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The Shock of the Now - Issue #51

Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Afternoon All,
I hope you’re all well and welcome to Issue 51 of The Shock of the Now.
This issue’s Featured Exhibition is Lewis Brander’s solo exhibition at Vardaxoglou in Soho. Having first witnessed Lewis’ work shortly after he graduated from Goldsmiths in 2018, and subsequently worked closely with him after he returned from a two-year stint in Athens to stage ‘First Light’, a two-person exhibition of Lewis and Sonya Derviz at Collective Ending HQ, I am incredibly proud of his impressive debut solo, and would urge you all to catch it in-person.
There are also five weekly Recommended Exhibitions and fourteen active Artist Opportunities.
I hope you enjoy Issue 51, 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 - Solo Exhibition - Vardaxoglou
Following hot on the heels of ‘First Light’, our recent two-person outing at Collective Ending HQ of Lewis Brander and Sonya Derviz, Lewis’ eponymous debut solo exhibition takes as its point of departure the two smallest works from that previous show, Heatwave and To Think of You, and pulls upon one particular thread of his painting practice to expand upon his series of intimate sky studies. Hearing the perhaps foreboding title of the former, it’s hard not to recall our own recent heat-obsessed existence, as we experience either the hottest summer since records began, or the coldest summer for the foreseeable future. Between a barrage of sweat-glistening thirst traps, overuse of the Hot Face emoji and plenty of 37, 38 and 39 degree Celsius stamped Instagram stories, I found myself opening every email with a muddled mix of ‘I hope you’re enjoying/managing/surviving the heat!’, unsure of each recipient’s respective perspectives. The media became a confusing combination of Met Office red weather warnings, enthusiastic encouragement to enjoy ourselves and meteorologists openly mocked for their supposedly ‘doomsday’ attitudes. As summer settles back into its customary rain showers and sunny spells, it seems like a forgotten fever dream.
Lewis’ paintings, therefore, appear perfectly apt in the aftermath of London becoming momentarily Mediterranean. At the new Soho space of young gallerist Alex Vardaxoglou, London skies are juxtaposed with fresh breaths of Athenian air in urban skyscapes that radiate warmth, recognise light pollution or promote that springtime stillness of potent potential. Many of the paintings are initiated by a period of en plein air observation, sketched straight onto the canvas to reflect the stimulus of their incentive surroundings, before being squirrelled away to the studio where they are finessed and finished, memory ultimately intermingling with those early impressions.
The exhibition includes the artist’s first paintings on board, a sign of Lewis’s ongoing experimentation with material and medium. The reddish, pinkish pigments of Greek Sunset (after Tsarouchis), its title an hommage to the Greek modernist Yannis Tsarouchis who achieved international acclaim for his delicate depictions of soldiers and sailors engaging in same-sex relationships, emit an aridity echoing that of Mount Lycabettus, the hilltop from which Lewis would look down across his then-adopted home of Athens. Hymettus, meanwhile, portrays the mountain range that flanks the eastern edge of the city, with vibrant bands of colour in gestural sweeps and the birch backing left bare at points. During ‘First Light’ I often found myself explaining how Lewis’s paintings sit within, rather than on, their linen or flax supports, as his oils seep into the loose weave and live there. Here, however, the artist’s hand is evident for all to see, with brushstrokes exposed and pigment apparent, accumulating across the surface.
Recommended Exhibitions Opening This Week:
Izaak Brandt - ‘Hooked’ Solo Exhibition - V.O Curations, Angel (27th July - 1st August, opening Wednesday 27th July, 6:30-9pm)
Marta Orsola Sironi curates Izaak Brandt‘s debut solo exhibition 'Hooked’ at V.O Curations in Angel, featuring paintings and sculptures furthering the artist’s exploration into our relationship to status symbols, ego and items of desire. The title references the paradoxical struggle of being hooked or addicted to something yet deeply troubled by it, as evidenced by consumer manipulation embedded in greater systems of tactics and temptations.
‘Do you feel me’ Group Exhibition - Sapling, Mayfair (27th July - 20th August, opening Wednesday 27th July, 6-8pm)
Sapling presents ‘Do you feel me’, a group exhibition featuring works by Koshiro Akiyama, Lily Ashley, Tal Regev, and Jessie Stevenson. This exhibition explores the intention to affect the viewer emotionally as a driving motivation behind an artistic practice.
Ahren Warner - ‘we have a space for your every mood’ Solo Exhibition - TJ Boulting, Fitzrovia (28th July - 13th August, opening Wednesday 27th July, 6-8pm)
TJ Boulting presents Ahren Warner debut solo exhibition ‘we have a space for your every mood’, featuring two bodies of work, an installed multi-channel film,’ like you’ve never lived before’ (2021) and a series of photographs and text-works, ‘renew the wasteful force you spend with each hot convulsion’ (2022). The latter is an extract from an ongoing series of photographs Warner has been making for several years in party resorts, hostels and events across the world, but particularly in ‘hedonistic’ tourist hotspots.
Nikolai Azariah - ‘There’s A Fountain Flower’ Solo Exhibition - Xxijra Hii, Deptford (29th July - 20th August, opening Thursday 28th July, 6-9pm)
Xxijra Hii presents Nikolai Azariah‘s solo exhibition 'There’s A Fountain Flower’. The installation deals with salt; the simple and everyday substance so familiar on the kitchen table or spread over a potentially icy street. Yet Azariah’s work is anything but simple. It kaleidoscopically reveals more the longer one looks, comprising an aggregation of references with seemingly limitless potential and forming the work in a dynamic crystalline structure.
Tommy Xie - ‘hold me again, in the jadeite gaze’ Solo Exhibition - Ginny On Frederick, Farringdon (July 31st - 3rd September, opening Sunday 31st, 3-6pm)
Ginny On Frederick presents Tommy Xie‘s solo exhibition 'hold me again, in the jadeite gaze’.
Artist Opportunities:
PADA is an artist-led, non-profit arts organisation based in Barreiro in Lisbon’s South Bay, located within the old Companhia União Fabril (CUF) industrial park. Create in 2018, PADA provides artists a space to develop their practice, interact with other artists, and explore new approaches in a post-industrial environment. The PADA Residency Programme is run in conjunction with the Studio & Gallery Programmes. By providing studios for local artists alongside the residency, we aim to encourage the interaction of national and international artists. Artists-in-Residence benefit from the mutual exchange across art forms and the post-industrial surrounding. The residency periods for 2023 are as follows: 1st February - 28th February, 3rd March - 30th March, 3rd April - 1st May, 4th May - 31st May, 6th June - 4th July, 6th July - 2nd August, 4th August - 31th August, 4th September - 2nd October, 5th October - 1st November and 3rd November - 30th November.
Forma is inviting proposals for Oasis: a socially engaged curatorial project or short cultural programme that will take place at FormaHQ between September 2022 and April 2023. Aimed at individuals and groups who want to develop their creative practice, Oasis is an opportunity to explore research interests and deliver socially engaged activities in collaboration with Forma’s team and our local audiences in London. A fixed bursary of £15,000 is available.
Oasis takes its name from the research and conversations initiated by the lead creatives in the redevelopment of Peveril Gardens and FormaHQ. Led by consultation with local residents and driven by Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri’s vision for a new oasis of nature and culture on the edge of central London, the aim was to transform the underused site into a purposeful and beautiful meeting point for both artists and local residents. This Open Call is for a curatorial or artistic project or cultural programme that embraces Kuri’s vision of an oasis – a safe place where creatives and local residents can take part in cultural activities and enjoy the benefits of our new Peveril Gardens.
Voodoo4u is looking for performers, sound artists, musicians, dancers, DJs or any other creatives who would like to participate in the second official event of Voodoo4u! All the performers during the event will wear customize outfits made by Voodoo and other fashion designers. The event will take place in an art venue in Shoreditch, London on the 8th of October 2022. Please submit your application by sending a proposal/idea of your performance that you would like to present with some visual/sound materials of your previous work to info.voodoo4u@gmail.com.
CIRCA x Dazed Class of 2022 returns with an open call for new media creators and world builders to win the #CIRCAECONOMY cash prize of £30,000 and see their work appear on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights screen in September. This year’s theme ‘A FUTURE WORLD’ is inspired by the CIRCA 2022 manifesto ‘And Now We Build Worlds’, calling for new media responses with a two-and-a-half-minute moving image work. This could be an existing piece of work or a new creation.
The annual ‘Class of’ showcases the best-in-class of new-gen moving image artists and new media creators. Following a month-long open call, a shortlist of 30 will be selected by this year’s jury panel including Arca, Martine Syms, Precious Okoyomon, Norman Rosenthal and Hans Ulrich Obrist.
London Bronze Edition’s mission is to champion a contemporary approach to metal casting. They’re aware that for many artists, a major barrier to working in bronze is the access & cost of the process. In response, they created the London Bronze Fellowship - an opportunity for artists to pitch a new work, which they will then share with potential sponsors who will select & jointly fund the fellowship with LBE. When a sponsor (Gallery / Collector / Corporate) selects an artwork, the fellowship will be scheduled in, giving the artist access to the Foundry to learn from the production. A limited Edition of 3 artworks will be made, one free copy for the Artist, one for the Sponsor & one for London Bronze Editions. London Bronze Edition are open to hearing ambitious, experimental & creative ideas. It can be made using traditional or digital processes, where the work is ready to be cast, or needs development through 3D modelling. 
The South London Gallery Postgraduate Residency is an open submission six-month live-in residency which enables the production of a new body of work and a rare opportunity for an early-career artist to exhibit within an internationally renowned institution. The residency is open to artists who have completed a period of self-directed, peer-led or postgraduate study between October 2021 and September 2022. This can include alternative, peer organised and non-accredited programmes from an institution, collective or art school in the UK, as well as an MA, MFA, PGDip, MRes.
Between October 2022 – April 2023, the recipient will receive rent-free accommodation in the SLG Outset Artists’ Flat next door to the gallery; studio space in the SLG Fire Station; a £4,000 artists fee and a £3,500 production budget to produce new work; mentoring sessions and studio visits from SLG staff, including the Director, and other arts professionals; the opportunity to commission an essay about their practice; the opportunity to present a public event in response to their practice and a solo exhibition opening March 2023 in one of the SLG Fire Station galleries.
Unlocking The Collections is a research residency for an early-career, London-based artist to engage with The Collections Library at the Museum of the Home. The selected artist will receive an award of £3,000 to develop their practice in response to the Museum of the Home’s collections. A further £850 to deliver a public-facing event that showcases their thinking and research undertaken over the residency period and also special access to Museum collections and curatorial staff. The awarded artist will be expected to visit the Museum and engage with the collections at least one day a week over the research period; participate in four interviews over the residency period which will be published on the Museum of the Home and Artquest websites; produce online content about their experiences on the residency and work with Artquest and the Museum of the Home to organise a closing event to showcase their thinking, research and work over the period of the residency.
Sarabande Studios are more than just a studio space. They are a place of community and collaboration where the unique vision of each artist is supported. Being a part of Sarabande does not only guarantee a heavily subsidised studio space but also communication with leading journalists, curators, collectors, fashion designers, artists and photographers - all eager to know about your creative discipline, vision, and bring you to the forefront of the public eye. With bespoke business mentoring, pro-bono support from expert accountants and lawyers, networking opportunities and with added support in press, marketing, filming and documentation. The studios range from 50sq. ft to 350sq. ft and are priced at £1 per sq. ft per month. The cost includes all utilities, use of communal spaces & equipment, free professional services, bespoke mentoring and free access to all events at the foundation.
The National Portrait Gallery is inviting proposals from emerging artists and creatives to become their Digital Artist in Residence for Black History Month (1-31 October 2022). The Gallery would work with the selected artist to produce three pieces of digital content on our social media channels that shares stories of Black history and heritage, and spotlights the artist’s response to our Collection. This would form part of the Gallery’s wider digital content throughout the year, which amplifies the stories of Black history in the Collection, and this residency would mark the start of an ongoing relationship with the artist, who we’d look to collaborate with on future pieces of digital content. The artist would receive a fixed fee of £2000 (approximately 7 days of work), for their participation in the residency, with the work taking place throughout September 2022, to then be shared on the Gallery’s social channels in October 2022.
The South Bermondsey Art Trail is a 2-day event of open studios, exhibitions, screenings, performances, parties and events celebrating the creatives working in South Bermondsey. Organised by Sid Motion Gallery and Charlie Billingham, the trail aims to celebrate the local area and the brilliant creatives working within it. All local artists and creatives are invited to participate by opening their doors to visitors on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th August 2022 between 12-6pm. If you would like to be included please submit the following information to info@sidmotiongallery.co.uk:
Your full name. Your studio address (plus any additional access information). A sentence or short blurb about your work and an image that illustrates your creative practice. Please note, the organisers might use this image on the South Bermondsey Art Trail Instagram page to announce your participation. Once you have submitted your information, your inclusion will be listed on a printed map which visitors can follow when attending the Art Trail.
San Mei Gallery are looking for exhibition proposals from artists, creatives, designers, architects and makers (solo or groups) with research-based practices to stage an exhibition in their Brixton-based gallery in 2023. San Mei is an independent space for contemporary art in South London, committed to research-led, educational and collaborative exchanges. Operating with an artist-led approach, they support artists and curators to experiment with new ideas. The gallery promotes and facilitates emerging artistic practice, through exhibitions, residencies, studios and events. This Open Call is looking for three exhibitions to be held at San Mei Gallery in 2023, which will be selected by the San Mei Gallery curatorial team.
The East London Art Prize is an all-media art prize designed to showcase the talent of artists working and living in east London, with an accompanying event programme supporting artists’ careers and opportunities. Proudly sponsored by Minerva, the winner receives a career-changing cash prize of £15,000 and a solo exhibition at Bow Arts’ Nunnery Gallery. The runner-up second prize is a year’s studio space with Bow Arts. 
The prize is open to any artist living or working within an ‘E’ postcode, encompassing E1-E20, SE1-SE28 and EC1-EC4. Submitting artists should hold an arts degree, equivalent arts qualification or be able to show demonstrable commitment to their artistic practice. Artist collectives/joint submissions are accepted. All media types are accepted, including (but not limited to!) painting, print, drawing, sculpture, digital, film, audio, ceramics, textiles and performance.
Three unique organisations are collaborating to provide a significant platform and stepping stone for new artists. Now in its third iteration, The Robert Walters Group UK New Artist of the Year Award in collaboration with Saatchi Gallery will discover and champion exceptional artists who are representative of contemporary Britain. For 2022, the award is interested in works which address the theme, ‘The Unimagined Future’. It has been noted that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet, what else has yet to be thought about? What else has yet to be invented? Where will creative thought and ideas be in the next decade, what needs to change?
The 10 shortlisted artists’ work will be exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London for a VIP awards evening, as well as in a virtual gallery space, online for one month following the award. First Award: £10,000 cash prize & The winner’s work will be shown at the Robert Walters Group head office for a period of 12 months following the award. Second Award: £5,000 cash prize. People’s Choice Award: Decided by a public vote during the virtual exhibition 11th November - 10th January and announced on Thursday 12th January. The winner will have the opportunity to take part in one of UK New Artists’ international presentations.
Lewisham Arthouse is a 25-year-old artist-run cooperative based in South East London. Continuing their commitment to supporting emerging artists, Lewisham Arthouse announced the 10th round of their Graduate Studio Award Scheme and invite all recent London-based (or those relocating) graduate visual artists to apply. The award offers recent graduates a fantastic, free opportunity to continue developing their practice in a 200ft studio based within their artist-led cooperative. The scheme encourages the selected artist to utilise Lewisham Arthouse’s facilities, and participate in or draw on their lively community to produce and present new work. Towards the end of the scheme, the awardee will be invited to share the outcomes of the residency in a form of their choosing.
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Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator
Hector Campbell - Art Historian, Writer & Curator

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