Can everyone stop panicking and calm down, the future of art is in safe hands I have just discovered, and I can tell you it’s a relief to me after one too many young uninspiring, un-ambitious internet art shows.
‘Where did you find your salvation?’ I hear you cry – none other than the historically famous Royal Academy in its current 2013 degree show. Where normally, (and I can only speak for London universities) the degree shows are rammed, and you can barely make out where one works starts and another one ends and where curation is thrown out the window and replaced with simply whose tongue can reach furthest up the tutor’s arse. This show, on the other hand has been well thought through and curated, the gallery guides you pleasantly through the show’s natural path, where the students’ placements have been put together with consideration to complement artists in adjoining rooms.
One of the major artists already gaining notoriety is Eddie Peake, note that in your copy books, where he had KoolLondon FM, arguably London’s first jungle pirate radio station, set up in the early 1990s, airing live from his make-shift DJ booth in the corner of his room, the rest of the space was plastered with text created by masking tape and used as a stencil in a very crude manner. KoolLondon posters & t-shirts adorn the wall reminiscent of Keith Harring’s ‘Pop Shop’ and one lone canvas, in a style Peake seems to be creating as his trademark, named ‘Lick Suck Kiss’ created using spray paint and a steel mirror. When entering this space with Jungle music blaring out it has an energy where the viewers cant help but be hit on a gut level and just feels so honest and raw where you feel that Mr. Peake just knows what he’s doing and it just feels so right.
Charlie Billingham was another artist of note with his installation incorporating plants, painting, mirror and sculpture. Like all the engaging installations in this showcase it feels as though painting is the primary focus and the environments created round them are natural steps to push their creations. Billingham’s space feels like a contemporary Parisian living-room, if Paris had not fallen into its own nostalgic stereotype, where the art has utilized every inch of his space to maximum effect, even including ‘The Ernesto Table’ a coffee table painting (a painting for a coffee table). There is no hostility in this space and one could spend a long time relaxed in this tranquil environment just soaking in Billingham’s world.
Two other artist that stood out where Michael O’Reilly and his Pop meets Peter Doig like studies of Van Gogh where candy floss colours meet scenes of dilapidation and decay. And Nancy Miller with her visually striking geometric paintings which have an almost 1950s design quality but are kicked into 2013 by the colour and their lack of consistency and regimentation which works in her favour making them so much more than just another soulless hotel lobby wall filler.
Overall the show is highly encouraging, obviously with 17 students exhibiting it is bound to have its ‘Peake’s’ and troughs (get it?) but generally speaking the level of works is very impressive and well worth keeping and eye on the above-mentioned artists.
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-Contributed by Robert Strang