Zealey, Treadwell and Gee Three Young London Artists’ Exhibiting July 2015

emerging art

Felix Treadwell’s long awaited solo show, at CNB Gallery, opens on 8th July. Winner of the HIX Award 2014, Ripple on a Playground is Felix’s debut exhibition following the success of his recently completed degree in Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts. Born in a town near Brighton in 1992, Felix was inspired to become an artist from his experiences as a child and teenager. He moved to London to complete his Fine Art degree and during this was accepted to study at Kyoto Seika University in Japan for 7 months. The influence of these distant cultures is unquestionably evident in his work.

Felix both deals with and debates the way the internet has reshaped the interactions and relationships between the East and West. With information and the media becoming more accessible, the boundaries we once faced within the real world are being rapidly broken down by our online presence. He leaves the viewer in limbo, questioning whether this blurring distinction between cultures is a positive or negative progression in today’s world. The work is bound by a series of challenges within both the aesthetic and conceptual content. The playful yet ambiguous foreground distracts from deeper issues with Internet Culture and it’s impact on today’s young generations. Through the growth of technology, children are highly influenced by fantasy worlds and synthetic universes, developing online personas and interacting with the unknown.

By using cartoon-like figures, he subtly presents his concern of the consequences that Internet Culture has on the vulnerability and conformity of youth today. His informed and deliberate choice to use the medium of painting again reflects the power of the Internet as it is the most accessed and available art form worldwide. Ripple on a playground hosts a variety of paintings and installations of Treadwell’s ‘pop, playful and ambiguous’ work. So join us at CNB Gallery to delve into this intangible but encompassing world.

FELIX TREADWELL  RIPPLE ON A PLAYGROUND CNB Gallery, Tramshed, 32 Rivington St, London, EC2A 3LX Private View: Wednesday 8th July 2015, 6 30 – 8 30 Exhibition Dates: 09/07/2015 – 03/08/2015  (Top photo)

Samuel Zealey, his latest solo exhibition at the William Benington Gallery ‘Everything Must Go’ explores the Watts Towers in South Central Los Angeles, built single-handedly by an Italian immigrant, it still stands in the back yard of a former Italian tile mason’s home. For 33 years – between 1921 and 1954 – Sabato Rodia worked to create unique monuments reaching up to 100 feet high. These concrete structures, built by hand, wrapped in wire mesh and covered in mortar, tiles, ceramics and glass, were constructed of his own volition. They are described by Buckminster Fuller in his last recorded interview as “one man’s initiative to show the beauty in nature and its principles through these architectural and sculptural wonders”.

Zealey, a recent RCA graduate is on a similar quest; embarking on sculptures and prototypes, which suggest his own lifetime’s endeavour and purpose. Zealey’s work first came to prominence in 2009, when he was a finalist in BBC 2’s School of Saatchi T.V. series. At the time his installations revolved around scientific ideas, which echoed Nikola Tesla’s interests in electricity, magnets and sound. Today, Zealey’s practice occupies a complex territory between engineering, art historical references and the societal impact of man on nature. His previous experimental machines and installations have developed to reflect concerns closer to his heart. In this latest exhibition he combines the futurist vision of Fuller, the playful resolute purposefulness of Rodia, and the magic of Tesla.

David – Chewing On The Past is a perfect example. This recent sculpture invites the audience to place their chewed gum upon the pristine surface of Michelangelo’s David. In doing so, he suggests that the classical ethical ideas of ancient civilisations are being lost to a throwaway bubble-gum veneer. Ethics and aesthetics form part of axiology – the philosophical study of value – and it this work which sets the exhibition’s tone, through the poignant treatment and wit to this replica of Michelangelo’s renaissance masterpiece. Natures Monument (Energy is not created nor destroyed) is a similar but very different interactive work. Taking an obelisk composed of birdseed, lard and suet, when exposed to nature it will be eaten slowly by wildlife and, once digested, it will become part of the land that this monument came from.

Also presented are Zealey’s familiar Think Tanks, magnetic wall-boards where the flow of his research and ideas are made evident for us to see, alongside more playful toy-like sculptures such as Totem-Top, a new work inspired by a spinning top. This aerodynamically engineered, simple yet brilliant invention is utilised by him to create Solar System Sun Dial, an elaborate spinning top sequence sustained with the aid of a customised, solar-powered gyroscope. Its engineering and complexity are impossible to dissociate with childhood memories, but its innocence contains the gravitas of Zealey’s intentions. In Precarious Protrusion (the Jenga structure) he makes these clearer, with his reenactment of this familiar man-made game, presented on faux natural bedrock. Like Sabato Rodia, this monument will reach to the sky, not just for aggrandisement’s sake or celebration but also, to remind us of the ephemeral ‘humanity’ we have built upon the timeless foundations of nature, and this game’s inevitable conclusion of collapse, as a reminder to be careful of our every step taken on this Earth.

SAMUEL ZEALEY – EVERYTHING MUST GO William Benington Gallery 2 July – 13 August Private View: 2 July 6 – 8pm

Matt Gee, who finished his MA at Wimbledon College in 2012 exhibits his mixed medium practice at Gallery 286 Gee uses the different gallery spaces at 286 to enhance the varied aspects of hiswork, which continues to resonate in between art and science. He uses a visual language reminiscent of props used in a laboratory, or science lecture room, that could qualify as scientific posters or cross section diagrams.The work aim’s to discover the origin’s of desire for objects within society’s materialistic culture; and questioning our understanding of issues such as pollution and contamination, by applying the dichotomy Synthetic Vs Authentic. Crystals and Geodes are reoccurring mechanisms of Gee’s work, as crystals grow in a organic fashion but ironically contain no DNA, and Geodes are rustic on the outside but idealistically beautiful on the inside and only discoverable to the keenest eye. 

Nutri- Artifice can be interpreted with multiple outcomes, more specifically as a supplemented deception. The word Nutri describes the work as nourishing, but also associated with dieting pills, fitness bars, or powdered supplement brand’s, amongst connotations of artificial consumerism which seem to fill the shelves of our supermarkets. Artifice, refers to the theatrical material deceit employed in order to imitate natural objects and surfaces, by making to scale anaglyphs of lava, mock geodes or growing crystals into sharp geometric formations. Following The Fljotstunga Residency (Iceland) in May, Gee returned to the UK inspired by an isolated environment that was pertinent to his practice, living in constant daylight and surrounded by a vast moss covered lava field ridden with geology. The mundane became exotic, even with the gravel, which Gee describes as being like “The Geological version of ‘Lucky Charms’ cereal”. The gravel is littered with Obsidian, a form of glossy black quick cooling lava, which is so physically tough (second to diamond) that it’s used to make surgical scalpels. Gee sees it as a ‘beautiful outcast’, without the usual stereotypical defining aspects of beauty. Post residency he discovered the stone holds an aspect of hype,popular among ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Minecraft’ fans dubbed as ‘Dragon Glass’. A fascination was born with how a natural material can achieve a cult like status. In an overriding sense the work seeks to explore the blurry vision of how materials within the natural world attain signature value and desire, within a context of a modern society that longs for artificial consumer objects that are even themselves potentially imitations or replications. 

Matt Gee: Nutri-Artifice Gallery 286 Opening 14th July – 27th August


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