The last week has been a cluster of thoughts. I’ve observed the plight of friends and acquaintances as they confront potentially life-changing choices from health issues to migrating to far away lands. I do not doubt their ability to overcome their respective challenges or profit from the choices they make. I remain proud to know them all, in awe of their achievements and their ability to reinforce my belief that anything is achievable in our short time on this planet, provided we want it bad enough and dedicate time towards bettering our lives.
Perhaps it’s not obviously related but thinking further on that principle strengthens my ambition to be an active artist, doing what I love and being able to contribute effectively to the artistic landscape. Collectively, artists can also leave a legacy through their ability to shape society and nurture the minds of others. Whilst my peers continually inspire me, one may ask if ‘nurturing’ and ‘shaping society’ should always be the intention of artists. Equally, is the ability always a welcomed thing?
I ‘m reminded that the Bauhaus School of thought was rejected by the incoming Nazi Government as a promotion of ‘degenerate art’ with Jewish influences of ‘cosmopolitan modernism.’
Last week I attended a few shows in London’s Mayfair district. I wonder how the works of contemporary artists such as Jamie McCartney, Michael Alford, Piers Ottey and Barry Wilson will impact on the art world or society in generations to come. Nevertheless their work is worth noting.
Jamie McCartney’s solo show at the Hayhill Gallery is a division of photography and sculpture, providing the viewer with a wall of sculptured genitals and nude photographs. The first selection of work entitled ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’ is meant to grab the viewer’s attention and educate them on what ‘normal women’ look like. I have to say I’ve never been in a room full of moulded vaginas before.
In the physical photography series he gives us a new way of looking at the body. ‘Skin deep’ is the second part of the show, focusing on notions of beauty (at least a western perception) our personal and societal experience of it and obsession with it. This show is definitely not for everyone, especially the more conservative amongst us. That said, it certainly attracted a significant number of visitors at the private viewing! Men and women alike showed fascination in being up, close and personal with a variety of vaginas coming in all shapes and sizes!
In contrast, the Medici Gallery’s Cityscapes exhibition was more ‘conventional’ and showcased three very talented artists. I did appreciate the work of Ottey and Wilson but particularly Michael Alford. I was drawn to his use of colour and ability to capture some of London’s iconic districts with precision, realism and nostalgia. My only deleterious observation is his inability to capture the ethnic mix of London’s growing population. His lack of non-Europeans in areas everyone knows are heavily populated with tourist from the furthest regions of the globe is a flaw to what is otherwise an enjoyable amalgam of work.
The shows run until June 2nd and 1st respectively.
So that was last week. Now it’s time to prepare for a new one! Have yourself a good week!