From Thatcherite Britain to 21st century recession and industry decline, influential photographer Paul Reas (b.1955) has documented the experiences of the working class. This project comes together in the international premiere of his first major retrospective on display at the Impressions Gallery, Bradford, from 10 December to 8 March. One of the key artists to emerge from the new wave of British colour documentary in the mid-1980s, Reas combines acerbic wit and sharp observations to reveal and critique British class culture, critiquing the new corporate and commerical world.
Issue 56 December / January of Aesthetica is in shops now! In this edition we consider the importance of reflecting upon the things you have done, as well as those you didn’t do and will go on to do in the future. We start with Hello, my name is Paul Smith, which is on now at the Design Museum, London, and looks at the art, fashion and creative ingenuity of one of Britain’s leading designers. We also examine The Desire for Freedom. Art in Europe since 1945 at MOCAK in Krakow, Poland. At MoMA in New York, European art is also being showcased: Isa Genzken’s installations and sculptures are the subject of a massive retrospective, which surveys the layers of her work.
“Painting is about externalising the speech of the inner voice; addressing and expressing the soul, allowing the significance of within to have space outside and to exist as part of our tactile, physical reality.” Georgia Rose Murray uses the subconscious to form coherent narratives for paintings. She clarifies its messages by analysing and depicting them in conjunction with her subjective experiences, through the act of painting. The content of Murray’s paintings and the techniques used to express the narratives are equally important. Powdered pigments mixed with oil paints and a base of white or black household gloss, applied with expressive brush strokes to boards, are the core components of her paintings. Aesthetica spoke to Murray to find out more about her influences, and the inner workings of her creations.
The calendar flips over to the final month of the year this weekend, meaning there’s not long left to catch the best art exhibitions around the world before the festive season entirely takes over. The start of December brings with it, alongside jugfuls of mulled wine and piles of mince pies, a whole feast of exciting new shows, from James-Joyce inspired presentations to gigantic marble islands. So, to get your December off to the very best of starts, here’s our top selections for this Saturday and Sunday…
Mark Bradford’s second show to date with White Cube, London, Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank is on until January 2014 and is soaked in a richly violent dialogue examining the monotonous blood vessels that unite all the vital organs of America – the highways. The title comes from the former American president Dwight D Eisenhower as he relates his experience as a member of the Transcontinental Motor Convoy of 1919. This, along with observations he made in Germany during the Second World War, led to the adoption of a nationwide highway system in the US in the 1950s. In turn however, the highways ripped and desolated communities, irreparably scarring the vast varieties of America’s landscapes.
For the second time, the Michael Hoppen Gallery opens Splinter, a one-day art fair on 30 November. As before, the event will offer a wide range of 19th, 20th and 21st century photography from well known practitioners including Joe Szabo, Araki (polaroids), Karl Blossfeldt, Colin Jones and Shoji Ueda to anonymous work.
The animalistic and savage creatures of MBE award-winning sculptor, Nicola Hicks (b.1960), find their home at Flowers Gallery, New York, until 18 January. Full of a quiet expression, these towering straw and plaster figures set out to explore the nature of character, using the animal as a proxy for understanding human emotions.
The Uneventful Day brings together the unique and interconnected work of three young artists: Jim Woodall, Alexander Page and Luke Burton. Featuring installation, photography, videos and drawings, the show examines humanities’ relationship with landscape and architecture. Running 28 November to 21 December at Carroll / Fletcher, London, the three individuals unite to create a distinct presentation that celebrates both their solo projects and their combined ideas.
Interview with Jonathan Sutton on the male art collective, Phantoms in the Front Yard’s new exhibition: Shed.
Phantoms in the Front Yard, an all-male painting collective that exalts the romantic vision of old-world figurative realism in art, has just unveiled a pop-up exhibition at the HSBC headquarters in downtown Vancouver. In this showcase of what might be possible in the interpretation of Shed, we see glimpses of a tenderness that we wouldn’t expect from men, especially while exploring one of the most stereotyped symbols of masculinity, the ersatz tool shed. Among a tight edit of engaging pieces, we are treated to pencil and watercolour renderings of a wandering man among allegorically portrayed sheds intertwined with animals reminiscent of Grimm’s Fairytales. An installation of an actual shed, wallpapered in antique rose-covered paper and filled with paintings of the making of this shed, seems to spiritualise the everyday manual labourers as if they were today’s Goyas.
Poet Philip Davenport curates the world premiere of The Dark Would, running from 7 December to 24 January as part of the Summerhall Winter Visual Arts Programme. Concerned with excavating notions of mortality to dig out old, dead categories of art, such as Concrete Poetry, Conceptual Art and Vispo, this exhibition seeks to re-position artists alongside poets and “outsiders” and free up space for a new wave of practitioners.
Interview with Paul Green, Director of the Halcyon Gallery, on Bob Dylan’s new sculpture exhibition, Mood Swings.
Bob Dylan, known more so for his poetry, music and writing, began introducing his artwork to the world with an exhibition of his Drawn Blank Series in 2007 at the Kunstsammlungen in Chemnitz, Germany. The exhibition included over 200 watercolours and gouache paintings made from original drawings. Within the last six years he has exhibited his drawings and paintings time and time again in some of the world’s most renowned museums and galleries such as the National Gallery of Denmark, the Gagosian Gallery in New York, Milan’s Palazzo Reale and last summer at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Now, Dylan exhibits his most recent sculptures at the Halcyon Gallery in London. The seven gates, glass-top tables and wall hangings made out of iron and vintage objects collected by Dylan resonates the death of industrial America. With this immaculate exhibition it is as if Dylan is returning back to his childhood town of Hibbing, Minnesota; the motto of which is “We’re Ore and More”. Since Dylan has decided not to give any interviews in relation to Mood Swings in order to let the work speak for itself, we had a interview with Paul Green, the Director of the Halcyon Gallery.
Los Angeles artist Alex Prager has spent the last 10 years constructing imagined scenes for her photographic work. Full of colour, tension and narrative, Prager’s images continue to play with the figure of the woman and she draws inspiration from classic Hollywood films, fashion advertising and icons of documentary photography. For the first time her work appears in a solo museum show in the USA in Face in the Crowd at the Corcoran Gallery of Art until 9 March.