Friday, 27 July 2012

Franz West dies.

Abstraction painting from Iran: Mehran Elminia at Rosenfeld Porcini, Fitzrovia, London

Mehran Elminia 'Smoking Incense'2011, Mixed media on canvas - 200 x 180 cm
I love this work, finally we have a contemporary painter working in abstraction that has the sensitivity and energy in their brushwork that reflects artists like Joan Mitchell, with elements of Per Kirkeby. At Rosenfeld Porcini in London, we can see the new exhibition enttitled 'Revealing Harmonies' by the emerging Iranian artist Mehran Elminia. This will be the first solo UK exhibition of Elminia’s work and will include oil and mixed media works on canvas.

Elminia's work constrains the violence of Pollock, if we can really suggest it's violence, and works with a sensitivity and humility, the works are no more than 1 metre from the large canvas throughout. 'He eschews any idea of figuration; figures can appear, but the artist is oblivious until he steps back to look at the finished work. His purely emotional response to his art and the total oneness he achieves between body, brush and canvas has the capacity to create works of great emotional intensity.' I am not sure about that, but the works certainly resonates viscerally with me, which in my books means it's a successful painting..

Mehran Elminia, 'Birth', 2012, mixed media on canvas, 160 x 200 cm.
Elminia comments: 'When I am in front of the blank canvas, I make a conscious attempt to eliminate all thoughts of my past, present and future and to stand naked in the most complete sense, negating any idea of 'I', so that my brush can produce the most instinctive, natural and purest relationship between it, the paint and the canvas".

Mehran Elminia was born in Tabiz ( Iran ) in 1975. He obtained his masters in art from Rome University of Fine Arts and currently lives and works in Iran as both as an artist and a teacher. Elminia has exhibited with several galleries and art fairs in Italy including Rome International Art Fair and Milan International Art Fair along with solo exhibitions in Iran . He has further contributed to group exhibitions in Dubai and Rome and was featured in the 2010 Biennale of Contemporary Religious Art, Stauròs Museum, Italy. This will be his first solo UK exhibition.

Mehran Elminia, 'Summit' 2011, mixed media on canvas - 300 x 200 cm

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Showcase: New paintings, Alexis Harding, London

Alexis Harding, 'Crack Tip (Unraveller)' 2012 (detail)
Oil and gloss on MDF, 244 x 122 cm
Mummery + Schnelle has just held a great new exhibition of the new paintings of Alexis Harding, who is developing his ingenious explorations in painting. 'Order and control are nothing but illusions.' lieve Harding is one of Britains most interesting painters working in abstraction today. Underlying even the most structured of appearances, randomness and chance are at the helm, and it is these concepts that prevail in the workings of London-based artist. Throughout Harding’s work, structures are shown to fail, grids collapse, and hard-edged systems give way to entropy. Jumping off from Abstract Expressionism and the works remind me of Clyfford Still and Gerhard Richter.

Alexis harding 'Ray' 2012
Oil & gloss paint on aluminium
300 x 100 cm
'Since graduating from Goldsmiths in the 1990s, Harding has been exploring the fundamental properties of paint as the medium for his work. In layering a calculated grid of household gloss upon a base of oil paint, the surface is allowed to slide around the canvas, collapse and fall in upon itself, at times reaching a state of complete destruction as the work crumples to the floor.'

The studio working practice is  is the most important, in his latest exhibition at Mummery + Schnelle, Harding has traded in the dichromatic grid that dominates many of his earlier works for a spectrum of colours, but the process is still the same. While the medium he works in may be paint, the act is a very sculptural one. First laying the paint on its canvas while flat on the floor, the artist then picks the work up and moves it about his studio – intermittently tilting, turning and adjusting as the paint slides around and only after a period of time fixing into place. While there is a great deal of intervention from the artist, the results are largely dependent on chance – how the work will react and how it will fall can be highly unpredictable.

Below is earlier work from 2009:
Alexis Harding 'Bouncers' 2009, oil and gloss on MDF

Ian Davenport: Between the Lines, Art Plural Gallery, Singapore

Ian Davenport 'Puddle Painting: Black (After Le Corbusier)', 2010
Acrylic paint on stainless steel, mounted on aluminium panel, 123 x 98 cm
British artist Ian Davenport is still developing his drip techniques, allowing the works to bleed an flow together, these are the most interesting paintings I think he has done. has This inaugural solo exhibition in South-East Asia at Art Plural Gallery, which has just finished, featured his distinctive poured paintings.
 Reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism an, the former Turner Prize nominee is recognised for his intense and unconventional painting practice, working with a crescendo of colours orchestrated in rows of lines. His distinctive creative process involves the pouring of paint with an industrial syringe over the body of a working surface, allowing the line of colour to ebb and flow into saturated puddles.

As one of the most prominent contemporary of post-painterly abstraction, Ian Davenport has injected new life to the practice of painting. The artist consistently creates complex colour arrangements in vertical lines of varying widths. Borne out of rigorous experimentation, the artist attempts to creates works that explore physical and psychological relationships between the viewer and his visual culture with sensory immediacy.

In conjunction with the exhibition will be the publication of 'Ian Davenport: Between the Lines', a fully illustrated, comprehensive and definitive catalogue of the artist’s poured paintings.

Ian Davenport 'Puddle Painting: Magenta, Green, Violet, Green', 2011
Acrylic on stainless steel, 200 x 200cm (2 panels)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Showcase: Iranian contemporary artist Farhad Ahrarnia

                 Farhad Ahrarnia 'Beautiful is the silence of ruins II', Photography on canvas on embroidery,
144X88.5 CM, 2011, Private collection

This is the work of Iranian born and British artschool trained, Farhad Ahrarnia, who exhibited at 'Canary in a Coal Mine' at Rose Issa Projects, London, earlier this year. His work combines stitching with postwar imagery from popular culture of Hollywood and beauty contests etc. I like the deconstruction and bricolage/craft techniques merging photography and abstraction. It reminds me of John Baldassari in stitch. Born in 1971 in Shiraz, in Iran and graduated in Experimental and Documentary Film Theory and Practice from the Northern Media School, Sheffield Hallam University, England. He lives and works between Sheffield and Shiraz, Iran.

"For me living in Iran has never guaranteed a state of detachment or indifference to events unfolding rapidly in the rest of the world. Various contradictory narratives, sounds and images seep into my imagination and consciousness. They become entangled with my perception, history and everyday reality. Naturally I can’t help but weave my own set of meanings from what I see around me. I piece together tainted realisations and understandings, imbued with a sense of conspiracy, anxiety and unease, however false or twisted it might be."

He recently showed at the Beirut Exhibition Centre and at the Venice Biennale. The following text by Farhad Ahrarnia , is from the Beirut Exhibition Centre exhibition:
"The myriad diversity of Iranian perspectives on regional and global events has always bemused and intrigued me. I suppose the greatest challenge that faces my generation is how to reconcile our contemporaneity and modernity with our search for individual and collective truths. If and when we bother to reclaim everything that tends to seduce and manipulate our views, perhaps then a degree of emancipation will be achieved.
I reach out for my truth and autonomy through embroidery and the language of needlework, with sharp needles and endless spools of colourful thread. As I navigate my thoughts through the surface of an image, I find myself deconstructing and re-assembling its subliminal undertones and intentions. Recently I have begun carving metallic household utensils, forming my version of certain collective histories on to their surface. This is my attempt to dig out and save the lost spirit of all that might still be hovering beneath."
His recent solo shows include“Canary in a Coal Mine” at Rose Issa Projects, London (2012); “Stitched” with Rose Issa Projects at Leighton House Museum, London (2008); and “Home” at Bessie Sertees House, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead (both 2004-05). His work is in the public collections of the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford; Harewood House, Leeds; and the British Museum, London.
Farhad Ahrarnia, 'Miss Iraq n.7', Digital photograph on cotton aida and embrodery,
59X39 CM, 2010
Farhad Ahrarnia, 'Beautiful is the silence of ruins IV', Photography on cnvas on embroidery,
144X88.5 CM, 2011, Private collection