Following the success of Paul Fryers solo exhibition Let There Be More Light which attracted over 4,000 visitors during London Frieze Week in 2008, All Visual Arts
(AVA) announces one of the most spectacular private Contemporary art exhibitions opening at the magnificent former Holy Trinity Church designed by Sir John Soane at One Marylebone in central London.
Over a year in planning and production, The Age of the Marvellous (14th - 22nd October) was inspired by the Wunderkammer or Cabinet of Curiosities, popular in the late Renaissance through the Baroque period (ca. 1550ca. 1700). An era characterized by a revival of learning, the sum of all of mans knowledge could be represented in rooms filled with natural wonders, artificial exotica and relics or art works concerned with the supernatural.
The Wunderkammer s particular ability to evoke the marvellous, to incite the emotions of awe, wonder, surprise and astonishment leading to curiosity and then learning was based on its ability to draw parallels and unify seemingly unrelated fields of human knowledge like Science and Art. The brilliant evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson considered the unification of knowledge or what he labeled Consilience in his eponymous book published in 1998 - nothing short of imperative for the survival of the human species.
The Age of the Marvellous features over 60 works of art, most of them especially produced for the exhibition, that display a new-found tendency for contemporary artists to look beyond the limitations of aesthetic conventions, to a varied, more cross-disciplinary approach that integrates areas of human knowledge that exist outside the boundaries of traditional art making.
Conceived and curated by All Visual Arts Director Joe La Placa, The Age of the Marvellous is the arts organizations third major exhibition since it was launched in 2008. The show will coincide with Frieze Art Fair 2009 held in Londons Regents Park.
Hilary Berseths Untitled 2 (Electrochemically Deposited Formation) work in copper explores growth in the inorganic medium of electroplating by placing a sculptural armature in copper-rich chemical solution to which various voltages are applied, creating quasi-organic growths.
Nicola Bollas Vanitas skull with tube hat is made from thousands of intricately set Swarovski crystals that belie its message of impermanence.
Maria Novella Del Signores Quartet (Staying still along its way) uses rapid flashes of varying frequencies of light to capture the unpredictable patterns of falling water.
Adam Fuss oversized photograms record the concentric rings caused by water droplets in such detail, they seem more like the vibrations atomic particles.
Paul Fryers Venus and Mars is a dance in the form of an Orrery or Tellurian, a pair of orbiting celestial lovers whose paths never seem to meet. Fryers Pieta, a strikingly life-like black Christ in an electric chair and The Privilege of Dominion, a wax effigy of a primate nailed to the cross will certainly cause strong reactions for some, but are intended to evoke sadness and compassion as well as outrage.
Reece Jones uses a complicated process of application and erasure to create haunting, indefinable charcoal drawings. The Column depicts a remote mountain terrain punctured by startling vertical bands of mysterious bright light.
The massive Picasso-inspired drawings of Wolfe von Lenkiewicz use recombinant methods of appropriation to create his trademark hybrids. His first major bronze sculpture St Eustache, a head of a stag trepanned of top of its skull by jet airliner is a complex work alluding to the Roman general who saw a vision of Christ as a stag and to the plane crash of 9/11.
Mimetes Anon by Alastair Mackie is a life-sized, meticulously cast bronze chimpanzee with a photo-realistically painted surface sitting on a stone column as if from a scene in an apocalyptic science fiction movie, an icon of what might have been if the great evolutionary leap forward never happened. Mackies House is an exact replica of a wooden dolls house made of approximately 300 pulped paper wasp and hornet nests.
The Architect's House is one of series of seven paintings by Jonathan Wateridge that depicts scenes from down/town, the working title of his fictional American film, centred on an undisclosed catastrophic event. Exploring its own status as a fictional construct, the painting is set in a modernist house overlooking Los Angeles, the macabre scene of an architect found slumped in his chair, with a bullet hole through his eye. Hes being photographed by forensics officers. But this appearance is disrupted the paintings staged nature and the fact that we immediately see a film crew on the periphery of the crime scene we realize were looking at a painting of film set.
Kate MccGwire will feature a new series of sculptural works made our of crow and jackdaw feathers. The process of 'collecting and re-using' that characterizes her working methods have been taken to the extreme in this series, which uses thousands of feathers sent in by game keepers from all over the UK.
At the Beginning by Polly Morgan is inspired by a Victorian proposal for a flying machine. The inventor envisaged a carriage, drawn in the air by birds that are harnessed and steered by their passenger, as being a practical solution to the human need to explore. The work reveals a conundrum. The machine enables the traveler to fly but enslaves the birds; the birds liberate the traveler but imprison him in a cage.
The Levitation of the Head of John the Baptist by Martin Sexton is a small, life-like head of John the Baptist which seems to levitate in a reliquary by an invisible force, without physical contact.
Helix, the sole outdoor sculpture by New York based Alyson Shotz, is based on the strict mathematical phenomena of rotation around a central point which frequently occurs in nature in the shape of galaxies, sunflowers, and shells. Over 16ft high, aluminum bars rotate around a central axis in stepped increments of size and position. Like the wing of a butterfly, the laminated surface of Helix is unapologetically beautiful, reflecting the surrounding environment, light and colors of the spectrum, depending on the viewers angle and position in space or the time of day.
Ben Tyers Breathe is a sculpture which draws attention to what is an otherwise largely unconscious process - breathing. The work is intended to bring the breath of the observer into conscious awareness and promote a relaxing form of introspection and mindfulness. At a subconscious level, the piece promotes synchronization with this deep and balanced rhythm.
One of a series of twelve, Keith Tysons Contemporary Grotesque Sculpture Mastering is witty allusion to mans ritualistic attempts to dominate nature. Cast in polycarbonate with a graphite patina, materials that are fundamental both to organic life (carbon) and artistic production (graphite), a sensual Japanese woman in formal dress rides a lumbering walrus.
In Tornado, Hugo Wilson has captured a twister in a tall glass and lacquer cabinet. But even with all the control parameters put in place and contained, the resulting vortex will never be the same twice. Interested in creating physical remnants of intangible emotional situations, Parabiosis is the natural and surgical union of the anatomical parts of two organisms, in this case the negative spaces of linked cardiovascular systems of two hearts which have been cast in resin.