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The Shock of the Now - Issue #42

Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Afternoon All,
I hope you’re all well and welcome to Issue 42 of The Shock of the Now.
For this issue’s Featured Exhibition I’m publishing the text I wrote recently to accompany Luisa Me’s solo exhibition ‘The Crane at the Bottom of the Sea’, currently on display at Roman Road in Bethnal Green. Having previously curated their’s previous solo show, 2021’s ‘The Crab Chair’ at 9 French Place, it was a pleasure to collaborate with the dynamic duo once again, and I’m always impressed with their continued artistic advancement and evolution from one body of work to the next.
There are also seven weekly Recommended Exhibitions and twenty-one Artist Opportunities.
I hope you enjoy Issue 42, 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: Luisa Me - 'The Crane at the Bottom of the Sea' Solo Exhibition - Roman Road
In The Crane at the Bottom of the Sea Luisa Me present feelings and findings from their exploration into our ever-expanding cityscapes, supposed urban utopianism and the sun’s role as an omnipresent deity that oversees our search for community and human connection. 
Both in the way Luisa Me operates, with one singular artistic practice and vision albeit as a duo, and in their artworks, which whilst firmly figurative are employed to address their cross-disciplinary contemplations and considerations, the pair blur the boundaries between conceptual, representational and narrative art. Displaying an equal interest in the histories and hypotheses that underpin each painting as to the aesthetic or materialistic decision making, they support each subsequent body of work with a deep investigation of their shared ideals and ideas, as well as an intellectual examination of eclectic art historical, literary and cinematic references. Repetition remains particularly prevalent, with a reiteration of motifs, repositioning of figures or replication of environments allowing the artists to investigate comprehensively each conceptual concern. By operating as an artistic partnership, Luisa Me embrace ambiguity, avoiding illiberal labelling as they approach their practice with a reserved romanticism and a sceptical spirituality. Poetic and yet politically aware, they comment on, without critique, their contemporary culture and circumstances, all within paintings that are both visually pleasing and entirely thought-provoking. 
The reality and impersonality of harsh, hard-edged city living, rat-race paced and subject to unpredictable or unrelenting changeability, is not lost on Luisa Me. The duo met at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Urbino in 2016, immediately forming a close, almost brotherly, bond and, with both planning to move to London, decided to enter into an artistic partnership that could best withstand the capital’s infamous and uncompromising lifestyle. Such support, both physical and emotional, is reflected in this exhibition’s sole depiction of pairs or couples, where their characters become almost directly representative of the duo and their continued close collaboration. Limbs intertwine, torsos and backs press up against each other and feet grip the sides of the paintings as the figures literally, and we can imagine metaphorically, lean on one another for support and comfort.
At Roman Road, we find such signature characters, evocative of canonical Cycladic sculptures in their stance and stature, enjoying the sight of the midday sun. Note the noontime lack of shadows, reminiscent of the early renaissance painter Piero della Francesca, an indication that the sun is directly overhead, at its highest and its perceived hottest. Below, background bricks and tiles are bathed in sunlight, as the figures wade in ankle-deep water, their skin sun-bleached akin to weathered statues, a texture and colouring achieved through a continuous addition and sanding back of paint, that occasionally even perforates the canvas. The paintings themselves almost appear to radiate sunshine, what with their colour palette of mellow yellows, pastel purples, ultramarine blues and seafoam greens, whilst the sun itself is portrayed through talismanic masks with open ocular orifices. Crafted by collage and embellished with sand, the exhibition’s omnipotent deity has been subtly and satirically altered, its outstretched rays substituted for monuments from London’s iconic skyline.
Of course, where there is sun there is always shade, and this interplay between light and dark, this underlying tension or inherent contradiction, has always been evident in the pairs’ practice. While the sun is shining, spreading that uniquely summertime feeling, a mixture of joy, relaxation and anticipation, the city continues to lurk in the background, an arid reminder of the toil to come. Therefore, whilst displaying an acute awareness of the exhaustion triggered by the unflagging daily grind and the city’s constant stifling expansion, Luisa Me also attempt to offer an antidote, promoting a slower pace of life punctuated by periods of calm contemplation, comforting physical intimacy and collective human connection.
Recommended Exhibitions Opening This Week:
Anya Paintsil - ‘We Are All Made of You’ Solo Exhibition - Ed Cross, Barbican (25th May - 29th June, opening Wednesday 25th May, 6-8pm)
For the debut exhibition at their new Garrett Street space, Ed Cross presents Anya Paintsil’s first London solo show, ‘We Are All Made of You’. Initially conceived as an exploration of the artist’s dual Welsh and Ghanaian heritage, Paintsil’s latest works set her family members in conversation with mythical figures. As the artist’s siblings encounter characters from the Welsh epic Mabinogion and those plucked from Ghanaian Akan folktales and Fante proverbs, the significance of the exhibition’s title swims into view; in We Are All Made of You, Paintsil’s work exemplifies an intrinsic thematic overlap as well as a material one. 
Kate Bickmore - ‘Unfurling’ Solo Exhibition - Annka Kultys, Bethnal Green (26th May - 25th June, opening Thursday 26th May, 6-8pm)
Annka Kultys presents Kate Bickmore‘s latest solo exhibition 'Unfurling’, featuring four new large scale paintings, as well as two animations, sculptures and AR features made in collaboration with Sian Fan.
Nell Brookfield - ‘When the Knife Hits the Plate, Scream’ Solo Exhibition - Niru Ratnam, Soho (26th May - 25th June, opening Thursday 26th May, 6-8pm)
Niru Ratnam presents Nell Brookfield‘s latest solo exhibition 'When the Knife Hits the Plate, Scream’. Brookfield makes paintings that convey the way particular scenes might feel like, in the more literal sense of that phrase. She uses texture, brush-stroke and colour to convey the particular attributes of a scene, not just visually but with an emphasis on how something might feel to touch.
Kira Freije - ‘meteorites’ Solo Exhibition - The approach, Bethnal Green (27th May - 2nd July, opening Thursday 26th May, 6-8pm)
The approach presents Kira Freije‘s latest solo exhibition 'meteorites’. Like a cluster of meteorites descended from above, Freije’s sculptural assemblages scatter throughout the gallery; they are fragments of poetry in physical form evoking familiar yet uneasy feelings that sway between joy and fear.
A selection of works by the late English painter Jeffery Camp will also be on display in the gallery’s Annexe space.
May Hands - ‘All That is Left’ Solo Exhibition - Bosse & Baum, Peckham (27th May - 2nd July, opening Friday 27th May, 5-8pm)
Bosse & Baum presents ‘All That is Left’, a solo exhibition of wall-based works by British artist May Hands, containing hand-built ceramic forms, woven and crocheted textile fragments, naturally dyed surfaces and detritus from everyday consumption.
Niccolo Binda & Donal Sturt - ‘Meal Deal’ Two-Person Exhibition - Collective Ending HQ, Deptford (28th May - 17th June, opening Saturday 28th May, 5-10pm)
Collective Ending presents ‘Meal Deal’, a two-person exhibition of new work by Niccolo Binda and Donal Sturt. Inspired by our 2021 exhibition ‘Old Friends, New Friends’, we recently ran our first internal open call, inviting artists whom we have previously worked with to submit proposals for intimate, two-person exhibitions that paired their practice with that of an artist we haven’t exhibited before. Celebrating and spotlighting those artists who continue to excite and inspire us, whilst allowing us to ever-expand our extended community of emerging artists, Meal Deal is the first exhibition selected collectively from those submissions.⁣
Alex Margo Arden - ‘All Clear’ Solo Exhibition - Ginny on Frederick, Farringdon (28th May - 10th July, opening Saturday 28th May, 5-8pm)
Ginny on Frederick presents Alex Margo Arden‘s solo exhibition 'All Clear’.
Artist Opportunities:
Selected through a nationwide open call, Master Class offers the unique and free opportunity for eight emerging artists to work closely with leading international artists. The programme aims to create opportunities for emerging artists to develop their critical artistic voices through artist-led and peer to peer learning. During the week-long intensive programme (27th June - 4th July), artists have the chance to discuss and develop their practices through a series of lectures, tutorials, workshops, studio and gallery visits and seminars. The guest artists for Master Class 2022 are Matthew Day Jackson, Paul Pfeiffer and Anj Smith.
Applications are now open for a new residency programme developed in collaboration with Jerwood Arts and defined to support three early-career visual artists over a period of 18-months. The programme offers studio space in central London, a bursary and project budget to develop a new work to be presented in the Somerset House programme. In addition, artists will receive support and mentoring from the artist community along with wider Somerset House Studios residency benefits, all focused towards developing a sustainable professional practice for the long term. The opportunity is open to early-career visual artists within the first five years of their practice, with a focus on artists who are pushing bold ideas, engaging with urgent issues and pioneering new technologies.
Open School East are seeking applications from emerging artists, makers, producers, researchers and writers of all generations to join the tenth year of Open School East’s independent, self-directed and outward-facing development programme. As an organisation committed to anti-racism, LGBTQIA+ rights and neuro-inclusion, they particularly welcome applications from individuals who identify with this ethos. The Associates Programme is a free development programme offering a critical, informal and non-competitive environment in which to develop your practice and expand your networks. The programme is run according to principles of collaboration, experimentation and openness, and welcomes those who engage with these notions in different ways. The Associates Programme runs for a year and is principally self-directed, creating platforms to experiment and meet long-lasting collaborators and peers.
OUTPOST is delighted to announce the selector of the 2022 Members Show is artist and filmmaker Amartey Golding. Choosing to work within mediums that he is not traditionally trained in, Golding’s work incorporates wig making, ballet and the making of chain mail. Born and raised Rastafarian, Amartey uses the personal context and introspective process to explore the contradictory fabric of the human condition. Facilitated by OUTPOST, Golding will be seeking to showcase the diversity of work contained within the Members’ archive. To be selected you must be an OUTPOST Member. The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday 26 August to Sunday 9 October 2022.
A Space For Art and The Hari Hotel present The Hari Art Prize. The award will be open to all applicants who are self-taught or have graduated in the last two years (2020-2022) from UK art colleges from 4 April until 30 May 2022. A shortlist of artists will be chosen by A Space For Art and an elite panel of judges. Artwork from the shortlisted artists will be showcased at the hotel in an exclusive exhibition from 1 September 2022 until February 2023. The overall winner will be awarded a £10,000 cash grant, generously donated by Dr. Aron Harilela. The two runners up will receive the opportunity to become the next Artists in Residence based at The Hari from January to February 2023, followed by an exhibition of their work at the London hotel. All three finalists will have their work exhibited at The Hari’s newest hotel in Hong Kong.
An open call for projects by Black and People of Colour artists from Lewisham that will be selected by a jury and supported by the festival financially and curatorially. Launched in 2019, Supported is intended to widen access to participation in the festival by providing funding, production, and curatorial support to successful applicants. Applications from people based outside of our local borough will also be considered, provided they can demonstrate how their work will resonate with our geographical context.
Entry is now open for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2022. Open to all, it is the leading international competition and celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary photography. The winner of the competition will receive £15,000. In addition, the judges, at their discretion, will award cash prizes to one or more of the shortlisted photographers. The prize winners and exhibition selection are judged on an equal and anonymous basis. In 2021 the exhibition was held at Cromwell Place and featured a total of 54 portraits from 25 artists.
In 2022, the Points International Artist Residency Programme will expand and officially launch a new artist residency in both Wales and London, UK. The new residency space in Wales is due to open in 2022 and is located on the grounds of a seventeenth-century Troy House estate in Monmouthshire. The extensive riverside land will be preserved and transformed to provide exhibition space, artist studios/homes and a Troy House Art research centre, to create a unique ecological environment that encourages diverse, multidisciplinary and experimental contemporary art-making as well as to support artists from around the world to develop their work and research at this location. Points International Artist Residency will invite two international artists for a 1-3 months residency (September - December 2022). The residency will help the artist to develop professionally and build networks as well as provide a supportive environment for research and production. During the residency, Points will organise regular visits and networking events with art world professionals, inviting audiences to discover and access the artists’ studios to foster a greater public engagement as well. The artist-in-residence will have the opportunity to showcase their work at the Foundation’s London space. Points will provide a living allowance of £600 per month, international travel expenses up to £500 and each resident artist will receive a fee of up to £800 for the project (depending on the artist’s final project proposal).
FIELDNOTES is inviting submissions for its fourth issue. They are seeking non-conforming submissions: ideas in transition, poetry in translation, collaborations and conversations, works between genres, between fiction and theory, between text and image, new poetic modes and things-in-progress. FIELDNOTES believe creative work should be paid for and contributors selected from the Open Call will be paid a fee (between £100-£200) for original content not published elsewhere (online or in print). 
D Contemporary is pleased to invite submissions for their popular annual summer exhibition. Looking to investigate the notion of movement through time, space, and stories; this year’s theme Progression presents an opportunity for artists to demonstrate their vision of progress. D Contemporary are interested in artworks of any form/media and the judging panel will curate the exhibition best suited to their unique space in the heart of Mayfair. If selected there will be a fee of £150 per artist to participate. The exhibition will run from July 19th to August 5th at their gallery in 23 Grafton Street, Mayfair.
20/20 is a national programme led by UAL Decolonising Arts Institute. Between now and 2024, they’re looking for 20 emerging artists of colour to take on 15-month paid virtual residencies at these museums, galleries and art collection partners. Each artist will produce a commissioned artwork that will become a permanent piece in their collection. This is the first Call for Artists to take in the 20/20 programme. A second call will open in January 2023. 20/20 is led by UAL Decolonising Arts Institute and funded by Arts Council England, Freelands Foundation and UAL.
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.
Exeter Contemporary Open is an annual open submission exhibition, established in 2006 and hosted by Exeter Phoenix, a busy, multi-artform venue and contemporary art space situated in Exeter’s historic city centre. The exhibition aims to provide an important national platform for contemporary visual art with an emphasis on supporting emerging talent alongside more established artists. The exhibition is open to contemporary visual artists working in any media including painting, sculpture, photography, print, drawing, video, mixed and digital media. Each of the artists selected for the exhibition will be eligible for one of several cash prizes: The £1,000 Overall Award, £500 Additional Award and £200 Audience Choice Award – as voted for by visitors over the course of the exhibition. 
The Stanley Picker Gallery at Kingston University is seeking to appoint two contemporary practitioners to the Stanley Picker Fellowships in Design & Fine Art 2022. Each Fellowship provides up to £16,000 and valuable access to the extensive material workshops, technical resources and expertise within Kingston School of Art and the wider University departments, to support a practice-based, innovative research project that will result in an exhibition of international standing at the Stanley Picker Gallery.
Visions in the Nunnery is the Nunnery Gallery’s renowned showcase of moving image, digital and performance art. The biennial open call is an opportunity to be part of one of the most varied and exciting presentations of moving image in London. Each year they invite lead artists, celebrated for their innovation in the digital field, to head and inspire the exhibition programmes. This year Patrick Goddard and Emily Speed will be leading Visions 2022. Each will be exhibiting work as part of the show, and their thematic ideas will guide the selection process and set the tone for the wider exhibition. 
The Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS) is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that administers intellectual property rights on behalf of visual artists. ACS is offering an artist the chance to win £4,500 to contribute to the cost of an artist’s studio in the UK. If you are a UK or EEA national and are an undergraduate or postgraduate university student on an accredited art course who is about to graduate, or if you have graduated from a university accredited art course within the last four years, and you work in pictures, collage, painting, sculpture, tapestry, ceramics, glassware or photography, then you are eligible to apply for the prize.
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.
FLAMIN Animations is a commissioning programme for early-career black-identifying artist animators living in the UK. Run by Film London and Arts Council England, the programme aims to support artist animators as they take their first steps into a career working with the moving image, with development support and funding for a new work. Launched in 2021, the inaugural round of commissions saw four new 1-3 minute animations made and showcased at London’s Picturehouse Central.
Drawing Room invites proposals that examine critical issues around contemporary drawing. They offer postgraduate students and scholars the chance to field test and peer-review research, and to network and engage with a wider community of academics and specialists. They are now inviting proposals of a high quality that reflect a strong research focus. Proposals should include a summary of your research, outline the key questions it raises and how these will be addressed by your project. Proposals must have an explicit connection to drawing, and discuss why the medium of drawing specifically has been utilised in your research. Selected papers will be presented at the next Drawing Research Forum in September 2022.
The Fringe is a celebration of the area’s art scene, bringing together artists, community groups and students. Over the course of the festival, the Fringe will take over Deptford, placing art in unexpected locations, rooted into the fabric of everyday lives. This year, Deptford X are encouraging Fringe artists to congregate their projects as close as possible to Deptford High Street, creating a hub for a vibrant range of activities for the much-anticipated return of the festival. It will extend across indoor and outdoor spaces motivated by the statement ‘We’re Here for Art’. We are also interested in Fringe projects related to gardening practices seeking to work with a community space. Deptford X is a festival for all and we particularly welcome participation by artists from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and by artists with disabilities.
Personal Projects:
I recently contributed the foreword to Euphrosyne Andrews‘ latest publication ‘Soft Edges, Draw Close’, published by Foolscap Editions(creative direction and curation by Daniel Fletcher, design by William Lyall).
The book presents a body of work by the artist that explores how materials and their subsequent associations shape our interactions within space. Contributions from Owen Hatherley and The Box Plymouth situate the work within the framework of modernist architecture, social histories and politics. An in-conversation between Katie Schwab, Euphrosyne Andrews and Ben Borthwick offers insight into the creative practices and print methodologies that underpin the work.
The publication is now available to purchase via Foolscap Editions!
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Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator

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