Ian Tweedy, Post Red Scare Raid at The Arts Club
7 December 2013 § Leave a comment
The rotating exhibitions at the recent re-incarnation of the Arts Club are always rather hit or miss. I find the work often very austere or bland – the sort of work that would fit nicely in to one of those multi-million pound lofts overlooking the Thames favoured by Fund managers and Russian bankers – that’s to say the typical new Arts Club member.
Ian Tweedy is a surprising choice. Not shown by any London galleries, he has little notable exhibiting history and doesn’t even have his own web site. His name seems to be getting noticed though having recently been selected by two very notable curators: Francesco Bonami at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin and Daniel Birnbaum La Triennale di Torino.
Born at an American air base in Germany, he began his career as a street artist in Germany subsequently studying at Milan and moving his graffiti art techniques indoors, using personal items, historical objects, and documents of the past as the canvas for his bold graphic interventions. A deep concern with history is pervasive throughout Tweedy’s work, much of which is informed by his life of moving from place to place: “I always felt I lived on foreign territory. I was forced to adapt continually to different cultures, and this lack of roots led me towards the challenge of recreating a personal history.”
Postmodernism has readily begged, borrowed or stolen from previous styles mixing high and low culture and here Tweedy uses this – slightly stale – tactic to create his work. Post Red Scare Raid referes to the American post-war anti-communist ‘Red Scare’ period. Whilst obsessed with works by Mantegna Tweedy encountered a photograph from the period featuring forced deportations and found links between them ‘challenging grand notions of History Painting‘ – apparently.
His works here are scenes after a supposed raid – figures are missing and only artefacts and fragments remain. Working skilfully in oil and acrylic, on paper and canvas, flags, banners and clothing are suggested in almost abstract shapes on indistinct backgrounds. Dimensions vary considerably as does appeal with smaller oils on found canvas constrained by srtange pine frames less interesting than the striking larger works. Rather Arts Club ‘hit and miss’ again, but Tweedy is undoubtedly a talent to watch for the future (see also recent post here on Gabriella Boyd).
N. Dash is also showing.
NB: individual images of works are not of pieces currently on show as no photos are allowed (!).