Down the Kings Road last weekend Chef and Sue saw ‘Newspeak’ (Part 1), an exhibition of contemporary British art, at the Saatchi Gallery. Opening with a collapsed giant paper bag by Karla Black followed by beautiful painterly scenes by Hurvin Anderson – including the menacing ‘Night Street’ and colourful ‘Beach Scene’ – the show quickly establishes a selection characterised by expressive painting and mixed media sculpture .The latter exemplified by Steven Claydon who stacks myths and history, ceramics and steel, and the figurative and the abstract on top of each other.
Barry Reigate channels graphic culture – cartoons, doodles, graffiti – into a bristling modern exploration of macho escapism and expression that fuses the gallery and the toilet cubicle wall. An altogether more reflective tone is set by Phoebe Unwin, whose ‘Falling Sunglasses’ and ‘Night Life’ capture fleeting moments in personal history. Sigrid Holmwood paints age old scenes in acid, hippy inspired colours, such as ‘Church Boats’ up top with its mesmeric brushstrokes, conjuring a world view that eschews material consumption and promotes a reflective idealism. Brushstrokes abound too in William Daniel’s exquisite hyper-real paintings of tin foil. As he explains, “It’s like painting pure light” – magical and mysterious.
Peter Peri creates mystical places where immaculate spheres dance and lines cross to form unknown terrains, spare and unfeeling, while in a dedicated room John Wynne has assembled a mountain of speakers playing an eery and infinite tune that washes across the room – beguiling. Finally, bringing us back from an abstract brink, Donald Urquhart presents us with a bitter alphabet and a series of portraits of tragic blondes, dark, harrowing and full of character, all striking in black – Chef’s just starting his illustrated version of ‘Vanity Fair’ by William Makepeace Thackeray. Overall ‘Newspeak’ is a breathless showcase of brilliant British painting and sculpture. Roll on Part 2, which starts at the end of the month. Chef’s Kiss!