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Degree Shows 2011: Aesthetica’s Round-Up

Our June/July issue has just hit the shelves, which covers the latest opening at the Guggenheim Bilbao, ArtAngel’s new commission at MIF and features Bruce Nauman’s retrospective at The Kunsthalle Mannheim and Cory Arcangel’s new show Pro Tools at the Whitney in NYC. These are all big names and important cultural institutions but every artist, performer, and practitioner needs to start somewhere. Every June, when the invites to graduation shows start landing on our desks, one word springs to mind – potential. It’s exciting to think about the work on display at these exhibitions, especially considering where these graduates might end up. Looking back to 1988, 16 young artists from Goldsmiths took part in their graduation show. Organised mainly by Damien Hirst, Freeze showcased the work of a number of artists whose names have become part of our cultural vocabulary – Sarah Lucas, Ian Davenport and Richard Patterson amongst others.

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Visual Puzzles: Hannah Starkey, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast.

Review by Angela Darby

Without a doubt, Hannah Starkey, is a prolific and accomplished artist. Her solo exhibition at the Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast presents a back catalogue of nearly 30 photographs which fill all four gallery spaces. The rooms in the gallery are crowded, and the works would benefit from more space to allow the narrative of the individual images the chance to reveal their personal stories without the pictorial influence of neighbouring works. However the scale of the exhibition allows for an overview of Starkey’s practice since 1997 with more recent photographs accompanying the familiar works that have been featured in cultural magazines.

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The Absence of External Frames: Florian Meisenberg, Kate MacGarry, London

Review by Mallory Nanny, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

Currently on view at Kate MacGarry is an exhibition of painting and mixed media by contemporary German artist, Florian Meisenberg. Immediately upon eyeing the collection, we recognise the artist’s interest in vibrant colours and free-floating forms that infiltrate the white gallery space. The absence of external frames in a number of pieces correlates to the emphasis that the artist wields toward lightness.

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Celebrating Latin American Art: PINTA Art Fair, 6 – 9 June, London.

PINTA, the Latin American Art Show opened on Monday 5 June at Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Presenting the very best in modern and contemporary Latin American art, the show follows last week’s record sale of Latin American art at Sotheby’s, New York. Launched in New York City in 2007, PINTA will bring to London over 50 galleries from the Americas and Europe Guillermo de Osma Galería and Distrito 4 from Madrid; Maddox Arts from London; Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte from Buenos Aires; Lucia de la Puente from Peru, Galería Enrique Guerrero from Mexico, Galeria Nara Roesler from São Paulo, Aninat Isabel from Santiago, Chile and Durban Segnini and Sammer Gallery from Miami. We caught up with PINTA’s chairman, Alejandro Zaia to chat about role of the fair in a global marketplace.

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Mark Leckey’s Fusion of Technology and Theatricality: SEE, WE ASSEMBLE, Serpentine Gallery, London.

Review by Mallory Nanny, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London

Turner Prize winner of 2008, Mark Leckey, currently hosts an exhibition entitled SEE, WE ASSEMBLE, at the Serpentine Gallery until 26 June. Upon entering the first gallery, we are introduced with the main objectives of the exhibition, products of Fiorucci, Henry Moore, and Samsung, as well as how each corresponds with the following stages of time: Past, Past and Present, and Future. Although the artist claims that the former subjects have impacted him in one way or another, he portrays a popular commodity of each in the tradition of advertising; thus bridging the gap between high culture and mass media almost immediately. Leckey incorporates sculpture, sound, film and performance equally throughout the exhibition to give the viewer a particularly unique visual and audio experience in postmodernist art.

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Clare Mitten, Cara Nahaul and Corinna Till: Jerwood Painting Fellowships, Jerwood Visual Arts, London.

Review by Laura Bushell

Jerwood Visual Arts’ support for painters has morphed over the years from an annual cash prize through to the group show format of Jerwood Contemporary Painters to the inauguration of the Jerwood Painting Fellowships this year. These awards afford three selected early career painters the time, funds, guidance and exposure to undertake some sustained professional progression, developing and contextualizing their practice under the guidance of a mentor before exhibiting their work. Jerwood have sought to address exactly what it is today’s upcoming painters need to progress, and the results are now on display. As such, this collection of works by the three graduates – Clare Mitten, Cara Nahaul and Corinna Till – does feel slightly disparate. Walking into the gallery we encounter three separate mini solo shows, each to be encountered each in their own right. This will obviously be coloured by the viewer’s familiarity (or lack thereof) with the artists’ work, deciding whether the work displayed is viewed as a product influenced by the Fellowship’s developmental aims or as a snapshot of an upcoming artist deemed outstanding enough to receive the award.

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Re-examined Territories: the British Council present Mike Nelson, Venice Biennale

Venice is the biggest date in the art world diary and Mike Nelson’s installation, conceived and created in the British Pavilion is no different. Nelson has been working in Venice for a period of three months and the completed work was launched to the press on 1 June and will be open to the public for the duration of the exhibition from 4 June – 27 November.

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The Viewer as Subject: Magical Consciousness, Arnolfini, Bristol.

Review by Regina Papachlimitzou

Magical Consciousness examines and negotiates philosopher Vilém Flusser’s postulation that the act of looking carries more intrinsic potential than the object being looked at. The exhibition, co-curated by artist Runa Islam, brings together an eclectic mix of media, gathering and juxtaposing works that take the act of looking as a starting point from which to explore the ramifications of Flusser’s philosophy.

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Richard Long/Giuseppe Penone, Haunch of Venison, London

Review by Emily Sack, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

The tree of life, a family tree, the ‘Giving Tree’ – trees are a significant part of our everyday existence, but who really stops to look at them? Walking through any art museum, trees will be present in dozens of works, but what happens when they leave the background, no longer used as framing devices, and become the central image? Giuseppe Penone’s current exhibition at Haunch of Venison in London examines these questions by bringing focus, in a variety of media, to an overlooked aspect of our daily lives.

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Aesthetica: June/July Issue out Today

Inside the June/July issue

We’ve been very busy over the past few months. One of the biggest announcements to make is the launch of the inaugural Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF), which is an international platform for independent short film. The first festival will take place later this year, and we’re very excited! In other news, as the summer season rolls in, there are so many invigorating exhibitions, releases and events for you to visit.

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A Knowledge of Things Familiar: David Beattie, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin.

James Merrigan is an artist and art writer based in Dublin.

David Beattie’s work has an element of alchemy about it, where banal objects or happenings are transmuted into metaphysical experiences. A previous incarnation of this trend of energy efficient alchemy by the artist was shown at Oonagh Young Gallery Dublin in 2009. The work entitled cloudmaker, consisted of a head height metal tripod; an upturned plastic water container, that was wedged into the apex of the tripod; and a portable hob with a hot plate, placed on the floor directly beneath the pierced cap of the upside down dripping water container. A cause and effect scenario was manufactured by the mixed media setup, when the slow drips of water from the container touched ground on the hot plate – evaporating into a cloud. This apparatus was in fact a reversal of the natural phenomenon of clouds making rain; here water was made into clouds. Beattie’s solo show at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin, entitled A Knowledge of Things Familiar, sets the premise for similar ’cause and effect’ scenarios, but this time his focus is on sound, or more specifically “infrasound” (sound waves with frequencies below the lower limit of human audibility).

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Photographic Explorations of Identity: Guernsey Photography Festival: 1 – 30 June

Recognising the true potential of photography and following on from the success of the inaugural festival last year, The Guernsey Photography Festival presents exhibitions by Martin Parr, Richard Billingham, Samuel Fosso, Carolyn Drake, Francesco Giusti, Adam Patterson, Dana Popa, Nelli Palomäki and a retrospective by influential 1960s British documentary photographer Tony Ray-Jones. Opening today (1 June) and running until 30 June, the year’s festival explores the theme of Identity and features a range of interpretations from personal to social to political. From Francesco Giusti’s Congolese dandies in colourful suites, to Carolyn Drake’s compelling documentation of the changing landscapes and communities of Central Asia’s Paradise Rivers, and Samuel Fosso and Nelli Palomäki’s striking takes on classic portraits, notions of self and place are presented in diverse contexts.