Author Archives: TAC blog

A Cautionary Tale
Claire Partington’s Solo Show
at the James Freeman Gallery

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A Cautionary Tale is Claire Partington’s first solo exhibition at the James Freeman Gallery. Part fairy tale, part social commentary, part art-historical treasure trove, the show exhibits a wide collection of her ceramic figures together with a series of plaques and smaller precious works.

Claire Partington is an artist who revels in historical influences. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 1995, she went on to work at a number of museums, most notably the V&A. In A Cautionary Tale we see Golden-age Spanish portraiture, eighteenth-century salt glaze bears, Renaissance madonnas and medieval pilgrim badges. We previewed some of the pieces ahead of the opening on the 7th September.

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Two of the pieces that stand out (pictured above) are the devotional plaques inspired by the works of the fifteenth-century Italian sculptor, Luca Della Robbia. A single mother cradles her infant; she wears her engagement ring around her neck. On the right, a bull terrier, garlanded with fruits, standing guard. The borders have been decorated with apples, lemons, and pears which would feature in Robbia’s work, but in this case they remind us of Eve and the Garden of Eden as well as the apple which is present in pictures of the Madonna and infant Jesus as a sign of redemption, and as a warning against sin and temptation.

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Folklore and fairy tales are an important influence on her work, both for their vivid imagery and for how the narratives mutate over the years and in different contexts. Some works make direct references such as that of a Flemish saint holding a silver nutmeg and a golden pear in allusion to the Tudor nursery rhyme. Other sculptures are zoomorphic reflecting fairy-tale characters. On the above right, a super-gold Goldilocks is seen engaged in a private moment with a towering bear which appears to be dripping in maple syrup. Goldilocks lightly places her palm on top of the bear’s paw, gently pushing away his grizzly advances.

Alongside these are figures that seem to have emerged from an unspecified history; characters surrounded by animal friends drawn from a medieval master’s symbolic lexicon. A dandy king with a white hart standing to attention (above left) – is this Richard II? And in the middle, A matron, making her entrance. Small colourful birds hold up her hair as she holds her squirrel monkey, on a small gold chain. Her outfit – part armour and part tapestry, displaying intricate patterns.

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Underpinning all of Claire’s work is a social commentary, particularly about women, and particularly about power. All Claire’s women have attitude; these are women who use their aesthetic presence to project strength and power more than to attract. Contrast this with her dandified male figure counterparts who seem beholden to whimsy. In part, this is a conscious redressing of the gender motifs that have prevailed unquestioned for centuries in folklore and aesthetics. But it is also a means of re-evaluating the beautiful object – that beauty can be far more complex and far more mischievous than it may at first appear.

A Cautionary Tale is on show at the James Freeman Gallery from the 7th to 30th September, 2017

Read our previous Q&A with Claire Partington.

RePortrait at Nottingham Castle
27th May – 10th September

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Reportrait presents thirteen artists who have reimagined historical sources, altered or disrupted typical notions of how the portrait is defined, or used an image or reproduction as a starting point to create something new.

Consisting of new commissions made in direct response to Nottingham City Museums & Galleries collections, alongside loans, and works straight from the artist’s studios, the exhibition showcases painting, photography, installation, digital art, sculpture, video and drawing, many of which have never been seen in public before.

Philip Gurrey, Maisie Broadhead, Glenn Brown, Sasha Bowles, Paul Stephenson, Matthieu Leger, Annie Kevans, Antony Micallef, Jasleen Kaur, Samin Ahmadzadeh, Julie Cockburn, James E Smith and Jake Wood-Evans Continue reading

Juliette Clovis – Solo Show
Mondapart Gallery, Paris

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As a result of her past 12 years of reflection and creation, Juliette Clovis invites us for the first time to enter the jungle of her different personalities, techniques and questionings. About forty new artworks will be presented, most part of them are her last porcelain sculptures, a very new series of drawings, an installation entitled Chaos and some cutting artworks on plexiglass as we already know.
Juliette Clovis is an emergent French contemporary artist. Her plastic work is organized around 3 big topics that are the links between human and nature, the opposition between life and death and the dialogue between tradition and modernity. Continue reading

Q&A with Alice Gur-Arie
Exhibiting at the Curious Duke Gallery
1st Dec 2016 – 28th Jan 2017

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Alice began her career as a copywriter and graphic designer, eventually responsible for positioning global brands, and developing and executing their marketing and communication strategies.
Returning to her creative roots several years ago as an artist/photographer, Alice has produced five exhibitions, including The Iceland Trilogy, held at the Embassy of Iceland in London, and Black, White and Red held in Nice, France. Continue reading

Max Naylor
At the Prema Gallery, Uley
31 Oct – 11 Dec

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Max Naylor is an artist currently based in Bristol. Born in Cheltenham, raised in Cornwall and having spent time exploring Berlin, Delhi and London, a sense of place is deeply rooted in his practice.

His recent works warp the conventions of landscape painting, at times playing within the confines of perspective and scale and at others rejecting these notions completely. Somewhere between drawing and painting, his distinctive mark making approach combines the figurative with the abstract evoking a sense of mystery.

Familiar yet exotic, these mindscapes have as much to do with the inner subconscious realm as they do the external world.

Max recently completed a postgraduate course at the Royal Drawing School, he has exhibited widely in the UK and in 2016 won the Jackson’s Art Prize.
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Vasilis Avramidis – Harvester
A new series of paintings
At the START Art Fair,
Saatchi Gallery

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Vasilis Avramidis graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design with an MA in Fine Art in 2011.
Avramidis was shortlisted for the Salon Art Prize 2011 and he and his work has appeared in the Metro (UK), Sunday Telegraph (UK), Idol magazine (UK), Hi Fructose (LA), Rooms Magazine (UK), Juxtapose Magazine, Beautiful/Decay, Arrested Motion among many others.
His work is exhibited internationally and collected by University of the Arts London and private collectors in UK, Greece, USA and Japan.
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“Primordial Soup”
at the James Freeman Gallery
Carolein Smit, Chris Berens, James Mortimer, and Sam Branton
9th September to 8th October

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Opening Reception:
Friday 9 September, 6:30 – 8:30PM

Trusting instinct over reason is rather frowned on nowadays, the implication being that it is a lack of discipline to be tamed. But for many artists, unfettered magical thinking sits at the core of their artistic practice, allowing them to tap into hidden ideas and give some shape to things that don’t make sense. In ‘Primordial Soup’, we present four artists who each use this approach as a key part of their work: Carolein Smit, Chris Berens, James Mortimer and Sam Branton.
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