Our Curated Collections

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Garden Art

The garden has a multitude of emotional connections and meanings. They are places of respite, activity, and creativity (often an artwork in their own right). They are big and small, wild and tamed, bursting with life and in need of some love. As seen in Chris Shaw Hughes’ ‘Woman in the Shadows’ they can be places for playfulness with family: an escape from claustrophobic domestic space indoors, work, and now more than ever, our screens. Drawn from a vintage photograph, Hughes’ piece shows a family lined up amongst shrubbery, posed for their picture to be taken. The group smile as if stifling laughs, struggling to stay composed while a central figure playfully half-hides in the backdrop plants. Ellie Vandoorne’s ‘Snowdrop Pixie’ similarly shows how the natural world is harnessed for childhood games and whimsy. Upon a swing harnessed between two snowdrops sits a pixie in the form of young girl. The colours are light and cheery and the subject matter plays into childhood fantasies. We are reminded that the garden was once our own place of wonder, adventure, and make-believe. During the Spring and Summer lockdowns of 2020 across the world, gardens have taken on new significance in our lives. Many have found refuge in their personal green space, and others have longed to have one. Dawn Beckles’ ‘Pink Door’ shows a manmade garden space. On top of a dark wooden decking various pots are placed containing their plants. The pots, like the eponymous door and yellow building are bright and vivid. Whether a garden is small in size, lacks natural resources, or is on the balcony of a high story flat, these spaces are sanctuaries for the people who care for and use them. There has been a vast amount of research done on the health benefits (both mental and physical) of gardening and spending time in green spaces. The garden differs from other natural spaces like the park, woods, or rolling landscape. They are loaded with personal meaning and their enclosed nature reflects this private ownership. As written across Benjamin West’s work, the garden offers “wildlife on your doorstep”. In this sense the garden becomes a transitory space between “home” and the “wild”, a place where the beauty of nature can be curated and observed. The garden has been a popular subject throughout art history. Not only is the garden an easily accessible model, but it can be used as a symbol of domesticity, security, and homeliness. In ‘Monet Monet Money no. 7’ Wayne Sleeth pastiches Monet’s famous works featuring the waterlilies in his garden pond in Giverny. Monet painted at least 250 oil paintings of these waterlilies during the last 30 years of his career. For Monet, like for countless others, his garden was his sanctuary.

Curated by Verity Babbs

Picnic in the Park

"Picnic in the park?" "Picnic in the park." So goes the rallying cry across London and the world as we enter a world where we're allowed to meet friends but can't yet go to the pub. Here are some of our favourite artists' interpretations of what makes up the institution of the modern picnic, from triangles of processed cheese and fresh fruit arrangements to facemask-clad revellers and discarded banana skins.

Curated by Phin Jennings

10 in demand artists this week

This week we take a look at the artists gaining traction among our collectors. Sophie Iremonger uses mixed media to articulate her thoughts and feelings about power, evolution, sex, death and a host of other topics; Fred Ingrams paints from life and has a particular interest in the mystical and marshy plains of The Fens; Nadia Attura mixes photography and collage with mixed media to create digital images that provide a painterly poetic and interpreted view of the world.

Curated by Phin Jennings

Gathering

Aristotle once said that "an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human." Some years later, existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre declared that "hell is other people". As a species, we don't seem to know how to feel about gathering. What we do know is that, change as it might (something that it has been forced to do beyond recognition with the advent of social distancing), gathering is an undeniable part of what it is to exist in our world. For this collection, I have put together works by artists all grappling with the idea of gathering in one way or another. Some, like Mazen Khaddaj, Lee Ellis and - most explicitly - Angela Edwards with her aptly titled painting "Who was it?" seem interested in the way that individual forms and identities can lose themselves in a crowd. Others seem to portray the opposite message. For the figures represented by Rozalina Burkova and Malayka Gormally, multiplicity only serves to reinforce and cement their identities. I have also included some abstract works; Matthew Dibble (referencing De Kooning), Persi Darukhanawala and Sandra Blow all take their thinking of gathering to a more primordial level, exploring how individual forms and marks interact with each other in a group. I don't doubt that, as we continue to limit and adapt the way that we gather, we will continue to learn about this sometimes individuality-denying, sometimes identity-affirming and always necessarily human form of interaction.

Curated by Phin Jennings

New Artists

We’re proud to welcome these new artists to Rise Art. Luca Grechi’s interest in plants and abandoned objects takes him on a journey through passage of time, exploring processes of transformation and evolution; Mitsushige Nishiwaki’s exposure to the west gives him a unique lens into the western culture from a foreign perspective, presenting iconic western cityscapes with a playful and humorous approach.

Curated by Phin Jennings