One closes, one opens! With the loss of White Cube, Jay Jopling’s seminal space, closing in Hoxton Square in December, one might think that the east end gallery scene is winding down. But Jester Jacques Gallery opening next month, highlights youthful expressionism with their inaugural show entitled ‘Jeunesse,’ proving that East London is still thriving. The group show presents installations, contemporary paintings and mixed media. It is all about exploring the boundaries, exhibiting work that is challenging and at times provocative. The artists selected for show are the voice of a new generation, who are responding directly to the outside world, to the vanity of social media and to the socio-political backdrop that informs our culture today. The art shown by Jester Jacques gallery is not only relevant and topical but points to the future. These artists will become highly sought after by savvy collectors who have the foresight to spot fresh emerging talent.
Artists featured in this exhibition include: Adam Walker – A recent graduate in Fine Art from Camberwell College of Art and prior to that he attended St. Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge.Adam was already received much critical attention having been selected by Marcus Harvey to exhibit in a group show which also featured the work of Anthony Caro.Adam Walker’s practice is contemplative and considered. He is a painter first and foremost, yet brings to the medium a sculptural element and in his installations a sense of performance.The canvases are layered and textured, they have a surface patina, which lends the geometric patterning an organic ‘weathering’ as if they are found pieces and assembled. Adam is concerned with materialism and the juxtaposition of forms and shapes. In one series his interest are in the deconstruction of canvas of the applied primal colour, then sealed into a resin like an artefact. A line can be drawn between Adam’s work and that of Turner prize nominee, Angela de la Cruz. We see both artists examining distortion and disintegration. The idea of treating a two-dimensional painting like a three-dimensional object is a vital to their work.
Reece Whitehead is young painter out of Kingston University. His work directly tackles the social and urban issues by painting with a bold colour palette and making strong gestures and marks. The subject matter is that of the London riots last year and playful colour and illustrative style is in contrast the underlying fear and menace that surrounded those memorable few days.
Another artist dealing with law and order, but in a more traditional style is the rising star James Cochran (aka Jimmy. C). Jimmy is to some extent an urban artist, finding inspiration from the streets, yet his paintings owe more to Pointillism and the Neo Impressionism movement. The strong contrast between this soft styling and the harsh image of riot police on the front line is unsettling to say the least.
Jack Jones handles the dialectic between the old and the new differently. Jack is the co-founder and curator for OPEN, Ealing. He graduated from Camberwell College of Art and his paintings stem from commercial, ‘chocolate box’ mass-produced artwork, which are then de-constructed through paper cut and geometric overworking. An elaborate frame completes this intriguing interplay prompting questions about value and appropriation. Jack creates these shapes by using caustic chemicals (paint stripper and bleach) that removes the paint from the surface of the canvas raising issues of defacement and destruction.
Rosemary Cronin is another featured artist whose work is about subverting or transgressing a pre-existing image perhaps within a Feminist context. Rosemary graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design. She founded the ‘Chelsea Girl’ collective and has been employed by both the Tate, the V&Q and currently at the NPG.Rosemary pours and drips thick gloss paint (and the very gendered material of car paint) over slick fashion advertising campaigns, confounding the viewer’s preconceived notions of what beauty is. Rosemary is like the other artists shown here, is questioning the role of art and our aesthetic ideals, the disfigurement and destruction points to a new understanding of what we perceive to be good and true.
Jamie Humphrey graduated with a BA in Fine Art Painting from the University of Brighton. Jamie’s practice crosses over from Urban/Street art into Fine Art. His vibrant and gestural abstractions are mixed media, using oil, chalk, spray paint and even marble dust on canvas to create a textured surface alongside bold mark making.
Clare O’Connor is an Irish artist with a BA in Visual Arts Practice & a BDES in Design Communications from IADT, Dublin. Her playful acrylic abstractions on paper focus more on the geometric patterning of interlocking diagonals, which she breaks up with loosely applied paint, dripping through the composition. She has exhibited in Dublin, Berlin and London.
Ador is a French formally trained street artist, whose work is comical and joyous. Ador creates a fantastic and finely drawn world of odd creatures with bug eyes and large noses. One cannot help but smile at his strange creations.
Rose Skinner is another artist whose work is playfully subversive. She was trained in the UK and has exhibited widely in Australia. For this exhibition she will showing her weirdly reconstructed toys, for instance a plastic baby with the head of Micky Mouse and a robot with a baby’s head. These sculptural pieces are disconcerting and somewhat unsettling. When iconic childhood items are twisted, we are forced to see a disturbing side to things previously associated with innocence and play.
Jester Jacques Galley is a new and exciting gallery founded by brother and sister team, Karen and Guy Shidlo. Karen is a painter and a graduate of the prestigious Pratt Institute, whilst her brother is a marketing and business expert. Together they settled in East London where they were struck by the new wave of young artists emerging out of that scene. They knew that they wanted to give a platform to this talent and so Jester Jacques was born. Jester Jacques as the playful and quirky moniker suggests represents artists whose practice may cross over genres, artists who are not defined by labels or tags.
Photo: Reece Whitehead
Jester Jacques ‘Jeunesse’ Blackall Studios 73 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4QS
2nd November 2012 Exhibition runs until Sunday 3rd.