Thursday, 22 October 2015
‘To make sure of what I already suspected, I leaned out over the water and I lifted the lantern, and out of the black watery mirror a face peered up at me, a face with severe and solemn features and grey eyes, an old knowing face, and it was I.’
The bare foot prophet lives in the wilds, against the mainstream. Proto hippies such as Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach and Gustav Nagel lived by their own codes, intentionally positioning themselves against convention. Embracing nature; rejecting the institutional; reinterpreting the commonplace, the bare foot prophet finds truth in nature and formulates his own mythologies.
In this exhibition Dominic Shepherd responds to the progress of our times, channelled via his own idiosyncratic circumstances. Edging towards the end of an idyll, where development has come to interrupt a fifteen year reverie, the artist states: ‘this new body of work has been made to the sound of chainsaws and burning of trees that glow in the night’. Shepherd’s paintings during this period have become a personal record of an attempt to live apart from everyday contemporary society, where the woods have provided a canopy wherein have lain dream, imagination, fantasy and contemplation.
Shepherd’s method is to fuse life and work, refracting information from the ages with prismatic effect. Folkloric and cult cyphers are blended with the personal as Shepherd freezes time, casting his masquerading subjects in a fictionalized place that might just be real. There is a slippage of time and place where it becomes impossible to unravel reality from illusion. Shepherd’s paintings combine to elucidate a personal mythology populated by his very own deities, heroes, ancestors, and progeny.
Please contact the gallery for images and further information
Thursday, 15 October 2015
EXHIBITION HOURS Friday 18 September 1:00pm-8:00pm Saturday 19 September 1:00pm-8:00pm Sunday 20 September 11:00am-6:00pm
CHARLIE SMITH LONDON and Galerie Heike Strelow present Black Paintings at Positions Berlin 2015. Their collaborative participation will feature emerging and established painting positions from Germany and England.
Black Paintings will be an evolving, internationally touring exhibition. The project is a combination of three notions.
Firstly, it is a curatorial response to the work of contemporary artists that Ellis and Strelow work with, and have seen, throughout the years. Secondly, the exhibition seeks to illustrate an inherent urge that many painters have: to master the black painting. Finally, the exhibition will act as a response to fundamental moments throughout the history of art.
From Goya to Malevich to Reinhardt and Rauschenberg, significant artists have continued to investigate the insistence and resonance of the black painting.
Alex Gene Morrison
Please contact CHARLIE SMITH LONDON for images and further information
DAS UNHEIMLICHE | 2015
PRIVATE VIEW Thursday 3 September 6.30-8.30pm
PRIVATE VIEW Thursday 30 July 6.30-8.30pm
EXHIBITION DATES Friday 31 July – Saturday 15 August 2015
GALLERY HOURS Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment
CHARLIE SMITH LONDON announces its fifth edition of the annual juried exhibition Anthology.Selected and curated by internationally respected art world professionals, Anthology is a multi-disciplinary exhibition that reaches out democratically to artists worldwide. Presented at the CHARLIE SMITH LONDON gallery in Shoreditch, London, the exhibition will continue to be a key barometer of emerging and established talent. Consisting of ten finalists selected from 900 applicants, the exhibition will open on 30 July 2015. A cash prize of £2,000 will be presented to one winner by CHARLIE SMITH LONDON. The winner will also be profiled by State Media and Artlyst. The 2015 finalists are: Darren Coffield Gary Colclough Michal Cole Beatrice Haines Henry Hussey Sally Kindberg Oliver McConnie Christos Tsimaris Lisa Wright The 2015 jury members are Kurt Beers (Beers London), Paul Carter-Robinson (Artlyst), Christine Coulson (Private Collector), Zavier Ellis (CHARLIE SMITH LONDON / THE FUTURE CAN WAIT) and Mike von Joel (State Media).
Previous winners are Tom Ormond, Eric Manigaud, Robert Crosse, Florian Heinke and Ben Woodeson
Wednesday, 17 June 2015
PRIVATE VIEW Thursday 25 June 6.30-8.30pm
EXHIBITION DATES Friday 26 June – Saturday 25 July 2015
GALLERY HOURS Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment
CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present Emma Bennett with her third one person show at the gallery. For this exhibition Bennett has created an exquisite set of intimate oil paintings on oak panels. Combining appropriated still life elements with beds, fire and landscapes; this is a significantly personalised series. Exploring the fleeting nature of experience and encounters, Bennett’s paintings are resonant and nostalgic. They also refer to the incomplete, fragmented nature of memory and thought:‘My recent paintings, like memories, contain small fragments of imagery - these are focused details surrounded by darkness and ambiguity. The imagery of the paintings locates memories in specific places and, as with memories, there are sharply focused details as well as inaccuracies and things that one can't quite recall.’ This fragmented or failed recollection serves to blur the boundaries of reality and imagination, and introduces notions of desire, absence and loss. The illogicality of apparently disparate figurative elements suggests ambiguities in time and space, whilst the intangible nature of the subjects represented intonate dream and flux. We are eluded by the transient nature of smoke, fire and water, and reminded of the impermanence of the corporeal. Please contact the gallery for images and further information
Thursday, 2 April 2015
Friday, 20 February 2015
Thursday, 29 January 2015
Young Gods | London Graduates 2014
Curated by Zavier Ellis
Gabriele Dini, Russell Hill, Tezz Kamoen, Hilde Krohn Huse, JoshuaRaffell, Zhu Tian, Newton Whitelaw
PRIVATE VIEW Wednesday January 7th 2015 6:30-8:30pm
CHARLIE SMITH LONDON
EXHIBITION DATES Wednesday January 14th – Saturday February 14th 2015
Zavier Ellis identifies London’s best new talent to curate Young Gods at GriffinGallery and CHARLIE SMITH LONDON for the third year running.
Ellis’ annual selection of graduates from London art schools is recognized as a key barometerof the best new London artists.The exhibition has a proven track record of discovering vital new artists and introducing themto the international market. Previous selections have gone on to considerable success withgalleries, museums and collectors, including three artists from the 2013 selection beingplaced in the world renowned Saatchi Gallery collection.
This year sees a combination of painting, sculpture, installation and video by seven artistsfrom China, Italy, Netherlands, Norway & United Kingdom, illustrating the international natureof today’s London art schools intake.
Showing simultaneously at west London’s Griffin Gallery and east London’s CHARLIE SMITHLONDON, the exhibition will feature the same artists at both sites, enabling a differentcuratorial perspective at each gallery. Combined the exhibition will feature work that iscomplex, sensational, confrontational and absurd.
// The Cult Of RAMM:ELL:ZEE: Alexis Milne, Tex Royale, Lu Ma Oi, Eve Fainke, Chooc Ly Tan, Nuke Eden and Petro
// Zavier Ellis
// Cedar Lewisohn
Curated by Alexis Milne
17.00h – 20.00h // JOEY RAMONE, Josephstraat 166 - 168
20.30h – 21.30h // WORM, Boomgaardstraat 71
Zavier is the founder and director of CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, a contemporary art gallery in Shoreditch. He has curated exhibitions internationally including in Berlin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Klaipeda, London, Los Angeles, Naples and Rome. Zavier is also co-founder and co-curator of the annual museum scale show THE FUTURE CAN WAIT, which in recent years has been organised in partnership with Saatchi's New Sensations. THE FUTURE CAN WAIT is the largest exhibition of its kind globally.
Most recently Zavier has published his first iArtBook 100 London Artists with renowned art critic and historian Edward Lucie-Smith.
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Thursday November 27th 6:30-8:30pm
CHARLIE SMITH LONDON
336 Old Street, London EC1V 9DR
Friday November 28th – Saturday December 20th 2014
Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment
Tom Butler collects Victorian cabinet cards and works over the image in delicately rendered gouache. Using ever evolving motifs Butler seeks to conceal elements of the original subject, whilst projecting alternative characteristics on to them. Geometric abstract patterns; flora; hair; fur; or bandages might be employed to interrupt the original photographic image.
Susannah Douglas makes impeccable drawings derived from found childhood photographs. Undoubtedly nostalgic, Douglas uses intelligent devices to jolt the viewer. Drawing on photographic techniques, Douglas might crop the drawing unusually; repeat an element to allude to spliced film; or subtly mirror an image, often having already collaged disparate source elements from which to make the drawing.
Luke Jackson draws on the political, social and philosophical to imbue his impasto paintings with an unusually weighty atmosphere. Often isolated within a space with only suggestions of an environment, Jackson’s figures suggest a Kafkaesque state of monotony, endeavor, disorientation and menace.
Sam Jackson is recognized for his psychologically charged portraits and highly sexual nudes. Jackson’s newest paintings depict figures engaged in sexual activity in outside, rural environments. Whilst often being direct, these paintings have a gentleness that suggests the erotic rather than pornographic, and recalls 19th century en plein air painting.
Geraldine Swayne makes seductive, lyrical paintings in enamel on copper or aluminium. Swayne’s evident enthusiasm for the physicality and fluidity of paint is coupled with diverse and instinctive choices of subjects that are often surprisingly transgressive. Serial killers, murder victims and effete male models populate Swayne’s paintings alongside celebrities, friends and historical figures.
Together with this exhibition we will present a new set of prints that was made to exhibit at the recent Saatchi Gallery exhibition ‘Cultus Deorum’, curated by gallery director Zavier Ellis. The series features etchings; offset prints; linocuts; lithographs and c-type prints by Florian Heinke, Sam Jackson, Reece Jones, Eric Manigaud, Alex Gene Morrison, Gavin Nolan, Dominic Shepherd and The Cult Of RAMMΣLLZΣΣ. Each is an edition of 50 and available at £250 + VAT.
Thursday, 30 October 2014
Above the waist it was semi anthropomorphic, though its chest had the leathery, reticulated hide of a crocodile. The back was piebald with yellow and black and dimly suggested the squamous coverings of snakes. Below the waist though, it was the worst, for here all human resemblance left-off and sheer fantasy began. H. P. Lovecraft - The Dunwich Horror.
CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present John Stark with his third one person exhibition at the gallery.
In this exhibition Stark presents a new collection of paintings that appear to depict a world divided, besieged and devoid of moral constraints. By opposing common assumptions based on Christian mechanisms, for example that prayer is purer than incantation; and by addressing the idea that modern civilisation uses Christian morality to legitimise its own violence, Stark seeks to go beyond centuries of doctrine and propaganda to express the reality of the horror that lies beneath western reason.
The centrepiece of this exhibition, ‘No Man’s Land’, Stark’s largest painting to date, includes numerous figures: witches, demons, satyrs, Greek gods, zombie soldiers and pin up girls who cavort and coagulate in various rituals and invocations. It is a place of metaphysical darkness where such perversions are permitted to exist. Recalling historical allegory painting by way of pulp horror and erotica, we are presented with a Bacchanalian depiction of indulgence, malevolence and empowerment that refers to the cyclical births, evolutions and downfalls of societies throughout history, everywhere.
But there is a deep underlying contradiction at the heart of these paintings, where the artist employs traditions and narratives in order to demystify and undermine those very same traditions and narratives. By embracing otherness Stark parodies the familiar and in doing so ensures his position remains ambiguous, with the viewer never quite able to make certified judgements, both morally and aesthetically. Our intellectual assumptions are challenged as we are forced to contemplate the contrary relationships between reality and illusion; modern and primitive; good and evil; sacred and profane; salvation and damnation. Stark tells us that these are not contradictions but interrelated aspects of a complex universe, where hierarchies are dissolved and polarities dismantled.
|'The Siege', 2014 Oil on wood panel 112x154cm|
Witchcraft & Warfare
Highway 31 stops abruptly, ten kilometres short of the North Korean border. All roads north end like this, snipped off like short fuses waiting for ignition from a lighted match. Beyond is the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a pervasive void framed by a hazy grey mountain range. You can’t see much of North Korea from here, but it doesn’t stop tourists filming the open range. Their jerky panoramas accompanied by the timbrey whistle of a high wind on the microphone.
This no-go zone is the inspiration for Witchcraft and Warfare, John Stark’s new series of paintings on show at CHARLIE SMITH LONDON. The paintings can be divided into two parts. Those created while Stark was living in Seoul in 2013 and those made on his return to England earlier this year.
‘Prey’ and ‘Enter’ capture something of the old shamanic mysticism that still exists on the margins of the Korean Peninsula. It is a hidden world, rarely spoken of, but integral to the Korean way of life. These paintings are a continuation of an earlier series he made called ‘Field Work’, documenting the Haunted Mountain where the Shamans still operate.
Among the myriad of oddities that go hand-in-hand with being a dislocated expat in South Korea, Stark was frequently mistaken for an American soldier. Out of the Promethean shadows of this alienation came the paintings he made on his return to England which confront imperialism and the moral dilemma between East and West.
In ‘No Man’s Land’ a naked woman rises up out of a swarm of slatterns into a forked lunar light, a Mother Teresa horror show saint. Beneath her is a scene of unimaginable gruesomeness. Skulls hang from a tree; a woman with bloody stumps has a rope tied to her breasts, which is being pulled by her spinsterish companion. Their faces, pictures of middle-aged fatigue, resemble dowager aunts who should be exploring the back streets of Florence, prostrating themselves on the altar of Fra Angelico, not submerged in the dank waters of this Dantesque hell.
I’m not sure if Stark has read Alan Moore’s graphic novel Lost Girls, a mix of bawdy humour and pornographic de Sade depravity, but there’s a similarity in the way Moore’s sexual imagination runs riot while still retaining a strong moral agenda. Stark, like Moore has a prodigiously fertile imagination, yet the real drama in this painting exists not with the furies, but in the intense kryptonite eyes of the watchtower as it gazes out over no-mans land to a cool, silvery figure in the foreground.
That radioactive green, the colour of Fairy Liquid, resurfaces again in ‘The Lookout’ and ‘Conjuring an Armed Skeleton’, in the pensive face of the watcher and then as a freakish fire sprung from a grinning cauldron. There is something unearthly about the colour’s lurid artificiality, perhaps because it is also the green of night vision. A device first used to brutal effect during the Korean War, and now a familiar technique in low-budget horror movies ever since Blair Witch. I feel this paradox is not lost on Stark, an artist who has made a career out of re-working old masters in audacious new ways.
‘Conjuring an Armed Skeleton’ is a great piece of theatre in the manner of Goya. With its pig’s head, mock-Celtic symbols and mad-as-a-box-of-cats witch, it embraces a long tradition of undead cadavers dating back to early International Gothic. What happens when you call up a rotting soldier covered in seaweed and slime? Who knows? The women in the painting seem peculiarly uninterested in the results of their alchemy; the wraith is more ghoulish abstraction than cautionary tale. Skeleton soldiers rose up from the depths in Brueghel’s ‘The Triumph of Death’, yet Stark is also alluding to the West’s romanticism of Orientalism in fantasy films like ‘The 7th Voyage of Sinbad’. There are obvious references to gaming here too, particularly in the flatness of colour, reminiscent of CGI while those surfaces, as shiny as plastic wrap, say something about the rampant capitalism witnessed by Stark in South Korea.
The dead solider theme continues in ‘The Siege’ with a wounded GI staggering about in the shallows while Bacchanalian revellers party on. Stretched out on the shoreline is the blubbery mass of Silenus, tutor to Dionysus who, when drunk, became incredibly wise. For Stark this sated creature represents Western Enlightenment, except here his intellectual brilliance has been entirely eclipsed by Lara Croft’s buttocks. It’s a nice moment of balloon pricking.