Last week we had a peek in at the ROA private view off Brick Lane. ROA is a Belgian street artist, and having seen much of his work on the walls around East London, it was really interesting to see his work translated in to a gallery show. His work – usually seen on abandoned warehouse walls or run-down areas of cities – consists of huge, highly detailed monochromatic paintings of animals. The show did not disappoint. He had a large wall piece within the gallery, but our favourites were the wooden assemblages with doors. As a door is opened, a different view of the painted creature is revealed, perhaps a skeleton or some other biological diagram. The whole show was skilfully put together and highly recommended. On until 6th May at StolenSpace – click here for more details.
I helped out at a promotional photo shoot for the Axes on Saturday assisting the amazing photographer Jof Middleton. The shoot involved projections of shapes, wings and cells. It was really great to be a part of and the shots looked great. Can't wait to see the finished images. You will be hearing more about Jof and the Axes in the future... you can listen to them here: www.weareaxes.bandcamp.com
The Axes is Al Gunby, Jeion Nejad, Paul Russell and Stacey Conway from London, Essex, Scotland and Denmark. They are playing in the Old Blue Last on Monday at 9pm. They are a really talented bunch and worth going to see!
Yesterday we checked out Damien Hirst's retrospective at the Tate. It was great to see so many of the famous pieces together, and notice the continuous themes of colour and death running through them. The butterfly room, where pupae are embedded into canvases to emerge from and flutter around, was pretty amazing – but I wonder whether it was perhaps no more interesting than it would have been as an exhibit in a natural history museum. As you would expect of the Hirst 'brand', there was much repetition throughout, but the opportunity to see the notorious pieces first-hand made up for it.
In the spirit of a wet bank holiday weekend, we took a trip to National Trust museum – the Red House in South London. Strangely placed in residential Bexleyheath, less than 10 minutes' walk from the shopping mall, it appears as if plucked from some picturesque English meadow. It was the home to textile designer, craftsman, artist, writer and socialist William Morris, leader of the english Arts and Crafts movement.
Many of his patterns and designs still look contemporary, we loved the experimental yellow polka-dot ceiling above a windowseat, and some of the enormous furniture – one piece had seating, shelving and a bunkbed on top.
Worth checking out...
Last night we made our way to Pick Me Up @ Somerset House. We had tickets to see Peepshow Collective give a talk but managed to rush round the exhibition beforehand. There was certainly some fantastic work on show and despite noticing a lot of the same people that had been in the show last year, such as Print club and YCN, there were some new faces that more than held their own. People of Print were one such studio that had some delightful screen-printed work. They also have a nice ethos and are involved in some really great projects.
I loved seeing the creation of temporary studios and was fascinated by the Gocco printers, mini Letterpresses (see the charming print by studio mothership pictured ) and workshops that run throughout the exhibition.
My criticism of the show lies not with the artists, illustrators and designers but with the curators. I found that the amount of work on show was overwhelming. There was just too much to take in and as a result my brain began to hurt and any highlights were lost in a blur of geometric shapes and fluorescent ink.
As for the talk, well it was dissappointing to say the least. I've been an admirer of their work for a while and they all seemed like nice guys but I'm slightly annoyed that it's one hour of my life that I'll never get back, nevermind...