Our pick of this week’s art events: 6 - 12 June
By Sam Phillips
Published 6 June 2014
From contemporary takes on Hogarth's 'A Rake's Progress' to early works by Ian McKeever RA.
The Foundling Museum, London 6 June–7 September 2014
London’s Foundling Museum marks 250 years since the death of William Hogarth with a focus on his most famous series of engravings, ‘A Rake's Progress’ (1735). With the artist’s characteristically biting wit, the series charts in eight flamboyant scenes the decline and fall of a merchant’s son.
The work ripped into the airs and graces of the time, with its depiction of how the fictional Tom Rakewell progresses from swanning around at a Handel gig and frequenting brothels to evading debt collectors and ending up in Bedlam. Its satirical bombast has inspired artists down the decades, including Academicians David Hockney, Yinka Shonibare and Grayson Perry, and all three RAs’ responses – works that in themselves are high points of these contemporary artists’ careers – go on show at the museum alongside Hogarth’s originals.
Ian Davenport: Colourfall
Waddington Custot Galleries, London 11 June–12 July 2014
Hopefully your eye has been caught on the tube by the RA’s Summer Exhibition poster, which features a detail from one of Ian Davenport’s exuberant acrylics comprised of poured vertical stripes of paint, with each line an alternate bright colour. Once you’ve seen the British artist’s work in the Academy’s galleries, visit his exhibition at Mayfair’s Waddington Custot Galleries or peruse the first monograph published on Davenport, with whose release the show has been timed to coincide.
John Martin Gallery, London until 21 June Nearby the Waddington Custot, John Martin Gallery presents a similarly colourful presentation of painting, but one that could be not more different in terms of technique. In contrast to Davenport’s programmatic use of pigment, Welsh artist Neale Howells employs a highly anarchic aesthetic, layering expressive scrawls of paint, graffiti-ish lettering and pop art figurative motifs in what appears like absolute abandon – although the result somehow coalesces into a whole that holds together.
Ian McKeever RA: Against Photography: Early Works, 1975–1990
Hackelbury Fine Art, London until 27 September 2014 It’s always fascinating to view an artist’s early work, the mind quickly wandering to possible connections between early and later phases, and Hackelbury’s focus on Ian McKeever’s early photographs should be no exception. The Academician’s interest in the dialogue between photography and painting is central to this body of work. In characteristic mixed-media piece Study for Moth Tree (1985), a photograph of the titular tree is painted with gestural marks, documentary and expressive representations of nature merging in a single work. A publication imprint #1, with an essay by critic Mark Prince, is launched to accompany the exhibition.
Room&Book Art Book Fair
ICA, London 6–8 June Writing of books, I should recommend this weekend’s book fair Room and Book at the ICA. The London venue showcases a broad church of independent art book dealers, ranging from Norfolk’s Simon Finch – who handles everything from antiquarian delights onwards – to London’s self-declared ‘itinerant book project’ Luminous Books, a pop-up with a contemporary artist’s eye for all types of curiosities.
The John Jones Arts Building, London
And a quick mention about an amazing transformation that has taken place. The low-rise redbrick building I used to pass on my way to Finsbury Park station, home to framers John Jones, has been replaced by The Arts Building, a new multi-storey complex for the business to sell their bespoke frames, artist materials and services including the photography of artworks. A project space showcases artists (first up is Dublin installation artist Teresa Gillespie) and from mid-July they’ll be a café run by Exeter Street Bakery.