Saturday, 19 May 2018

Pregnant Landscape: Phoebe Unwin

Phoebe Unwin resumes service in full-colour.

After the black and white paintings in her last exhibition at Wilkinson in 2015 Distant People and Self-Soothing Objects I am glad to see Phoebe Unwin make a return to colour, because she does it brilliantly.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Heaven Help My Heart Recover from the Chess Revival

A trip to the English National Opera's production of Chess proves too much for Garageland theatre reviewer, Lisa Duffy.

Chess is one of those shows that bestows a certain status onto musical theatre fans. The original concept album was something of a cult recording for the genre’s devotees in the 1990s, passed around with reverence at high school cast parties and amateur theatre rehearsals. Knowledge of the show separated casual enthusiasts from hardcore nerds and being able to perform “One Night in Bangkok” without missing a word was akin to a superpower. (Though this is perhaps truer in America, where the 1988 Broadway transfer lasted less than three months, as opposed to the original London version’s more impressive three-year stint).

After an absence of over thirty years from the West End boards, the time certainly feels right for a revival. There is an increasing trend of throwback, pulsing, synthesised music throughout the Theatre District—in addition to fellow 1980s stalwart megamusicals The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, Bat Out of Hell is currently cranking out the tunes of Meatloaf eight times a week and the upcoming Knights of the Rose will be giving a Shakespearean backdrop to the songs of performers like Bon Jovi and Bonnie Tyler. But more importantly, Chess’ story of Cold War politics told through an American and a Russian battling for supremacy in the World Chess Championship seems poised to be able to offer commentary on the contemporary world. (The American is a brash narcissist named Trumper, just increasing the potential relevance).

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Diamonds in the Rough

Cathy Lomax hunts for treasure at the London Art Fair 2018

Anna Katrina Zinkeisen, The Dark Lady, 1938, oil on canvas, 
Nottingham City Museum and Galleries

As always the London Art Fair is a mixed bag. Star of the show is the not-for-sale Art UK exhibit where five art stalwarts; Sonia Boyce, Haroon Mirza, Oscar Murillo and Rose Wylie, have each selected work from UK regional collections. This means that an eclectic group of works, that I imagine have been stashed in cupboards in small provincial museums, have their five minutes in the 2018 limelight. Rose Wylie’s choices include Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid’s In Spinster’s Salt Collection. While Haroon Mirza has used an algorithm to make his selection, thereby subverting the very idea of the elitist notion of selecting itself, and has maybe turned up with my favourite painting of the bunch, Anna Katrina Zinkeisen’s The Dark Lady.

Lubaina Himid, In Spinster’s Salt Collection, 1989, 
New Hall Art Collection, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Sex and Work at Frieze 2017

Cathy Lomax digests a female-centric Frieze art fair.

Mamma Anderson, Side by Side, 2017 at David Zwirner

Many contemporary artists (whose work is not included) scream in horror and put their heads in the sand during Frieze week in London. Of course the entrance price is enough to dissuade many from visiting, but if you can cadge a ticket, Frieze really should be a must-see. Sure it can be distasteful with restaurant tables of be-suited ‘wealth management’ types (the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounge actually existed at this year’s Frieze) and designer dressed, super-rich roaming the aisles sporting their plastic surgery experiments. But these are the people (or collectors as we prefer to call them) who finance art – maybe their taste is questionable, but surely its best to know who they are and in my experience there are very few artists (and even fewer galleries) who check the ethical credentials of their buyers before taking their cash.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Face2Face In The Dining Room

Torquay's historic Torre Abbey hosts Face2Face an exhibition of contemporary portraits. The newcomers, who are keeping company with the likes of Admiral Nelson and King George III, are causing a bit of a ruckus.

Richard Billingham, Untitled (RAL 49), 1995
Sarah Lucas, Eating A Banana from self portrait series, 1990-98

Torre Abbey sits on the seafront with the air of a country house, an historical document in stone with new additions of brick and glass. The permanent collection within befits the building and Face2Face, an exhibition of portraits curated by the Arts Council, has been introduced to converse with the masters. It is the type of show I like, old paintings alongside the new in an historical setting.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Garageland visits the Venice Biennale

Kirsty Buchanan acts as Garageland tour guide for this year's Venice Biennale, where she trembles at the Irish pavilion and joins a whale hunt in the arsenale. 

Huguette Caland's sensual line drawings and wearable dresses

This year the theme of the Biennale was VIVA ARTE VIVA a title which excited me with its bold and simple exclamation. 

In the Arsenale there seemed to be a focus on earth conscious, hippy world art such as Bonnie Ora Sherk’s work about the Crossroads Community or Ilana Halperin’s video documentation of what appeared to be a forest community of women holding hands in a circle. I particularly enjoyed these video works as they had a nostalgic feel to them.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

All The World's Females

With the 2017 Venice Biennale soon to kick off, Garageland's Kirsty Buchanan looks back on what we learned from the last one.

Martial Raysse, Makeup, 1962 at Palazzo Grassi

The theme of The 56th International Venice Art Exhibition, situated at the Giardini and Arsenale, curated by Okwui Enwezor was All the World’s Futures. In the expansive labyrinth of the Arsenale, one couldn’t help having an immense sense of misery. Heightened by the contrast between the high bright sun outside it felt prison-like almost apocalyptic.