Thursday, 5 May 2016

Anthology Open Call Applications Open Until 18 June - Apply Online Now

Ten finalists will be exhibited at CHARLIE SMITH LONDON
One winner will receive:
£2,000 cash prize
Profile on Artlyst (100,000 hits per month)
Philly Adams (Senior Director, Saatchi Gallery), Zavier Ellis (Director, CHARLIE SMITH LONDON), Stephanie Grose (Collector), Andrew Salgado (Artist), Heike Strelow (Director, Galerie Heike Strelow)  
18 June 2015
£10 + £2 VAT processing fee
Completed application form
5 jpegs at no more than 5000kb each or 5 video links
Short artist's statement
Artist's CV / biography
All works presented must be for sale
The application deadline is midnight 18 June 2015

Gavin Nolan | Hype Trace | Solo Exhibition at CHARLIE SMITH LONDON

336 Old St, London ECV1 9DR
Friday 15 April - Saturday 14 May 2016

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present Gavin Nolan’s third one-person exhibition at the gallery.

Nolan’s recent paintings depict versions of historical figures. Combining hyper-realism with abstraction and mark making, his mostly intimate oil paintings reveal the heroic and fragile nature of the subjects and meditate on creativity, language, legacy and obsolescence. Focusing on iconic 20th century figures of note, Nolan’s current work examines his own relationship with the past. His interest in the inception of political, cultural and intellectual movements leads to an examination of their subsequent effects; and the echoes of an individual’s thoughts and actions that have moulded the modern period.

Pictorial content and abstraction vie for supremacy in these paintings where the hyper-real masquerades as fact and the abstract plays the role of the unknown or intangible. Displaying an exceptional facility for handling both tendencies, Nolan asserts via painterly language that historical truth is elusive and information is filtered. Engaging with this slippage, Nolan seeks to remove the depiction of a subject from the reality of the original. The painting as object becomes its own peculiar, temporal fact.

By imagining characteristics and simultaneously projecting himself onto his subjects, Nolan suggests the paintings serve as meditations on the self as well as those depicted. In combination with a restricted palette that hints at nostalgic recollection, and by referencing his own early work, the figures inhabiting this collection might be phantasmal or undead - haunting our present as they fade in and out of time and being.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Presenting Florian Heinke and Gavin Nolan at Volta New York.

Florian Heinke
... BUT THE GODS, the title of Florian Heinke´s recent exhibition, might be as well the headline of a political article in an international newspaper. Predestination through undefined forces be it fate or god and the question of humans ability to self-determine faced with different political contexts, still play a central role today. Indeed the exhibition title is not a coincidence, rather a response to the current social political reality.

Florian Heinke
Heinke’s usage of language as well as the motifs that compose his paintings are pure expressions of the social condition. His paintings are the condensate of his preoccupation with the political, cultural and human condition within the western society. Heinke’s decision in the series "When Time Sleeps" to abandon entirely language, is therefore to be understood as a deliberate reduction. The very spatially and delicately elaborated motives of this series - some of these large-format works can also be seen in the exhibition - resemble moments of inner withdrawal, timeless moments. The world is left behind - so it seems, but it is the calm before the storm.

Florian Heinke
Heinke creates quite intentionally his precise paintings using this alla-prima technic, making it difficult to believe that they are realized only by applying black acrylic painting on untreated canvas.
Especially in the exhibition context where the different types of images are displayed next to each other, it becomes possible to distinguish the different painting technics he uses to communicate his observations. Heinke believes in the emphatic power of painting and in the possibility to touch us with his works, awakening in the viewer the feelings of longing and desire and opening the way to a direct confrontation.

Gavin Nolan 'Moore's Law'
I think it's of little import that the viewer recognises the figure in the picture. Little or no attention was paid to gaining a likeness, in fact I've made deliberate attempts to disguise the figures; a fake moustache here, glasses when none were worn, elongated or distorted facial proportions, anagrams of names for titles etc. The figures presented were chosen as I see them relating to a particular archetype, and it is the combination of archetypal signifiers (not the autobiographical details) I see evidenced in the images that lay the foundations of the work. For me, the figures work as fictional characters playing out a role in an imaginary landscape. The landscape I see as the place where all things past and present have existed only in painted form.The abstract marks within the work I see functioning as a chaotic force, a signifier of the ineffable. The representational aspects function as a proxy for fact. The figures themselves serve as cyphers for me to play out my own position with regards to the practice of painting.

Gavin Nolan
Historic Nadir. An anagram of Christian Dior.

I was thinking about Chomsky's famous quote – "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously", an example of a sentence which is grammatically correct but contains no actual meaning. I became interested in the idea of fashion as a formal system analogous with good grammar. And furthermore the idea of fashion dictating aspects the visual arts. Juxtaposing a formally dressed, immaculately presented character (the rules of presentation have been adhered to) within a space where abstract marks, unnameable as particulars in any sensible way, are picked out, dismissed, accepted, styled and curated, based only on their form. A fashionable syntax.

Gavin Nolan


In this exhibition Tremlett has created a group of oil, graphite & charcoal pieces on canvas or paper. Leading on from his earlier series ‘Amusement’ and ‘Practice’, Tremlett continues to use the portrait in order to investigate deeper lying drives. He marries impeccable figuration with material abstraction, therefore combining intention and chance to create form that simultaneously appears from and recedes into the picture plane. It is clear that Tremlett is operating beyond portraiture and deploys his subjects to challenge his audience. 

Hybris 1

Tremlett’s choice of source material - from classical sculpture to pornography - emphasizes the power of the gaze and augments a disruption of expectation. His subjects might be questioning, stern, melancholy, haunting or impish. We are invited to attend to them, but the point might just be that we are the ones being watched as the artist toys with the practice of looking and its inherent anticipations. By engaging a number of internal contrasts Tremlett imposes a state of uncertainty and ambiguity that transfers from subject to viewer, forcing a confrontation with our notions of concealment and disclosure.
Hybris 4
Hybris 7

Installation Images at Charlie Smith London

More Information


As part of the 'Black Painting' project our London Art Fair booth will be curated in response to the work of contemporary artists the gallery has worked with, and has seen, throughout the years who choose to paint with a restricted palette, or indeed only black.

Hugh Mendes
Gavin Nolan
Mathew Gibson
Sam Jackson
Ian Davenport
Tom Butler
Emma Benntt
John Stark

YOUNG GODS | Exhibition | 2016

Identifying London’s best new talent for the third year running - Young Gods at Griffin Gallery and CHARLIE SMITH LONDON 

The exhibition has a proven track record of discovering vital new artists and introducing them to the international market. Previous selections have gone on to considerable success with galleries, museums and collectors, including three artists from the 2013 selection being placed in the world renowned Saatchi Gallery collection. 

Showing simultaneously at west London’s Griffin Gallery and east London’s CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, the exhibition will feature the same artists at both sites, enabling a different curatorial perspective at each gallery. Combined the exhibition will feature work that is complex, sensational, confrontational and absurd.

J Price
Laura O'Neill

Chris Gray
Lorraine Fossi

Kirsty Andrew
Asmaa Alanbari
Tess Williams

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON Installation shots

Griffin Gallery Installation shots

NEW LONDON FIGURATIVE | Exhibition | 2015

Jelena Bulajic

Presenting ‘New London Figurative’ an exhibition in response to the rising dominance of the use of the figure in contemporary art, presenting three new wave artists who work with the figure in profoundly contrasting ways.

Dale Lewis
Claire Partington