Selected Artists at Flowers Gallery
In its latest exhibition Selected Artists, Flowers Gallery provides a panoramic view of British contemporary art. As the title suggests, the exhibition lacks an underlying theme. Instead, the gallery’s vast white walls – the traditionalised viewing context for all contemporary art – are bedecked with an array of works ranging from figurative and abstract paintings to more sculptural pieces.
Among the more notable artworks on display is Tim Lewis’s Ghost (2007). Part installation, part film, Ghost is a small black box, reminiscent of an old-fashioned pinhole camera, through which the viewer watches a small naked man trek along the revolving universe (here fashioned out of metal). Compared with the vastness of the space that envelops him, the man is dwarfed, rendered insignificant while the harsh metallic surface of the universe, scattered with gravestones, paints a bleak and yet powerful image of man, his condition, and his overall place in the universe.
Another meditation on the human condition comes in the form of John Kirby’s Virgin of Sorrows (1991). A largish oil painting, it depicts a naked male figure standing on a plinth. With one hand protecting his modesty, almost like a masculinised Venus Pudica, he holds a white cloth over his face with his other, rendering him anonymous. This is something that is emphasised by the black nothingness that surrounds him. From the menacing black background to the ghostly white cloth, a looming sense of death hangs over the painting.
Another notable contribution comes from Patrick Hughes. Variations on a Theme, 2012, depicts a surreal dreamscape in a Magritte-like manner: three architectural formations, fashioned from red bricks, two grey doors, and a red and white marquee are lined up on a beachfront. Framing these formations at each end of the painting is a stack of gigantic books, a visual pun on the notion of bookends. Hughes’ distortion of size and incongruous juxtaposition of objects results in a visually arresting image. Yet, as suggested by the title and depicted visual pun, it is one that does not take itself seriously, but, instead, is laced with humour and wit.
Mapping out the unique aesthetic of each of the selected artists, the exhibition is more a curation of individual artistic style than merely of specific artworks. This in turn widens the gaps in terms of talent between creators, with the superior artists soaring above the rest.
Photos: Sarah Louise Renwick
Selected Artists is at the Flowers Gallery until 31st August 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.