KAWS first UK museum show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

KAWS, one of street art’s favourite artists, who has previously collaborated with Pharrell, Kate Moss and Kanye West, is about to open his first-ever UK museum exhibition.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) will present the exhibition by KAWS, the renowned American artist, whose practice includes painting, sculpture, printmaking and design. The exhibition, in the expansive Longside Gallery and open air, features over 20 works: commanding sculptures in bronze, fibreglass, aluminium and wood alongside large, bright canvases immaculately rendered in acrylic paint – some created especially for the exhibition. The Park’s historically designed landscape becomes home to a series of monumental and imposing sculptures, including a new six-metre-tall work, which take KAWS’s idiosyncratic form of almost-recognisable characters in the process of growing up.

Brooklyn-based KAWS is considered one of the most relevant artists of his generation. His influential work engages people across the generations with contemporary art and especially opens popular culture to young and diverse audiences.

A dynamic cultural force across art, music and fashion, KAWS’s work possesses a wry humour with a singular vernacular marked by bold gestures and fastidious production. KAWS absorbs popular imagery to produce works that are semi-familiar, with layers of contradictions and subtleties. Outdoors, with their outsize and monumental proportions, KAWS’s sculptures bring to mind dystopian cartoon characters; recognisable personalities from childhood who appear to have lost their innocence. Against the Park’s tree line, the group of six works in natural and black-stained wood, measuring between six and 10 metres in height, are simultaneously spectacular and plaintive. Once bright, iconic characters are rendered in disheartened, world-weary poses; imposing yet full of pathos, they point to an array of psychological narratives, suggesting compassion, surprise and despair.  

 The artist has also made a series of five paintings especially for the exhibition. Each measuring 112 x 92 inches, they will span the largest wall of the spacious gallery, creating a swathe of brilliant colour and complex energy. Constructed with painstaking attention to detail, the abstracted forms overlay and interweave, forming shadows and deepening space to reveal a slinking, enigmatic figure.

6 February–12 June 2016 Longside Gallery and open air
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4LG.
Visit the YSP website for more info and directions.

All images courtesy the artist and YSP.  Photos — R Jonty Wilde

Neo-Victorian Maximalism Exhibition by Fiftyseven AKA Steve Mitchell

‘Neo-Victorian Maximalism’ is the first solo show from Fiftyseven, the pseudonym of London based illustrator, typographer and graphic designer Steve Mitchell.

Fiftyseven’s unique style is built from a dizzying mix of decoration, pattern and symmetry and typography, an overload of quasi-religious,  occult and masonic symbolism and anything else that fits. Working with a restricted colour palette and especially favouring metallic inks, his screenprints are usually based around a simple visual concept, revealing more and more detail the closer you look. 

Fiftyseven developed the illustration style he calls Neo-Victorian Maximalism when a love of 19th century typography led to designing flyers for steampunk events. From there came the desire to “push the aesthetic as far as it could go, to the point of absurdity”. He’d like to say he’s inspired by the whole history of art and design, but really it’s mostly just heavy metal album covers... further influences include Ian Miller’s intense Tolkien art, the book illustrations of Harry Clarke and (of course) the wood engravings of Gustave Doré.

 Exhibition Launch, Weds 10th February 6-12

The Book Club , 100-106 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4RH

Exhibition runs until 27th March.

Synergy : Lee Jeffries & Jef Aerosol Exhibition

‘Synergy’ is an artistic and social encounter between street artist Jef Aérosol and photographer Lee Jeffries.

Stemming from the original ‘Synergy’ exhibition that took place in Paris at Mathgoth gallery in March 2015, this collaboration casts a new light on a sensitive topic: the homeless.

The artistic chemistry was sparked when the two artists first met in London, early 2014. Mesmerized by Lee Jeffries’ portraits of homeless people, Jef Aérosol contacted the photographer when they immediately decided to combine their work. They both felt the urge to explore and share with the public their vision of this universal issue. Together, they explore faces and confront techniques to give another life to the forgotten of the streets.

The result is an incredibly harmonious project. Lee Jeffries’ powerful yet delicate portraits lend themselves perfectly to stencilling, allowing Jef Aérosol to reinterpret the characters’ faces and stories.

The movement given by Jef Aerosol’s stencil complements the stillness and gravity of Lee Jeffries’ portraits. The detail, the singularity, the strength of the pieces will leave the audience moved and startled. The show features individual works as well as several four-handed pieces, for a combined effect that is truly ‘greater than the simple sum of its parts’.

JANUARY 28 - FEBRUARY 25, 2016 
French Art Studio, 58 Gloucester Road, SW7 4QT London, United Kingdom

Pam Glew 'Wanderlust Hotel' at Woolff Gallery

Pam Glew, born in 1978, is a well-established, contemporary British artist, best known for her unique bleaching technique on fabric, vintage flags, and handmade vintage quilts. The Woolff Gallery is delighted to present ‘Wanderlust Hotel’, which is Pam Glew's 4th London solo show, since 2011.

Inspired by the intriguing goings-on in legendary hotels such as New York’s Chelsea Hotel and Hotel Marmont in LA, as well as by film-makers such as David Lynch, Glew has created the 'Wanderlust Hotel': a fictional guesthouse frequented by illicit overnight guests, and dark secrets. Populated by characters such as the “weekend” girlfriend, the bride holding a revolver, the maid, the mixologist, the sleeping porter, the receptionist, the Call Girl on a visit to Vegas, as well as the VIP guest, these fictional guests all sweep in and out of the picture frames of this seductive environment.

Playful, self-staged photo shoots make up the majority of the subjects as the artist explores this imaginary world. Glew has invented stories for all the characters in the ‘Wanderlust Hotel’. For example in the artwork ‘Sisters’, Glew explores a meeting of 2 estranged identical twins. One of which is the maid, and one the VIP. An imagined rift is between them as if they have not spoken in years, they both then meet in the hotel room where the maid is cleaning up after her VIP sister, both tension and compassion are apparent in this captivating work.

The element of ‘play’ is further explored in Glew’s miniature ‘Wanderlust Hotel’ model. Here the hotel is bereft of people as the residents that we have become familiar with are now only present in the tiny re-created versions of the exhibition paintings hanging on the miniature hotel walls, and we further explore the idea of the hotel being an escape, a playground for adults…

'Wanderlust Hotel' Exhibtion opens 14 January 2016. WOOLFF Gallery, 89 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4PU

Press Play Exhibition with Static

We Like Static's latest collection of layered glass works will be unveiled next week as part of their solo show 'Press Play' at Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London.

The show has been born out of the massively popular Game ON! mural they created for Wood Street Walls in early 2015.

'Press Play' reflects on the sub-culture of gaming and how since its inception in the mid-twentieth century it has carved for itself its own sub-culture and global following, which now has far reaching influences. The new work and exhibition also reflects back on how these early graphics have come to influence and inspire contemporary design.

Featuring images from a host of well-known, iconic, games from both arcade machines and early home entertainment systems such as Tetris, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Super Mario & Pac Man!

To be added to the guest list for the opening night, please RSVP the gallery using the email below, including any guests you wish to attend. The evening will take place on Thursday 14th January from 6 - 9 pm.

RSVP: gallery@lawrencealkingallery.com

Exhibition Opening Hours: 15th January- 13th February
Monday to Saturday 11am –7pm or by appointment

Lawrence Alkin Gallery , 42 New Compton Street, London, WC2H 8DA

Beers London Present Gilded Chaos

Beers London is proud to present Gilded Chaos, the gallery’s first solo exhibition with the London-based Benjamin Murphy. Murphy will spend two weeks prior to the exhibition, transforming the entire gallery space with his trademark aesthetic and techniques to create a totally immersive sensory experience. Murphy has created his most labour intensive and detailed body of work especially for Beers gallery. This includes a gallery-wide installation and two-dimensional, 'drawings' that push the boundaries of both scale and subject matter.

Murphy is known primarily for his graphic, time-consuming installations created entirely out of black electrical tape, resulting in a stark recognisable aesthetic. This is borrowed from German expressionism, which in turn creates a subject matter that takes inspiration from Romantic literature and the history of the vanitas in art.

The artist lives in London, where he tirelessly works both in and out of studio to plan and execute elaborate tape-based drawings. Murphy's images work on many plains of perspective and contain various contradictory elements that contain an on-going narrative or macabre. A decadent story-arc is hinted throughout, with the work referencing a range of sources mainly from poetry and classic literature, specifically creating a mystical aura around the work and allowing the spectator to create their own meaning surrounding the work.

Gilded Chaos opens at Beers London on the 14th of January at 6pm.
1 Baldwin Street, London, EC1V9NU - nearest tube Old Street.