Fine Art Gallery West Contemporary is pleased to celebrate its launch with a group show of some of their nest leading talent. Following on from the success of their sister gallery, Beautiful Crime - also founded by art dealer and gallerist, Liam West -West Contemporary will now introduce a new platform for a roster of established contemporary fine artists.
Entitled Morphosis, West Contemporary’s inaugural show will incorporate a mixture of sculpture, painting, mixed media, photography and neon and light art.
Liam founded Beautiful Crime as a gallery and one of the first e-commerce platforms in the UK to sell art online in 2006. It initially specialised in street and pop art, keeping prices in affordable price brackets, attracting a wide demographic of art lovers and first-time art buyers. As their clientele evolved and their artists matured, attracting new talent along the way, he decided that a new gallery concept needed to be created to accommodate the growing portfolio. A mutable art platform for emerging and established and emerging painters, sculptors and makers, West Contemporary’s inaugural show will include new works by Chris Moon, Tomás Baleztena, Beth Cullen- Kerridge, Jim Threapleton, Robi Waters, Ryan McElhinney, Mark Beattie, Zoe Grace, Carne Griffiths and Matt Mackman.
Each artist is creating new work for the show, interpreting a state of dreamy meditation as a basis of exploring ideas and composition. Chris Moon, whose tantalising and figurative brushstrokes are often compared to those of 20th century expressionist, surrealist, and at times cubist painter Francis Bacon will create a series of new paintings. Capturing the emotional state of an “elusive daydream” is Moon’s calling card, whether he is a painting a dead animal, his partner of the moment or a thrift-store postcard: “You can dream reality and vice versa, and that comes back to the technique leading the journey, becoming the daydream.”
Fellow expressionist Tomas Balaztena, who has exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery in London has painted a series of compositions, including Degas-laced work of his fiancé Amy Molyneux, who is depicted musing absent-mindedly while removing her make-up. Balaztena will also present a painting of an empty street in Hampstead, eerie and presumably set in the early hours of the morning, at Witching Hour perhaps, with the in uence of Manet, ever-present in his compositions. Meanwhile lmmaker-turned artist, Jim Threapleton will also present his own series of stormy melancholia, including a number of disquietingly ambitious vintage photographic portraits of subjects obfuscated by paint.
The unconscious metaphysical world is so vital to the process of Robi Walters' making, each final work is the end result of a journey of introspection. Walters trained as a graphic designer before he started producing stunning collages, mixed media pieces bursting with colour, arranged in lotus-like forms. After a broken childhood spent in and out of social care, Walters sought out a path where holistic healing could be integrated into his creative process and discovered meditation. Waters works with discarded, recycled materials, scissor- cut by hand into the thousand-petal lotus shape. The organic and fluid nature of the works o er a sense of infinity and calm, rooted in his notion of a Kaleidacycle in which ‘every petal counts.’ Meanwhile the subtext in Robi’s work, in his use of waste as a resource, scrutinises the topic of consumption - and human existence itself - in the 21st century.
As a continuation with a similar thread, recycling materials and creating pieces that look at urban decay in the name of art, Ryan McElhinney has created new works for the show. Like Walters, finding beauty where others see discarded objects, McElhinney makes artistic yet practical pieces of recycled toys which are bonded together and then coated in a high gloss polyurethane lacquer. Each piece is one of a kind and hand crafted at his London studio, he is one of a new breed of designers whose work involves customising existing items of furniture rather than creating them from scratch, including chairs, lamps and mirrors. McElhinney appropriates and metamorphoses objects, making them his own with a signature technique, creating beautiful-yet- unnerving furniture, highlighting themes such as the de- humanisation of a generation bombarded with images and a world full of a variety of conflicts. A lamp shade on latex legs is a clever Alan Jones reference to fetishised female sexuality. Meanwhile, a spray- painted armchair, covered with a disparate group of items that might have been called ‘rubbish’ becomes another incarnation.
Meanwhile, conceptual street artist Zoe Grace will show a number of light art sculptures. A fantastical Alice in Wonderland element exists in her work. Grace started creating street signs over a decade ago when her son first started going to school on his own. To prevent him getting lost she left signs for him at the relevant bus stops and along the roads to show him which direction to go. After suffering from homelessness, addiction and depression herself, societal problems which increase year-on-year, Grace started to create these sanguine beacons to spread a positive light. Featuring a number of light-box and neon pieces, the works combine the uplifting messages as seen in Grace’s guerilla-style road signs in neon, acrylic and metal.
Beth Cullen-Kerridge, Mark Beattie, Carne Griffiths and Matt Mackman will also show original work. Curator Liam West explains that the show concept had to be broad to accommodate the artists’ differences. He says, “All of their work is so contrasting, we wanted to unify this. We were thinking of dreams and Shakespeare’s The Tempest and we kept coming back to that “We are such stuff as dreams are made of” quote. I wanted to curate something layered, that wasn’t too obvious. I like the idea hat people had to figure out the pieces o f the puzzle.”
West Contemporary will announce further exhibitions in 2017, including solo shows with Mick Rock, Robi Walters and Chris Moon. In November 2016, they unveiled a 16 foot marble sculpture outside the Royal Opera House in Dubai, created by one of their artists, Beth Cullen-Kerridge. They are planning a number of solo shows in the UAE later on in the year.