“Kim Booker: I Want To Live Twice” at Bo Lee and Workman

“Kim Booker: I Want To Live Twice” at Bo Lee and Workman

"Untitled" by Kim Booker, 2023, acrylic on Canvas, 200 x 300 cm. Exhibited at Bo Lee and Workman

Located in Bruton, gallery Bo Lee and Workman recently opened its doors in one of the most fantastic settings a gallery could be in, in what used to be a church.

Keeping the old features of the building such as its structure and the stained windows, the gallery and who in charge of curation are able to play with some intense and involving themes.

On Friday the 30th of June the gallery held a lunch and private view of ‘I Want To Live Twice,’ where I was reconfirmed once again of my deep appreciation for Kim Booker’s work, which is ever so powerful and captivating. I had already written about her work on AFT#2, where a trip to Margate and an invite to the TKE studios opening allowed me in her studio to be able to speak to her directly about her practice.

In the new body of work presented at the I Want To Live Twice exhibition, the viewer is not only able to witness her skill on the bigger-sized canvases, but also on the smaller watercolours and the tiny 8 x 10 cm roughly made canvases that despite being so dramatically smaller in size compared to the 200 x 480 cm, incite and capture the same restlessness of the subjects. Personally, the calming choice of colour contrasted to the slightly anguishing implications of the slender figures retracted in different poses, add to the effect of the feeling it provokes. It was a pleasure to be able to take a day trip to the lovely town of Bruton and celebrate these fantastic work in such a wonderful setting.

"Face to Face" at Marlborough Gallery

Liorah Tchiprout's "She is all traps," 2023, oil on board, 105 x 75 cm and "Her hands are fetters," 2023, oil on board 105 x 75 cm. Install shot.

A popular choice of exhibition in this past month has been tied to the theme of portraiture coinciding with the reopening of the National Portrait Gallery. One of these was the exhibition ‘Face to Face’ held at Marlborough Gallery.

Split on two levels, the exhibitions celebrated artists that have been pioneering this style throughout the last decades. On the ground floor, artists such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Lynn Chadwick, Alex Katz and Henry Moore are displayed - while on the first floor, a contemporary range of establishing artists is shown.

It was great to see Naila Hazell, a wonderful artist I had the pleasure to work with last year already on a show I curated in Soho in October. Naila captures ‘moments’ to represent on canvas with thick yet carefully-placed layers of neon-bring paint. This effect gives a vibrant take on what can pass by as snapshots of daily moments. The more expressive the faces of the people she encounters the better for the canvas. Despite the painting’s seemingly rapid imprint that allow them to have the impression of movement, highlighting the passing moment and rapidity of time, her works have an evident level of detail and attention. Her paintings invite the audience to stop and reflect, remembering how every moment can be special even if seemingly unimportant (excerpt from the press release I had written on the October exhibition).

Together with Naila are exhibited other talented artists, such as Ki Yoong and Liorah Tchiprout. Yoong’s paintings are typically of small size, focusing on zoomed-in faces capturing even the most minute detail meticulously, be it wrinkles or freckles. Adding to the particularity of these portraits is the medium, rarely simply on canvas, but mostly on material such as board, nylon, etc, and then beautifully framed on glass which gives the painting a further 3D effect as if almost coming out of the wall, as if the portrayed person’s face comes out from an imagined window cutout in the wall.

Liorah Tchiprout does not paint people from life, rather she paints puppets. She mentions she ‘[…] started to make drawings from them, and suddenly realised: if you’re working from an object instead of real life, you stop being obsesses with catching a likeness of a person, and instead catching a kind of feeling, or a kind of glance, or like the inclination of a head, and suddenly every single one of those  differences becomes a precious thing.” (Video where Liorah talks about her practice.)

"Sahara Longe: New Shapes" at Timothy Taylor London

Install shot of the first room of the exhibition.

Set on two floors, Timothy Taylor is presenting the first solo show of Sahara Longe in the UK.

The paintings included in the exhibition range from smaller sized to very large, including diptychs. The scenes represented in Longe’s work are of ordinary moments, capturing people walking down the street, or interacting in a sports setting, or discussing at the office. Mundane moments are captured and imagined from people seen in the street, and represented in life-size. The works’ stories almost unfold in front of us, almost as to hear the subjects murmur in the background, as the scenes are so ‘normal’ and everyday, that we could very well imagine what they would be chatting about.

It does not seem to be mentioned anywhere, but I cannot stop myself from thinking about Alex Katz’s portraits when standing in front of these large Longe’s. Perhaps it’s the flatness of the faces, given the lack of shadows. Possibly my appreciation for Katz works makes me like Longe’s paintings even more.