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The Shock of the Now - Issue #29

Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Afternoon All,
I hope you’re all well and welcome to Issue 29 of The Shock of the Now.
This issue’s Featured Exhibition is my latest curatorial project ‘First Light’, a two-person exhibition of paintings by Lewis Brander and Sonya Derviz at Collective Ending HQ. Please forgive the self-indulgent autobiographical introduction, and do come and visit the exhibition before March 19th, open Thursdays-Saturdays, 12-6pm and by appointment!
There are also seven weekly Recommended Exhibitions and three fresh Artist Opportunities.
I hope you enjoy Issue 29, and if so do forward it along! As always any questions, comments or feedback are welcome, so feel free to get in touch.
All the best, and speak soon, H x

Featured Exhibition: Lewis Brander & Sonya Derviz - 'First Light' - Collective Ending HQ
In the summer of 2018, my first in London, I was busy getting to grips with the wealth of galleries, exhibitions and events the city had to offer. Naive, wet behind the ears and keen to immerse myself in this new and exciting world of emerging artistic opportunity, I visited the Slade School of Fine Art’s BA/BFA Degree Show, likely one of my earliest experiences of an art school survey of fresh undergraduates. Amongst the bounty of unbounded creativity on display one particular room stood out, containing fragile spiderweb cyanotypes and steampunk-ish assemblage sculptures alongside fleeting figurative depictions emanating from ethereal verdant voids and jet black holes. The former was the work of Harley Kucyck-Cohen (whose exhibitions, invariably with Lungley Gallery, continue to entice) and the latter were painted by Sonya Derviz.
From then on I followed the fledgling steps of Sonya’s career with much interest, including at a stellar debut solo exhibition at V.O Curations‘ original 93 Baker Street space and as part of a group exhibition of young painters hosted in an old HSBC bank on Brompton Road by the budding dealer Alex Vardaxoglou. It was there that alongside Sonya’s latest paintings I first encountered the work of Lewis Brander, then a recent Goldsmiths BA Fine Art graduate whose painting practice revolved around nude portraiture. I was instantly enamoured by the nuanced, romantic and respectful studies of the female form, and approached Lewis for what was to be my first curatorial project in the capital, late-2018’s Young London Painters at Arthill Gallery in West London. Sadly, following his recent relocation to Athens, and my financial inability to cover international shipping, it was not to be.
Over the intervening two and a half years I regularly wandered as to the whereabouts of both Sonya and Lewis, pondering the potential progression of their respective practices. Sonya continued to exhibit intermittently, and internationally, whilst also taking some time away from painting, while Lewis remained in Athens until early 2020, returning just in time for a life interrupted by lockdowns. Finally, and fortuitously, I reconnected with Lewis during a period of pandemic leniency later that year, and since discovering that he knew Sonya socially and that both were keen to re-establish themselves in London post-pandemic, we spent the last eight months or so in conversations that have spawned 'First Light’, our current two-person exhibition at Collective Ending HQ in Deptford.
Since 2018, Lewis has continued to advance a diaristic painting practice that documents his life and lived experiences. A sponge to his surroundings, there are evident Grecian influences within the artworks on display, many of which were in fact painted during his time abroad. Alongside self-portraits and portraits of his partner Isabel, ancient colonnade Acropolis architecture appears, as well as an Athenian street cat and the unmistakable blue and white stripes of the Greek flag, fluttering in the wind as to approach abstraction. Canonical, neo-classical sculptures are appropriated and adapted, as Lewis’s completed compositions are formed from collaged or combined sketches, from studies of statues that reside in Athen’s National Archaeological Museum. Antinous emerges as a dominant painterly protagonist, that young Greek lover of ruling Roman emperor Hadrian, who after his premature death by drowning was worshipped widely as a heroic figurehead. For guidance as to poise and pose, Lewis looks to post-war photographer Rolf Koppel’s erotic portraits of the male form, themselves inspired by Ancient Greek and Roman deified depictions of homosexuality.
Finally, skyscapes are prevalent, evidence of the artist’s penchant for painting en plein air in the parks of Athens or London, each rendered in oils on raw flax or linen that retain a surface textured with the trace of the warp and weft of their weave, only exacerbating their ephemerality, momentary memories captured on canvas.
Sonya’s three sizable paintings are said to have started life as landscapes, before the trees and plants began sprouting beards and forcing figuration. Each is an amalgamation of amassed facial features, various visages from the artist’s abundance of reference imagery sourced from her own life, popular culture or found photography. A slight departure from her recent Wise Young Girl series of white-haired wizened apparitions, here femininity is foregrounded in figures that recall the bearded ladies of crass circus side-shows or crude carnivals, as well as the recent social media fad of faux facial hair filters. Each fading face begins to dissolve below the chin or jawline as if tailing off towards the bottom of the canvas, victims of a ghostly glitching or slowed-down deletion. The unflinching stare of Baby was based initially on a photograph of Drew Barrymore, while early inspirations for Baby 2‘s stunning display of savage side-eye included familiar film stills, hence the compositions’ cropped, cinematic feel. Angel, however, its sickly skin shining with a greenish tint, arose from certain computer-generated characters that particularly populate those video games where the lines are blurred between lust and violence.
Sonya takes her titles from those at once affectionate yet infantilising pet names for one’s partner - Baby, Angel, Sweetheart, Honey - which take on an eerie tone when paired with painting so stark, unsettling even. Meanwhile her idiosyncratic studio practice includes employing an elongated, forty or even fifty-centimetre long paintbrush that allows her to stand far removed from the canvas, although sometimes requires two hands for particular precision. This distinctive technique grants a greater overview during the painting process, and not only avoids excessively obsessing over details but also, one can imagine, from getting drawn into the artwork’s darker depths.
Recommended Exhibitions Opening This Week:
‘Internal Weather’ Group Exhibition - Sid Motion Gallery, South Bermondsey (25th February - 2nd April, opening Thursday 24th February, 6-8pm)
Sid Motion Gallery presents ‘Internal Weather’, the gallery’s 50th physical exhibition to date and their first in a newly expanded space. The artists in this group exhibition have been selected for their exploration of themes of identity, self-consciousness, gaze, sexuality and binary definitions of gender. Such timely and important themes has allowed the gallery to group together artists that investigate their interest in these areas in many different ways. Featuring Laurie Cole, Grace Mattingly, Graham Martin, Pat O’Connor, Laurence Owen, Morgan Wills and Tom Woolner.
Patrick H Jones - ‘After Dad’ Solo Exhibition - The Sunday Painter, Vauxhall (25th February - 2nd April, opening Friday 25th February, 6:30-9pm)
The Sunday Painter presents Patrick H Jones‘ latest solo exhibition 'After Dad’, featuring new paintings alongside an accompanying text by Matt Lippiatt.
Gal Schindler - ‘Razor Wave’ Solo Exhibition - Ginny on Frederick, Farringdon (26th February - 2nd April, opening Saturday 25th February, 5-8pm)
Ginny on Frederick presents Gal Schindler‘s latest solo exhibition 'Razor Wave’, featuring new paintings alongside an accompanying text by Cassandre Greenberg.
Aimée Parrott - ‘Whitehawk Camp’ Solo Exhibition - Mackintosh Lane, Homerton (26th February - 6th March, opening Saturday 25th February, 5-8pm)
Mackintosh Lane re-opens after a long hiatus with Aimée Parrott‘s latest solo exhibition 'Whitehawk Camp’.
‘SEX’ Group Exhibition - Moarain House, Bethnal Green (26th February - 3rd April, opening Saturday 25th February, 3-7pm)
Moarain House presents ‘SEX’, a group exhibition featuring new work from Isabella Benshimol Toro, Eva Gold and Amanda Moström (above).
Anton Alvarez - ‘The Remnants’ Solo Exhibition - 100 Bishopsgate, City of London (28th February - 25th November)
Brookfield Properties presents Anton Alvarez‘s latest solo exhibition 'The Remnants’, the culmination of the artist’s month-long residency at the 100 Bishopsgate space. Alvarez brought the ‘The Extruder’, a three-tonne ceramic self-built press with him from Sweden for his residency, which he uses to grind down hundreds of kilos of clay sculptures back into their original powdered form. This recycled raw material feeds the ‘The Extruder’ pressing new clay shapes and forms reincarnating the old to the new.
Flora Yukhnovich - ‘Thirst Trap’ Solo Exhibition - Victoria Miro, Wharf Road (1st - 26th March)
Victoria Miro presents Flora Yukhnovich‘s latest solo exhibition 'Thirst Trap’, featuring new paintings that draw upon various depictions of the Roman goddess Venus in mythology, art history and contemporary culture.
Artist Opportunities:
This November Sluice and PADA are bringing together an interdisciplinary selection of artist and curator-led projects to explore the impact and interconnections of the ecological, environmental and political consequences of the slow transgenerational violence brought about by the manufacture of territory. Territory is a year-long focus that will culminate in Lisbon on 11 - 13 November 2022. The event will run in conjunction with Lisbon Art Weekend. Exhibitions, performances, screenings and talks will be situated throughout the Barreiro district. A selection of the participating projects will be in residence in the weeks preceding the event, others will come solely for the Art Weekend.
The Delphian Gallery Open Call is an international competition for all printable forms of artwork. It aims to give a platform to talented emerging artists who are producing exceptional work. The Open Call is open to all artists working in a printable format. This includes painting, photography, collage, illustration and many others. The open call is open to international entrants. The Open Call will culminate with a physical group exhibition for the winners in London in 2022. The first prize winner will win a solo exhibition with us in 2022.
Entries are now open for this year’s The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2022. Leading artists, household names and new and emerging talent – anyone can submit their work for a chance to be selected for the exhibition. The end result is a celebration of art and creativity in all its forms. Coordinated by Alison Wilding RA, this year the Summer Exhibition will explore the urgent theme of Climate. The first round of selection is made from digital images of artworks, from which the judges will shortlist up to 4,000 entries to be delivered to the Academy for the final round.
A fantastic reimagining of Walter Hopps’ 1978 exhibition ‘36 Hours’ Taro Qureshi invites artists to bring any wall-based work to The Function Suite gallery between March 3rd-10th between pub opening hours (16:00-23:00). All works will be hung with no exceptions, curated by Taro and with a private view on March 11th 18:00-21:00. The works will remain on show until the 18th. Please deliver works to the bar staff at Escape Stratford (the pub below the gallery space) 25 West Ham Lane, Stratford, E15 4PH
Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop are now accepting applications for their Solo Residency (May - July 2022). ​The gallery is offering one artist access for three months to one of its spectacular 350 ft² (35m²) studio spaces, with both natural and professional lighting. Working above the gallery space, the successful applicant has the opportunity to network with artists, curators, collectors and the wider public whilst visiting ongoing exhibitions and events organised in the gallery. The residency programme also provides guidance and promotion through our channels and network, as well as the Solo Residency Exhibition organised in the studio space upstairs.
The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award is the most significant award for emerging artists working in the field of sculpture in the UK. It is unique in its combination of offering financial support towards the production of new work, plus a solo exhibition to an exceptional sculptor. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the award and to celebrate the prize fund has been raised to £10,000. The award also includes a national touring programme, taking MTSA artists to partner venues across the UK. Applicants must be established residents of the UK. Students in current education are not eligible to apply. This applies to BA and MA students or equivalent, but those undertaking postgraduate research work leading to a PhD/Mphil/MLitt/ MRes or equivalent are able to apply.
RES. 007 will take over one of Changing Room Gallery locations in Soho, London for a 28-day long duo residency. Artists have access to their residency space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the 4 weeks of their residency. During this time both artists will participate in a studio critique, a talk and artist-led workshop from a visiting artist and an interim interview with photography of studio work. Artists will also have a £250 materials budget and a fully-funded exhibition at the end of their residency.
The Mark Rothko Memorial Trust Funded Artist-in-Residency programme is now open for submissions, seeking two professional artists, working in any medium, currently based in the UK, who wish to travel to the Mark Rothko Art Centre (Daugavpils, Latvia) and are available on the given dates (1st-30th August 2022). Each artist receives studio space and accommodation organised and paid for by the Trust at the Mark Rothko Art Centre for the given period, as well as an award sum of £4,500 each, given in advance of the residency. Awardees will be responsible to organise and pay for their own travel arrangements, materials, stipend and all other associated costs.
The Trust would expect the awarded artist to make full use of the opportunity to travel, engage in a new culture, make new works and interact with the local creative community. In return the Trust requests only that the awarded artist sends a brief report on the outcome of their experience and provides the Trust with images that may be used on the Trust’s website, this will be of benefit to future candidates.
Turps Studio Programme is a unique opportunity for a select group of painters to take up residence in their own dedicated studios within an exciting studio and gallery development in South East London, just 10 minutes from Elephant and Castle. Participants embark on a year-long programme of intensive mentoring, dynamic group seminars, talks, and crits with the option to continue for a second year. Participants are expected to work within this professional environment with commitment and a strong work ethic, as well as participating fully in a community-based studio.
Turps Off-Site is an exciting mentoring opportunity for London based painters who want to develop their practice through the ethos of Turps Studio Programme but wish to remain working in their own studio. A team of Turps Mentors visit participants in their own studios for one to one tutorials, and painters will develop a supportive network of peers across London, through group studio visits to each other’s studios, crits based at Turps Studios and regular visits to attend talks at Turps Art School across the year.
Applications are now open for The Drawing Year, Royal Drawing School’s one-year postgraduate-level course offering up to thirty students the opportunity to focus on drawing from observation. There are no tuition fees – all students are awarded a full scholarship and receive a free personal studio space (SPACE studios, Hackney) from which they can continue to work on the development of their practice alongside taught courses. The programme is taught by a distinguished faculty of over 75 practicing artists offering in-depth quality tuition. Royal Drawing School sees drawing both as an end in itself and in relation to other areas of practice.
MASS Studio Programme was launched in October 2021 at MASS Studios at Thames-Side Studios, Woolwich, London, SE18 5NR. MASS is in the heart of the largest single-site community of artists and creatives in London. Working in collaboration with the London Sculpture Workshop they offer a number of on-site studio spaces and a flexible exhibition and talks space to enable us to build a sustainable community of peers and mentors. Participants join an open plan shared studio space at MASS Studios at Thames-Side Studios with 24/7 access, receive to 15 artists talks and access to visiting artist’s mentoring, 10 one-to-one regular mentoring sessions, 2 one-to-one guest mentoring sessions, 2 group mentoring sessions, 10 MASS Seminar Points & 2 group review sessions. The programme runs in three 12-weeks blocks across a 10 month period.
MASS Off-Site is an exciting new mentoring opportunity for London based sculptors who want to develop their practice through the same successful ethos employed by Turps Mentoring programmes and wish to remain working in their own studio. MASS Mentors visit sculptors in their own studios for one to one tutorials, and participants develop a supportive network of peers across London, through group studio visits to each other’s studios, crits based at Turps Gallery and attending MASS artist talks.
Mass Correspondence Course is an innovative distance-learning programme of online mentoring facilitated through critical, supportive written reviews by a dedicated mentor. The course is aimed at sculptors based anywhere in the world and at any stage in their career who want to develop or reinvigorate their work, whether recently graduated from art school or those without any formal arts education. 
Turps Correspondence Course is an innovative programme of online mentoring facilitated through critical, supportive written reviews delivered by a dedicated mentor. The course is aimed at painters who want to develop or reinvigorate their work, whether recently graduated from art school, mid-career or those without any formal arts education. The course is designed and structured to be delivered entirely online so that painters, based anywhere in the world and at any stage in their career, can participate and receive informed, critical feedback from a mentor who is a practising painter selected by Turps. There are 5 review points throughout the year when you will be required to upload images of your work and a short statement or ‘letter’ to your mentor. Your mentor will then review what has been uploaded and write their response. It is a very different type of feedback from more conventional face-to-face tutorials but we believe this is what makes the correspondence course such an appealing and sought after professional development course.
V.O Residencies provide emerging and lesser represented artists with the time and space to research and develop new work. The 2022 V.O Residency Programme will host six artists across three sessions, inviting practitioners to experiment and create new work in an open and supportive environment. Residents are provided with free studio space, critical and practical support, the opportunity to present a solo exhibition, and access to useful resources and a broad network of individuals and organisations. V.O aims to bring together diverse voices and encourages applicants from all backgrounds. The V.O Residency Programme is focused on promoting artistic exchange, socially-focused discourse and knowledge production.
V.O Residencies are open to artists in their first five years of professional practice and with less than three solo exhibitions. Each resident is invited to present a solo exhibition or project at V.O Gallery, and will have the possibility of producing a publication or print project related to the work they have developed while in residence.
Personal Projects:
The final Plop Residency x Cob Studios end-of-residency exhibition opens this Thursday, 14th February, 6-9pm, at Cob Gallery in Camden. I had the pleasure of mentoring Tim IraniDebbi Kenote and Mathew Zefeldt during their time on residency, and look forward to their final presentation.
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Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator

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