David James’s ‘Civilisation’ at Gallery 46

2 October saw the debut solo exhibition of the British artist David James open at Whitechapel’s GALLERY46. Entitled Civilisation, it features a series of drawings and paintings that explore the relationship between personal experience and art history. The drawings are the result of a technique that modifies reproductions of masterpieces by artists such as Velázquez and Rembrandt torn from books, while the paintings are fabricated objects made from digital enlargements of the drawings on archival canvas mounted to board, with the addition of layers of resin, hair and grit. The sublime materiality of James’s paintings both seduces and repulses, a tension that highlights the possibilities of legibility and appropriation in image making. ArtAttack caught up with David to discuss his practice in more detail.

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Ed & Mike, 2014-16 © David James, by courtesy of the artist

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‘It’s how well you bounce’ at Bethlem Gallery

Bethlem Gallery is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a new group exhibition entitled It’s how well you bounce, which explores resilience and its relationship to the imagination and artistic practice. The gallery is an art focused platform for former and current patients of the historic Royal Bethlem Hospital in Bromley, supporting artists with lived experience of mental illness to involve themselves in the positive direction of art making. ArtAttack chats with Bethlem Gallery’s curator Sam Curtis about the show’s themes, the gallery’s milestone anniversary and what the future holds.

Bethlem Gallery, Mr X, 1 September 2017, Photo Ed Watts, Courtesy Bethlem Gallery[1].jpg
Mr X outside Bethlem Gallery. Photo Ed Watts, Courtesy Bethlem Gallery
 How does the theme of resilience manifest itself in the works in the exhibition?

The theme of resilience manifests itself in the works in the exhibition in diverse ways, we see the works of artists who draw on the imagination as a positive and strategic response to life pressures, works that are born out of the artist’s ability to adapt and survive to new and often challenging circumstances, artists that resist or document resistance to social and political pressures, artists that reroute negative thoughts into something more positive through their art making, artists that map, shape and transform their identity through art making and therapy and importantly we can encounter artworks and projects that critique the notion of resilience that says we need to ‘man or woman-up’ and bounce back from adversity . It’s how well you bounce includes artworks that explore a specific aspect of resilience as well as artworks that come from artistic practice that is itself a form of resilience.

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Installation view of Grayson Perry, Map of an Englishman, 2004. Photo: Ed Watts. Courtesy: Bethlem Gallery

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Disco Ball Soul: ArtAttack Interviews Emma Elizabeth Tillman

Opening on 11 August 2017 is photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman’s debut solo show entitled Disco Ball Soul. The exhibition, consisting of more than 90 collages created over a ten-year period, is an accumulation of photographs and texts taken from her new book of the same title. Tillman began this body of work in 2007, recording precious moments, including her meeting of her now husband Josh.

1. Louisville, Kentucky, 2012 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, by courtesy of the artist.jpg
Louisville, Kentucky, 2012 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, by courtesy of the artist

ArtAttack caught up with Emma to find out more about her thoughts on film, travel and making the private public.

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New Geographies launches today!

Today, 18th July, marks the launch of The East Contemporary Visual Arts Network’s (ECVAN) New Geographies, a three-year Arts Council England-funded project that invites members of the public to choose locations for 10 major site-specific visual arts commissions across the east of England.

Petrified Oak Forest of Mundon, Essex © Glyn Baker.jpg
Petrified Oak Forest of Mundon, Essex © Glyn Baker

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Out of the wilderness: Maddie Rose Hills returns from Iceland for London show

Maddie Rose Hills paints visceral large scale canvases driven by an interest in play and experimentation. A mass of texture and colour, Hills paints using a physical and intuitive process to cut free from conscious actions. She has developed an acute interest in looking towards the detail of what she encounters, specifically within vast natural landscapes – reflected by the small details within her work.

Maddie Rose Hills - Studio Shot

You have recently finished a residency in Iceland, tell us about this experience. How did that particular environment inspire you as an artist?

Last summer, I was very excited to be accepted onto an artist residency in Iceland. The residency lasted two weeks and took part in the Westfjords where the landscape is essentially mountains and deep valleys leading down to fjords. There are no trees and the ground is covered in tough grass and flowers, as well as huge rocks covered in lichen and lava moss. The landscapes look baron and are inhospitable. The lack of visible wildlife as we know it makes it seem otherworldly. There are no reptiles or amphibians and the only land mammal native to Iceland is the Arctic Fox. We also didn’t see sign of another person the whole time we were there.

The programme brought together 10 artists working in different areas of the arts, there was a writer, photographer, filmmaker, sculptor, poet – I think there was supposed to be a dancer but they had to pull out last minute. But, the idea was that no matter what your practice was, your principal inspiration was natural landscapes and the wilderness. We walked for two weeks through these amazing landscapes carrying everything we needed for the whole trip. Due to the nature of the residency most of us couldn’t practice our art while we were there, it was purely inspiration & idea sharing. Interestingly, this allowed me to realise that I don’t paint from what’s in front of me but from a memory. The whole trip for me was gathering memories to go back and paint from after the residency was over. It was a trip in order to really focus on looking and noticing. What you then get when you make art is a response to the place – you are capturing an essence of something as opposed to trying to copy it. This has stuck with me and is now how I always work.

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Bram Bogart Monochromes Come to the Saatchi

Opening tonight at Saatchi Gallery in the heart of Chelsea as part of their SALON programme is Witte de Witte, a presentation of 9 monochrome (or practically monochrome) paintings by the Belgian artist Bram Bogart.

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Bram Bogart, Witte de Witte, 2002, Mixed media

Staged in collaboration with Mayfair’s Vigo Gallery, the show takes what we traditionaly envision as Bogart’s style — bright, primary colours painted thickly and boldly  — and turns it on it’s head by showing only his rarely seen neutral colour paintings! Taken as a group, these works not only showcase a different side to Bogart, but also illustrate his dramatic, varied and unique contribution to modernist painting.

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It’s that time of year again! Head to the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair This Sunday!

It’s that time of year again! The annual Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair is back, this time in its namesake of Vauxhall on SUNDAY, 9 JULY 2017 from 12 – 6pm.

This year’s brand-new theme, ‘The Original,’ promises to be a prime opportunity to snap up one-of-a-kind original as well as limited edition artworks all for a fraction of their usual prices. The one-day festival will take place in the streets of Vauxhall’s vibrant new gallery district with the support of Newport Street Gallery and U+I Plc, and will present an eclectic line-up of over one hundred artists who will be selling exclusive pieces from the boots of both new and vintage Vauxhall cars.

James Joyce, Hot Air, Acrylic on canvas, 35 x 45cm, £750.jpg
James Joyce, Hot Air, Acrylic on canvas, 35 x 45cm, £750

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A Turner Prize Nominee comes to Firstsite: Lubaina Himid’s ‘Warp and Weft’

This Saturday 1st July sees the opening of Lubaina Himid: Warp and Weft, a survey of works by the 2017 Turner Prize nominee at Firstsite gallery in Colchester.

1. Naming the Money, 2004. Collection of National Museum Liverpool International Slavery Museum, and the artist. Photo Spike Island © the artist copy.png
Naming the Money, 2004. Courtesy the artist, Hollybush Gardens and National Museums Liverpool: International Slavery Museum. Photo Spike Island © the artist

A key figure in the Black Arts Movement, Himid first came to prominence in the 1980s when she began organising exhibitions of work by her peers, who were underrepresented in the contemporary art scene. Her diverse approach disrupts preconceptions of the world by introducing historical and contemporary stories of racial bias and acts of violence inflicted upon oppressed communities.

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PhotoX competition winner’s announced

The Green Rooms play host to ArtGemini’s photography exhibition – displaying a wonderful mix of subject matter. Amongst the group of 30 or so photographers showing, are the winners of the PhotoX competition.

The ArtAttack take: Jakub Pasierkiewicz’s Natural Resemblance VIII, 2016 brings together a two shots: a carefully curated interior composition alongside a peeling, graffitied wall. Its elegant ambiguity offers the viewer with many different readings.

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The winners in full:

1st prize Matthew Joseph, River People – Louis, 2017  
2nd prize
Samye Asher, Prussia Cave, 2015

Monochrome Prize A.R. Shah, Onward, 2012
Artist Residency Prize Jakub Pasierkiewicz, Natural Resemblance VIII, 2016

The exhibition of the 35 short-listed works, with workshops, portfolio reviews and seminars running until July 1st. www.photox.co.uk for more details. The Green Rooms is a 12 minute journey from King’s Cross, address below:

The GreenRooms, 13-27 Station Road, Wood Green, London, N22 6UW