Category Archives: Review

A Look Back at 2013

Now that our first incredible exhibition of 2014 has sadly come to an end, we thought it might be appropriate to look back at the last year and pick up on some of the highlights of 2013 at The Strand Gallery.

Looking back, 2013 has been an eventful year. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s son Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born on 22 July 2013 and Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president who led the peaceful transition from white-only rule, sadly passed aged 95. Amongst all of the commotion of the real world, here at The Strand Gallery we conducted an array of inspiring exhibits and had many exciting moments. So, as we move forward to invite an  2014, we thought first of all we will celebrate some of our favourite moments of 2013.

With even our online Spotlight features taking us through a huge range of artists varying from the exquisite colourful and intricate installations of Jee Young Lee, who plays with the boundaries between reality and fiction, to the dark earthy paintings of Lei Chang who captivates multiple layers of emotion, narrowing down a small selection of our successful physical shows has been difficult.

British riots

We kicked off with a successful burst, displaying a series from Press Association photographer Lewis Whyld. The shocking and telling photographs capture the riots that took place back in 2011. Whyld’s positioning during the outburst places us at a level where we are exposed, front row to the raw flames, revealing the full extent of the damage. Not only this, but the images also brought back the memories for the people. Safety was threatened and wider British culture and society was under threat, these harrowing photographs demonstrated this.

The Master

Another fantastic show we had was Hot Valve Leak: Visual Ramblings of Vic Reeves. We opened our doors to the surreal and comic artist who exhibited a selection of paintings, drawings and ceramics, opening our eyes to a selection of his ingenious wit and talent. Incorporating performance with humour, he led us to surrealist ideas, revealing a Dada-esque quality that is reminiscent throughout.

Showing the Ink by Tristan Pigott

Tristan Pigott exhibited his unique and surreal paintings with us here at The Strand Gallery in March 2013. Piggot explores human behaviour that is relatable, yet composed in a surreal way that it becomes something awkward, something that we are separate from. He plays with the boundaries between the real and unreal. The chalky tones mute the composition heightening the awkwardness of the surreal situation. These extraordinary paintings are intriguing and have provoked great critical attention.

Although we exhibited many, many more incredible shows, these were definitely our top three, and after a successful 2013 we look forward to another year of inspiring shows and online explorations, so bring on 2014!

REVIEW: Dayanita Singh, Go Away Closer

Dayanita Singh, Zeiss Ikon 1996, 2013, Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London  © The Artist 2013

Dayanita Singh

Internationally celebrated photographer, Dayanita Singh, opens her first UK retrospective this month at the Hayward Gallery. ‘Go Away Closer’ explores the duality between image and narrative through refuting against conventional methods of curation.

Breaking away from the print-on-the-wall tradition, Dayanita Singh employs various ‘portable museums’ that showcase between 70 to 140 photographs in large wooden structures. This presentational device introduces a strong sense of interactivity with her audience, as it invites the viewer to create their own sequential interpretations.

The visual stories that she depicts, often touch upon social oppositions such as westernization versus the loss of cultural values in modern India.  This concept is echoed in the exhibition title itself ‘Go Away Closer’, which perhaps suggests the artist’s own uneasy relationship with advancements in technology and its impact upon the role of the photographer.

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Dayanita Singh, Zeiss Ikon 1996, 2013, Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London © The Artist 2013

Dayanita Singh’s retrospective also highlights her passion for book-making, often described as ‘novels without words’, her publications on display explore how layout manipulation can stimulate ambiguous photo-fictions. Experimenting with diptychs, scale and negative space – Dayanita Singh’s hand crafted constructions create a feeling of intimacy for the viewer, as their fragile aesthetic reminds us on how we have become accustomed to mass-produced art books that currently saturate today’s high-street.

Dayanita Singh’s exhibition ‘Go Away Closer’ can be seen at the Hayward Gallery between Tuesday 8th October – Sunday 15th December 2013.

All images © Dayanita Singh.

REVIEW: Bob Dylan: Face Value

Internationally celebrated musician Bob Dylan has recently put together a collection of 12 pastel portraits, called ‘Face Value’. His sketches display characters taken both from his life and imagination and bear fictitious strange names like Ivan Steinbeck and Nina Felix.

Dylan uses shades of black, brown, red and yellow  in order to exaggerate human skin and add to an untidy and worn out quality. This effect arguably betrays some kind of emotional depth to these characters whose gaze never seizes to stare at its audience, sometimes in anger, other times with pleasure and familiarity.

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Nina Felix by Bob Dylan © Bob Dylan, 2013

Bob Dylan never escapes narrative, like his music  his portraits tell the stories of people taken out from his real life encounters, his imagination or even perhaps  from one of his songs.

‘Face Value’ will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery until the 5th of January 2014.

The Art-Investor Presents: Seven Artists

The Strand Gallery has teamed up with The Art-Investor to bring you the work of seven emerging talents in the form of Eun youg Choi, Zichao Hou, Mark Michael, Tristan Pigott, Joe Warrior Walker, Raf Zawistowski and Yuewei Vivien Zhang. This collective of international artists have been hand selected by The Art-Investor so be sure to catch these bright young things later on this month.

Zichao Hou - Hidden in Dark

Zichao Hou – Hidden in Dark

Tristan Pigott - Dirty Table

Tristan Pigott – Dirty Table

Raf Zawistowski - Eden #2

Raf Zawistowski – Eden #2

Joe Warrior Walker - Scaffold

Joe Warrior Walker – Scaffold

Seven Artists runs at The Strand Gallery between 19th – 23rd March

Further information on The Art-Investor can be found here.
All images © The Art-Investor.

COMING UP: A-Ha Photographs by Stian Andersen

The Strand Gallery is pleased to announce an exclusive exhibition of Norwegian superband A-ha; a series of stunning black and white images of the band’s intimate and iconic moments from acclaimed photographer Stian Andersen. To the very first photo he took of the band in 1994 to the very last concert on December 4, 2010, Andersen has been closer to the band than any other photographer. Backstage, on stage; in private planes and hotel rooms: all taken with Andersen’s analogue film camera – apparent in the grainy, atmospheric quality of the images – see A-ha as you have never seen them before.

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Andersen worked as A-ha´s photographer for ten years shooting the band’s different album covers and promotional photos. To capture the images in this exhibition he travelled with the band across the globe to twenty cities in twelve different countries for a total of 37 concerts: to places like Tokyo, Osaka, Rio, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Santiago De Chile, St Petersburg, Minsk, Moscow, London and New Jersey. He was even there for the recording of their last ever album “Foot Of The Mountain” and the band’s emotional final concert.

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Andersen went to the UK and London five times (to different venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, O2 Arena, Heaven and Wembley Arena) to capture six UK A-ha concerts. In this collection – brought to the UK for the first time and based on Andersen’s book A-ha Photographs 1994-2010 – see loyal fans clutching banners, arenas packed with chanting fans and the band performing in the spotlight. Andersen documents the energetic and globally-celebrated reunion of A-ha.

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A-Ha Photographs by Stian Andersen runs between 28th February – 17th March at The Strand Gallery.

For sales enquiries or to request a catalogue please email:  info@thestrandgallery.co.uk

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Hot Valve Leak: Photographs from the Private View

This gallery contains 24 photos.

Press Association, London Riots Revisited: Photography by Lewis Whyld

We are currently  exhibiting a series of photographs by Press Association photographer, Lewis Whyld revisiting the 2011 London riots in all their bold, powerful and harrowing glory. Whyld was one of the first to capture the riots, with his images documenting the events in press publications across the globe. This show brings together the most iconic shots of the riots  as well as some previously unseen work, evoking the full extent of the damage caused.

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London Riots Revisited: Photography by Lewis Whyld runs until 10th February at The Strand Gallery.

COMING UP: Hot Valve Leak: Visual Ramblings of Vic Reeves

The Strand Gallery opens its doors to the surreal comedic and artistic genius that is Jim Moir or Vic Reeves (to you and me), with a new exhibition of his eccentric and diverse work.  Reeves transfers his outlandish persona onto the canvas conveying similar Dada-esque qualities as seen in his comedy ventures, whilst evoking the importance of his art as performance.

Performance and art are two fully connected forces for Reeves who states that:  I think putting your imagination on canvas or a television screen is the same thing. If you’ve got an idea you have got to have an outlet for it. So if it’s painting, poetry, singing or acting it all comes out somewhere.

Britain's Got Talent, 11'' tall Ceramics, £2000 ex VAT

Britain’s Got Talent, Ceramics, £2000 ex VAT, front and reverse views.

This sense of imagination and its expression through a multiplicity of creative outputs probably draws closest parallels to notions of Surrealism, which would explain the huge influence artists like Max Ernst and Salvador Dali had on the young Jim Moir and his art. Some of his works might seem more conventional at first glance but on closer inspection they hold strange details, which render them eerie and occasionally sinister despite their humorous slant.  Fellow artists Jake and Dinos Chapman perhaps best express the power of Reeves’ art as being:  able to command our laughter as a purgative, to encourage the viewer to leak at both ends. A good example of which can be seen in Reeves’ Britain’s Got Talent vase, which provides a comic take on the celebrity obsessed culture of today yet also has an ominous feel through staring eyes and faceless figures. The narrative style draws parallels with the work of Grayson Perry, whilst expressing fame in almost religious terms through its imagery.

Reeves commented on the subject: Being a celebrity can hamper, people think that being an artist is my second job. It is in fact my first job. Being famous is a great help because people come to see what you’re up to if you’re well known, on television for doing something else.

Icon, 36 x 48'' Oil on Canvas, £4500 ex VAT

Icon, 36 x 48” Oil on Canvas, £4500 ex VAT

This exhibition outlines both the scope and variety of work that Reeves has produced from spidery drawings and collages reminiscent of Peter Blake to more sustained, large scale paintings and even some forays into the world of ceramics. All of which seems to hint at Reeves’ alternative sense of humour whilst conveying his vast array of talents. His paintings such as Icon appear to take inspiration from Classical artworks  with the strange skeletal creatures around the edges gesturing to religious motifs. Reeves questions this by the application of  almost fluorescent highlights, yet in the process creates a work bringing together his idiosyncrasies, artistic talent and humour in a stunningly mature painting.

Sir Winston Churchill, 12 x 7'' Mixed Media Illustration, £1000 ex VATVictoria, 12 x 7'' Mixed Media Illustration, £1000 ex VAT

Sir Winston Churchill, 12 x 17” Mixed Media Illustration, £1000 ex VAT
Victoria, 12 x 17” Mixed Media Illustration, £1000 ex VAT

His highly original artistic stance is probably best illustrated through the mixed media pieces taken from his published work  ‘Vic Reeves’ Vast Book of World Knowledge’ which use collage and original drawings surrounded by witty and absurd text to give an insight into Reeves’ creative ramblings. His portraits of Sir Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria perfectly satirise these iconic historical figures whilst Reeves’ handwritten text provides an alternative humorous narrative to run along side them.  What seems to connect all these artworks is his preoccupation with the Icon, whether that be the cult of the modern day celebrity or the enduring legacy of historical figures, Reeves takes conventional imagery and alters it through his outlandish personality, to create a truly refreshing vision.

The Strand Gallery is really excited to exhibit the work of this man of many talents, with choice pieces from the varied catalogue of his artistic career. Prepare yourself for a colourful and humorous journey into the creative mind of Vic Reeves where all is not quite as it seems.

To request a catalogue e-mail info@thestrandgallery.co.uk
Hot Valve Leak: Visual Ramblings of Vic Reeves will run February 13th-23rd at The Strand Gallery.

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Terry O’Neill Awards Runner up, Ann-Christine Woehrl

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Terry O’Neill Awards Runner up, Mimi Mollica

Mollica