29 August 2006

Mothership collective at South London Gallery

On saturday I visited the Mothership Collective show at the South London gallery. This themed show devised by Harold Offeh was an interesting if hardly awe inspiring collection of works around the theme of science fiction, aliens etc. Whilst a pleasant diversion I felt that the show's underlying messages - about racism, cultural differences etc were a bit too obvious and unsubtle for me. But make up your own mind. The show is on until 27 August 2006. This is what the gallery says about it:

With Åbäke, Jamika Ajalon, Barby Asante & Andrea Encinas, Ansuman Biswas, David Blandy, Eloïse Calandre, Gayle Chong Kwan, Carl Clerkin, Charlie Dark, Kodwo Eshun, Martino Gamper, Intoart, Anthony Joseph, Lambeth Band of Solidarity, Harun Morrison & Helen Walker, Harold Offeh, Olivia Plender & Paul Richards, Julian Roberts, Urban Classicism, and Ming Wong.

Art and sci-fi meet in ‘The Mothership Collective’, a project devised by artist Harold Offeh. Offeh has invited fellow artists, dancers and musicians to create an installation and performances with members of the public inspired by the music of George Clinton and Sun-Ra.

From 1-18 August, a different artist, from established names to emerging talent, will take over the SLG with an exceptional hands-on workshop for adults, children, young people or families.

Record your own funk track, become an alien in Peckham for a day, find your intergalactic soul mate, write a science fiction story, make your own alien video message, and more…

As the weeks unfold, work from each event will add to Harold Offeh's art installation, The Mothership Collective, which will be launched in an evening celebration on Saturday 19 August with live dance and music performances devised by Urban Classicism, Barby Asante and Blacktronica. The installation will be on display until 27 August, accompanied by a programme of talks, screenings and events.

‘The Mothership Collective’ is loosely based on musician and grand funkster George Clinton’s P-Funk performances of the seventies, which aimed to raise issues of black consciousness. The P-Funk performances were characterized by alien space clothing, cosmic slogans and the adoption of outer space icons in which the ‘mothership’ played a central part.

From P-Funk’s ‘Mothership Connection’ to Sun Ra and the Arkestra’s ‘Space is the Place’ to more recently OutKast’s ‘Prototype’ video featuring André 3000 as a visitor from beyond, there is a playful visual and musical engagement with issues of racism and identity by black American musicians.

As an artist, Harold Offeh has explored these histories of engagement with notions of space, Sci-fi and the alien as analogies used to undermine and question cultural, racial and social values. ‘The Mothership Collective’ continues Offeh’s interest through Ming Wong’s Intergalactic Speed Dating to Ansuman Biswas’ Inner Space Meditation.

26 August 2006

Sandra Blow dies aged 80

Very sad to report the death of one of britains foremost abstract artists Sandra Blow. Blow was part of the St Ives school that also included Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Ben Nicholson, Roger Hilton etc. A lot of abstract art has been criticised for being cold or neutral but Blow's work for me could never attract that criticism. Her pieces positively fizzed with colour, energy and light.

There is an excellent obituary of her in the guardian. Click here to read.

23 August 2006

Peter Jones at the Pump House gallery

Peter Jones is an artist I have long admired. He is currently in the process of painting, in stunning and quirky detail, stuffed monkeys which he buys from auctions and ebay and such like. Through his paintings he really brings the monkeys to life. They can often be quite sinister and disturbing, frequently giving you the feeling that the monkey is watching and evaluating you, and not the other way round. Others can just be charming, quirky and fun.

Peter is a part-time tutor at the RCA and until recently has been somewhat shy about exhibiting and selling his work. This year has, however, been a great year for him as he has been signed to Fred (London) in Vyner street, has been exhibited at the armory show in New York. Peter has a solo show coming up at Fred London in November/December of this year. In the meantime some of his works are also on show at a group exhibition at the pump house gallery in Battersea par. Well worth a visit.

Also worth checking out at the group show is young artist Debbie Lawson whose stunning work with wood is a joy to behold.