Pip Valence: Leonard St's Eb & Flow, exhibition review

The first review from our new art writer Pip Valence explores some of the lesser known artists exhibiting in Shoreditch

By Pip Valence

An invitation to a gallery of which I was previously unaware peaked my interest this week.  Eb & Flow Gallery in Leonard Street recently opened She doesn’t care: male painters not impressing a woman.

It’s an interesting show, but a difficult title and one that at first I felt slightly marginalised by. Perhaps that was its intention.

Curated by Liam Newnham, it offers an eclectic mix of mark making (a style of art whereby the brushstrokes, thumb prints and imperfections are at the heart of the piece), as well as sculpture by male artists only.  

Mark making and the handmade are currently enjoying a resurgence, after many years of the fabrication and perfection of the likes of works by Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. That this exhibition is devoted to the art of mark making is symptomatic of a real change in both the creation of artworks and its market.

This is no longer about trying to make work look perfectly manufactured; it’s about the expression of an artist and the sense of honest creativity.

On my arrival I was mostly interested in seeing works by Sweet Toof, being, as I am, a long-time fan of the artist’s street painting. (There is always a feeling of excitement and satisfaction on turning a street corner and discovering a newly painted gummy toothed treasure.)

Sweet Toof is fine art trained, in both painting and printmaking disciplines and by gum his indoor oil paintings gleam with their freshness!

Combining historical fine art and his street work, the beautifully executed works are delicious and extremely desirable –  Sweet Toof’s’s work often sells quickly, originals and prints sometimes available from www.Nellyduff.com or www.highrollersociety.com.

Recent stunts by the artist include him defacing copies of The Metro. As is usually the case with the paper, these were then left on trains or taken home. Later defaced copies sold from £200 each on eBay.

As for those on display at Eb & Flow, The Messanger (2011), sparkles with its glitter dust back ground and toothy grin which lightens the grim, sly darkness of its portrayed character. Sweet Toof’s oil paintings serve as a stunning capture of our London streets with a humorous twist on the aspect of a traditional gallery painting.

The Messanger by Sweet Toof

Source: Courtesy of Eb&Flow gallery

The Messanger by Sweet Toof

After filling up on my Sweet Toof, I was stopped in my tracks by a piece from Cedar Lewisohn ‘She doesn’t care’ (2012).The show’s namesake is a huge 150cm x 1000cm hand pressed wood carving on painted paper.

Its primeval darkness is both severe and enticing – with the use of Masonic type symbolism, stark white imagery and elements of the primitive. This work bares echoes of cave art and Egyptian hieroglyphs. I felt like I was at the beginning, the great architect, the start of man and at the same time a forecast of what is to come. Cedar Lewisohn, both an artist and curator, previously co-curated Rude Brittania at Tate Britain.

Flag (centre) by Jonathan Kipps, She doesn’t care (right) by Cedar Lewisohn, Homage to Dubuffet Part One (left) by Harry Pye:

Source: Photograph by Jonathan Kipps

Flag (centre) by Jonathan Kipps, She doesn’t care (right) by Cedar Lewisohn, Homage to Dubuffet Part One (left) by Harry Pye:

Kipps’ work is extremely exciting. Seemingly investigating the space between painting and sculpture, Kipps plays the viewer. He creates a question regarding the space. I stood and viewed Flag for quite some time: it is stark, unforgiving and inherently romantic. The canvas, balanced precariously so, made me want to creep round it. Perhaps this is symbolic of the nature in which we view patronage today?

But it also had an after-the-event feeling. Like a protest banner that’s finished its march.

On looking further into Kipps’ work, I was excited to see his drawings - which are also published in the latest edition of Drawing Paper. (Drawing Paper is a not for profit newspaper based publication concerned solely with drawing, curated and published in Liverpool by Mike Carney and Jon Barraclough.)

Kipps is an emerging artist and having just been accepted to study at the world renowned Slade School of Fine Art (graduates include Martin Creed, Tacita Dean, Jenny Saville, Rachel Whiteread), is without doubt someone I feel we will be seeing a lot more of very soon.

Flag (2012) Jonathan Kipps

Flag (2012) by Jonathan Kipps

 

 

 

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