The second exhibition held at Kings Arch Gallery, -ANON- is a showcase of contemporary art from 7 different artists exploring a multitude of different themes, across a range of mediums. The title of the show and the prominent nature in which the surnames of the Artists appear, relates to the composition of the show as entirely female. The title references Virginia Woolf’s quote:
“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman. Very often misquoted as "For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”
While the use of the surname in such prominence as an addition to the title, connotes the legacy of the surname not only as a symbol of parochial norms within society, but also the way in which the mononym has served so many, usually male artists as a symbol of prestige. These artists are held by Kings Arch Gallery with that same level of esteem, due entirely to the incredible quality of their respective practises. We are honoured to house such excellent work. Every piece in this exhibition is the manifestation of inquiring thought, every artist statement attests to the intelligent and sensitive development of these artistic ideas as they’ve evolved to their eventual state of execution. The work covers painting both figurative and abstract, sculpture in form of textile and as part of installation. Digital collage, weaving and contemporary textile. Each piece the conclusion of many decisions to reach the particular form you now find it in.
Kings Arch Gallery has only been open since June and has, in this time brought the work of 15 different artist to the fore. Our aim is to continue to exhibit challenging, thought provoking and impeccably executed artwork to the public as Brightons newest contemporary Art Gallery. We believe that Artistic expression, is intrinsic to civilisation. The showcasing of these brilliant artworks we hope, will allow any member of the public to think deeper for how ever long, about what these artists have brought to their attention.
Each artist has written about the works they have exhibited with us and all works are for sale. This exhibition will be a unique opportunity to buy Artwork unlikely to be found elsewhere, especially of a quality and uniqueness difficult to attain generally.
1000 Sunsets & 1 Eclipse
Kings Arch Gallery
Brighton’s newest contemporary art gallery founded with the ambition of exhibiting incredible contemporary Artists, early in their respective careers. Favouring diverse artworks across a variety of mediums, exploring a wide range of themes. Kings Arch Gallery provides Artworks space to be exhibited, seen, reacted to and sold. We will continue to hold exhibitions that embrace the varied and powerful nature of contemporary Art.
1000 Sunsets & 1 Eclipse
Our first show 1000 Sunsets & 1 Eclipse, previously titled “1000 Sunsets”, before being eclipsed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been curated as an example of how we intend to continue our relationship to Art and the public. The Art included covers a range of execution: painting, sculpture, drawing, photography and ceramic. The subject themes, range from the erasure of queer culture through the societal embrace of social media and the mandatory censorship it connotes. To the prevalence of Monotheistic religion in western culture. Our Artists come from a variety of backgrounds and have been picked due to their profound skill and the execution of their practise. Something that can be recognised through the accolades many of them can boast.
From Left To right.
Working from left to right across our main room the first Artist you will engage with is Adam Sena, Adam describes his painting Ghosted as:
“a heightened intersection between nature (including gay codes) as a ‘motif’ and digital space. It’s banal yet excessive; artificial yet virile and impersonal yet explicit. The word-play of the title suggests the catty potential of our digital tools; the infamous hook-ups apps; the slang that’s created for those who block some and fuck others.
The textured, mixed-media surface acts as an interrogation into material fetish. There are many combined material & process-lead tests all of which play with their coded potential. The muddy, tar-like tones, infect this clean, matt-blue screen. There’s a pregnant sexuality to the painting, (beyond the figures). It’s the excess in material play and garishness in application of these codes that penetrate richness into the banality of it.
The crudely warped and distorted porn-stars suggest tricks that offer further than the obvious shock appeal. They are the dumb travelling data. The internet glitch and mediated sign. This is a depleted sexuality; a dystopian snap-shot of the numbed sexual gay brain; in the age of noise, distrust and online personas. It’s camp as tits!”.
Continuing clockwise around this room you’ll strike the work of Anastasia Meredith-Goujon. Her work Fanny be tender, exposes a less seen side of pornography, the experience of the male performer, these delicate almost quiet images are cropped creating a sense of intimacy, dare I say vulnerability. Intimacy is something that can be seen in Anastasia’s large canon of photographic work. Her public photography so frequently building a tremendous narrative that can draw in any viewer. Anastasia may well be best known for co-founding Hot Local Artists an organisation that explores our cultural relation to pornography, sex work and sexuality in general. Hoping to de-stigmatise issues surrounding these themes, Hot Local Artists have held numerous talks and exhibitions raising money for charity and raising awareness among a range of the public.
Above the entrance to our second room is a work by collage Artist Elsie Grace. Her playful and spontaneous collage based Art, forms a body of work that finds joy in imagery. Creating something that is in a sense organic and therefore beautifully self contained, while still exuding the pleasure that was there in its conception. Having shown numerously in the Brighton’s Open House festival, Elsie Grace is becoming a recognisable name in the Brighton Art world, and with her talent and unique style its no wonder why. Many of Elsie Grace’s prints (digital and screen) are available in our shop.
Staying within the main exhibition room, on your right is the work of current Vanguard Court residency winner, Isobel Finlay. Her incredible sculptures seek to: “subvert the preconceived expectations of materiality. The act of solidifying soft.” Like a petrified forest, Isobel Finlay’s work which focuses on fabric that has in a way been “calcified”, distances the audience from something otherwise so materially familiar. Finlay expressed that she drew inspiration from Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi’s preparation for his cathedral La Segrada Familia, whereby he created a model upside-down, allowing gravity to form the arches and towers. In a similar way Isobel Finlay has created profound and beautifully organic shapes through the capturing of the reaction of her material to natural forces. Her upcoming solo show at Camberwell College of Arts, SPACE Gallery, will be a showcase of her solo talent. For now though her work interplays beautifully with the other artworks in this space.
The last selection of works within the main space belong to the sculptor Elliot Hepworth. His piece is comprised of 6 plaster tiles, poured so as to form the relief of iconoclastic imagery found in a charity shop in Peckham. The work therefore parodying the sense of reverence afforded mass produced items of christian imagery. The work highlights the absorption of monotheistic judo-christian religion within western society, to the exception of the numerous religions that preceded it. Doing so through the alteration of the images through colouring and carving the plaster. The addition of Corona virus masks also showing the way in which religion has continued to play a fundamental role in the lives of so many around the world today.
In the back room of the gallery Works by the remarkable Alex Aitken, his unique and captivating works are instantly recognisable and have been shown throughout London and in Europe. These fantastical heads shown together, create a ghouls gallery similar to the work of 18th century Artist Frantz Messerschmidt. These works stand so uncompromisingly, their strength of character shown through their design and the application of their glaze. Aitken’s humour is also clearly visible throughout his pieces, adding a sense of intelligence to his practise, through the acknowledgement of contemporary Arts usual austere reverence and his choice to subvert it.
When you entered the gallery you will have passed the work of the brilliant Edie Baker. Her cut out collage work: Negative Space, a mind altering combination of textile, collage and digital print. Bridging the gap between Art and Craft Baker frequently uses stitch with her work, something that can be seen in this piece. Another characteristic element of her practise notable within the work we have with us, is its use of the absent. The brutally cut out sections create a sense of intrigue. Motivating the prolonged engagement of the viewer, much the same as the subtle use of thread which blends and integrates itself into the work. Baker is currently working on a book created through the isolation period and we will hopefully be stocking that along with prints of her work in future.
Lastly depending on the weather you may find Gallery Founder, Richard Ford award winner and Draw Art Fair London percipient: Patrick Metcalfe outside or in his studio at the back of the gallery, working on his piece “some things you know, some things you don’t”. The piece is concerned with the pervasive nature of capitalism within modern society and the corrupting influence of the profit motive on modern life. Based around the infamous Afghanistan War diagram. The piece intends to show while illustrating the complexity of the issue, the relation of an individual to the ills of modern society. How through the choices made by a consumer, wealthy individuals can maintain power. These themes are recurrent in Metcalfe’s work: power structures, capitalism and the origin of these ideas have featured many times in Metcalfe’s contemporary drawings. For more information simply ask him about his work.