Saturday, 30 November 2013

Alexander McQueen: The Skull Scarf

It is the tenth anniversary of Alexander McQueen's iconic skull scarf, and to celebrate this milestone the McQueen fashion house have teamed up with, and commissioned Damien Hirst to create a new collection of the much feted scarf.

Both McQueen and Hirst shared a very similar aesthetic vision and iconography in their work in the Fashion, and Fine Art fields, creating attention-grabbing work, so a collaboration between the two talents was always going to result in something pretty special.

This new series of Hirst designed scarves are certainly that. They are visually stunning and utilise to good effect the butterfly/insect and skull motifs beloved of both artist and fashion designer. This small selection of some of the outcomes are very impressive.

There are apparently 30 new scarf designs, and Hirst has adapted some of the scarf designs from his recent Entomology series of works in which he arranges a variety of insects into geometric patterns. I can imagine these scarves are going to be highly sort after, framed, and hung on walls as pieces of artwork rather than be worn, as they are that beautiful.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

I am delighted to have been invited once again to take part in the Christmas Exhibition at Cambridge Contemporary Art. I had a fantastic response to my work in The Summer Exhibition, which saw all but one of my pieces of work sold, so hoping for good things from this Christmas show also. I will be showing a new Dragonfly piece and new variations of other butterfly favourites. Contact me directly, or the gallery for any enquiries. The show starts on Saturday 30th November.

Christmas Exhibition 30th Nov - 24th Dec 2013
Cambridge Contemporary Art
6 Trinity Street

Monday, 18 November 2013

Sarah Lucas: SITUATION

Went to the Whitechapel to see the Sarah Lucas: SITUATION show. It was like a Carry On film filled with lots of bawdy visual puns. I really like her take on the human form using stained mattresses, bed-frames, tables, chairs and sofas, as metaphors for the body, with melons, kippers, kebabs and cucumbers representing genitalia. It does get a bit repetitive however, as most artworks seem to have the same punch-line. 

It is an unapologetically 'in your face' show with walls full of collaged penises and the upstairs room contains lots of huge concrete and bronze phalluses,(penis envy?). 

The show could have been better presented as it is quite crude and haphazard visually, especially the downstairs room with all the exhibits crammed in together with little space, but I guess that is a part of Lucas's aesthetic. There is also a deliberate crudeness in both the subject matter and her choice of materials (toilets, crushed cars, breeze blocks and concrete), and I was reminded of Duchamps series of Ready Mades, his urinal known as Fountain in particular.

My favourites were the cigarette drawings, NUDS- stockings filled with fluff to represent bodies and breasts, and also the concrete casts of boots.

Whitechapel Gallery
until 15th December 2013

Sunday, 10 November 2013

When Britain Went Pop!

There is a fantastic exhibition at Christie's Mayfair, on New Bond St. which chronicles the early years of the Pop Art phenomenon in Britain. The great thing about the exhibition is that Christie's has managed to persuade owners to lend significant and early Pop pieces by  greats such as Peter Blake, David Hockney, Richard Hamilton and  Allen Jones, which are usually kept away from public view by their owners. Some haven't been publicly exhibited since the 1960s.

Personal favourites in the show are Allen Jones' early 'Bus' pictures which are a wonderful splash of colour, as are his later stylised fetish pieces of stiletto heels and shiny rubber-clad legs. His furniture sculptures of women in prone positions seem as controversial as ever, but make an important statement.


David Hockney's early paintings are also exciting. I really like the looseness of his brushwork compared to his more controlled paintings of the 1970s, as well as his use of graffiti/typography.

It was also really interesting to see Gerald Laing's work which has obvious parallels with Roy Lichtenstein's because of the use of the Ben-day dot system used in newspapers and comics, which both adopted in their work.

My absolute favourites are Peter Blake's paintings of wrestlers and tattooed ladies. I like the contrast in his paintings of the highly finished elements and areas which are left sketchy and seemingly unfinished. It was so wonderful to be able to see these early works in the flesh.

You really get the feeling from this show of how advertising, music and popular imagery caught the imagination of the these young artists of the period as there seems to be a real youthful energy and excitement to this show that reflects the "swinging" London of the time. All of the artists were clearly fans of the music, products and stars of the era. I now want to visit the Barbican's Pop Art Design exhibition which is also currently running before it closes. This was one of the best exhibitions I have been to this year.

When Britain Went Pop!
British Pop Art: The Early Years
Christie's Mayfair
103 New Bond St.

Sunday, 3 November 2013