Marcus Harvey at Other Criteria
Back in 1997, artist Marcus Harvey came under scrutiny for his controversial portrait of Moors murderer Myra Hindley. It wasn’t just the portrait itself that catapulted the artist into notoriety but also the composition – handprints of a child. Now fifteen years later, rather than causing a media storm, the artist has instead opted for the more palatable option of artistic sculpture.
Inside the fairly nondescript and sparse white space of Other Criteria located in London’s lavish New Bond Street, stand the artist’s new and varied sculptures. Although the exhibition shows only six sculptures in total it certainly doesn’t limit the impact created by these works of art. Macabre bizarre and warped, Harvey’s latest venture showcases his ability to create figures both entrancing and unsettling.
Infused with imagination the sculptures can be described as characters that derive from mythological figures of history – for instance there are sculptures titled Hatshepsut and Orthus, the former associated with Egyptian mythology, the latter with Greek. However, Harvey has also conjured up figures that recall childhood characters i.e. Mr Punch, reflecting the artist’s ability to mingle both high and low culture with effortless ease.
Whilst homages to mythological beings may not be something new there is a distinct freshness about Harvey’s creations. Disjointed and fragmented the figures themselves are almost apocalyptic and recall Willem De Kooning’s series of Woman paintings. Brash and uncompromising each sculpture is unique whilst all are uncompromisingly disturbing. Mr Punch is particularly haunting; a sculpture showing a harlequinesque figure dangling a naked baby by its feet, whilst Hatshepsut is a mixture of a devilishly sinister face combined with the mutation of an extra head while the body is made of unsymmetrical protruding breasts.
Each sculpture is also made from different materials. Some of the sculptures are made from bronze and glazed stoneware, whereas others are made from ceramic material. This just goes to show that there aren’t only aesthetic differences in Harvey’s works, but also subtle and varied intrinsic differences between all of the sculptures.
Harvey has claimed, “My vision of the future is very bloody”. The statement comes as little surprise from an artist “raging against the dying light” of modern art. All of the figures are constructed with doom laden and violent overtones. Although like all important art, the sculptures are documents of their time and reflect upon our uncertain period of history, whilst cleverly nodding to the echoes of mythological times. Harvey’s sculptures are as unapologetic and as caustic as art can be. For that reason alone they are certainly worth a look.
For further information on New Sculptures by Marcus Harvey visit Other Criteria’s official website.