After-Image: An Online Review of the Last Decade with Nikolai Ishchuk

2020-09-23T12:06:38+01:00

For the last decade, Nikolai Ishchuk’s work has explored photography’s ambivalent relationship with the modernist canon and how any attempt to distil the fundamentals of photography puts it in conversation with other media.  An online exclusive show on Artsy, After-Image, reviews his last decade’s work… click here to link to Artsy

Even when working with images in the past – for which he’s won an award from the British Journal of Photography and been selected for Plat(t)form at Fotomuseum Winterthur – Nikolai Ishchuk has always been more concerned with their structural underpinnings than the narrative specifics. From 2012, the focus of his practice tightened around the expressive possibilities of the very materials of photography and how these open up avenues for cross-pollination with other media, from painting to architecture. Since then, the artist has built up a distinctive and diverse oeuvre of understated complexity and rigour. It ranges from dense surfaces where image fragments disintegrate under a patina of chemical, mechanical and hand applied marks, to ascetic objects and compositions springing from the simplest registrations of light on the print surface. The influence of high modernism and minimalism are evident, but the work never lapses into tropes, instead updating the canon’s legacy with an admission of fragility and the flaws inherent in conjuring something into being.

After-Image is intended to take stock of the artist’s many innovations during this productive period. The term ‘pushing the boundaries’ is often used in relation to practices that seek to extend the possibilities of their chosen media, to the point of having become a cliché. But it implies recognising those boundaries in the first place, whereas Ishchuk decisively moves past them, producing work that’s irreducible to a single thing. In his practice, photography itself becomes an afterimage: an evanescent presence that gives way to something entirely new.

In the last few years, Nikolai’s body of work has been shown in New York, London and Europe, and Nikolai was showcased by us at Photo London in both 2018 and 2019 as a contemporary, emerging artist, engaging with the overlapping worlds of photography, painting and sculpture. In 2020, his work was due to appear in The Stubborn Influence of Painting at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (Colorado), which has now been rescheduled for Summer-Autumn 2021.

Ishchuk was born in 1982 in Moscow, Russia, and lives in London. He received an MA in Fine Art with Distinction from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, and previously an MPhil in Social and Political Science from the University of Cambridge, and a BA (Hons) in Economics and Sociology from the University of York. Ishchuk was the first non-documentary photographer to win in the British Journal of Photography Awards. Ishchuk has exhibited internationally, including at such institutions as Whitechapel Gallery, Jerwood Space and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. He was recently recorded for the Tate Audio Arts and has been awarded residencies at Art Omi and MASS MoCA. His work is held in several important collections.

After-Image: An Online Review of the Last Decade with Nikolai Ishchuk2020-09-23T12:06:38+01:00

Studied Simplicity with Laura Jane Scott

2020-03-04T18:42:33+00:00

until May 2020

Aviva HQ, St Helen’s, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ

Aviva, the multi-national insurance corporation, has commissioned Laura Jane Scott to complete a body of work for its corporate art collection and is currently showcasing the work in its London Headquarters until the end of May 2020.

Studied Simplicity with Laura Jane Scott2020-03-04T18:42:33+00:00

The Female of the Species with Deborah Lanyon

2020-03-04T19:06:21+00:00

In the 1980’s Deborah Lanyon graduated from art college just as abstract painting was being ridiculed by the art world.  She had a respectable pedigree, having studied under the likes of Frank Bowling and Ken Kiff, growing up on the bohemian Kings Road in the 70’s and living amongst communities of artists – her grandmother had even been drawn by Augustus John.  Yet, despite the scepticism towards what had gone before, her paintings sold well.

In reality, and despite the cynicism of the art world, abstract painting never really went away.  Today a new generation of artists is continuing to pursue abstract painting in even more experimental ways.  It is perhaps because we want to avoid being affronted by disturbing, offensive or intrusive content.  In the technology era, the colour of paint is an antidote to the colour of pixels, and so it grounds us in a more textural reality.  The lack of content in the abstract, except for the materials themselves, allows us a freedom to interpret – a luxury that we are increasingly denied in our media-fed world.  An unstable economy is made stable by pigments of the earth that we can touch.

Historically, the act of painting big paintings was a male expression of genius, whilst women’s artistic creativity was tempered to the pursuit of leisure.  ‘Why are there no great women artists?’, asked art historian Linda Nochlin in her seminal essay of 1971.  Though the tide is finally beginning to turn, we still seem to be asking this question and continue to fight for women to be taken seriously.  Male selection by our institutions and by our taste makers continues to muffle the female voice.

Yet, like other women artists breaking through, the seemingly ‘male’ traits of dedication, devotion to practice and physical endurance are strong in Lanyon’s practice.  Whilst working on the edge of both intellect and vision, Lanyon permits the paint to develop its own identity within her paintings and her large, vibrant and energetic works on canvas are painted on the floor and wall, for which she uses her whole body.

“Painting for me is very physical and I endeavour to exploit it fully.” 

Lanyon joined St Martins when the punk movement was in full force – in fact Johnny Rotten had been a student there. The general attitude was anarchic and rules were to be broken.  Women in the colleges were expected to express feminist angst, using more experimental media such as photography or performance, but certainly not paint. St Martins took a non-pastural approach towards Lanyon, pointing out that because her father had died suddenly when she was 15, she should be well able to cope emotionally with the difficulties of going to art school.

Clearly she had not suffered enough, nor had she much to say in the eyes of the institution, and at the end of her foundation year she was not accepted to continue there. “Perhaps they were right,”she says, “however it did not prevent me from toughening up and reapplying to Byam Shaw a year later”, where the painting department was a lot more experimental and progressive, run by artists like Ken Kiff and Frank Bowling. In defiance, Lanyon adopted the ‘masculine’ attributes of single-mindedness, concentration, tenaciousness and absorption in materials for their own sake.  To be so lucky and to be introduced to colour in such a monumental way, set Lanyon to pursue life as a painter of abstraction.

Through the 1990’s, Deborah Lanyon’s work was shown across London, at the art fairs which were coming into fashion, and in various London galleries including Bruton street, Albemarle and New Bond Street, and by Geoffrey Bertram in Cork Street who also takes care of the Whilemina Barns Graham foundation Trust.  Now, coming back again with a new body of work, Lanyon is showing at the Foundry Gallery in Chelsea, drawing upon four decades in pursuance of abstraction, to give us a feminine version of the enquiry.

‘Inner Landscape’ with Deborah Lanyon

November 19 – 24th, 2019

39 Old Church Street, Chelsea London SW3 5BS

 

The Female of the Species with Deborah Lanyon2020-03-04T19:06:21+00:00

The Female of the Species

2019-11-24T15:01:42+00:00

‘Inner Landscape’ with Deborah Lanyon

November 19 – 24th, 2019

39 Old Church Street, Chelsea London SW3 5BS

Abstract painting continues to endure and seems to be resonating even more today than it did 10 years ago, despite constant attempts by the avant-garde over the last 50 years to quash it.  Deborah Lanyon’s large abstract paintings come from a generation of artists, mostly men, including John Hoyland, Frank Bowling, Howard Hodgkin and Sean Scully.  Like those artists, she works rapidly and physically with canvases positioned on the floor, letting the paint have its own voice.  Yet the feminine subtleties give the work interest and difference from those of the male painters in this genre.  The paintings are the voice of a woman and a reflection of her personality: physical but effortless; dynamic yet soft; harmonious and rhythmic. They have something else to say that gives them a place in the evolution of abstract painting through the last four decades.

Read more…

The Female of the Species2019-11-24T15:01:42+00:00

City of London exhibition highlighted displacement and loss in our transient urban communities

2019-11-03T17:25:24+00:00

The magnificent church of St Stephen Walbrook in the City of London played host to Exiles, a body of work by London-based Italian photographer Matilde Damele (17 – 24 September 2019).

The exhibition was on show during the Open City weekend (21-22 September 2019). Open House London is the world’s largest architecture festival, giving free public access to 800+ buildings, walks, talks and tours over one weekend in September each year.  St Stephen Walbrook opened its doors and took part in the weekend.

Read more…

City of London exhibition highlighted displacement and loss in our transient urban communities2019-11-03T17:25:24+00:00

New Exhibition in the City of London will highlight Displacement and Loss in our Transient Urban Communities

2019-11-03T17:09:49+00:00

The magnificent church of St Stephen Walbrook in the City of London played host to Exiles, a body of work by London-based Italian photographer Matilde Damele (17 – 24 September 2019).

Taken on the streets of London with her Leica camera, Damele’s black and white photographs evoke and pay homage to great Masters of Photography such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus and Saul Leiter. For this exhibition, the artist enlarged and transferred a number of her images onto the challenging surface of the black plastic bin bag.  The uneven surface of these art works emphasises the individuality as well as the ephemerality of each of our lives.  She displayed these as sculptural art works within the circular space of the church, filled with yesterday’s news and discarded packaging, to express how many consider their lives to be cheap, valueless and disposable. Her work is filled with an expressive force that explores our sense of not belonging; a humanity that is emotionally homeless and exiled from its surroundings; feelings of estrangement from reality.

These feelings are particularly poignant for both the Artist and the Church. Damele has experienced what it feels like to be rejected from a community where she had previously built a life for herself.  An unexpected and abrupt change severely interrupted her life and ambitions, causing a permanent sense of loss and displacement.  Now she fears the same might happen again with the imminentthreat of Brexit.  It is thus particularly apposite that the space for this exhibition is not only a beautiful building dedicated to spiritual contemplation and hope, but also where the Samaritans, a charity dedicated to helping those in distress, was founded.

After the Great Fire of 1666, the re-building of St Stephen Walbrook in 1672 allowed the architect Sir Christopher Wren to experiment with a dome, the first to be built in England and the precursor for St Paul’s dome.  It was Wren’s own parish church and had been a Christian place of worship since 700 AD (so named because Walbrook is the source of water which brought life to the area). In 1953, determined to offer a dedicated service to those suffering with emotional distress, the then rector Reverend Chad Varah started to offer a non-judgemental, safe and confidential listening service from the Crypt, which was the originof the Samaritans (the original telephone that he used is still on display).

St Stephen Walbrook regularly holds art exhibitions and has permanent features made by two notable British artists: a large stone altar carved by Henry Moore, surrounded by colourful kneelers designed by Patrick Heron.

The exhibition was on show during the Open City weekend (21-22 September 2019). Open House London is the world’s largest architecture festival, giving free public access to 800+ buildings, walks, talks and tours over one weekend in September each year.  St Stephen Walbrook was open and took part in the weekend.

Matilde Damele is an Italian photographer from Bologna, exiled from living and working in New York as a photo-journalist. Following her upheaval and unexpected move to London, she sees her uncertainties and fears mirrored in the faces of many of her neighbouring immigrant communities.

New Exhibition in the City of London will highlight Displacement and Loss in our Transient Urban Communities2019-11-03T17:09:49+00:00

Silvia Lerin’s sculpture ‘Neons from Heaven’ on show in Yorkshire

2019-06-25T10:24:50+01:00

Silvia Lerin’s sculpture ‘Neons from Heaven’ was commissioned by Art in the Churches and Arts Council England for Masham Church in the Yorkshire Dales and is on show throughout the summer, until 28 September.

The sculpture is made of canvas tubes, each capped with a mirror. Looking up to the heavens for guidance, the viewer might reflect that the answers lie in ourselves. The sculpture programme encourages visitors to consider church spaces as being for ourselves in the context of the surrounding history and architecture.

Silvia Lerin’s sculpture ‘Neons from Heaven’ on show in Yorkshire2019-06-25T10:24:50+01:00

Photo London 2019

2019-06-25T10:18:38+01:00

May 16 – May 19th, 2019, Somerset House, London

Booth curated by Joanna Bryant in collaboration with Julian Page.  We continue to support emerging contemporary artists who explore the possibilities of photographic media within a fine art investigative practice.

Includes work by:  Nikolai Ishchuk, Eglė Kisieliūtė and Matilde Damele

Photo London 2019 took place at Somerset House, London, from Thursday 16 May to Sunday 19 May, with an invitation-only Preview on Wednesday 15 May

 

Photo London 20192019-06-25T10:18:38+01:00

Perfectly Small

2018-12-03T10:30:21+00:00
Jun 13th – Jul 14th 2018
The Foundry Gallery 39 Old Church Street, London, SW3 5BS

Curated by Joanna Bryant in collaboration with Julian Page

This gallery exhibition includes perfectly small works of art from many of our diverse and multi-disciplinary artists. This show ring fences that diversity by restricting each artist to works that are smaller than 40 x 40 cm.

Includes: Sophie Arup, Lee Borthwick, Sir Peter Blake, Matilde Damele, Sara Dudman RWA, Ann-Helen English, Alan Franklin, Nikolai Ishchuk, Deborah Lanyon, Silvia Lerin, Lyndsey Keeling, Paul Knight, François Pont, Robinson & McMahon, Ian Robinson, Laura Jane Scott, Chris Sims, Barry Stedman, Kostas Synodis, Joella Wheatley

 

 

Perfectly Small2018-12-03T10:30:21+00:00
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