MYTHOMANIA: Maddox Gallery 112 Westbourne Grove London
a solo exhibition of drawings and paintings from the regression series, alongside other works
Opens to the public on Friday June 24th 2022 at Maddox Gallery, 112 Westbourne Grove, London W25RU.
In support of Teenage Cancer Trust
For more detailed information on the Mythomania exhibition please read the below article.
For catalogue enquiries, opening times and any further gallery information please contact Maddox Gallery directly
Mythicism: Art of The Pandemic
When critics look back at the artistic developments of the post Trump Great Toilet Roll Famine era, it will be the NFT hysteria that encapsulates the collective cultural insanity of the moment. However, as the Non Fungible Token insanity reached it's zenith, an opposing movement was quietly forming, one that did not so much mirror the social media and technologically obsessed world we inhabit, as reflect our craving for an antidote to our increasing immersion in all things virtual. Seemingly unconnected artists, working in studios around the world, were being drawn to a new form of expression, both stylistically radical and with historical precedence. These artists were, perhaps unconsciously, both implicitly criticising society's direction of travel, and simultaneously expressing a utopian ideal of a freedom from the technological advances that increasingly imprison us. Robert Nava in the US, Jordy Kerwick in France, and The Connor Brothers in the UK are, amongst a handful of others, artists who reflect a growing desire for a return to a simpler existence. Purposefully naive and executed with a childlike energy, these artists are drawn to the wisdom of ancient mythology, and speak to a simple but forgotten profundity; we are a part of the natural world and not the masters of it.
Nava's world, filled with sharks, dragons and angels, is childish as much as childlike, but it's not escapism he offers, it's a remembering of the wisdom of childhood; war is wrong, famine heartbreaking, the natural world precious, and imagination sacred. His work taps into our collective memory of the time in our lives when we understood that our very existence is a miracle, and that the universe we inhabit a wondrous mystery.
Jordy Kerwick's work underwent an evolution during the Covid 19 Pandemic, from pedestrian still-lives and crude portraits, to a visual vocabulary fizzing with a maniacal energy. His work is deep in energetic narrative, and rooted in an mythology who's meaning feels both elusive and profound. Kerwick's universe might be exhilaratingly contemporary but it also recalls the work of Wilfredo Lam, Henry Rousseau, and Igor Stravinsky.
The Connor Brothers, known for their repurposing pulp fiction book covers and old master paintings, have found a new and arguably more authentic direction during the pandemic. After undergoing a series of art therapy sessions during which they were encouraged to draw from their subconscious, without rational direction, they developed this process into a new Regression Series. This kind of automatic drawing reveals hidden anxieties, obsessions, and desires, and recaptures some of the freedom of childhood artistic practises. The series recalls the drawings of Austin Osman Spare and the writing of William Burroughs. The themes revealed in the process are at once childlike and profound, dinosaurs, zombies, and apocalyptic visions are juxtaposed with text related to contemporary trends and obsessions.
It's hard to describe what it is that makes an artwork feel 'fresh' and even harder to define what constitutes a movement, but it's safe to say that there is something new and interesting happening in contemporary art, and that it's being driven by a group of artists who's interests are deeply rooted in reconnecting with the natural world, mythicism, and the relearning of an earlier, pre-virtual, and sometimes childlike, wisdom.
- Hubert Weinstein, 2022