A Very Insecure Exhibition
Shari Denson & Karen McBride

Manchester based music photographers Karen McBride and Shari Denson presented a one-night exhibition and book launch in Manchester’s city centre on 22nd February at the Projekts MCR Skateboard park beneath Manchester’s Mancunian Way. Both women are known for their often grainy, atmospheric black and white images of well known bands as well as lesser known local talent.

A Very Insecure Exhibition displayed work dating back to the beginning of the millennium, such as Elbow, I am Kloot, Editors, James Brown, Interpol, Ian Brown, Morrissey, Scissor Sisters, Al Green, amongst other works.
The book was a special double-cover edition produced by UKGiclee and published by Art Circus Books.
Available from UKGiclee.co.uk.

Both Shari and Karen shot primarily on black and white film until around 2010, giving their respective work in such low light situations a distinctive high contrast look. Their paths had crossed in the photo pit at gigs many times since those earlier years, but they were finally brought together last year by their inclusion in ‘Suffragette City’ – an exhibition featuring portraits of 25 of Manchester’s most influential women in music, organised by Manchester Digital Music Archive.

Shari and Karen were interviewed by Manchester music-journalist John Robb.


Continue reading “A Very Insecure Exhibition
Shari Denson & Karen McBride”

Makers of Marks
James Freeman Gallery

Sam Branton’s delicate pencil drawings reference the mezzoprints of English artists such as George Stubbs and John Martin. In his gentle but surreal works, Sam develops the romantic and exotic themes of his source materials, presenting fantastical animals in much the same way as Stubbs depicted Australian fauna, but with the dramatic lighting of Martin’s landscapes.

As he often works in groups of drawings, Sam then produces his series as a book, crossing the line back into the realm of print from yet another angle. In this way Sam plays with the idea of the drawing & print as a connoisseur’s reference material, albeit in the context of an imagined world of surreal absurdity.

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 “Makers of Marks
James Freeman Gallery”

Luciferase by Sam Branton
A New Art-Circus Book

Elephant with flamingos 1000
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.

Continue reading “Luciferase by Sam Branton
A New Art-Circus Book”

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

claire

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.

claire 2

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.

claire 5

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.

claire 4

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

e7027eacc916c181381a779e24519cc13245b8e6

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 “RePortrait at Nottingham Castle
27th May – 10th September”

Juliette Clovis – Solo Show
Mondapart Gallery, Paris

Baroque ad

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 “Juliette Clovis – Solo Show
Mondapart Gallery, Paris”