True Love Stories at Pertwee, Anderson & Gold ǀ Exhibition review
The latest exhibition at the Pertwee, Anderson & Gold gallery in Soho is True Love Stories, a series of pieces by American artists the Connor Brothers.
Twins Franklyn and Brendan Connor certainly have an interesting background: growing up in a controversial cult known as the Family, the brothers had no access to the outside world until, at 16, they ran away. Their practice of making art together began as a way of helping each other learn about and understand the overwhelming new world they were suddenly exposed to. They would discover popular culture individually, watching films and reading, and would then share their discoveries using notebooks and sketchbooks.
In True Love Stories, their first solo exhibition, the Connor Brothers take the classic romantic covers of Mills & Boon novels and inject them with some of the cynicism of our current age. Creating their own satirical take on the original titles, the pieces, on various scales, portray the typically glamorous couples but with a twist of modern day reality. In An Old-Fashioned Girl, for example, poised in a passionate embrace, the woman is worrying about whether she’s left the oven on.
The pieces are witty and humorous, but also tragic because they can often be related to, leaving the viewer to question whether romance nowadays really is dead. As well as the Mills & Boon pieces, True Love Stories also includes works playing on the titles of Shakespeare’s plays, and scenes from the Bible.
The clichéd covers of the Mills & Boon novels have been a source of inspiration for several artists, notably Alex Holder, of the collaboration Oli + Alex, who recreated the cover scenes with her then boyfriend to much critical acclaim, in 2011.
While the subject has been explored in other ways, the Connor Brothers’ works provide an original angle. True Love Stories is a highly enjoyable exhibition to view, and the unusual space at Pertwee, Anderson & Gold provides an interesting backdrop. Highly recommended.
True Love Stories is at the Pertwee, Anderson & Gold Gallery until 4th July 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.