In February 2015, Lazarides Rathbone welcomes back Antony Micallef to its ground floor gallery with a major new exhibition entitled Self. In an era when the selfie is ubiquitous, his long-awaited solo return unveils a series of energetic self-portraits on canvas and paper, presenting the ultimate commentary on this contemporary norm.
Self makes a clean break in style and language from his earlier series Impure Idols (2007), Becoming Animal (2009) and Happy Deep Inside My Heart (2011). Stripping away the excess prevalent in this earlier work, Micallef has parted ways with the colourful pop language that dominated these previous series in exchange for a set of self-scrutinizing works that turns the looking glass upon himself and his medium. Having painted his own self portrait for the last 20 years, Micallef's new body of work returns to something more visceral and honest, serving as a reflection of his personal journey as an artist.
The paradoxical notion that the self can be uncovered through the most narcissistic of gestures is explored through his relationship with the paint. The self-analytical dialogue is enacted through mark-making, the artist's hands and brush carefully constructing layer by layer in a vicious attack of the canvas. Set against Rembrandt-like backdrops of pastel and colourfully marbled hues, thick brushstrokes overlap, bleed and fuse into one another constituting a unique and authentic persona. This painterly snapshot of ego is laid bare for his audience to question and dissect purely through the multiple layers and heavy concentration of his medium. "I'm trying to create a sensual body that emanates a soul or some kind of embodiment of human emotion. I want to say it all with the actual medium this time without illustrating it. I wanted the luscious density of the paint itself to describe the feeling without narrating it."
Antony Micallef's ultimate self-portrait, Self subverts the selfie paradox and presents a wiser artist in deep reflection. Ruminating on the transformational trajectory that has coloured his career, Micallef explains: "William Blake said that the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom – you never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough. I became the very thing I was painting about without me realizing. I morphed into this world of excess and it completely took over. This is my way of stripping it right back and getting back to the basics. In this age of self-glorification and self-promotion, we advertise ourselves like a shop window. Every shot on social media is carefully choreographed to send out a message of how we want to be perceived. I feel with this work I've stripped away the veneer and showed what lies beneath."
Private View: Thursday 12th February, 6-9pm
Exhibition runs: 13th February - 19th March 2014
One of the most prolific and recognisable artists alive today, New York-based painter, designer and street artist Ron English will visit the UK next month to launch a limited edition print, entitled Camo Deer in collaboration with leading online art destination Artrepublic, the home of street art online. The print, in an edition of just 75, will be available online from artrepublic.com and at their pop-up store at BOXPARK from Monday, 2 February 2015.
To mark the launch of Camo Deer, the ‘Godfather of Street Art’, who has bombed the global landscape with unforgettable images on the street, in museums, in movies, books, television, and album covers will also open a retrospective of his most celebrated works, curated by artrepublic.com at BOXPARK’S upper level gallery space. The master of pop surrealism will create a mural at the London pop-up mall and fans can also meet Ron at a book signing at the artrepublic pop-up store on Saturday, 7 February.
BOXPARK Shoreditch - 2-10 Bethnal Green Road - London - E1 6GY
David Caines’s psychologically charged paintings bring together unlikely groups of curious and seemingly unrelated characters in carefully arranged groupings against empty backgrounds. Held to ransom by the canvas, they are forced to perform in a curious tableau vivant. To help them interact in this liminal state, they have an array of banal props such as masks, chairs, sticks and ropes. Sometimes this leads to dramas involving bondage or violence. These meticulously rendered encounters are awkward and ambiguous, and the aim is to evoke feelings of foreboding, melancholy and unease in the viewer. The paintings are littered with red herrings and false clues. It is left to the viewer to conjure the narrative.
“Like snapshots in a photographer’s darkroom the images take root at the back of the mind, slowly developing over time into a residue more disquieting, more resonant than what we originally saw.“
Mary Kate Connolly
Private View: Thursday 5th February 2015, 7-10pm
at Stour Space 7 Roach Road, Hackney Wick, E3 2PA
Check this timelapse featuring London based female stencil artist Zabou. The large stencil piece titled Dis-connected was painted in Camden this year with assistance from the Real Art of Street Art Project.
Time lapse & Edit by: Daniel Lucas - www.lazyeyeproductions.net
The relationship between Jealous Gallery and CNB Gallery has been forged through a love and enthusiasm for supporting emerging artists and breaking down the conventions of traditional gallery experiences. Throughout the exhibition, a printing press will be set up in CNB Gallery, where, on the opening night, Jealous will invite members of the public to help demonstrate the art of screen printing. Jealous will also be inviting a local school, William Davis Primary School, to print in the gallery with Master Printer, Matthew Rich. Matthew will be introducing the young minds of the future to screen printing and helping them to produce their very own print to take away with them.
Jealous has worked with contemporary Bristish artist Dave White to produce his limited edition screenprints throughout 2014, with an exclusive print launch for the exhibition. After the sell-out edition ‘Eagle – Diamond Dust’, White has re-imagined the luxuriously beautiful eagle. The limited edition of only 5 prints will feature hand applied diamond dust and 24-carat gold leaf and will be exclusively launched at the opening. The exhibition will include an eclectic mix of screen printed works from Jealous Studio, including: Charming Baker, Kate Gibb, Russell Marshall, Rowan Newton, Magda Archer, Jess Wilson, Anthony Burrill, Adam Dix, David Wightman, Hayden Kays, Janet Milner, Joe Webb and many, many more!
PRIVATE VIEW- 15th January 6.30pm-9.30pm
Join them for live screenprinting, drinks and exciting new releases. Runs until 28th February
Cock 'n' Bull Gallery, Tramshed, 32 Rivington Street, EC2A 3LX