Art Alert: Michael Chow at Waddington Custot, Alex Wood MOCA London, Jay Price The Mine App

Michael Chow,Waddington Custot

This November, Waddington Custot presents the first UK solo exhibition in nearly 60 years by Michael Chow (b.1939, Shanghai, China), also known by his signature name ‘M’. 

Michael is the son of one of the most famous actors of the Beijing Opera but was sent to school in the UK in the 50s, penniless. He studied at St Martin’s, became friends with people like Peter Blake, and had a promising start as an artist – MoMA bought a piece, he had shows at the ICA and Redfern Gallery – but the prejudice and racism were just too much and financially it was a struggle.

In the end he opened his first MR CHOW restaurant in 1968, which became an overnight success and celebrity hangout. He returned ton painting in 2011.

Six large-scale paintings are presented alongside several “One Breath” works on paper. M’s process is highly performative and unique, adding layer upon layer of paint and other matter onto the surface plane to create both painterly and sculptural works. M creates the three-dimensional forms first by pouring household paint, which forms giant sheets of colour. He then sculpts the paint sheets onto the canvas, a technique he started over 60 years ago.

M incorporates a multitude of found materials into his work – including leaves, eggs, footballs, sterling silver and gold leaf. Painted plastic sheets are stretched onto the canvas and burnt into the surface with a blow torch used like a brush. In a single explosive gesture, M hammers a large wooden mallet down onto deep pools of acrylic paint and whole eggs, splashing them across the canvas. The collaging of these multiple materials and techniques is a natural choice for M. “In collaging, you can put things together that shouldn’t be together, and that’s my life.”

Michael Chow, Waddington Custot, 18 Nov 22 – 14 Jan 23

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Alex Wood, MOCA London
Alex Wood, MOCA London

At the end of the month, MOCA London will present new bronze sculptures by Alex Wood that were inspired by his residency at Sala I in Rome.

Wood was presented the residency as a prize for his bronze sculptures presented to the Royal Society of British Artists in 2021. Dr Michael Petry, Director of MOCA, describes Wood’s as having a very British sort of sly humour. ‘His bronzes are not only quirky but they are often actually very funny. It is hard to make a work of sculpture intelligent and funny, for it to tell a visual joke that is not a pratfall. ‘

Woods sculpture The Palm After the Storm 2020 was recently exhibited at Paul Smith’s Bond Street store. The subjects recall holidays in Mallorca, Tenerife, LA and Ibiza and his accomplished well-made bronzes are wonderfully patinated or cold painted in bright colours.

Alex Wood: Explorer, MOCA London 27 November – 17 December 2022

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Jay Price, The Mine
Jay Price, The Mine

To coincide with Disability History Month 2022, Royal College of Art Graduate Jay Price, in association with Shape Arts, has launched The Mine, a major new artwork available as an interactive game, audiobook, and film.

In this innovative project, the user is immersed in the derelict, underground venue of ‘the mine,’ a disused space found underneath (and locked out of) the art gallery upstairs, the work details historical and contemporary examples of the structural marginalisation of disabled communities. From faeries as scapegoats, to forced sterilisation, right up to the ongoing pandemic, The Mine is a visceral unravelling of ableist social tropes, human rights violations, and grassroots resistance.

The Mine builds on Price’s existing corpus of work shining a light on the marginalisation of disabled people in society today. In 2021, Price’s work Canaries was commissioned as part of the Adam Reynolds Award shortlist exhibition, Empty When Full and they went on to receive the 2022 Adam Reynolds Award itself, which provides a £10k bursary and a creative residency opportunity to a mid-career disabled artist.

Download The Mine App Here:

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Disability History Month runs from Wednesday 16th November 2022 to Friday 16th December 2022

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