Contemporary Visions III
Matthew Allen | Gigi Cifali | Ronin Cho | Zavier Ellis | Rebecca Griffiths | Lindsay Mapes
Nigel Massey | Renato & Roberto Miaz | John Ryan | Fleur Van Dodewaard
Contemporary Visions is the first group exhibition at the newly relocated Beers.Lambert Contemporary in its new premises on City Road. The exhibition presents 10 contemporary international artists, (selected from an pool of nearly 1800 applicants worldwide,) who each question the destability of the image and of presence. The collective point of departure for each of the artists is precisely how a vision of reality becomes translated through the artistic frame of reference. The selected artists work in all media and within all genres of art - from figurative to abstract and even conceptual, each being selected for an artistic practice that somehow perceives reality as one that has been fragmented, reconstructed, and destabilized.
Certainly the title Contemporary Visions refers (at least poetically) to that forward vision which might present some transcendent answers for our present existence - a type of artwork (figuratively speaking, of course) as self-fulfilling prophecy in and of itself. Perhaps more literally, it suggests a desire for tomorrow's art to achieve that vision which remains ceaselessly ahead of the curve, referring to the very acts and objectives of the artists themselves, as the very nature of 'contemporary art' suggests an art that looks to the future, identifying and successfully embodying that which is yet to come - that which today remains indefinable. Therefore, the exhibition originates with the notion that perception and perspective is subjective, and dependent on a fictional recreation of one’s perceived experience. The unifying conceptual thread that runs throughout the exhibition appears to call forward to some anxiety toward an Orwellian future - yet one that very consciously presents itself as more Logan's Run than Blade Runner.
One might prematurely reflect upon this collection of work by stating the exhibition is conceived as a vision of 'tomorrow', however in order to avoid the oversimplified connotations therein, the exhibition remains about how one sees and how one frames the object for receipt of the viewer. Fleur van Dodewaard's 'frames of frames within frames' operate very consciously like photographic Russian-dolls: like a second-party recounting a tragic accident which somehow loses gravitas with each retelling, there remains a phantom of some not-so-distant origin that exists lurking beneath van Dodewaard's careful photographic mise-en-scene.
Still, there remains a lighthearted play between the intention of these artists and the execution, presentation, and interplay of the works. Indeed the works appear to emanate a view of a dystopian society, but this is a view masquerading in utopian hues. Matthew Allen's subversively cheerful tone-on-tone paintings come to mind, like candy-colored epitaphs in bubble-gum pinks, unearthly greens, and sky blues, suggesting a depth of meaning lurking beneath the surface of the canvas that reveals its true melancholy with prolonged viewing. John Ryan’s exploration of perception delves into the purely material, in which paint becomes topographic, sculptural, and utterly anthropomorphic. Swaths of metallic oil paint are playful in Lindsay Mapes' DIY-style paintings, arriving in garish neons, gold, and silvers, laden atop the canvas in purposeful heaps like lunar astro-turf; but the vision here is also gloriously (and metallically) carnal, with Rebecca Griffith's Twin Turbo apropos for a contemporary fossil of urbanity seemingly lifted from Crash, JG Ballard's pessimistic take on consumerism and sexuality. For Griffiths, it appears that inner turmoil and consumerist spectacle have collided in some monstrous, albeit slickly sensuous amalgam of forms. Nigel Massey's plexi-glass encased sculptures are like solitary tomes that self-consciously recall the West's search for mysticism through a (mis)appropriation of Asian-culture, perhaps through its ubiquity in contemporary decor alongside what might appear to be specimens encased from 'the homeless', (with media including ink-soiled blankets, chipboard, and sheets), these packages seems practically ripe for the gaze of the museum visitor from the future to consider, however accurate or not, scenarios of privileged 21st century living.
Perhaps Gigi Cifali best offers a tranquil restaging of our world - reframed in cameo form, these photographs from the Vesuvian landscape take on a strikingly contemporary newnesTheir presentation as landscapes that have been cut into ‘portholes’ serves to accentuate the instability of the image and the artist’s unreliability in presenting the imagery for the viewer. Contemporary perceptions of our world - endlessly de-contextualized and re-contextualized - become awash in a Baudrillardian stream of thought, an endless array of images that, through reproduction, begin to lose any particular individuality. Zavier Ellis’ mixed-media work is presented like monumental palimpsest of dystopian urbanity, like a relic from some imagined past or not-so-distant future, a document of both urban art and the decadence of existence. It might be Roberto and Renato Miaz's exceptionally skillful paintings that could - in one respect - seem to paraphrase this ideology, where still-frames and fragments of memory, faces, and specifics become blurred - not quite out of reach but never fully attained.
Overall, it remains the concept of that disconnect between reality and fantasy where the works find their strongest thematic strain; here the vision of a future reality is cyclical, and haunting: Ronin Cho's kinetic sculpture, Fair Idle, features the detached arm – cast from his own body – in an endless cycle, forever catching handfuls of sand, only to pause as it passes through the cyborg's fingers, and back into the pool of sand. It is a futile act, repeated out of preconditioning and the inability to defy its apparent purpose. What Cho seems to critique with this piece is mirrored in the collective voice from the entire exhibition: one where the perfunctory act and assumed view are both refuted, challenged, and called into review; a new perspective aware of its entrapments, and optimistic for tomorrow, whatever that vision may hold.
MATTHEW ALLEN (b. 1981 New Zealand) Matthew Allen’s recent solo exhibitions include The Stone of Impermanence, Cite Des Arts Internationale, Paris 2012, Ruminations on the End, Sydney Non Objective, Sydney 2012, Field Paintings, Sullivan & Strumpf, Sydney 2011. Recent Group exhibitions include Painting as Presence, MOP Gallery, Sydney 2012, SSFA12, Sullivan & Strumpf, Sydney 2012, A damn good painting show, General Store for Contemporary Art, Sydney 2011. He is the recipient of the Moya Dyring Studio residency at the Cite des Arts Internationale, Paris 2012, A Sydney Non Objective studio residency, 2011, and was granted the Australian Post Graduate Award, 2006 – 2007. His work has been published in The White Review, No.3, October 2011 and Australian Art Collector, September 2011. He holds an MVA from Sydney College of the Arts. Currently living and working in Sydney, Australia.
RONIN CHO (b. 1982, South Korea) Ronin Cho’s recent exhibitions include One Giant Leap, Saatchi Gallery Suite, Hyatt Regency, London (2012); Kinetica Art Fair, Ambika P3 London (2012); The face of the shape, La Scatola Gallery, London (2011); Saatchi New Sensations, Victoria House Bloomsbury, London (2011); Behind Object, La Scatola Gallery, London (2011); X, Rua Red, Dublin, Ireland (2011); and a forthcoming group exhibition Contemporary Visions with Beers Lambert in August 2012. Projects include Art Below, Regent Park’s Station, London (2011); Digital Design Week, V&A Sackler Centre, London (2011); Delphus Project, Delphi, Greece (2011). He is selected for the one of four finalist of 2011 Saatchi New Sensations. His work is a part of the collection of the Saatchi Gallery London. He holds a 2011 MFA from the Goldsmiths, University of London. He lives and works in London, UK.
GIGI CIFALI (B. 1975, Naples). Gigi Cifali recent solo exhibitions include: Absence of Water, Galleria Marconi Cupra Marittima Ascoli Piceno 2012, Step 09 3th Edition Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci Milan 2012, Absence of Water Rob Shazar Gallery Benevento. Group exhibitions include: _Underscore Spazio Blanch Naples 2012, Multiplied Christie’s South Kensington London 2011, Della Natura Galleria Spazio Farini Milano 2010, Affluenza Multy-Disciplinary Visual Arts Exhibition London 2009, AOP Association of Photographers Awards Group Exhibition AOP Gallery London 2009, IPA Lucie Foundation International Photography Awards Show New York 2009, Foto8 Summer Show at Host Gallery in London 2009. He is recipient of AOP Awards 2009, IPA Lucie Foundation Awards 2009 and Calumet Assistant Photo Awards 2008. He has been awarded with the Fuji Photo Awards in the 2007. His works have been featured in Good Magazine US, Insight Magazine UK, Fourdays Magazine UK/Germany, Watch Russia, Interni Architecture Magazine Russia, The Balde Pais Basque, London Independent Magazine and AOP magazine. He holds a Master‘s degree in Photojournalism from Westminster University. His work has been exhibited in the UK and abroad and been held in private collections in Russia, Brazil, United Kingdom and Italy. Gigi Cifali currently lives and works in London.
ZAVIER ELLIS (b. 1973, United Kingdom). Zavier Ellis’ recent exhibitions include London International, Klaipeda Culture Communication Centre, Klaipeda (2011, curated by Edward Lucie-Smith); The Future Can Wait presents: Polemically Small, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance (2011, curated by Edward Lucie-Smith, Max Presneill & Simon Rumley); Stockholm Syndrome, Studio B3.2, London (2011, curated by Alexis Milne);PressArt: Die Sammlung Annette und Peter Nobel, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg (2010); and The Term “Reality”, Paul Stolper, London (2010). He is an internationally respected artist, gallerist, curator and occasional lecturer, and has exhibited in Austria, Lithuania, United Kingdom and United States; and curated exhibitions in Berlin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Klaipeda, London, Los Angeles, Naples and Rome. Zavier is also founder and director of the Old St gallery CHARLIE SMITH london and launched the seminal survey show The Future Can Wait in 2007, which is now in partnership with The Saatchi Gallery. His work is in collections in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States, including Werner Grub, Anne Lewis and Peter Nobel. Zavier also sits on various selection committees including 20/21 London Art Now, Lodge Park, Cheltenham (2012);Outside the White Cube, Bermondsey Project Space, London (2012); Anthology, CHARLIE SMITH london, London (2011, 2012); and Vauxhall Collective Style Council (2008, 2009). He holds a Masters in Fine Art from City of Guilds of London Art School (2003-2005) and a degree in History of Modern Art from Manchester University (1993-1996).
REBECCA GRIFFITHS (b.1984, UK). Rebecca Griffiths' recent exhibitions include The Pleasure Principle, Hoxton Art Gallery, London, 2012; Here's Where the Living is, Bethnal Green Library, London, 2012; Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2012, Royal Academy of Arts, London; A Future Pump House: Ideas, Thoughts and Plans, Pump House Gallery, London, 2011; With the Titanic to the Moon (part of the 'Ausser Haus' project), Heidelberg, 2011; Show RCA 2011, Howie Street, London; Creekside Open 2011, (selected by Phyllida Barlow), APT, London, June 2011. Solo exhibitions include Artist of the Day, Flowers Gallery, London (selected by Alison Wilding), 2011, Slipping Contours, The Proctor Gallery, Cornwall, 2009. Previous exhibitions include Desire is a Golden Carrot, The Albion, London, 2010; Exeter Contemporary Open 2010, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter; Agitprop!, Project Space 11, Plymouth, 2010; The Purpose of Drawing, Portland Square Cube 3 Gallery, Plymouth, 2010; Lunch is For Wimps’, Triumph Furniture Showroom, London, 2010. She is the recipient of the 2012 Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary Award and has previously been awarded the BUILD artist residency supported by Creative Skills, Cornwall, 2009 as well as an Associate Residency at Spike Island, Bristol, 2008. She holds a First Class BA (Hons) in Fine Art from University College Falmouth and an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art.
LINDSAY MAPES (b. 1977, USA.) Lindsay Mapes’ recent exhibitions include 26. Leandakatelouise. London (2011). Play Dead. Bows and Arrows Gallery. Dallas, Texas. USA. (2011). Ridley Road Open Studios. London, (2011). Shows 1-10. Leandakatelouise. London, (2010). The Slade UCL Degree Show. London, (2010). Test-Bed. London, (2010). Make it, Pack it, Print it, Ship it. London, (2009). Dialoghi Multi Cure d’Arte. Florence, Italy, (2007). Piano Piano. Florence, Italy, (2007). Welcome Home. Florence, Italy, (2007); and a forth coming group exhibition Contemporary Visions with Beers.Lambert in 2012. She was shortlisted for The Jerwood Painting Fellowship. London, (2012) and F_AIR Artist In Residence. Florence, Italy (2011). She is the recipient of Premio Internazionale Di Scultura. Edgardo Mannucci. Arcevia, Italy, (2006). She holds a MFA in painting from The Slade School of Art, University College London. She lives and works in London, England.
NIGEL MASSEY (b. 1969, UK) Nigel Massey’s recent exhibitions include (solo) Hearth, Charlie Dutton Gallery 2012; (group) Angelika Open, Angelika Studios, 2012 selected by Rod Barton, Paul Kindersley, Boo Ritson and Danny Rolph (forthcoming); Parallel Universe Charlie Dutton Gallery, 2012; Crash Open 2011, Charlie Dutton Gallery selected by Matthew Collings, Toby Clarke, Dan Hays and Mike Silva; Creekside Open 2011 selected by Phyllida Barlow; Mostyn Open 2011 selected by Richard Wentworth, Karen MacKinnon and Anders Pleass. He is a graduate of the Royal Academy Schools, London where he was awarded the JMW Turner Gold Medal for painting. He lives and works in south London.
ROBERTO & RENATO MIAZ (b. 1965 - 1968) 'Masters Series' solo exhibition Spazio Thetis, Arsenale Novissimo Venezia (2012); Winners of the 2011 International Arte Laguna Prize, Venice (2011);Winners of the 2010 Amposta Museum of Contemporary Art International Biennial Prize, Barcelona (2010) - selected exhibitions ”Timecode” Galleria Iperspazio Milano (1996); “Piercing” Galleria ViaFarini Milano (1996) ; “New Age” Ambient Installation, Paradiso Club, Rimini (1995); “Safe Box” Ambient Installation, Insomnia Club, Pisa (1994) ; “The Artists” Ambient Installation, Cocorico Club, Riccione (1994); graduate Milan IED , College of Art ; they live and work in Valencia ,Spain.
JOHN RYAN (b. 1987, Ireland) John Ryan's recent exhibitions include Polyglots, Studio 9, Wexford, RESORT, Portsalon, Donegal, The Gilchrist Fisher Award, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London, Polyptych Subsets: Experiments with Paint (solo show), The Joinery, Dublin, UNDERGROUND in Basic Space, Dublin, New Living Art 2 at the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Dublin. He is the 2012 winner of the Gilchrist Fisher Award, judged by Elizabeth Magill and Matthew Collins, is a 2012 recipient of the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council Arts Bursary, and in 2011 was selected for the NEU/NOW Festival. His work has been subject to reviews in The Visual Artists News Sheet, The Irish Times and The Sunday Times. The critically acclaimed show UNDERGROUND in which he was one of nine participants was reviewed by Billion Art Journal, Critical Bastards Magazine and The New York Times. He is a 2011 Painting graduate from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. He lives and works in Dublin where he is a studio resident in Pallas Projects.
FLEUR VAN DODEWAARD (b. 1983, The Netherlands). Fleur van Dodewaard’s recent solo exhibitions include The Celebration of the Monochrome, Proekt Fabrika, Moscow (2011); Sun Set Series, Artpocalypse gallery, Amsterdam (2011). Group exhibitions include Nieuwe Naakten, Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem (2012), Colour Blocking, Nieuwe Vide, Haarlem (2012); Free Transform, Third Party Gallery, Cincinnati (2012); STILL/LIFE, FOAM Photography Museum, Amsterdam (2011); FOAM TALENT 2011, FOAM Photography museum, Amsterdam (2011); The Second Act, De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam (2011); Playground, COBRA Museum of Modern Art, Amstelveen (2011); Art Amsterdam, with Tanya Rumpff Art Consultancy, Amsterdam (2011); Bon Courage, Second Home Projects, Berlin (2010). She is a recipient of several grants from the Dutch Foundation of the Arts Mondriaan Fund. Her work has been published in amongst others in British Journal of Photography and Foam Talent Magazine Her work is part of the Museum of Modern Art Arnhem and of FOAM Photography Museum collections as well as many private collections. Fleur van Dodewaard studied Theatre at the University of Amsterdam and Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague before enrolling in the Photography course at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, where she graduated in 2010. Fleur lives and works in The Netherlands.