Category: Art Circus Spotlight

‘The Last Man’
An Art Circus Curated Show
In Collaboration with the James Freeman Gallery


4th July – 2nd August 2014

Opening Reception:
Thursday 3 July, 6:30 – 8:30

The Art Circus is very pleased to announce our first curated group show in collaboration with the James freeman Gallery. Artists on show will include Vasilis Avramidis, Christopher Gee, Miguel Laino, Hyunjeong Lim, Mackie, Tom Shedden, Eleanor Watson.

Change is one of the few certainties in life. After death and taxes, the only thing we can be sure of is that nothing stays the same. As such, it begs the question: what happens when we’re no longer around?

Taking Mary Shelley’s apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826) as its inspiration, this show explores the mysterious absence of humankind from the spaces they once inhabited. The ecological concerns of Shelley’s novel bring to mind: if mankind disappeared, would the natural world be free to reclaim what belonged to it? Visitors thereby get to take the place of Verney, The Last Man, in becoming the sole observer of an eerie lost world.

Seven painters come together to create this atmospheric exhibition. The unnerving images of Christopher Gee and Miguel Laino create a haunting, ominous presence, as if even before the disappearance there were clues, portents and signs. The paintings of Eleanor Watson and Mackie depict abandoned landscapes and structures like solitary markers, with empty rooms seen through external walls creating a sense of dereliction. In Vasilis Avramidis’s luscious works, green mossy hills emerge in the black of night from a subterraneous realm and morph into arms, fingers and heads. The Bosch-like theme is continued in Hyunjeong Lim’s drawings of twisted landscapes that depict a contemporary Golgotha through a cacophony of comic-book images. It is left to Tom Shedden’s paintings of an Elysian future to suggest a counterbalance of harmony with the new elements. Continue reading “‘The Last Man’
An Art Circus Curated Show
In Collaboration with the James Freeman Gallery”

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Mirror’ by Lucy Parker

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Sometimes things happen when you have been working for a long time on one picture and then you decide for a short break to just try out something else on another quite quickly. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but on those occasions where something does happen, it is quite exciting, even if you are not quite sure about it straight away. That is what happened with this picture. And I think that it maybe could not have come about without having to work longer on another one. Maybe it can, and one can keep perfecting the quick technique, but then the technique becomes too ‘thingified’ in its gesture as opposed to keeping the element that still has a searching quality, so I think I have to do the work in other ones in order to allow for these brief moments now and again that something can happen in a more ‘effortless’ yet still searching way (like day dream on the edges of thought). Continue reading “Art Circus Spotlight
‘Mirror’ by Lucy Parker”

Mackie’s ‘The Sorting Station’ Selected for John Moores Prize

mackiekMackie’s ‘The Sorting Station’ has been selected for the 2014 John Moores Painting Prize. Mackie took some time out from painting to tell us about the piece.

‘My thought process was unusual here. I spent about a month painting the building exterior. The entire time thinking through the options. Obsessing about different options. Looking at art, reading about it. When I was ready to paint the interior I trusted the subconscious mind, to an extent. And with no drawing, painted in bright pink, the Koon’s dog!’

‘I’m not yet positive of it’s reasoning. The initials of its title “sorting station” are SS linking with the degenerative art of the nazis. It feels like it could be a place of harsh judgement. When the dog was in place I considered my sanity for a while. Decided I needed something black and white but apocalyptic behind it. For aesthetic impact. I looked into Guernica but it was too big (3 meters high). It Irked me as it was perfect, but I like keeping a fairly accurate scale when I add famous works to my scenes. I think it’s an image where I got lucky. I guess there are plenty of ways to read into it.’

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Landscape with Trees’ by Jacqueline Jackson


I work in the tradition of artists who explore meaning and memory in the physical or living environment. My intention is to suggest the shapes and textures of different kinds of landscape, thereby creating a mood or emotion that can be freely interpreted by the viewer. Made using diluted acrylic on canvas, this painting is an imagined narrative scene. Rather than replicating what I can see, my work aims to confront the mental imprint or echo of the inner landscape that we all have embedded in our personal and collective memories.

For some, the painting is a fragile, tranquil and poetic reflection but for others it may suggest anxiety and even a post-catastrophic world. My paintings are created to provoke a mood or have a sense of movement as their focus. I paint from memory so each painting has resonances of different places and times I have lived in or visited, rather than from precise photographic references. Many viewers have felt a recognition response to the painting, indicating they find a resonance for them that is important in some way.

I am increasingly interested in how human interactions have, and are, affecting the nature/culture/ecology of place. “Landscape with Trees” has an absence of human activity that may suggest utopian or, in certain circumstances, dystopian dreamscapes of the future. It can also be seen as an expression of the sublime or romantic landscape, which in this case contains an undercurrent of unease. It should suggest ‘to the finite a glint of the infinite’. 1

I painted this work a year ago and in my current practice I am building on this to create projects that are developed through research into the landscape, but which are informed by the history and narrative of a place. As well as this investigation, I am continuing to explore imaginary landscapes in paint, and working with drawings and etchings for an artist’s book.

“Landscape With Trees” (2013) was selected for the Clyde Community Award 2013–14 from my Fine Art degree show at Chelsea College of Art and Design. It is now on exhibition at the Clyde & Co. offices in central London until June 2014. It was sold to private buyers at auction last year.

1 “[Caspar David] Friedrich’s art was one that gave ‘profound meaning to the commonplace, an aura of the mysterious to the ordinary, the distinction of the unknown to what is perfectly familiar and to the finite a glint of the infinite’”. (Introduction, Matthew Hargraves, exhibition catalogue for ‘A Dialogue with Nature’, Courtauld Gallery, March 2014)

See more paintings by Jacqueline Jackson

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Family Snaps’ by Tim Fawcett


I have always painted the human figure, I wouldn’t call them portraits in the traditional sense as I’m not interested in displaying likeness, personality or mood, I leave that to the viewer to decide. I think our first language is visual, based on facial expression and recognition. We learn to recognise and interpret emotion this way before we learn verbal communication. We grow up learning to almost rely on this form of subconscious communication.

My aim then is to rewind and undo this process by removing the visual detail we rely upon. Combine this with my fascination with social dynamics and emotional turmoil often hidden behind grinning family snaps and you have a clue as to the rationale behind my work. The classic happy family on holiday frozen in time and our outward portrayal of domestic bliss is the focus of my investigations and visual interpretations. What does the viewer identify with and remember about their childhood then think again a little deeper. Continue reading “Art Circus Spotlight
‘Family Snaps’ by Tim Fawcett”

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Subversion’ by Will Adams


My architecture work is about distorting and reinventing the representation of structures that have surrounded me my whole life. ‘Subversion II’ comes from photographing the same building sixteen times on a single frame to distort the representation of architecture. This has been influenced by the way Gordon Matta-Clark’s building cuts completely recreate how architecture is experienced. Due to repeatedly cocking and releasing the shutter, the camera has moved between each exposure, leaving the image with sixteen slightly different viewpoints. The result is that the representation of the building is put under a lot of stress, as the process softens the sharp lines and break up the grids that dominate architecture.

Continue reading “Art Circus Spotlight
‘Subversion’ by Will Adams”

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Chromogenic’ by Jeff Edwards


My practice is almost entirely analogue. There is a small digital aspect but if I had to break it down I would say my process is 85% analogue and 15% digital. Everything starts from a 4×5 or 6×4.5 film negative, which is then edited in a way where I can influence the actual emulsion of the negative. I use various consistencies and dilutions of rubbing alcohol and inks to achieve the final result.

I am constantly working and re working images, so I often end up with half a dozen or so of the same negative but worked in various different ways and techniques. So then it is difficult to decide what is working and what isn’t, what do I like and what do I hate. It is often a fine line for me what is and isn’t working. The fun part is seeing what effects and alterations work with the image rather than simply to it. It is very important to me that anything I do to the negative works with the final print, so it actually seems as if the subject is fading away, dissolving, disintegrating etc. Continue reading “Art Circus Spotlight
‘Chromogenic’ by Jeff Edwards”

Art Circus Spotlight
‘Turners View’ and ‘Sky of England’ by Adrian Merrifield


Turners View is a contemporary view from the spot in Hunston near Chichester where Joseph Turner painted Chichester Canal in 1828. Studies made for this work expose the reasons why you should never trust a painting as a true representation of reality. Turner has the sun setting to the left of the cathedral, but the viewer is looking north, also a ship as large as in Turners work would not have been able to sail there. Today the view towards the cathedral is obscured by telegraph wires and is not as peaceful as the painting suggests due to heavy traffic just yards away from this spot. Continue reading “Art Circus Spotlight
‘Turners View’ and ‘Sky of England’ by Adrian Merrifield”

Art Circus Spotlight
New Paintings by Miguel Laino


I consider myself a figurative painter first and foremost, so I am primarily drawn to the form and composition of the image, rather than any conceptual consideration. The atmosphere or mood also play a part. I like images that I don’t entirely understand – that have a degree of ambiguity about them…as if it is not entirely obvious what is going on, or it is open to interpretation.

We are all constantly evolving, so no doubt each work relates to it’s predecessors but also hints at the works that will follow it, like a premonition. My role is just to stay totally present in the moment and to create as honestly as I can without looking back or forward. The evaluation of where the piece fits in relation to my general practice really comes after the fact. I don’t separate my portraits from my other work. I see them as part of one body of work. I may work on a large painting and then do a portrait before moving on to the next large painting.


A very large part of the process is taken up by the search for the image. I search extensively online in diverse and sometimes obscure places, like Japanese newspapers or blogs. I also sometimes type in random or meaningless search terms into Google to unearth unusual images or tap less obvious sources. Once an image grabs me, I may even work it into a collage along with other images previously found – sometimes images I’ve been keeping for some time. For some reason, many of the images that appeal to me are in black and white. This allows me to add my own colour choices, thereby adding my own stamp to the image – reclaiming and re-interpreting it. But even with colour images I tend to paint them with my own palette.


Sometimes a painting just won’t gel or come together, even if the source image still appeals to me. I’ve learnt to walk away from the painting and focus on something else for a few hours or even days and then come back to the painting. This typically brings about a spontaneous insight or resolution when I look at the painting with fresh eyes. This could mean changing a background colour, or deleting a figure. Sometimes I just realise that the painting is perfect as it is.

Painting involves the conscious and the subconscious, which means that the works are always surprising – for the conscious mind at least. It’s that sense of being surprised by the work, at being partly in control, but also partly an instrument of a deeper force that makes the process so intriguing and keeps it exciting and unpredictable. So wherever the work may evolve or lead me, I know it is a reflection and a confirmation of my own growth. I look forward to being surprised and challenged.

Miguel Laino has won n a portrait showdown competition on SaatchiOnline, with his piece “Didier” being selected as the winner, by the judge, Chantal Joffe – one of my favourite contemporary artists. The painting will be exhibited along with the other 9 finalists at the Griffin Gallery in London form 5th – 20th December 2013.

See more paintings by Miguel Laino

Art Circus’ Best of 2013


With Christmas approaching and 2013 coming to an end we thought would have a look back at some of the shows which caught our eye here at the Art Circus. 2013 was a great year for art, not just in the big galleries and museums but also in the degree shows, the tucked away smaller galleries and the newer satellite art fairs, all showing fresh and exciting artwork.

Lets begin with 1. Claire Partington’s elegant and witty ceramics (shown above) in ‘The Islands Across the Sea’ at the Jame Freeman Gallery. Have a read of Claire’s Q&A for the show. Continue reading “Art Circus’ Best of 2013”