Speak, Shape, Create.. strip it down... The Organ's Art pages, cut out the music (and the alternative activist stuff)and on these pages you'll find nothing but adventures in galleries,and indeed outside of galleries,and everything archived without all the clutter of music so you can find it without millions of record reviews in the way...
Two shows opening within spitting
distance of each other over in the giant rabbit infested warren of
streets that is Shoreditch, East London. (yeah yeah, Shoreditch, mock
if you like, but there is a genuine buzz here, the place is alive,
things are going on, being created, it isn’t all about avoiding the
idiot culture in the Nailgun Arms). Tonight we have Roa with his first
solo London show and Dale Grimshaw just over the road with a return for
another show at Signal. Two small shop-sized galleries and
both rather alive and busy for their opening nights.
We’ve been looking forward to Roa’s show, he’s one of the genuinely exciting, genuinely different, challenging (and productive) forward looking street artists out there doing it right now. You may well have passed one of Roa’s giant creations without know who the creator was, there’s been one of his giant rabbits on Curtain Road, almost opposite Dale Grimshaw’s show at Signal (and next to that giant Stik piece in the garage doors), can’t miss that impressive rabbit, been there for a few months now. Roa’s work seems to be turning up all over Europe. He’s from the industrial city of Ghent, in Belgium, how does he get to be in so many places at once “I just like to paint wherever I can” he said with a smile when I asked him, “I just keep doing in and people seem to like it so I do more”. There’s a depth to Roa’s work, a deeper soul, a sprit that you can invest your own emotion in, a pagan spirit? Or maybe the spirit of deep ecology that gives his work a little more depth that the usual pop art famous for fifteen minutes of graphic design style that drive most street art (that isn’t a blanket dismissal of street art, indeed some of it should be instant bits of exciting impressive graphic design, here today, buffed tomorrow). Roa’s style is graphic, he has a slightly different painterly style though, a mostly black and white, and on the grandest of ambitious scales, eye catching from afar, pleasing from up close. His work has appeared in London gallery shows before, not like this though, not as a solo show, pieces standing by themselves. Would it work as a solo collection in a gallery? His work is surely best when discovered on the sides of abandoned buildings, unexpected on derelict walls that are already being reclaimed by green growth (the Captain’s table notion), catching your eye ten foot high as you pass by on a bus or train.... He’s about that reclaiming, the reclaiming by nature of abandoned industrial buildings, of derelict office furniture, unwanted window blinds re-hung in forgotten window frames, metal wall fittings, old locker doors put back on the street adorned by a giant fox . To just come across one of his pieces on the street (or via a twitter message with a link to a photo that quickly flows around the on-line streetart networks) is almost mind-boggling, how does he do it on such a scale and with such accurate lineage? Can’t really mistake his work for anyone else’s, once you get to know his style you just know - doesn’t need to tag it, it already has a signature.
Would Roa work in the confines of a small gallery though? Would taking it all in to one enclosed space and presenting it formally take away some of that vital soul? Well yes, it isn’t quite the same, the creatures are fighting for breath here, a gallery is not their natural environment. It does work though, this is still very very good, it really is exciting to catch a view through the window and step around the crowds chatting outside, to push through that door to catch a first glimpse. One big piece on either of the main room walls, smaller pieces in back rooms and a basement to Pure Evil that actually, once you get down there, fits perfectly with Roa’s use of abandoned industrial space, a semi-formal gallery environment that still has the slight feel of reclaimed wasteland and something taken back. It all comes to life once you get down the stairs to that more natural environment of the basement. Rabbits, squirrels, giant birds, pieces painted on collections of doors and old desk tops. Desk tops and doors that open, like giant advent calendars, to reveal skeletons, inner structures, further treats... Yes! Yes, it does work in here and you really should try and get to see the show. Roa really is one of the most exciting street artists out there right now, he’s a fresh and vital part of a scene and an idea that’s forever regenerating and reinventing - not a stencil or a political comment in sight tonight, just a really honest, really exciting, deep feeling of soul and a depth that’s more than welcome right now. We set out for East London tonight excited about Roa, we weren’t disappointed.
Roa’s show is on now and runs until May 2nd at Pure Evil, Leonard Street, East London... - www.pureevil.eu
Or if you’re not in London, go follow some of the streetart bloggers on Twitter , word soon spreads when there’s a new piece up, go to the Organ twitter page and look at the lists, there’s a street art/graff list there where you’ll find the people who tell you when there’s a new piece up - twitter.com/organmagazine / roaweb.tumblr.com
MORE PHOTOS HERE
Thursdays in London
are always busy in terms of new art and gallery openings, tonight is no
and over the road from the Roa show at Signal (in Curtain
Road) you can fine DALE GRIMSHAW’s more “formal” paintings. Formal is
relative tonight, we’re surrounded by street art and yes, if you look
those street art themes can be found in some of the script that’s
semi-hidden in the subtle colours - using words in a Jenny Holzer kind
of way, far more subtle though, far less in your face as it were
(relative again). The Lancashire painter’s latest body of work, pieces
on canvas, are on show. Dale Grimshaw’s third solo show at the inviting
and intimate Signal gallery. His latest collection of work is
a show called Arcana, a series of paintings based on the ancient
imagery of tarot cards. Reasonably big, rather graphic, never too
obvious, alive with subtle radiant colour, with fine line, paintings
that are almost illustrative, photographic, paintings that are alive
with just a little edge of emotion. Works alive with details dragging
you in closer and demanding you spend time exploring the bits that are
almost hidden in the vibrant layers and the wonderful backgrounds - a
personal emotional depth pulling you in to his impressive pieces.
Actually found myself pulled back to the gallery for a second visit
tonight, could have stood there looking in to them for hours, there’s a
depth that you really don’t really see until you really get up close
and look right in to these windows. So much in here; mysterious
imagery, different states, complex pieces that once again you really
need to go see in the flesh. Looking at art on the internet really is
nowhere near enough, use the web to point the way, view the photos
here, but you really have to go see them in the flesh.
Not really sure which show we enjoyed most tonight, not that it matters, certainly want to go back and see them both again, two exciting alive fresh painters and two rather fine shows, art is exciting right now, went to see some bands at the Legion afterwards, all seemed rather flat and predictable after the art...
Dale Grimshaw’s Arcana show is on at Signal, Curtain Road, until 1st May - www.signalgallery.com / www.dalegrimshaw.com
MORE PHOTOS HERE
5th APRIL: The cities were once our pastures, fish once jumped from the rivers, storks once combed these streets. And that’s easy to forget — which is why the work of ROA can be so powerful, existing in ruined, deserted industrial spaces of the city.
ROA has Solo Exhibition at Pure Evil Gallery (Leonard St, East London) from 8th APRIL – 2nd MAY 2010
"Roa’s eagerly anticipated UK solo debut opens in London this spring to exhibit his unique portrayal of large scale urban wildlife, disquietly cohabiting city streets, hand painted in his distinctive black and white style.
Roa started painting abandoned buildings and warehouses in the isolated industrial outskirts of his hometown – Ghent, Belgium. Fixating on the animals he found there; the wildlife became the central subject matter of his work, inspired by their clever ability to adapt into scavengers in order to survive. He used the dilapidated, coarse interiors and exteriors of the unyielding landscape as a canvas to portray his large- scale creatures.
Roa filled a vast abandoned warehouse complex of different chambers and exteriors with a menagerie of large-scale animals, creating an impressive spray painted zoo of city scavengers. His obsession went global when he took to the streets of New York, London, Berlin, Warsaw and Paris, prolifically painting his trademark cross-sectioned animals wherever he went, locating them where they naturally invade the main city streets with their quiet yet powerful presence.
Pure Evil Gallery is proud and extremely excited to present a new body of original artwork by ROA this spring, complete with street works inthe local area. Look out for a new ROA city fox appearing on a street near you". More here