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Beauty in the Everyday – Appreciating Still Life Exhibition

Brixton East 1871,
100 Barrington Road,
London, SW9 7JF

Exhibition Open:

Friday November 25th – 10.30 am – 6.00 pm
Saturday November 26th 10.30 am – 6.00pm
Sunday November 27th 10.30 am – 6.00pm

Our current exhibition Beauty in the Everyday – Appreciating Still Life – is a curated still life exhibition which features a series of still life art installations exploring how contemporary artists today produce their own unique take on the traditional still life through painting, drawing, photography, textiles, ceramics, sculpture and installation.

Brought over to the UK in the 17th century from the Netherlands and derived from the Dutch ‘Stileven’, the practice of turning inanimate, rather humdrum objects into a subject of beauty is one that has inspired artists throughout the centuries.  Today, the tradition of still life is so entrenched in us and its influence is so strong in all mediums of art that many artists reference it unconsciously through their work. As our world evolves, new artefacts, products and media will continue to lead to further development of the still life genre.

‘Beauty in the Everyday’ presents a selection of work by over 20 artists and makers housed at Brixton East, a nineteenth century, disused furniture factory; its raw and minimal industrial finish offering the perfect backdrop to the contemporary artwork on show.

Introducing Akiko Hirai, Yuta Segawa, Jessica Thorn and Danuta Solowiej

We’ve long been fans of the ceramic artist Akiko Hirai, whose Still Life bottles are featured above, and thought of her immediately when planning this show.  Akiko has made us a composition of Still Life bottles, which feel like they have been lifted out of a Georgio Morandi painting.   Born in Japan and trained in UK at The University of Westminster and then Central St Martins, Akiko’s work is a cultural blend of both Japanese and British studio pottery traditions, resulting in asymmetrical, ‘imperfect’ organic forms.

We spotted ceramicist Yuta Segawa during last year’s London Design Festival and are thrilled to be working with him for this show.  Lewisham based Yuta creates exquisite, hand thrown and hand finished miniature pots which he decorates using a colour spectrum of over 500 specially developed glazes.  Positioned in large groups the results are magical, spreading over the surface like a sea of ceramics.

Selected by the Crafts Council for their Hot House Programme 2016, Jessica Thorn was already on our radar, so when she contacted us this summer we went along to see her work and thought it would be a great addition to our portfolio.

Jessica is charmed with the simplistic design of tin and enamelware and aims to encapsulate and reminisce vintage kitchenware through her contemporary, porcelain designs.

When talking about the Beauty in the Everyday show to Rowena Brown*, who shows her sculptures with us regularly, she suggested we get in touch with her friend, sculptor Danuta Solowiej.  After seeing Danuta’s sculptures we were in no doubt that the work would be perfect.  For this exhibition, Danuta presents ‘Offerings’, a collection of peeled fruit made with white earthenware.  Her work has a pared back simplicity transforming the common apple and pear into objects of simple beauty – a perfect still life.

*Fans of Rowena’s work will be pleased to hear that is showing a new body of work inspired by her fashion days at Central St Martin’s School of Art.

In addition to the new artists above, we’ve been really bowled over by the response we’ve had from our existing portfolio of artists and designers to this curated show.  While some of Cavaliero Finn’s artists already work within the Still Life genre, others were so taken with the idea of ‘Beauty in the Everyday’ that they have created work, taking details from famous still life paintings to make them in their own oeuvre for the exhibition.

Ceramicist Mizuyo Yamashita has made one of the milk urns frequently featured in Cezanne’s still life paintings giving it her own unique twist.  Meanwhile artist Alison Griffin has meticulously referenced in graphite the ornate pattern used in the furnishings and textiles of Matisse’s still life paintings, in works such as ‘Still Life with Aubergines’ 1911 and ‘Spanish Still Life’ 1910.  Plants and flowers have always been important in her family life growing up so she has incorporated a childhood portrait to express how these elements of pattern are personal to her. Griffin’s carefully detailed work always comes from a personal experience.

Other artists exhibiting as part of our Beauty in the Everyday show are: – painters: Cameron Fraser, DJ Lowrie, Helen Ballardie, Joe Goody, Mia Cavaliero, Rebecca McLynn, Sue Blandford, Susan Sluglett, Susan Spencer, Tony Beaver and Trevor Burgess, ceramicists: Caroline Popham, Daniel Reynolds, Fliff, Carr, Graham Clayton, Jo Davies, Rhian Malin and Sophie Cook and designer-makers: Elli Popp, Galvin Brothers and Sam Edkins.