Polemically Small27. Jun - 23. Sep 12 / ended Orleans House Gallery
Tuesdays - Saturdays 1.00-5.30pm, Sundays 2.00-5.30pm
Polemically Small: Art in London now.
Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham
23 June – 23 September
Polemically Small, curated by Zavier Ellis and Edward Lucie-Smith, is based on the idea that small works of art are often more powerful in their effect than big ones. Certainly they require a different, more focused attention from the spectator. It consists of work by 50 younger British artists, paintings and works on paper, and offers a panorama of the current London art scene, currently the liveliest in the world.
If we look at the art of the past, art earlier than Modernism, we find a mixture of big art and small art. The big art was almost invariably produced for absolutely specific purposes – never on spec. It adorned churches and palaces. It offered a focal point to a public square. Small scale art was sometimes produced without a patron in mind, simply for the market, as most art is produced today. Many of the great masterpieces of the past are disconcertingly small. Portraits by Van Eyck and Memling. Religious paintings by Antonello da Messina. Some, though not all, of Rembrandt’s self-portraits. Samuel Palmer’s landscapes of the Shoreham period. Even the Mona Lisa. They need to be looked at in a different way from wraparound art – slower, more contemplative – dare one say it? – more loving.
This exhibition is meant to do two rather ambitious things within a physically small space. First, to suggest that contemporary art is changing, and changing rather faster than usual. An important part of this change is the rebellion against huge size. Artists are making small work not because they are forced to (though in some cases that is increasingly true), but because they actually want to – because small art, in current conditions, is actually cutting edge, and delivers a new and dissident message. “Look at me in a different way,” it says. Secondly, linked to this, the show invites visitors to explore, on their own terms, how this different way of looking functions, and what it may possibly deliver.
To complement the exhibition, the Riverside Gallery in Richmond will showcase a range of works on paper by the same artists in Polemically Small on Paper (23 June - 23 September).
Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ
Orleans House Gallery open: Tuesday – Saturday 1.00-5.30pm, Sundays 2.00-5.30pm
Riverside Gallery open: Mon 10.00-6.00pm, Tue 10-5pm, Wed 10-6pm, Thur 10.00-5.00pm, Fri 10.00-5.00pm, Sat 10.00-1.30pm.
Tel: 020 8831 6000
Fax: 020 8744 0501
Notes for Editors
Henny Acloque, Alexander Adams, Dale Adcock, Dominic Allan, Iain Andrews, Emma Bennett, Kiera Bennett, Gabriella Boyd, Jemima Brown, Gordon Cheung, Jake Clark, Dan Coombs, Tom Doran, Katie Elder, Nadine Feinson, Nick Fox, Rose Gibbs, David Hancock, Justin Hibbs, Sigrid Holmwood, Alex Hudson, Luke Jackson, Sam Jackson, James Jessop, Chris Jones, Benjamin Kustow, Peter Lamb, Cathy Lomax, Robert Luzar, Joe Machine, Jasmine Maddock, Maslen & Mehra, Robin Mason, Hugh Mendes, Alexis Milne, Richard Moon, Alex Gene Morrison, Gavin Nolan, Tom Ormond, Tim Parr, Claire Pestaille, Harry Pye, Dominic Shepherd, John Stark, Kate Street, Charles Thomson, Covadonga Valdes, Stepehn Wlater, Hannah Wooll
Edward Lucie-Smith is an internationally known art critic and historian, who is also a published poet and a practicing photographer. As a photographer he has exhibited in a wide variety of international locations, ranging from Kuala Lumpur to Rio de Janeiro and Kingston, Jamaica.
He has published more than a hundred books in all, chiefly but not exclusively about contemporary art. He is generally regarded as the most prolific and the most widely published writer on art. A number of his art books are used as standard texts throughout the world. Among the languages in which they have appeared are Chinese, Arabic and Persian.
He currently curates the Bermondsey Project Space in London, managed by Crisis, the charity for the single homeless. He has organised exhibitions in a number of galleries worldwide – in Greece, Germany, the United States, Italy and Estonia, and most recently in Klaipeda, Lithuania. He is the Chair of the international jury for Persbook, an annual competition for young Iranian artists held on Facebook, and has served on the juries of the Cairo, Alexandria and Sharjah Biennials.
Zavier Ellis is the Director of the Old St gallery CHARLIE SMITH london. He is also co-founder of the museum scale show for emerging artists The Future Can Wait, which will be organized for the second year running in 2012 in partnership with The Saatchi Gallery. Zavier has curated exhibitions internationally including in Berlin, Helsinki, Klaipeda, London, Los Angeles, Naples and Rome; and has placed work in notable private collections globally including The Saatchi Gallery, Javier Baz, Peter Nobel, Jean Pigozzi, David Roberts and Thomas Rusche. Known as an acute talent spotter Zavier has identified and exhibited a number of important young artists directly from Art College including David Blandy, Oliver Clegg, Tessa Farmer, Sam Jackson, Monica Ursina Jäger, Annie Kevans, Nika Neelova and Douglas White. Zavier also collects and is a practicing artist and has most recently exhibited at Paul Stolper Gallery in London and Museum der Moderne in Salzburg. www.charliesmithhlondon.com | www.thefuturecanwait.com | www.zavierellis.com
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