I'm excited to be exhibiting in London later this month alongside some of the UK's leading contemporary artists; to be selected to take part is very cool. I've created a new illuminated assemblage piece of taxidermy art called 'Remembrance' for the Contemporary Vanitas show in Soho which starts on May 26th (full press release below).
'Remembrance' contains a 19th century human skull & padlock, antique whale vertebrae, Macaw parrot wing & head. In the detail you'll find red sealing wax, antique engraved sherry glasses, old bone dice and clay marbles. The box itself is covered with water gilt silver leaf burnished using a piece of polished agate, while the inside is verre eglomise with 23 3/4 karat gold leaf. Dimensions of the handmade wooden box are 995mm high x 995mm wide x 300mm deep.
You can see 'Remembrance' in the photo gallery at the bottom of this page, with pictures taken by the incredibly talented Gemma Varney.
London’s leading light art gallery is pleased to announce their next show in collaboration with Lee Sharrock, Contemporary Vanitas, a look at vanity and mortality. Featuring 16 contemporary artists, the exhibition, which launches 26th May, will showcase the artists own interpretations of the Vanitas and features iconic memento mori symbols such as skulls, butterflies, and fruit, as well as more abstract interpretations in the form of celebrity portraiture and the written word in the form of neon.
Contemporary Vanitas will feature new artists and Lights of Soho favourites including: Alexander James, Alt-Ego, Derrick Santini, Hannah Matthews, Jeroen Gordijn, Jimmy Galvin, Kalliopi Lemos, Lauren Baker, Nancy Fouts, Paul Broomfield, Pure Evil, Rebecca Mason, Sara Pope, Soozy Lipsey, Tom Lewis and Toni Gallagher.
Playing on the Latin word for vanity, Vanitas is a metaphor for the meaninglessness of earthly life and transient nature of earthly goods and pursuits. Vanitas artworks were common in the 16th and 17th Century Dutch and Flemish still life painting, and were often created as metaphors for human achievements, as well as serving as reminders of human mortality. Memento Mori symbols of death, materialism, spirituality, earthly pleasure, temptations and corporality often featured.
Curator Lee Sharrock states, “I’ve always had a macabre fascination with the Vanitas paintings of the 16th and 17th century, and was intrigued to see how contemporary artists would interpret the enduring themes of mortality and vanity.”
Each artist’s contribution provides an individual interpretation of the Vanitas theme; Alexander James’ beautiful C-Type print evokes Old Master Vanitas still life paintings; Alt-Ego has created a bespoke skulls series reflecting upon mortality and vanity, whilst Jimmy Galvin’s witty ‘Death Disco’ features a skull and disco ball in a contemporary reworking of the traditional Skull memento mori.
Nancy Fouts’ ‘Exit Jesus’ features the reincarnated figure of Jesus embracing the cross of the ‘x’ in Exit; Fouts states: “Vanity of Vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity” quoting Ecclesiastes 12:8. She continues, “My Exit sight represents corporality and the idea of Jesus being reincarnated in a modern era of neon signs and overwhelmingly constant communication.”
Pure Evil’s new ‘Angels Never Die’ portraits of departed screen idols crowned with neon halos is inspired by Marle Dietrich. Pure Evil commented: “After 1945, Marlene Dietrich's attitude towards her native Germany remained shaky and it was not until after the fall of the Berlin Wall that she began to warm again to her homeland and especially her home town, Berlin. Shortly before her death, she expressed her desire to be buried in Berlin, in the very same cemetery as her mother. Her funeral, on 16 May, 1992, broadcast live on German television, was attended by thousands of fans. Her grave overflowed with flowers and wreaths from fans and admirers from all over the world. One of these wreaths, given by Wim Wenders, the director of Wings of Desire read, "Angels Never Die”.
The show, curated by Lee Sharrock and Lights of Soho founder and curator Hamish Jenkinson, will bring together their two different eyes for art in a singular show which narrates the vanity which has overtaken our digital world.
“It’s great to work closely again with Lee, whom is a great friend to myself and the gallery, and bring together this new show which will certainly impress members and guests,” states Hamish Jenkinson. He continues, “The show will be a fun play on today’s society who are embracing their own vanity with selfies, social media and the art of oversharing.”
Contemporary Vanitas will be on from 26th May – 25th June at Lights of Soho.