Category: First Thursdays — Published:

As art spaces around the world re-open their doors once again, we’re thrilled to collaborate with our neighbouring East End galleries for the December edition of First Thursdays.

This month we partnered with Stolen Space Gallery, BEERS London and PUBLIC Gallery who share with us new exhibitions, curator interviews and limited editions.


Kai and Sunny, Boundless Glow, 2020. Courtesy StolenSpace Gallery.

 

StolenSpace Gallery

Filled with mesmerising lines and effervescent colours, StolenSpace Gallery presents Rise and Fall, the sixth solo exhibition by the Brighton based duo, Kai and Sunny. Walking through the space or viewing the works online, for that matter  encourages acts of mindfulness, which artists emphasise the importance of now more than ever. The works themselves, both hypnotic and momentous are products of this practice, but also encourage the viewer to participate as they follow the flow of lines in a rise and fall pattern, mimicking the breath.

Rise and Fall is not only a study of the relationship between colour and movement, but a testament to Kai and Sunny’s artistic range which plays out gracefully on new works on paper. Each piece masterfully contrasts colours between a cool and warm palette, to create a complimentary and calming juxtaposition. This exhibition promises to offer a moment of solace, beauty and spellbinding reflection just what we need right now.

Join StolenSpace for their opening reception on Thursday 3 December, where an exclusive print made to accompany the exhibition will be unveiled.


Kai and Sunny, Rise and Fall, 2020. Courtesy StolenSpace Gallery.

 

BEERS London

I have been polemic, subversive, political and outspoken in the past, but I tired of that; I wanted to be Romantic. Playful…But these works also evoke sensations of seduction, mystery, warmth. Given the uncertainty and confusion this year, I just allowed myself to float into something fantastical – a land of make-believe. There’s something reassuring but also disquieting about the works. Esoteric. Codified. Something ‘just a little bit off’. In that sense, they retain mystery for me as well.” – Andrew Salgado

BEERS London announces the return of Canadian British artist Andrew Salgado for his fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. Entitled Strange Weather, the artist inhabits the space in his first full solo with the gallery since 2016. Salgado’s paintings have evolved greatly since the large-scale, painterly portraits he became known for almost a decade ago, and though they have become less autobiographical and increasingly stylised, they nonetheless depict the artist’s take on the ‘human condition’. Unfurling over nearly 20 pieces, the exuberant body of work continues his development of fantastical narratives, mythology-building and contemplation, all through vibrant colours, textured surfaces and a wry sense of humour.

Andrew Salgado, Paper Moon, 2020, Oil, pastel, and mixed media collage with functioning clock mechanism on linen, 220 x 175 cm. Courtesy BEERS London.

 

Strange Weather leads the viewer through a trail like chapters in a magic-realist novel, giving one access to Salgado’s strange world of allusions, appropriations, nods to art-history, various inspirations and a host of subtle literary references. Salgado, an avid reader, creates a continuity between paintings, each with its relevant characters and settings, like an act in a greater Quixotic story.

A self-proclaimed ‘maximalist’, Salgado’s paintings are not without a healthy dose of kitsch: orb-like oranges roll from painting to painting; heavy, low-hanging moons adorn almost every piece; serpentine cat-tails weave through the
compositions; curlicues of smoke obscure figures; and Ben day dot style stars float in the night sky. Never one to shy from excess, the artist manages these motifs with effortlessness and energy – resulting in works that while reverberating and chaotic, can also be calm, dreamlike and serene. Salgado states that occurrences in both his personal life and the world at large have allowed him to become more at ease when creating this body of work.

Watch the gallery’s exhibition video here and find out more in an interview with curator Leo Babsky here.


Installation View, Andrew Salgado: Strange Weather at BEERS London, 2020. Photo: Damian Griffiths.

 

PUBLIC Gallery

PUBLIC Gallery joins the December First Thursdays collaboration with, Assembly Points, an exhibition of new works by artists Bridget Mullen, Laurence Owen and Vanessa da Silva. Displayed across three floors of the gallery, each of the artists are exhibited within their own distinct floor, providing viewers a chance to engage with their work on an individual level while a wider dialogue unfolds between them throughout the space as a whole. Through the shapeshifting paintings of Bridget Mullen, hybrid sculptures by Laurence Owen and Vanessa da Silva’s morphing installation, the exhibition reflects upon change and the notion of ‘becoming other’, a subject that pervades and prevails within each of their practices.

Dancing back and forth across the threshold between abstraction and figuration, Bridget Mullen creates mutable, liminal spaces in which half-formed shapes and figures whirl in a constant state of emerging or dissolving. The steady hum of repetition present in each of the five paintings feels like a mirage, hypnotising us with the illusion of momentum. Her forms are at once strange and familiar, but always on the cusp of transformation. Rather than presenting the viewer with a narrative or assigning an idea, Mullen suggests a workable space that feels as if it’s still coming into being and requires the viewer to be complete.


Laurence Owen, 18.11.2020, 2020, 167 x 122 x 47 cm, oil emulsion, acrylic, card, ceramic, grout, plywood, ink on paper, epoxy putty, perspex. Courtesy the artist and PUBLIC Gallery.

 

Operating as enigmatic and mysterious objects, Laurence Owen’s wall-based multi-media sculptures draw on phenomenological ideas and experiences from urban and natural environments. Incorporating a range of approaches including sculpture, painting and ceramics, Owen’s hybridised compositions comment on wider socio-political ideas around territory and border. By shifting and merging these concepts to create alternative definitions, a collapse between past and present occurs; futurist scenarios appear to flow into established aesthetics as an equally speculative, science fictional realm.

Traversing the intersection between the human body and nature, Vanessa da Silva then presents an expansive installation comprised of a new series of sculptures. Neither human nor part of nature, these ‘unrooted bodies’ are hybrids in a constant state of mutation, metamorphosing into something still unknown. Projecting up from a platform of glass windows, these forms of varying size punctuate the space like stalagmites and challenge perceived orientations through their reflections—alluding to the uprootedness of the present moment in which systems, institutions and ‘truths’ are caving in.

Assembly Points opens on 9 December. To find out more, visit the PUBLIC Gallery website or follow them on Instagram.


Bridget Mullen, Duck in Molasses, 2020, Flashe and spray paint on canvas, 127 x 107 cm. Courtesy the artist and PUBLIC Gallery.

 

On the first Thursday of every month, over 150 galleries in east London come together and run free events, exhibitions, talks and private views during a special late opening. Find out more about First Thursdays here.


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