young gods at the griffin gallery

21 January 2013 § Leave a comment

For those not acquainted with the recently-opened Griffin Gallery it is a great new space on the ground floor of Colarts in West London. A manufacturer of artists products – Winsor & Newton, Liquitex, Conte a Paris being examples – they are also keen supporters of contemporary art in the UK.

Steven AllanIts current show, Young Gods, is taking place simultaneously across two locations in west and east London. Selected and curated by Zavier Ellis, director of Shoreditch gallery Charlie Smith and co-founder of The Future Can Wait, the exhibition will be a multi-disciplinary presentation of London’s most exciting graduates from the summer of 2012.

Griffin GalleryFocusing on the theme of artists’ materials at the Griffin Gallery, this exhibition includes four painters in Steven Allan, Andrew Leventis, Sikelela Owen and Sheila Wallis and there is not a weak link between them. Allan actually emerged on the scene a couple of years back – his striking large format canvases featuring bizarre scenes enacted by inanimate objects like bananas and pots. Saatchi liked them enough to buy and he is now a well-established presence in a number of good London galleries with a price tag that reflects this.

Andrew LeventisIn complete contrast Leventis, a Goldsmiths graduate, paints small scale, finely rendered canvases that feature enigmatic everyday interiors that also engage with the histories of art and television. Here The Dreaming is an almost photographic rendering of a dimly lit unmade bed marked by its mysterious absence of a person.

Sheila WallisSheila Wallis works are tiny – a few inches across – but are immaculately painted in a monochrome palette appropriate to the, deliberately contrasting, historical source images.

Sikelela OwenThe last painter, Sikelela Owen makes loose, figurative works of family and friends that hark back to early Modernist paintings with an undefined and exotic mystery.

Last but not least in this excellent small show sculptor George Rae has recreated his life-size clay tree Quercus Robur inside the gallery. Cracking and disintegrating it bemoans the loss of craft in contemporary art.

I can highly recommend a visit, and if the quality is anything to go by the second half of the show at Charlie Smith should be well worth a trip.

Young Gods is at the Griffin Gallery and Charlie Smith until 16 February 2013


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