“London is Calling” @ Gallery Different

5 stars (out of 5)

0

OK, I’m sorry that this is going to be London-centric but, at the moment, you can only see this exhibition in London at the moment and that’s just the way it is.  So, my apologies to anyone who can’t actually get into central London before the end of August, but there are plenty of links to online resources to give you a flavour of this show.

Gallery Different is easy to find, about halfway between Northern Line stations Tottenham Court Road and Goodge Street on Tottenham Court Road, and surrounded by loads of welcoming pubs and interesting places to eat (the Riot Squad always researches background thoroughly).

“London is Calling” is an exhibition featuring music-related artworks by sculptor Guy Portelli, painters Chris Myers and Morgan Howell, mixed media artist Keith Haynes and photographers Charles Everest, Michael Ward and Nathan Browning.  If you’re interested at all in the iconography of pop and rock music, you should really make the effort to see this exhibition.

The photography is all excellent, but the highlight for me is the recently-published selection of Charles Everest’s photos from the 1970 Isle of Wight festival featuring some absolutely stunning images of Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix and many other great images of a hugely important event in British social history.  Nathan Browning’s work is based on the photographic image, but with the addition of painting, ink and poetry pushing it towards multi-media territory.

Moving on to 3 dimensions, Guy Portelli’s dynamic sculptures successfully capture the essence of artists such as John Lennon and The Who while avoiding the stereotyped figurative representations which are so common in  collections of British cultural ephemera.

Keith Haynes’ pieces are thoughtful and often ironic, constructed from original artefacts stripped down and reconstructed as creative images.  The majority of the pieces are constructed from original vinyl singles and albums, with the exception of the wonderful “Acid Queen” which is made entirely from Smiley badges and is a piece which anyone interested in popular culture should make the effort to see.

Chris Myers’ paintings focus on divas through the popular music era and the Amy Winehouse pieces here are sympathetic representations of a great British torch singer while Morgan Howell delivers larger than life acrylic representations of iconic seven-inch singles from Elvis to The Clash.

Popular culture exhibitions in London can be very tightly-focussed affairs featuring 1 era or 1 medium but “London is Calling” covers a period of 50 years and encompasses photography, painting, sculpture and various multi-media forms.

If you live in or near London (or you’re visiting), go and see this exhibition.  If not, check out some of the links; you won’t be disappointed.