22 November – 21 December 2013
PDF catalogue of works | View Installation Images
The tendency to decadence is an enduring human trait.
We might define our moral frameworks against it, but
while times may change, our basic behaviour doesn’t
- it remains the state towards which we naturally lapse.
This perennial truth is the theme of “Pipe Dreams”,
an exhibition featuring James Mortimer and Claire Partington
who both probe the relationship between libertinism and
Mortimer is a young British artist who paints with
a louche, fin-de-siecle
flair. Fey drunken sailor
boys, naked pipe smokers in fields, and innocently vicious
animals all act as his muses. He depicts them as if through
the haze of an opium den, fruit of a wanton, carefree
wanderlust that is threaded through with canonical Art
references and a flanneur’s sense of the absurd.
In turns surreal and bawdy, James’ work has lithe
sexual undercurrents that pulsate beneath the surface.
For an artist who is only 24, James has an uncommon distinctiveness
and coherency, and is most certainly a young artist to
pay attention to.
Partington is a British sculptor gathering an avid
following for her exquisite
Made in much the same way as old English delftware, Claire’s
figures create contemporary interpretations of old myths
and archetypes, adapted to the 21st century with subcultural
references, cynicism and humour. For Pipe Dreams, Claire
presents a new King and Queen pair: the Queen a traditional
mantua figure, as if drawn straight from Las Meninas
but set up for a night out clubbing; and the King a young
hoodie dressed in burberry and a crown, protected by
his beautiful mastiff. Immensely detailed and intricate,
Claire Partington’s work bring hedonisms past and
present together with unusual imagination and skill.
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