On Friday 19th May Gallery DIFFERENT will present 35-year-old contemporary painter, Tarek Sebastian Al-shammaa’s debut solo show Fall of Europe II (until 22nd May).
We at ArtAttack stumbled upon Tarek’s artwork last year and have been great admirers of his painting practice ever since. His painterly use of space is quite extraordinary, filling the canvas with symbols and figures that tell stories of our world within the greater context of mythology. Each tiny element he chooses to include says something powerful. No iconography is wasted.
The artist’s main practice is history painting as he explores historical and mythological subject matter juxtaposing it with the harsh realities contemporary Western society. Within each of the epic paintings he presents the viewer with poignant psychological insight into his own life and heritage; Al-shammaa is half French and half Iraqi, and so has found himself straddling two oft-opposing cultures throughout his life.
Recurring themes across the young artist’s paintings include consumerism, war, love, lust and political oppression, as well as the opposition and even conflict of Western and non-Western culture and ideals. In the body of work on view, Alshammaa depicts everything from iconic myths like that of the Tower of Babel to mythical iconography such as Mother Earth, all within a present-day context.
ArtAttack contributor, Franzi Gabbert, had the chance to interview Al-shammaa in regards to his upcoming exhibition as well as his general practice.
To launch Focal Point Gallery‘s upcoming series of events and exhibitions, Radical Essex, a project that will re-examine the history of Essex in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture, the gallery presents ‘The Peculiar People.’
The show, which traces the history of ideological and social-political communal living experiments throughout the 20th Century to the present day, opens today, 19th April and features an extensive archival display speculating on alternative living experiments from the late 1800s to the 1980s, alongside visual art, architecture, design and literature that relate to these counter-cultural histories.
To get an inside look into the exhibition, as well as the greater Radical Essex project, ArtAttack spoke with Focal Point Gallery director, Joe Hill.
Back in January ArtAttack visited The London Art Fair, and we were delighted with what we saw. A real highlight was visiting Venet-Haus Galerie’sstand, filled with various works including spectacular sculptures by Dee Sands and exciting pieces by contemporary photographer Dieter Blum. We also had the pleasure of being greeted by the wonderful Managing Director Verena Schneider and her colleague Terence Carr.
The Venet-Haus Gallery was founded in 2007. The gallery focuses on comprehensive, contemporary painting and sculpture of international repute. Over the years, well-known artists like Dieter Blum, Günther Ücker, Bernar Venet and Dietrich Klinge have featured prominently. In 2013, the gallery came under the present management. They saw it as an exciting challenge to discover talented young artists, for example Johann Büsen, Kristian Evju or Barbara Anna Husar and promote them alongside the already established.
I had the chance to speak to Verena about the gallery, her advice for new collectors, and their future plans.
Having studied film at my alma mater, USC, and now working in art, there are few things I can think of that excite me more than the upcoming Vincent van Gogh documentary, Loving Vincent. Not only is this cinematic feat to come an in-depth and personal peek into the impressionist master’s life compiled from information taken from 800 of his letters, but is also the first ever feature length painted animation film.
In light of Stair Sainty Gallery’s current exhibition FEDERICO BELTRAN MASSES: UNDER THE STARS, we spoke to founder and renowned dealer Guy Stair Sainty about the gallery and the current state of the market.
Guy opened his first public gallery in New York in 1982 and quickly made his name as a specialist in 18th and 19th century French painting, before gradually expanding into Spanish and Italian painting of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. Guy served for seven years as a member of the Art Advisory Panel of the Commissioner of the US Internal Revenue Service, and is a former Vice-President of the Private Art Dealer’s Association.
In Joris-Karl Huysman’s 1884 novel À Rebours, the solitary aesthete Jean des Esseintes is ‘obsessed’ with the Biblical figure of Salome, ‘a mystery to all the writers who had never succeeded in portraying the disquieting exaltation of this dancer, the refined grandeur of this murderess.’ Salome was a fixture in the mind of many such writers and artists, as a seductive enchantress of the femme fatale variety, the (in fact unnamed) dancer who requests the head of John the Baptist on a platter in the New Testament. She has cast her spell on the likes of Titian to Rubens, in particular igniting the artistic imagination of the fin-de-siècle and the Symbolist artists. Oscar Wilde’s 1893 play Salome famously invented her ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ striptease, whilst in the paintings of Gustave Moreau, ‘Des Esseintes at last saw realized the superhuman and exotic Salome of his dreams’ – a revelation he subsequently delights in waxing lyrical about for several more pages.
I find few things more desirable than pasta so traveling to Rome this past weekend, my plan was to eat as much spaghetti as humanly possible. (And so we’re clear, for me that’s A LOT!) Of course Italian coffee, Giolitti gelato and art were also on my Roman menu, and I must say nothing disappointed. I left the Italian capital Sunday night feeling utterly full, and I’m not just talking about my stomach, but culturally as well.
The first art stop on our Roman Holiday was a private tour of the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico, a fantastic apartment on the Piazza di Spagna where the artist spent, alongside his wife, the last 30 years of his life, and which now serves as a museum. Of the house itself, Giorgio de Chirico said, “They say that Rome is at the centre of the world and that Piazza di Spagna is in the centre of Rome, therefore, my wife and I, would indeed be living in the centre of the centre of the world, which would be the apex of centrality, and the apogee of anti-eccentricity.”
But aside from the phenomenal location, this is truly a gem of a museum. Of course, it is always especially magical to see an artist’s work within his own home and studio, and the Fondazione is no exception. I fell utterly in love with de Chirico’s oeuvre, discovering his sculpture for the first time as well as his “d’après” paintings, in which he painted in the style of various Renaissance and baroque masters, before he began to dive into the iconic metaphysical art he is now most known for.