
We were especially excited because two of the artists have featured in past issues of the magazine. Andrew James Jones and James Unsworth first pricked our interest for their depictions of obscure characters tied up in some unsavory activity, a world that is dark and humorous, and a nice antidote to all things pretty and quaint. I would love to have seen the margins of their exercise books at school, files covered in heavily detailed sketches that made the teachers furrow their brows and the girls convulse. Well, what was weird and creepy inevitably becomes cool and quirky, and the eyebrow-raising work of these artists is sure to turn your stomach with a nice dose of irony that is strangely relatable.
Andrew James Jones has been turning stomachs for an increasingly global following with his prolific output of paintings, drawings and self published photocopy books. Named a scary idiot and a madman, it is well worth dipping into Concrete Hermit for a look. His work is grimly complimented by Unsworth’s macabre transformation of folkloric images, some very surreal photographs from Mudwig Dan, and some amazing cross-breed sculptures from Kate McMorrine. You can even pick up an copy of issue ten whilst you’re there.
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