The artists have known each other for 15 years but this is the first time they have exhibited together. The show title puns on the slang for a trainer and the classic French dessert. Walter and McLean have both been using shoes in their recent work. For Walter this is manifest as an interest in the anachronistic children’s cartoon The Shoe People, which feature in his new large-scale acrylic paintings The Shoe People Paisley. For McLean this is manifest in a series of paintings and sculptures called Balenci Wontons that conflate his studies at Cordwainer’s College, his 1000 strong collection of shoe drawings from childhood and his experience working at the Thai pop up restaurant Bangkok Delivery Boy. These two diverse bodies of shoe themed work collide in a shared aesthetic philosophy that favours the shonky, the maximal and the popular. Prepare to enter this year’s hottest shit-flicker!
Dr John Walter is a multimedia artist, curator and academic. He studied at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, The Slade School of Fine Art and The University of Westminster. He was awarded the 2016 Hayward Curatorial Open for Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness. Recent exhibitions include: The Fourth Wall (Look Again Festival Aberdeen, 2019); Booze Guitar (Matt’s Gallery, 2018); CAPSID (Southwark Park Galleries and HOME, 2018); Somewhere in Between (Wellcome Collection, 2018); Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity (Walker Art Gallery, 2017); The Zany Capsid (Hardwick Gallery, 2017); Essex Road III (Tintype, 2016); Alien Sex Club (Ambika P3 and Homotopia Festival, 2015). Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England have supported his work. The Arts Council Collection and The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool have collected his work.
Bert McLean (b.1998, London) is a cardboard artist. He was born, educated and currently works in East London. His artistic training began at the Royal Drawing School followed by a year designing and making shoes at the Cordwainer’s College at the London College of Fashion. He will commence the Fine Art programme at the Gerrit Reitveld Academie in Amsterdam this autumn. This year Bert has initiated, run and curated a public art space called Do Your Own Thing Space (DYOT) in Hackney. Starting out as a coffee bar, the space soon became part live studio, part event and gallery space for young and local artists to put on weeklong shows of work-in-progress. He received the Southwark Park Galleries Annual Salon Prize (2018) for his painting Classic Skid Grill.