Sartorial Contemporary Art was founded in 2005 as a project-led space by artist/curator Gretta Sarfaty Marchant in her art studio located in an 18th century Georgian house on Kensington Church Street. In October 2008 Sartorial Contemporary Art moved to Kings Cross where it has become an established gallery with an international reputation.
Gretta's aim is to present and support works by newly emerging artists in order to promote the exchange of current ideas and practices which reflect their activity in order to instigate cultural dialogue. Sartorial is known for its commitment to ground-breaking art and for its unparalleled support to artists.
Sartorial Art Ltd Editions publishes "The Rebel" magazine and books of selected artists to promote and document their practice.
Rotating Exhibition: February 3rd - March 25th 2011
You can read more about the exhibition here
Wen Wu's inspiration has developed since she was a little girl. Initially she was captivated by female beauty, now her work explores young men through the eyes of her alter ego, a timeless middle aged, gay man.
For this exhibition Wen is continuing to develop fresh techniques and maintains a dynamic practice while exploring new approaches. She combines classical Chinese methods and Western stylistic devices in a contemporary style. Wen joins perspectives from different histories and cultures with a result that she calls ‘the beautiful'. In her latest series of paintings - ‘Decadent Dynasty', Wen is reflecting on her Chinese roots and her culture's attitude to love.
Whilst visiting China, Wen documented what she describes as ambiguous atmospheres; such as Dong Dan park in Beijing – a traditional place for gay men meet. She was inspired by the way that the men, in search of a partner, seemed to drift around the little hill in the park, like lost souls. She has also been inspired by the Chinese novel – ‘Dream of Red Chamber'. Her most recent large scale painting (450cm x 240cm) reflects this, creating an ideal dream space based on the interior garden described in the novel, inhabited by more than 50 figures transposed from the hill in Dong Dan Park.
Wen's passion for film is currently manifested as an installation comprising a story board of 12 paintings, together with a large scale work, forming a poetic narrative. The first group of images as an introduction, affording the audience a way to enter into the main feature, with the second group consummating the piece. This being said, each piece also stands up as an accomplished artwork in its own right.
Sartorial is opening its door to tell the story of Wen Wu while the artists opens her heart to tell you about ‘the beauty' in a enchanting, romantic and exquisite way.
Looking at Mikey Georgseon's “No Title - Let's Wrestle”, a series of paintings made from a film of his sons wrestling at home, I am reminded of a tale a told to me by a friend while we were at school. His dad had taken him to see the Saturday afternoon wrestling somewhere in Birkenhead. It would have been the early 1980's, back in the days of Big Daddy, Giant Haystack and the ever terrifying Kendo Nagasaki. I only remember two things about his account of the visit, the first being a description of him, his dad and the whole crowd in the arena going crazy, standing on their seats, pumping their fists in unison, screaming ‘EASY! EASY! EASY!' as Big Daddy chucked his opponent around the ring. The second being how on the way out, he'd peeked behind a curtain, and saw the same Big Daddy, naked, in the shower.
Excerpt from a review by Dave Evans MA RCA
Liz Neal's new painting echoes the voice of a young contemporary woman. Her portraits of familiar faces makes you wonder if there is a sarcasm behind them or merely an enjoyment of her brush strokes'' voyage. She says'....As for subject matter, I let my heart out, as cheap and blind as a plastic bag.'
Neal's previous exhibition at Sartorial Contemporary Art; ‘Some Product' (20 February – 13 March 2009)' were of a sexual nature and viewed by some as offensive. The paintings of sexual subjects describe a restricted and parochial background which she struggle to leave behind.
Quotes by Emma Underhill on The Saatchi Gallery Magazine: Art & Music page 24, Spring 2010:‘Liz Neal's explosively sexual paintings and installations have the kind of rude-and-crudeness found in the margins of a teenage boy's notebook. They combine weirdness, non-specific fluids, sex, and body parts with a raw kind of dignity. The work exudes decadence; nothing is off limits; her paintings and sculptures appear to be literally dripping with bodily through her use of paint and other viscous materials. Her titles are unequivocal; for example ‘Spunk Chandelier', made from strings of silicon that are seductively opulent and repugnant in equal measures. Her canvases often escape the stretcher frame and are pinned directly on the wall at different angles, giving them an untamed energy, a feral fuck you to the perceived conventions of a traditional painting exhibition. Neal creates porn for any sexual orientation, with busty page three girls, sitting alongside a naked Adonis or reclining ‘homme fatale'. But she's not just offering instant gratification, as she throws in curious intrusions from other places such as an image of a Big Mac, a tin of spam or a Sun newspaper logo. Undiscriminating, and open to all, her world is one where you can explore your filthiest fantasy, if you were so inclined; but you'd have to be prepared to get your hands really dirty in the process.
Liz Neal grew up in North Wales, and attended Middlesex University. Graduated with an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art in 2001, her work was immediately snapped by Charles Saatchi who bought the entire collection from her degree show. Since then she has had solo shows globally.
About the paintings ...
'I have been continuing to downsize my practice in accordance with the current climate. I have also had to embrace Acrylic paint. It's a practical thing. I can no longer lurch around the flat covered in wet oil paint. I have a job to keep and an increasing desire for domestic order to satisfy. Tony my man and Oscar my faithful dog friend have inspired me greatly to this end. The great thing is that the credit crunch has been a time of growth for me.
I needed to enjoy everything about painting that I possibly could. The wood and fabric of the stretcher, the wet pen of brush, the mud of paint, and now also the luxury of linen. But in a pared down way, removing any excess imagery or unnecessary brushwork. The paintings were executed swiftly and barely touched after the first sitting. I have little time to dwindle. It had been a while since I concentrated on painting having lost my confidence the year before, due to some minor setbacks. Sartorial has made me strong again which has been wonderful.
Well subconsciously I had been painting all along, but I was in denial about it.
As for subject matter, I let my heart out, as cheap and blind as a plastic bag. I chose portraiture, familiar faces which sung out to me little visual poems. I collect images just as many other hoarding Artists do, from the image bins of culture, magazines, TV, Internet etc. I love swirly writing...Some images stick in my mind for a while until I relent to paint them even though I may be troubled by what I am doing. These works are about painting and the artist's experience.
It is my desire to provoke into my life interesting conversation and to be surrounded by Art.'
Liz Neal, February 2010.
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