Category Archives: Art Circus Spotlight

Makers of Marks
James Freeman Gallery

Makers of Marks
James Freeman Gallery
08/03/2018 – 31/03/2018

Drawing and printmaking have much shared history and enjoy a deeply interwoven relationship, but even so, contemporary artists still find new ways of making them play off each other. In ‘Makers of Marks’ at the James Freeman Gallery, three artists who experiment with this relationship against a background of classical references: Daniel Hosego, Sam Branton and Jon Braley. Continue reading

Luciferase by Sam Branton
A New Art-Circus Book

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Elephant Calf with Flamboyance, colour pencil on paper, 24 x 36 cm, 2017

Art Circus is pleased to announce the publication of our newest book Luciferase, a collection of 17 monochrome drawings by Samuel Branton. They follow on from his previous series Deluge which imagined the aftermath and impact on wildlife after a great flood. In Luciferase, Branton uses light from natural phenomena to illuminate what might be taking place during if animals were left in the dark for too long.

The Luciferase drawings are inspired by the mezzotints of John Martin, the ink drawings of Samuel Palmer and the paintings of George Stubbs. Branton’s drawings depict impish and arcane encounters lit up by a hypnotic pulsating glow. We see a heron, pinching a fish from a lion’s mouth; an elephant calf watching as a flock of flamingos soar overhead; a monkey carrying a beached narwhal back to the water; and an elephant calf trying to free a sailfish from a tree.

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RePortrait at Nottingham Castle
27th May – 10th September


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

In Search of an Author by Lex Thomas
An Art Circus Book

1Lex Thomas

In Search of an Author is a collection of 62 fluidly drawn ink studies, individual drawings in their own right, but interlinked by the subject of belief and the stories we tell ourselves. Artist Lex Thomas examines unexplained natural phenomena such as the supernatural and paranormal as well as magic, cults and UFO religions. The effect is a non-textual, fragmentary narrative echoing the idea that ‘truth is in the eye of the beholder’. The title acknowledges the playwright Pirandello, credited with breaking through the ‘fourth wall’ with his creation of Mirror Theatre.

In Search of an Arthur is currently available at BookArtBookShop, ShoreditchGosh! London or direct from Lex Thomas’ Website.

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Island Hopping
The 2016 Setouchi Triennale


From this week onwards a small cluster of islands in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea will host its third international art festival. The 2016 Setouchi Triennale will run for a total of 108 days, and is expected to receive upwards of a million visitors, along with over one hundred new artworks joining the permanent installations already dotted across the archipelago.


Twelve islands in total will be taking part, along with Uno Port on mainland Honshu and the town of Takamatsu (known by fans of Haruki Murakami as the setting of Kafka on the Shore) on nearby Shikoku. This year’s thematic focus looks both inward and outward: paying particular attention to local Setouchi cuisine and traditions alongside ‘cultural exchange among Asian countries that are connected by the sea. Continue reading

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A Case of Postdiluvian Tristesse: The Encounters in Sam Branton’s Deluge
‘Neither culture nor its destruction is erotic; it is the seam between them’ 

There is a strange poem by Andrew Marvell about a nymph and her pet fawn. Written in the mid seventeenth century, ‘A Nymph Complaining to Her Fawn’ is a poem of three parts, revolving around a central act that recounts the intimacies of their relationship. This intimacy is physical in that it is rooted in the senses – glimpsed at through heady descriptions of the nymph suckling the fawn with milk-dipped fingers, and the fawn feeding on roses ‘until its lips e’en seem to bleed’, pressing the bloody pulp onto the nymph’s lips in a bright red kiss. This is the story of an inter-species relationship that is tender and erotic and odd without being straightforwardly sexual or pornographic, suffused with a libido that Matthew Augustine has described as ‘tactile…rather than genital’. In other words, arousal is a creature of many eyes and ears and fingers and holes, and a discussion of the erotic should not be limited to genitalia. Continue reading

Deluge by Sam Branton
An Art Circus Book

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Over the last few months, The Art Circus has been collaborating with artist Sam Branton to produce our first artist portfolio book published under the Art Circus imprint. Artist’s Books deeply involve the artist in the process; from concept to artwork and layout – and in some cases the printing. They are usually published in small editions or created as a one-of-a-kind object and are often seen as a work of art in itself.

The book, titled Deluge, comprises a sequence of 19 miniature drawings which imagine the bizarre, comical and confused moments that could happen during the aftermath of a great downpour. We see newly paired and mystified inhabitants set against idyllic, pastoral landscapes – a whale hanging from a tree, waiting for his weight to break the branch; elsewhere, a horse, awkwardly struggles to escape from an inflated pufferfish; savage peacocks tearing apart an octopus; and a baby elephant struggling to carry a beached whale back to the water.

Deluge is available as a hardback from Blackwells Art Shop and YouCaxton Publications.

Take a look inside

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The Art Circus at the Bear Steps


The Art Circus is very pleased to announce our first print show of 2015 at the Bear Steps Gallery in Shrewsbury. Featuring a collection of Contemporary Artist’s Giclee prints from the Art Circus’ Print Gallery . Artists on show will include Ryan Humphrey, SuperfutreKid, Fipsi Seilern, Sam Branton, Marta Suuster, Christopher Gee, KEELERTORNERO, Georgia Peskett, Daisy Clark and Phaedra Peer. There will also be a parallel exhibition of Self-Published books. Continue reading