THE dust has now settled after the 'Human Nature' group show, which took place in Hoxton last week. With an attendance over two days in excess of 300 people and majorly positive feedback, I am very happy to have been part of it. The diversity of medium and artistic approaches gave the show an unusual depth and made it highly entertaining. My favourites were Ben Wilson's superb little paintings on discarded pieces of gum, Nicola Nemec's stunning understated landscapes and Christiaan Nagel's crazy fluorescent fish.
WHO ARE ENVIRONMENTAL ARTISTS?
Artists play the role of revealing what's on society's collective mind and this show demonstrated that 'environmentalism' is something we are all beginning to nurture as part of our imaginative and moral DNA, rather than merely a guilty feeling that we don't recycle enough yogurt cartons.
All the artists were on hand to talk to visitors and many said it enriched the experience.
Curator Charlotte Webster from Good Shout Studio picked a range of artists who would perhaps not have overtly thought of themselves as 'Environmental Artists' beforehand. It was a very savvy move, as it elevated the show from what might have been a one-dimensional protest, to a kaleidoscopic investigation into how art can reconnect us with nature. Charlotte is an artist (she showed her incredible bear paintings, re-imagined chairs and landscapes) and therefore understands what artists need as well.
I'd like to thank Abundance Generation (a crowd-funding organisation for clean energy projects) for sponsoring the entire event. Their partnering with artists makes sense, as artists are the harbingers of change and Abundance are a contemporary mechanism of change. I was given the most fantastic space on the far wall and feel very lucky to have been part of it. Working with the other artists was a joy and privilege too.
Have a look at the pic gallery here.
I have this week downloaded an app for my iphone called 'Diptic' It basically allows you to turn a range of images from your Camera Roll into a collage. What's cool is how many instant editing functions it has at hand such as zoom, twist, colour adjust, contrast, format etc. So for those of you who commute on the train or find yourself with a few minutes to kill it's fab. For the creatives its a great way of quickly story-boarding an idea or summarising your thinking for someone else. Also available on Android and desktop.
Can I just say that Guardians of the Galaxy is a visual event like no other. When you see a singular work which represents the powerful, funny, beautiful and light touch of so many individual talents, it's a truly humbling moment. I confess it made me want to pack in individual art making for at least an hour or two. (So exciting!)
They are the first to really unravel the potential of 3D (thank God it didn't get relegated to fad like 'Smell-o-vision') It blithely pirouettes through so many past Sci-fi visual markers and is always original and witty. I felt this way after Matrix, 5th Element and yes.. Avatars. To reclaim a floppy and overweight American phrase, this-is-a ... game-changer. If you don't see it, you're a flibbertigibbet and a nincompoop.
Whether we like it or not, there seems to hang in the popular mind the question: 'Is contemporary art of any value to society right now?' Watch this video and see how it makes you feel. Read the comment war that ensues below it. Once you have done that, ask yourself if you feel as if your life was enriched by the experience. For my part, it made me high. (Yes...that kind of high!)
Most people's definition of 'Fine Art': "Paintings and stuff like rotting sheep's heads in a glass case made by those who didn't do well at school and were a bit weird".
1 Chided by the media, they visit a large gallery out of some sense of cultural duty. Because of the scale of the exhibitions and institutional endorsement, they accept this is as 'good art' and either mentally rebel or embrace it with timid bewilderment.
2 They see an original piece on the walls of a friend or colleague and feel a sense of envy for anyone with the intellectual or economic capacity to be indulging in such things, (but "probably would have chosen a landscape, had it been them").
3 They read an article in the Metro about some artist who has shat in their own hands enough for fifteen seconds of fame. (Warhol was an optimist) e.g. story in Metro of a man who makes art by spraying paint on canvass through his eyeballs... you know the sort of thing.
4 Brian Sewell will host some terrifying late-night TV spectacle, intravenously feeding us our own hopeless ignorance. Most of us will only have turned it on because we're drunk and can't quite face losing the high just yet. The 'Art' goes some way to helping with that.
5 We'll stumble across exciting images on websites such as: Deviantart or Boredpanda and feel mildly relieved that there are still artists out there making work that fire our imaginations. (It reminds us that we love images but does make us wonder why there aren’t more of them in galleries?).
Gordon Glyn-Jones lives and makes art in London.