Thursday, 26 June 2014


The myth of Daedalus and his son Icarus who flew too close to the sun is a subject that has fascinated artists for centuries. The story was one that I investigated and tried to interpret for a project as a student at St Martin's. I wasn't particularly happy with the outcomes all those years ago, so I returned to the theme last year and have been drawing, gilding and cutting feathers ever since, and have created two new designs, one of which I shared in my last post. This post is an opportunity to examine how other artists has interpreted Icarus' tale.

In Greek mythology Icarus and his father Daedalus (a genius craftsman who had constructed the labyrinth for King Minos which imprisoned the Minotaur) were themselves trapped on Crete by King Minos. To escape Daedalus, created two pairs of wings for himself and Icarus from wax and feathers. Before escaping he warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun, as the wax holding the wings together would melt. However, overcome by the exciting sensation of flight, Icarus failed to heed his fathers warning and soared too close to the sun which melted his wings. He then sadly plunged into the sea and perished. It is an interesting tale of the relationship between father and son and also thwarted ambition. Below are a selection of famous paintings and sculptures through which various artists interpret the tale of Icarus, from the devising, construction and fitting of the wings, the take-off and flight, and then the sense of panic and inevitable fatal descent. I look forward to seeing the examples by Matisse soon at Tate Modern.

Pyotr Sokolov

 Charles Lebrun

Anthony Van Dyck

Joseph Marie-Vien

Domenico Piolo

Frederick  Leighton

Charles Paul Landon
Greek Stamp 

Michael Ayrton

Carlo Saraceni

 Jacob Peter-Gowy

Marc Chagall

Merry-Joseph Blondel

 Pablo Picasso
Michael Ayrton
Henri Matisse 

Henri Matisse

Michael Ayrton
Paul Ambroise-Slodtz

Odilon Redon

Herbert James Draper

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Glimpses of Golden Feathers

Recent new work from my Feather series. This is entitled "Elegy for Icarus", more on its back-story in the next post.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America

Highly recommend this exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. In my opinion it is their strongest since the survey of artists who work in Paper last year. It is an interesting selection of artists from the diaspora who have produced some great work. The curators have done a good job with their selection as I thought it was a strong cohesive show. Highlights were:-

Rafael Gomezbarros. I was absolutely stunned by  Gomezbarros' installation which appropriately was situated in the first gallery of this exhibition. This gallery consisted of a room of ants invading the walls and clustering in corners of the exhibition space. It was interesting to see that on closer inspection the "ants" consisted of 2 skulls roughly fused together, with twigs for legs. They certainly made an impact on the gallery space and more so when you see another installations that they have previously been employed in below.

This picture where they featured on the facade of the Congress building in Bogota, is like something out of a 1950s B-movie.

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou. Interesting art historical links with the work of this photographer and the work of Modigliani, and Picasso's Demoiselles D'Avignon. I like the traditional African masks contrasted against the colonial building. These pictures have a really ghostly/alien feel.

Dillon Marsh is a photographer who captures natural 'sculptures' created by birds in nature when making their nests on telephone poles. They make such interesting shapes resembling bodies or items of clothes hanging from their hangers. The sparse landscapes add to the strangeness of the imagery.

Antonio Malta Campos has some large beautiful paintings in the exhibition. I like the scale of his work, his sense of colour, as well as the textures of the paint. Could happily live with one of these.

Mario Macilau is a documentary photographer whose work is visually strong and interesting. These images are taken from his Zionist series and capture elements of religious rituals in his native Mozambique. They evoke a strong sense of spirituality.

Vincent Michea is influenced by Pop Art and the work of Roy Lichtenstein in his use of the Ben-Day dot technique, but adds enough of his own ideas to create something different that still pay homage to popular culture.

Oscar Murillo. I really enjoyed the sense of scale and freedom in the abstract mark-making in Murillo's work.

Ibrahim Mahama has created a beautiful installation in one of the galleries with these rough jute sacks that line the walls. Lots of tactile textures that bring to mind the wrappings of Christo.

Highly recommended!

Panagaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America
Until 2nd November
Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York's HQ
King's Road

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Chaim Machlev Geometric Tattoos


Discovered the work of this tattoo artist recently and like his vision and the end results of his work on his clients bodies. Machlev uses lines and geometric patterns to decorate the flesh of his clients instead of the traditional motifs usually associated with the tattooists art.

Chaim Machlev is from Israel originally but now considers himself a 'Berliner' having lived in Germany for so long. 

Machlev's work has a really spiritual quality to it as he employs sacred geometry and symbols of life, death and nature. There is also a precision craftsmanship in the execution of his tattoos. The graphic sharp lines and dots that make up his imagery are sharply drawn on the bodies of clients with no room for error as any mistakes would too obvious and too hard to rectify. It looks like painstaking work, which requires a steady hand, full concentration and a good eye. 


If I were to ever get a tattoo done I think I would want want something like these. I really do think he brings something new and unique to the tattooists art. See more of his work at his website here.