jean-luc moulene, new works at thomas dane

29 November 2012 § Leave a comment

Following on from his well-received solo exhibition at Modern Art Oxford – his first UK museum exhibition – Jean-Luc Moulene has taken over both of Thomas Dane‘s Mayfair galleries.

This is an artist who has made his career from being deliberately – or wilfully one might say – different. Each work, and body of work, is characterised by the absence of a unifying aesthetic. Her we variously have blown glass, photography, steel sculpture, mirrors, fabric and biro ink on canvas.

Strangely it works a lot better here than at MAO where he struggled to fill the open space. Its still hit and miss – bits of coloured fabric draped around corners adjacent to mirrors to ‘reconfigure the space’ look plain silly, but the knot theme taken through the glass Blown Knots, the steel and bronze Knot2 and the photographic knots of Figure (tree) works well.

An interesting show but I could have done without a condescending gallery manager telling us, whilst quoting prices in the mid tens of thousands, that they were keeping prices low ‘just to get it out there’. Yeah right!

At Thomas Dane until 26 January 2012

painthing on the move – the chicago imagists & albert oehlen at thomas dane

19 October 2011 § Leave a comment

Art Green - Untimely Interruption 1973

Yes, there is a ‘h’ in ‘Painthing’ – although I am not sure why. Back in the late 1960’s, whilst New York – and much of the international art world – was heavily involved with ‘Pop Art’ over in Chicago a group of artists were determined to work in their own way. The Chicago Imagists are the name given to this loose collection of artists, including a high proportion of women artists, who avoided mainstream sources in favour of cartoons, cheap advertising and naive art. They ignored the ‘Pop’ theme of impersonal mass-production or drift in to conceptual art in favour of personal and emotional responses to the world around them. Showing a fundamental distain and healthy irreverence for authority, they also grouped under some great names like ‘The Hairy Who’ and the ‘Nonplussed Some’.

Frequently overlooked, their work is rarely seen and is also probably under-valued – both artistically and financially. This show therefore is a rare and very welcome opportunity to take a glimpse at a small selection of their work and includes Art Green, Ed Flood, Ed Paschke, Philip Hansen, Karl Wirsum and Christina Ramberg. It is bright and bold often using strong colours and defined images as well as being highly inventive and visually interesting, I would strongly recommend a visit. Why not take the chance to drop in to Raqib Shaw (White Cube) next door at the same time?

Showing alongside the Chicago Imagists is Albert Oehlen, who has apparently also just today joined Larry Gagogian’s roster of artists. Famously a student of Sigmar Polke and a contemporary of Martin Kippenberger Oehlen has for the last thirty years tested the boundaries of painting. The works here are largely small-scale collage, but as always show an interesting irreverance – I suppose in parallel to the Chicago Imagists. 

Painthing on the Move at Thomas Dane until 19 November 2011.

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