Monthly Archives: September 2013

COMING UP: ‘Temptation’ by the Guild of the Erotic Artists

The Strand Gallery is pleased to announce its next exhibition: “Temptation” by the world renown organisation Guild of Erotic Artists. Using a variety of styles and materials to explore the sensual elements of the human body, their artworks promote freedom of expression in erotic art.

Presenting the works of 35 emerging erotic artists, this exhibition is probably the largest display of sensual and figurative art in London for years. “Temptation” by the Guild of Erotic Artists will be open to the public from the 1st– 13th of October.

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Focusing on this week’s exhibiting artist Maja Vrzina, we had a chat with her to find out a bit more about her inspiration and influences as well as her future plans. Her exhibition XXXIX will be on display until Sunday, 29th September.

The Lovers by Maja Vrzina

The Lovers by Maja Vrzina

What is your main source of inspiration for the XXXIX exhibition?  My main source of inspiration is my life, all 39 years so far, starting from early childhood, through the civil war in Yugoslavia to moving to London, in which I have experienced pain and ecstasy, hope and despair, love and great loss.

How do your paintings narrate your personal stories and struggles?  My life has always been about extremes, an emotional and psychological roller coaster, in other words no shades of grey. Everything that I feel is black or white. This translates into my paintings which start out as large white canvases before I apply the black ink or acrylic, slowly revealing my subject matter; be it capturing the essence of a love affair, trying to understand the violence I was subjected to in my home country, imagining a life that might have been or celebrating the inner strength I see in women.

What is the  role of gold in your work and how does it strengthens your paintings? Gold has always been used, since the time of Ancient Egyptians, to adorn those things we hold precious. The gold leaf frames have both a symbolic role and an aesthetic role in my work. I use gold leaf frames by way of celebrating and glorifying the subject matter and giving my paintings an emotional and visual depth.

Which artists inspire you the most and how do they influence your work? The artists that inspire me are not necessarily painters or sculptors but people in whom I see great strength, honesty, independence and energy and who are courageous and passionate about how they see the world and what they stand for, for example Patti Smith and The Clash.

Tell us about your ideas for your next project. Do you intend on keeping the same artistic character or would you like to explore different qualities in your artworks?  In my next body of work I’d like to move from the autobiographical to the biographical and explore the lives and struggles of others who have inspired me. The relationship between frame and painting is also something I am looking to explore further by blurring the lines between the two. From a technical point of view I want to experiment with gilding and discover how I can use this in the most powerful way possible to express myself.


As the summer months draw to a close, The Strand Gallery is pleased to announce its next exhibition: XXXIX by Croatian artist Maja Vrzina. This is her first solo exhibition, celebrating 39 years of life, existence, turmoil and triumph through an anthology of rich painting and sculpture.

“For me, life has always been about extremes. I have known great pain, fear and loss and also experienced joy, love and ecstasy. Life is a constant struggle between opposing forces.” M.V.

Having lived through Croatia’s civil war and political unrest, Maja comes to terms with vast trauma through her visual creativity. The dark subject matter is depicted through a powerful monochrome palette. This use of black ink and acrylic on white canvas achieves a sense of balance, that reflects the contrasting emotions of personal struggle.

All of Maja’s works are placed in hand-gilded frames that add a further theatricality. This delicate technique that dates back to ancient Egyptian craft, accentuates the powerful and moving sentiments of the work. Maja explains, “It has been an emotional and at times painful journey but it has brought me some sense of peace, understanding and acceptance.” //

XXXIX Poster A2


As The Strand Gallery prepares for its next exhibition; XXXIX by Maja Vrzina, we are focusing on art that captures raw personal struggle and experience. Photographer and artist Binh Danh explores his Vietnamese-American heritage and the painful memories associated, through a hard-hitting yet delicate manner. In his own words, he explores a combination of “mortality, memory, history, landscape, justice, evidence, and spirituality” , culminating in some of the most unique creative works of recent times.

Binh Danh

Ancestral Altars, 2006

Utilising Danh’s own invention of chlorophyll printing, the artist places the positives of photographs upon leafs chosen from his mother’s garden. He then positions his work in the sun for several days, allowing for the action of photosynthesis to take place. The results are an array of stunning one-off images that appear imprinted on the fragile leafs. Danh then places the finished leafs into blocks of resin to preserve and frame his creations as if biological samples.

Such use of natural and fragile resources to depict scenes of turmoil and suffering creates a powerful juxtaposition that other artists often overlook. Danh focuses upon the notions of nature’s innocence with the atrocities of humanity; all of which are noted from his cultural perspectives and memories. He explains how the leaves embody the continuum of war; they hold the residue of debris, weapons, tears and blood. “The dead have been incorporated into the landscape of Vietnam during the cycles of birth, life, and death”. Thus through the creation and preservation of such artworks, the memories of struggle live on.

Untitled, 2006

Ambush in the leaf #4, 2007

For more information on artist Binh Danh, visit his website.

Stay tuned for upcoming news on our next exhibition XXXIX by Maja Vrzina.


As promised, here is our interview with our fashion designer in residence Beatrice Newman aka KORLEKIE, who’s SS14 collection Ophelia is  now on show here at The Strand Gallery until 15th September.

Ophelia SS14 by Korlekie

Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie

Tell us a little about yourself; where did your interest in fashion stem from?

It began at home ,  I was brought up in an African culture. It introduced me to a diversity of rich textiles and colour, which I then translated into unique modern clothing. My need to learn about fashion and different textiles also sparked a passion for knitwear and other types of hand-weaving techniques such macramé and crocheting. However, I believe my general love for fashion, as well as my flair in creating fabrics, has allowed for me to begin challenging preconceived notions in fashion.

What were the prominent inspirations when designing your collection Ophelia?

I am very much inspired by the regal heritage of monarchs such as the Tsars, and the gothic illustrious work of Edmund Dulac, Harry Clarke and Arthur Rackham, to name a few. The colour palette and other intricacies are always referenced in my work. Through the continuous development of my brand, I have noticed that much of my style in designs do stem from a broad catalogue of inspirations from C14th- C19th paintings and buildings.

What is the story and ideas behind Ophelia?

I am significantly inspired by Pre-Raphaelite art at the moment, in particular the painting ‘Ophelia’ by Millais. While it is a beautiful artwork, it has been a great way for my brand to realise colour in a gothic and romantic way. ‘Ophelia’, to me, represents the bittersweet of life- something of great influence to my designs and outlook. I try to find beauty in objects and notions people would not expect. ‘Ophelia’ is also a reflection of femininity; its fragility and power through seduction and beauty. Like a rose, it is delicate and bewitching but its thorns will make you bleed.

Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie

Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie

Ophelia by British artist Sir John Everett Millais, completed in 1851/1952

Ophelia by British artist Sir John Everett Millais, completed in 1852. The influence of the painting’s whimsical beauty is clear throughout Beatrice’s current collection.

How does this collection stand out from your previous others?

The SS14 collection is definitely a slight step away from the dark luxurious long knitted gowns that haunted the runway for AW13. It expresses another side of Korlekie that is softer, delicate and feminine. It stands out from the previous collection because it is more unique, yet ofcourse it is still part of the brand’s DNA. It simply signifies a change in direction in the way I am inspired and how I create.

You’ve had lots of success in your career, what has been your proudest moment?

I am grateful for the success but I believe the brand has still a way to go. I feel my success has been measured by goals. On my journey to achieving these goals, I’ve picked up “points/awards”, but ultimately the real success is still a way to go. I don’t really have a proudest moment, as I find  having the opportunity to wake up and design  is a proud moment to surpass all others.

What does the future hold for Korlekie?

As long as I have the grace to continue what I love doing, Korlekie will continue to strive, and hopefully one day conquer!

For more information about the show, contact // 0207 205 2217


KORLEKIE presents SS14 Ophelia

KORLEKIE presents SS14 Ophelia

To coincide with September’s London Fashion Week, The Strand Gallery presents Ophelia by British designer Beatrice Newman aka KORLEKIE. Drawing inspiration from her Afro-European heritage, Korlekie’s style blends traditional craft techniques with contemporary elegance and glamour. Now,  the Ophelia 2014 Spring/Summer collection will be showcasing her delicate craft with a bittersweet new direction that is sure to stand out.

The signature of Korlekie’s aesthetic showcases stunning methods of textile manipulation. With heavy embellishments and intricate handwork, Beatrice utilises traditional techniques such as crochet, layering and weaving to create a luxury collection. Being a London College of Fashion graduate in Digital Fashion, Beatrice looks towards the future of textile design, yet the beauty of the past remains key in her work. Showcasing strong influence from Pre-Raphaelite art and the visual history of regal monarchs, her work culminates  into a new dimension of femininity through her signature ornate style.

Since the early days of the Korlekie label, success for the designer has been on a continuous rise. Newman’s designs have featured in editorial and online publications such as, Elle and Dazed Digital, to name a few. While her creations have graced the runway at London’s V&A Museum, other pieces have been worn by the likes of Paloma Faith and Ellie Goulding. Now with the upcoming Ophelia collection, Newman branches out further into the fashion stratosphere, developing creative flair.

Stay tuned for this week’s upcoming interview with Beatrice ‘Korlekie’ Newman, as she explains the interests and approaches that led to Ophelia. 

Ophelia (SS14 Collection) by Korlekie will be open to the public at The Strand Gallery from 11th – 15th September.

For more information, please contact  // 0207 205 2217

Written by Alexandra Hale