Arts Editor: Christopher George
Georgie Wheeler brings her madcap, nostalgia-laden, funky, graphic show to Hastings
See Spray Gallery, with a massive hit of colour and cheekiness.
Working in a range of media including acrylics, watercolour, biro and spray paint, all brought together in a part chaotic, part realistic lasagne of jolliness.
Wheeler was the head of Art at Watford Grammar School for Girls, specialising in Graphics, Fine Art and Photography. Now residing on Hastings as a full time artists. she is part of the South Coast art capital.
Graduating with a Fine Art Degree at Nottingham Trent University exposed Wheeler to the wonderful world of social deviants and shock art narrative.
Pick 'n' Mix brings together her Mixtape 80s series, which summarises popular culture, smash hits and an iconic 80's design style in ten oversized cassette tapes. Alongside these, are a series of 'borrowed forgotten' pieces, where she has humourosly embellished kitsch landscapes and figurative paintings from the 70's and 80's with slightly misfitting characters.
Georgie Wheeler - Pic 'n' Mix - Solo Show 29th June - 30th July
153-154 Queens Road,
Interview: Christopher George
Dean Ross and Iggy Jay came together as UNO, with revolving singers, giving the band a wider scope to produce their music without the limitations of a permanent vocalists.
Their first joint collaboration band split after the singer became involved in another project. The duo stuck to their guns and moved quickly forward. While trying to find another appropriate singer, the difficulties became apparent in finding the correct voice. At this point a new project and direction was conceived between Ross and Jay.
The bands direction of synth and modern pop is strongly influenced by 1980s electro, such as Depeche Mode, and more recent groups such as Disclosure and Chain Smokers style of producing. A merge of electro, raw rock and classical instrumental are all thrown into the UNO cocktail of sound
The groups accomplishment with instruments are impressive. Iggy plays drums, guitar, trombone as well as sings; “A bunch of very useless instruments” as he puts it, “mostly classical brass”. Heralding from a position as a classical conductor at an early stage of his profession, he at the same time played in a heavy metal band while also producing pop music. A true contrast and collision of sounds and genres.
Dean is fundamentally a pianist and song writer, with huge experience in the digital format of sound. He gives the group a concrete base of knowledge to draw from when writing music. Songs often start from the keyboard, with Iggy bringing in a beat and then working forward as the duo.
After realising that the songs they were writing would not suit just the one singing style, the decision was made to work fluidly with different vocalists to obtain the best for each song and avoid getting stuck in a narrow scope with one sound or genre.
Working and producing material as UNO, they are open to interpretation from vocalists and aim to keep an open agenda when writing, and not be dictatorish. This allows a looser scope with the band to progress creatively.
They use the website Starnow as an audition and casting forum, this has become a successful way to connect with vocalists. The ability to cast singers online with material they are sent to audition with, UNO can them edit down vocalist for each project creating a perfect union. Doing this via the internet saves a huge among of time, money, resources and has been a positive way in recent months for the band to collaborate and progress. A kind of Tinder for singing!
Knowing what you want, and knowing what you don’t want is the trick in sourcing talent. Where you source talent from is an endless and time consuming challenge. The bands vision is to sign a producing deal with a label, then allow the label to provide vocalists as part of the process, saving time and allowing UNO to concentrate on the music.
With a list of talents UNO have an aim to work with, they are not shying away from the challenge of pushing forward to a different level.
Often creatives get stuck at a position where the idea of moving forward is either too worrying or just not where they want to venture. UNO are definitely pushing boundaries down.
UNO are preforming a number of live energetic sets where they remix their original songs and vocals, stripping back the 3 minute pop format and becoming more of a live DJ set, with Iggy playing drums and guitar live.
Check out their website for updated event and shows.
NEVER MIND THE SPICE GIRLS, CHECK OUT GIRL POWER THE ITALIAN WAY
By Sara Darling
Brighton’s Great Escape always comes up with some exciting new talent, and this season it was the Italian girls to watch!
All eyes were on GIUNGLA - the indie pop songstress with some extra sass. Singer Ema Drei (aka GIUNGLA) is based in the peaceful and conservative area of Bologna, But as soon as she straps on her guitar, her stage performances are anything but! Expect a whirlwind of guitar pedals, pounding electronic loops and lots of headbanging.
Already in her short career, she has been billed alongside The Foals, xx, Grimes and Battles, which gives an indication of her pulling power, and her fiery live sessions offer a space to listen to a very loud song, and just shut your eyes and feel fearless and relieved.
In Italy, GIUNGLA made waves on the scene, with her “camouflage pop”, but since spreading her wings outside of her home country, she has been developed a more mature beat, and has been described by Noisey as "the love child of PJ Harvey and Grimes".
Watch GIUNGLA for a taste of real music. Not too pop, not too punk. Oh and FYI Giungla means “jungle” in English.
24 year old artist Adele Nigro is hard to put in a box. Her emotive, eclectic fusion of music is made even more poignant by the fact she writes, sings, plays, produces and arranges all of her songs, which bear the traces of several different influences including Americana and Folk.
Live, Nigro plays with three other people, but she prefers to record alone, and has just released her latest LP ‘Two, Geography’, where she was like a kid a candy store and played the saxophone, drums, acoustic, digital and electric piano fuelling a spontaneous, energetic vibe; But seeing her on stage is watching a master at work as she slips between instruments as if she was born doing so!
Feeling more comfortable writing in English, she credits the British and American bands and music she listened to when she was growing up as inspiration. And the fact that her current base of Milan is a hotchpotch of cultures, where she can see so many performers herself.
Catch this all round talent while you can.
How many Italian post punk Italian trios can you name that come from the seaside? Like Brighton, Pesaro has a special musical connection, and that’s also where Be Forest were formed.
The small town on the Adriatic coast, has provided a laid back landscape for the three piece band of best friends to do things at their own pace for nearly a decade.
On stage, the childhood friends play in unison, and the mood is dark and slightly gothic, inviting comparisons with The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins and Nick Cave; However Be Forest is beyond categorisation, as their haunting melodies are also like lullabies.
However moody the band may seem, the goal is to express reality, and is a way for them to shake any dark feelings and fill them with optimism. Described as gorgeous, ethereal and moody, they will haunt and mesmerise you at the same time. Be Forest’s latest LP Knocturne is taking the band across Europe and the US.
This Thursday, May 2nd, Delphian Gallery opened their latest exhibition ‘Some Pieces of Mind’, the debut UK solo show of French painter Bertrand Fournier, at Hoxton 253 arts space in East London. Ahead of the opening writer and curator, Hector Campbell, spoke to Delphian about Bertrand’s work, their recent Open Call, advice to emerging artists and plans for the future.
Hector Campbell : This week you’ll be hosting Bertrand Fournier’s solo exhibition ‘Some Pieces Of Mind’, in Hoxton, I was wondering where and when you first encountered Bertrand’s work? What the progression involved from that moment up until presenting this exhibition?
Delphian Gallery : We discovered his work on Instagram a few years ago, when he had just started painting, albeit in a fairly different way. We struck up a friendship, and have been chatting ever since. We first asked Bertrand to show with us around a year ago and we planned for a solo exhibition, his first solo in the UK. He showed us pieces that he was working on over a period of time and we then decided on the selection that will be exhibited this week.
H.C : I understand you recently travelled to Bertrand’s studio in France to collect the artworks for the upcoming exhibition, how was that trip? Did visiting Bertrand studio give you a fresh insight into this creative process?
D.G : The trip was great! It was such an interesting insight to be able to see inside Bertrand’s studio and the way that he works. It’s also always a real treat to get to see unseen works and works in progress. Studio visits are one of our favourite things to do. Also an evening of cheese and wine with Bertrand and his wife was a highlight too.
H.C : As a nomadic gallery, you’ve presented exhibitions at a number of different galleries and projects spaces not only in London but also internationally. How do you go about selecting the locations for Delphian Gallery exhibitions?
D.G : We usually select locations for our various exhibitions based on the artist involved and what we feel would suit their work best. We also have an ongoing partnership with theprintspace in Shoreditch, whereby we use their gallery space for certain shows that fit the aesthetic there and that have prints involved in the show.
H.C : I was honoured to be one of the judges of this year iteration of your annual Delphian Gallery Open Call, which culminated in a two-week exhibition of prints at theprintspace in East London and with Rhiannon Salisbury being crowned the overall winner. What did you think of this year’s; submissions and final selection? And is organising the Open Call a process you enjoy?
D.G : This years submissions were fantastic! There was such a huge range of styles and mediums from people all over the world. We had over 10,000 submissions in the end which is mind- blowing, but also made the task of judging extremely difficult. We had 5 judges in total, and each received a long-list of a few hundred works. We wanted to make the submissions process as fair and as impartial as possible, and so we omitted all biographical information from the documents that the judges received. Each judge gave then gave the works a numerical ranking, all of which were collated to create the show. Each judge also got one ‘judges pick’, who was automatically in the show without needing agreement from the other judges.
Rhiannon Salisbury was the overall winner and we are extremely excited for her solo show with us later in the year!
H.C : I’ve seen posts suggesting that Delphian Gallery may soon be expanding into the podcast realm? Could you tell us more about this new project? And any guests you can
D.G : Yeah, we’re launching a brand new podcast very soon. We wanted the conversations to cover a range of different aspects of the art world so our guests range from artists and gallerists to curators and collectors. We’ve been recording a series of them ready for release and we’re really excited about it. In terms of guests, the first two we can tell you will be Andrew Salgado and Rosalind Davis, the rest will be announced in due time.
H.C : Finally, aside from Rhiannon’s solo exhibition awarded for winning this year’s Open Call, do you have any other exhibitions/projects on the horizon?
D.G : Our next exhibition is a solo show with Delphian co-founder Benjamin Murphy in Helsinki in July. We can’t really release too much information about that just yet, but it is coming soon. We are also planning our summer group exhibition and finalising the artists involved as we speak. It’s shaping up to be a great show with some of our favourite artists around at the moment. Most of the show will be artists whom we haven’t shown before, so it’s really exciting to be introducing some more people to the Delphian family.
Bertrand Fournier, ‘Some Pieces of Mind’, presented by Delphian Gallery at Hoxton 253, open Thursday, May 2nd, between 6-9pm, and then runs until May 17th.
Editor: Christopher George
Pongo’s debut appearance at this year’s TheGreat Escape festival, performing at Brighton’s The ARCH on Thursday May 9, 2019. The release will be closely tailed by a second remix of Pongo courtesy of Anoraak, to be issued via Kitsuné in June.
Originally hailing from Angola’s capital city of Luanda, as a kid Pongo was forced to flee to Europe with her family to escape its lengthy and violent civil war. Eventually settling in Lisbon, her turbulent experiences are borne out across the ‘Baia’ EP, a gutsy debut which blends Portuguese lyrics with nods to the Angolan genre of Kiduro - a hybrid which assimilates soca and samba - alongside a fondness for more western touchstones like techno & bass music. The immersive, Dancehall-flecked ‘Chora’ - taking its title from the Portuguese word for ‘cry’ - itself rides atop crisp bursts of steel drum and snares, which ebb & flow beneath a smoothly assured vocal.
Arts Editor: Christopher George
In advance of his first London solo exhibition, we talk to Bristol-based artist Thomas Dowdeswell about his work, his influences and what makes him tick.
In just a few words, tell us who you are and what you do
I am Thomas W. Dowdeswell, a contemporary artist working out of a studio in Bristol where I create drawings, oil on canvas paintings and sculptures based on my own interpretations of people, society and current affairs.
How would you describe your work?
My work continues to evolve in several directions but I've always retained a visceral, socio-political heritage which I believe conveys the work in a common language. I often play with contradictory perspectives, faceless characters and bright and bold interchanges of colour to create complex narratives. The aim of this is to layer meanings into the idea so that a viewer can return to the piece and continue to discover more. I think it is important that a piece of art continues to generate new ideas and interpretations as time evolves and the cultural landscape changes.
Tell us about your forthcoming solo show 'The age of people who live with their heads in boxes'
The Age Of people Who Live With Their Heads In Boxes was construed, and has been developed, against a backdrop of of deepening socio-cultural-political division in the UK but also globally. Massive changes are unfolding in this generation and people seem to be more and more polarised in their opinions and less and less willing to listen to the arguments/interpretations of others who stand outside their 'Idea-Realm'. The Age of The Box is a simple but interesting motif about where we stand as individuals in how we respond to others and also how we organise ourselves.
The exhibition will comprise a series of brand new works; drawings, paintings, sculptures and some ‘Swastika-themed/War and Peace' pop art wallpaper. The concept of the exhibition is to highlight the dangerous precipice we stand on; how easily we could slide into prejudice and war and the need to for us to lift the box of ignorance off our heads to some greater semblance of forgiveness, open-mindedness and generosity.
Talk us through your creative process.
I don't have a specific creative process. I go to the studio everyday and always have five to six projects on the go. The language of each piece can inspire sections for the other works and if I get stuck on one painting I go and concentrate on another. At the basis of all creativity and success is hard work so I make sure I get the hours in.
Who and what are your biggest influences?
My work tends to grow out of an absorption of what is unfolding in society. I do a lot of staring out of the window and thinking; daydreaming sometimes to imagine a piece of work into being. When I was younger I was heavily influenced by the Russian Cubo-Futurists and I think the colour balance of my work resonates with a bygone generation. I also have an interest in classical art, especially Brueghel and Bosch and the oeuvre of Francis Bacon. Everything can be an influence with the dash of a Dowdeswellian twist.
What makes you get up and create art?
There is something deep and profound in my subconscious which propels me to create. It is not something I have a choice over. After many years of creating I still get a buzz; a wave of relief and excitement as soon as I enter the studio and If I haven't been to the studio I start to feel uncomfortable and irritable.
What next for Thomas Dowdeswell?
There are a lot of projects in the pipeline. I'm planning my next show, 'The Law of the Street’ (dates and venue still to be confirmed). This will form a combination of paintings and installations commenting on the horrendous consequences of crime and murder which have been unfolding over the past months/years; it will involve toy guns, toy knives and empty hanging hoodies amongst other things. I am also working on my street art alter-ego which will be coming soon!
The Age of People Who Live With Their Heads in Boxes is at Cass Art Islington
66-67 Colebrook Row, London N1 8AB from 30 April to 12 May
PHOTOGRAPHS TO MAKE YOU THINK
BY SARA DARLING
Look closely at these photographs and you might be surprised at the models. They could be people you know. British photographer, artist and documentary film maker, Bex Day has captured some of the UK's older transgender community in a moving exhibition, to raise awareness to the gender stereotypes which are often inflicted by society.
Choosing to call the show 'Hen', which translates into Swedish as the gender-neutral personal pronoun, 'they, the exhibition at London's Herrick Gallery explores how stagnant and narrow minded the art world actually is. Featuring 30 subjects over the age of forty, Hen tells the personal stories of those within the community, and the common themes that unite them.
Aiming to expose gender stereotypes, and explore how they have affected the older transgender community, the exhibition showcases real people and questions how we define gender and these alienating classifications.
Curated by Sandrine Servent, Mina Raven and Co-Curated by William Esdale, and BKN, there is support from Stonewall Housing.
Check it out from April 1st - April 7th 2019 11- 18:30
Herrick Gallery, 93 Picadilly, Mayfair, London, W1J 7NQ
Editor: Christopher George
Russian queer disco performance art crew SADO OPERA continue in their flamboyant quest to subvert dance music norms and political statements, with a new protest song against corruption in their home country and the global toxic patriarchy.
The Berlin-based music collective describe the song as “a stomping army of middle fingers, pointing at every man who has stepped on the backs of others to gain power" – a defiant image that builds on the finger-pointing Time’s Up movement, and celebrates feminism’s ongoing part in the wider political struggle against oppression.
Article: Christopher George
Blick Bassy will release a new album, 1958, on March 8, 2019, following his acclaimed 2015 release, Akö. 1958 is a defiant tribute to the heroes who fought and died for the independence of Bassy's native Cameroon. A tender and soulful selection of songs, the album is sung in Bassa, Blick’s ancestral language. Bassy is trailing the album announcement with lead single ‘Ngwa’, which arrives via this dramatic video
Blick Bassy freedom fighter character in the video is hunted down by French soldiers - Blick says;
"In school we studied the French version of what happened. The way I learned it in the books was that they were agitators, troublemakers. Which is wrong. Um Nyobé was in this movement hidden in the mountains, organising the Cameroonian People’s Union, and the truth about what happened has never been out."
Pre-order ‘1958’ here: https://lnk.to/Blickbassy-1958
Editor: Christopher George
As part of our current series of interviews with artists exhibiting at this year’s Talented Art Fair – at the Old Truman Brewery from 1 to 3 March - we talked to Alexa Harris about her work and influences.
In a few words, who are you and what do you do?
I am Alexa Harris, a mixed media artist. I work from my studio based in West London in the creative hub known as Kindred Studios. I work across several mediums constantly exploring the language of what I do. I am currently painting in oils and always drawing.
What is your background?
I was born and bred in Leeds, went to Jacob Kramer School of Art, then studied Fine art at Nottingham Trent University. In the early years I trained in theatre design at The National Youth Theatre. My professional career has spanned across television, theatre and film, which has brought me to where I am creatively today.
How would you describe your work? Talk us through your creative process,
My work has rawness, which is both abstracted and deconstructed. l love an unfinished edge; an unfilled area in a landscape or a headless figure. This keeps my interest to full immersion. I am excited by colour and form and playing with light. I am obsessed by the three-dimensionality of the line and how one can literally cut space.
My work is multi-layered, in colour, form and meaning. Surfaces are always important to me. From layering, making and preparing new quality surfaces, using handcrafted hand stained and ripped collage. These stages are often experimental and an exciting part of my process.
Knowing when to stop, keeping a freshness and clarity of the mark is important. I know when something is overworked it’s gone too far, I have to strip it back down again. I try to reveal the subject’s strength and fragility simultaneously, which is hard.
Who and what are your biggest influences?
My late father, who was an artist, is a particular influence. When I had to clear his studio I discovered unseen works and a plethora of exciting found objects. More than simply objects, for me they were jolts of memory filled with nostalgia and aroma that I have the privilege to protect and reinvent.
Growing up, I have always loved going to the ballet and the magic created on stage stayed with me. When I draw and paint the nude it’s the fascination of the human form in space that is mirrored. Playing with light and weight is what I try to do in my work to capture an essence of a moment and of space.
Bill Viola’s video works about life, religion and death, and Nam June Paik’s video art and installations have always inspired me. So have Man Ray’s Photography and conceptual works and friendship with Marcel Duchamp. Frank Auerbach and the London School have definitely shaped how I work today and my constant excitement of mark making, oils and finding beauty in the banal everyday and distortions of form.
Who would you say are your favourite contemporary artists?
The list is long but would have to include Robert Rauschenberg, Marlene Dumas, Jenny Saville, Francis Bacon, Michael Andrews, Gavin Turk, Bob and Roberta Smith, Sean Scully and, of course, Bill Viola.
What makes you get up and create art?
My studio is the place I need to be. In my old - and sometimes cold - Victorian studio in Queens Park, I am surrounded by my mysterious found objects; some suspended overhead like my Dad’s smoking pipe, or his black hat or an old casino dice, which sit on my Danish cheese board worktable, all in the need to be transformed into something that speaks to me.
Finding a language for my work to come to life is what drives me. Be it through painting abstracted landscapes on corrugated board, which has become an obsession. My work is a visual conversation, pushing and pulling and constantly challenging me.
What will you be showing at Talented Art Fair?
I’ll be showing a series of new landscapes as well as nudes
Also, if ready,‘ Dad’s chair’ which is a new part from my recent installation, ‘Does that mean you’re not coming to dinner?’
TALENTED ART FAIR runs from 1-3 March at Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London E1
Entry is free on Saturday and Sunday (12-6.30pm)
Private View on Friday (6-9pm) is ticketed
For more information and tickets, visit: https://www.talentedartfair.com/