Curated by Maxine Leslau and Leigh Message
Artists: Mikael Alacoque, Artists Anonymous, Mike Ballard, William Bradley, Hugo Dalton,
George Harding, Alexander Hoda, Joanna Hill, Nick Jeffrey, Sarah Lederman, Greg Rook, Rob
Sherwood, Hana Vojácková
Exhibition: 13th to 21st March 2009
Maddox Arts is delighted to present At Home, a group show of young emerging artists in the UK curated by Maxine Leslau and Leigh Message.
Leslau and Message have been collecting jointly for the last two years, scouring degree shows and artists studios to find a new generation of artists to form their LesMes Collection. As part of The Artist & Collector Exchange programme, an informal group of collectors who benevolently support students from the University of the Arts through bursaries, various sponsorship schemes and sales of work, Leslau and Message represent a vital new generation of collectors whose roles go beyond the traditional realms of accumulating objects. Both women share a dedication to supporting artists in the early phases of their careers through patronage, project sponsorship and personal encouragement.
About the work they buy Leslau states: “We buy works that we love and we live with the work. It is a very personal kind of collecting, and when we find an artist that we love we continue to support them for as long as we can afford them. So far it has been a very fulfilling venture for everyone involved.” In an interesting role-reversal for the gallery, it seemed only natural to invite Leslau and Message to curate a show which presents some of the fruit of their support and dedication to young artistic talent in the UK. This show is the perfect opportunity for them to open up their homes and share new works by their cherished artists, making it an exhibition as much about the intimacies of home, as about the individual talent on display. Therefore we find paintings, light-boxes projections and sculptures hanging amongst sofas, tables, light fixtures and chairs specially selected for the exhibition.
Despite the enormous stylistic variations, examples can be found that define certain characteristics which unite the artists in the LesMes collection. As in the early works of nearly all great artists throughout history, it is a pleasure to find the concerns of light as a recurring theme in many of the pieces on display here. Mike Ballard and Hugo Dalton use it electrically as the source in their works, but to very different ends. In Ballard’s elegant light-boxes, landscapes of science fiction and fantasy collages are stunningly amplified by the bright rear illumination often housed in retro furniture. Dalton, on the other hand exposes the simplicity of a single line drawing projected through a powerful theatrical light source on to a bare wall, the elegant natural forms seeming to pierce through their background.
The paintings of Greg Rook, George Harding and Rob Sherwood all effectively employ variations of light in their invocation of mood and setting. Rook often uses it with dramatic effect to highlight and almost shimmer across his depictions of bygone scenes. In George Harding’s circular prints he uses the extreme gradation of light to dark (and vice versa) to animate and contrast the static features of a doll’s face as it hypnotically radiates out towards us. Furthermore, Hana Vojácková uses the light of a street lamp in her elaborately staged photographs to focus our attention on her latter day Little Red Riding Hood, both parts amused and scared as she roams through the urban forest of London’s east end by night.
Most importantly, all the artists chosen for this show display enormous talent in their work, creating bold, vivid and unique images that stimulate and impress upon the memory. This is an exciting snapshot of early work by some of the best emerging artists in the UK.