Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Emma Bennett | Several Small Fires

EMMA BENNETT | Several Small Fires
PRIVATE VIEW Thursday 25 June 6.30-8.30pm
EXHIBITION DATES Friday 26 June – Saturday 25 July 2015
GALLERY HOURS Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present Emma Bennett with her third one person show at the gallery. For this exhibition Bennett has created an exquisite set of intimate oil paintings on oak panels. Combining appropriated still life elements with beds, fire and landscapes; this is a significantly personalised series. Exploring the fleeting nature of experience and encounters, Bennett’s paintings are resonant and nostalgic. They also refer to the incomplete, fragmented nature of memory and thought:‘My recent paintings, like memories, contain small fragments of imagery - these are focused details surrounded by darkness and ambiguity. The imagery of the paintings locates memories in specific places and, as with memories, there are sharply focused details as well as inaccuracies and things that one can't quite recall.’ This fragmented or failed recollection serves to blur the boundaries of reality and imagination, and introduces notions of desire, absence and loss. The illogicality of apparently disparate figurative elements suggests ambiguities in time and space, whilst the intangible nature of the subjects represented intonate dream and flux. We are eluded by the transient nature of smoke, fire and water, and reminded of the impermanence of the corporeal. Please contact the gallery for images and further information

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Anti-Social Realism | Curated by Juan Bolivar & John Stark | 2015

Anti-Social Realism Curated by Juan Bolivar & John Stark Juan Bolivar, Dan Coombs, Graham Crowley, Karen David, Nathan Eastwood, Geraint Evans, John Greenwood, Sigrid Holmwood, Kate Lyddon, Maharishi x Rebecca & Mike, John Salt, John Stark PRIVATE VIEW Thursday April 2nd 6.30-8.30pm EXHIBITION DATES Saturday April 4th – Saturday May 9th 2015 GALLERY HOURS Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment People try to put us down(Talkin' 'bout my generation - The Who, 'My generation', (1965) (1)Gustave Courbet once stated that he was ‘not only a Socialist, but a Democrat and a Republican, as well: in a word, a supporter of the whole revolution, and above all a realist, that is to say a sincere lover of genuine truth.’ (2) In T.J. Clark’s book ‘Image of the People’ (1999), Courbet is said to have disguised himself behind the mask of the savage in order to remain in the centre of the Parisian art world without actually being absorbed by it. Acting as a rustic invader and outsider at La Brasserie Andler, which Courbet frequented in the 1840's, he sustained his practice by gaining access to this glimpse of bourgeoisie life. This enabled him to comment on the social conditions of the time through his paintings of rural life. In ‘Image of the People’Clark asks us to question: 'What is revolutionary art?' - such as Courbet's - and 'What were the effects of a particular Revolution upon pictorial practice?'.The term ‘Anti-Social Realism’ is not one that is commonly understood. This exhibition attempts to pose new pictorial possibilities through artworks that tackle notions of contemporary realism and offer us a distant echo of a political reality. The wry misnomer of the exhibition’s title slips between many interwoven threads, simultaneously conjuring up images of 'anti-social behaviour orders' (ASBO’s); anarchist riots; or the solitary artist locked away from the world in a studio attempting to connect on a higher level. In this light, the exhibiting artists are presented as ‘social mystics’ (3) and it could be said that their work operates by a means of turning inwards to create social radiation. The other worldliness of social media and the ever present threat to notions of reality of the digital age (where almost everything and anything seems possible) define our contemporary reality, and by that definition, what it means to pursue social and anti-social practices. The search for a means to connect with an audience is relevant today, just as it was in Courbet's times, and the desire to present the enigma of peasant politics with the confusions and dangers of class systems continues. These artists are banded together in their conviction that art must remain intrinsically social, whilst preserving a duty to question the binds of the social structures it exists within. Please contact the gallery for images and further information

Friday, 20 February 2015

Tom Butler | Inhabitants

336 Old Street, London EC1V 9DR , United Kingdom | +44 (0)20 7739 4055 | | Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm or by appointment TOM BUTLER Inhabitants PRIVATE VIEW Thursday February 19th 6.30-8.30pm EXHIBITION DATES Friday February 20th – Saturday March 28th 2015 GALLERY HOURS Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present Tom Butler with his second one person exhibition at the gallery. Earlier in the year a curator asked me if there was a limit to the number of my cabinet cards works. I said no, because it felt like I was growing a population of characters that continues to surprise and fascinate me. However, this was a new idea because I realised they were becoming a population or citizenship and more than just an ongoing series of characters. To let the population grow I started imagining an island (of sorts) where they could exist and I could continue to create them. It wasn’t until later in the year that I read H.G. Wells’ ‘Island of Dr Moreau’, where a shipwrecked man is rescued and brought to the shores of a mysterious island populated with beast-men who are created by Dr Moreau in scientific experiments. Wells’ island itself is unnamed, as is its strange population, only described in the book as: ‘the inhabitants’. In this exhibition Butler continues to evolve his ongoing series of appropriated Victorian cabinet cards. Painted with beautifully delicate gouache, each subject is laboriously transformed, being engaged by an inexplicable shape, pattern or species. The inherent character of the card, with its clear traces of the passing of time; and the appearance and positioning of the sitter, prompt Butler to instinctively decide how and where to alter the original object. This series introduces new motifs as well as new treatment of existing motifs, including geometric clouds, bisecting barriers, floral transformations and spiritual exhalations. Butler then pushes them in extremis, where the sitter might be entirely overtaken or conversely their features remain very much apparent. We are treated to a number of works where there is clear suggestion of interaction between the subject and a mysterious plane, force or aura, rendering the subject pre-occupied rather than overwhelmed. Butler has also introduced renditions of pairs, groups and families alongside his iconic single subjects. Using similar modes of modification, Butler toys with group dynamics, accentuating isolation or integration. At times sinister and always nostalgic, the notion of time past is even more evident here. The removal of identities implies death, and varied motifs within single pieces suggest the different direction that lives of individuals take. Once a group with shared interests, experiences and motivations, one is left to reflect on separation, loss, diversion and fulfilled or unfulfilled intentions. Please contact the gallery for images and further information

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Young Gods | London Graduates 2014

Young Gods | London Graduates 2014

Curated by Zavier Ellis

Gabriele Dini, Russell Hill, Tezz Kamoen, Hilde Krohn Huse, JoshuaRaffell, Zhu Tian, Newton Whitelaw


PRIVATE VIEW Wednesday January 7th 2015 6:30-8:30pm
EXHIBITION DATES Thursday January 8th – Friday February 6th 2015
GALLERY HOURS Monday-Thursday 10am-5pm | Friday 10am-4pm
ADDRESS The Studio Building, 21 Evesham Street, London W11 4AJ
CONTACT +44 (0)20 8424 3239 | |


EXHIBITION DATES Wednesday January 14th – Saturday February 14th 2015
GALLERY HOURS Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment
ADDRESS 336 Old Street, London EC1V 9DR
CONTACT +44 (0)20 7739 4055 | |

Zavier Ellis identifies London’s best new talent to curate Young Gods at GriffinGallery and CHARLIE SMITH LONDON for the third year running.

Ellis’ annual selection of graduates from London art schools is recognized as a key barometerof the best new London artists.The exhibition has a proven track record of discovering vital new artists and introducing themto the international market. Previous selections have gone on to considerable success withgalleries, museums and collectors, including three artists from the 2013 selection beingplaced in the world renowned Saatchi Gallery collection.

This year sees a combination of painting, sculpture, installation and video by seven artistsfrom China, Italy, Netherlands, Norway & United Kingdom, illustrating the international natureof today’s London art schools intake.

Showing simultaneously at west London’s Griffin Gallery and east London’s CHARLIE SMITHLONDON, the exhibition will feature the same artists at both sites, enabling a differentcuratorial perspective at each gallery. Combined the exhibition will feature work that iscomplex, sensational, confrontational and absurd.


30 January - 7 March 2015
// The Cult Of RAMM:ELL:ZEE: Alexis Milne, Tex Royale, Lu Ma Oi, Eve Fainke, Chooc Ly Tan, Nuke Eden and Petro
// Zavier Ellis
// Cedar Lewisohn
Curated by Alexis Milne
PRIVATE VIEW > 30 January 2015
17.00h – 20.00h // JOEY RAMONE, Josephstraat 166 - 168
20.30h – 21.30h // WORM, Boomgaardstraat 71
With a shared exhibition, JOEY RAMONE and ROODCAPJE Radicals will present Cult Of The Concrete, an exhibition curated by Alexis Milne. Part one of this shared exhibition will be presented at JOEY RAMONE and will open on January 30th. The second part of this exhibition will be presented at the ROODCAPJE Radicals festival in April.
We are very proud to welcome you to the opening on the 30th of January, which also inaugurates JOEY RAMONE's new project space. The exhibition Cult Of The Concrete occupies both gallery and project spaces. From there we will all walk to WORM, where The Cult Of RAMM:ELL:ZEE will perform a ritual from 20.30h to 21.30h.
Cult Of The Concrete is an exhibition of artists responding to the overbuilt metropolis and its barrage of semantic disorder. Heavily influenced by decaying and layered street surfaces, graffiti drenched walls and psychogeographic theory the artists construct a primal collage from their urban surroundings.
// The performance collective The Cult Of RAMM:ELL:ZEE is driven by Alexis Milne, Tex Royale, Lu Ma Oi, Eve Fainke, Chooc Ly Tan, Nuke Eden and Petro. The Cult will present video documentation of their performances alongside The Book of Bitumen, a transcribed and mapped collection of past rituals (from 2011 till 2014) on densely layered kitchen lino used in roving performances through industrial ruins, an abandoned spy station, brutalist public housing such as The Heygate Estate, and squats in London, Sweden and Berlin.
The Cult utilize the Gothic Futurist teachings of the late 1970's rapper and graffiti philosopher RAMM:ELL:ZEE to carry out large scale group rituals of trans-letter liberation, by channelling elements of graffiti sub culture into new manifestations such as break-spraying and express preying on cut up sections of kitchen lino (a surface reconfigured for headspinning in the 1980's). These forms of breakdancing and devotional body movements are combined with dynamic spray painting to achieve a trance like fervour to a hynoptic electronica soundscape punctuated with freestyle rap flows and spoken word.
Hip Hop phrases are broken down and chanted, pointing to an obsessional affiliation with branded sportswear ("My Adidas!, My Air Jordanz!"). Adidas becomes the remixed god 'Zi-Dada' and Robert Moses — master architect of the Cross Bronx Expressway (the road partly responsible for the dystopian backdrop of 1970's South Bronx where Hip Hop began) — becomes the god 'Mozizizm'.
These elements are also echoed in the outfits and objects of the Cult. Discarded branded trainers are cut up (the soles removed) and used as talismans, futuristic shinguards and bulky sports padding are reconfigured into post-apocalyptic cult armour — reverberations of the exoskeletal samurai suits of the RAMM:ELL:ZEE.
// Zavier Ellis combines the use of text with painterly, collage, assemblage and photographic techniques that respond directly to the urban environment. Language is employed to obfuscate and open new possibilities. Street signs, misspelt graffiti, literature, coded language and obsessed over words are referenced by etching, collaging or painting. Narrative is implied and the audience is invited into a confused, fragmented dialogue with artist and artwork where the broken, derelict, incomplete and mistaken are embraced. Under the title 'The Arrow of Time', the content of Ellis' work draws on various personal, intellectual and historical interests, either fleeting or ongoing. Monumental historical events and themes including nationalism; revolutionary politics; myth & magic; art history; religion; and insanity are all research pursuits that develop into subjects in his work.
// Cedar Lewisohn samples the city through drawings, large scale wood printing and spray painted works. For the Cult Of The Concrete exhibition, Lewisohn will present new work made whilst spending a year at The Jan Van Eyck Accademie, Maastricht. This body of work uses imagery and symbolism the artist has encountered while in the Netherlands. The images range from art historical to public signage and are juxtaposed with fragments from seemly discordant narratives, such as African tribal rituals and Egyptian hieroglyphs.
// The Cult of RAMM:ELL:ZEE have exhibited and performed at the Saatchi Gallery, Modern Art Oxford, The Barbican, New Art Gallery Walsall, The Gasworks and International Film Festival Rotterdam.
// Zavier Ellis is a London based artist, curator and gallerist. He read History of Modern Art at Manchester University before undertaking a Masters in Fine Art at City & Guilds of London Art School. Zavier has exhibited in recent years at Museum der Moderne in Salzburg, Torrance Art Museum in California and Paul Stolper Gallery in London. His work is featured in many private collections including the Peter Nobel Collection in Zurich.
Zavier is the founder and director of CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, a contemporary art gallery in Shoreditch. He has curated exhibitions internationally including in Berlin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Klaipeda, London, Los Angeles, Naples and Rome. Zavier is also co-founder and co-curator of the annual museum scale show THE FUTURE CAN WAIT, which in recent years has been organised in partnership with Saatchi's New Sensations. THE FUTURE CAN WAIT is the largest exhibition of its kind globally.
Most recently Zavier has published his first iArtBook 100 London Artists with renowned art critic and historian Edward Lucie-Smith.
// Cedar Lewisohn is an artist, writer and curator. He has recently been working on The Canals Project, a series of public art works for the waterways of East London. In 2013 he organised The Hecklers, a large scale group exhibition for The New Art Gallery Walsall. Between 2005 and 2011 he worked for Tate where he curated a number of large and small scale exhibitions and projects. He has published two books and is currently working on a new project for the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Tom Butler 'Geoeb', 2014 Gouache on albumen print 16.5x10cm
Tom Butler, Susannah Douglas, Luke Jackson, Sam Jackson, Geraldine Swayne

Thursday November 27th 6:30-8:30pm 
336 Old Street, London EC1V 9DR

Friday November 28th Saturday December 20th 2014 
Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is pleased to announce its final show of the year, Idolatry. This exhibition presents a group of artists who work fundamentally in miniature form. Image based, their work is informed by contemporary and historical visual culture, and undergoes a transformation as the artist intervenes with the found or appropriated. Taking ownership of the image, each artist reinvents the mechanically (or digitally) reproduced by returning it to the handmade. The choice of subject and method of application combine to create evocative works that are quietly subversive.

Tom Butler collects Victorian cabinet cards and works over the image in delicately rendered gouache. Using ever evolving motifs Butler seeks to conceal elements of the original subject, whilst projecting alternative characteristics on to them. Geometric abstract patterns; flora; hair; fur; or bandages might be employed to interrupt the original photographic image.  

Susannah Douglas makes impeccable drawings derived from found childhood photographs. Undoubtedly nostalgic, Douglas uses intelligent devices to jolt the viewer. Drawing on photographic techniques, Douglas might crop the drawing unusually; repeat an element to allude to spliced film; or subtly mirror an image, often having already collaged disparate source elements from which to make the drawing.

Luke Jackson draws on the political, social and philosophical to imbue his impasto paintings with an unusually weighty atmosphere. Often isolated within a space with only suggestions of an environment, Jackson’s figures suggest a Kafkaesque state of monotony, endeavor, disorientation and menace.  

Sam Jackson is recognized for his psychologically charged portraits and highly sexual nudes. Jackson’s newest paintings depict figures engaged in sexual activity in outside, rural environments. Whilst often being direct, these paintings have a gentleness that suggests the erotic rather than pornographic, and recalls 19th century en plein air painting.

Geraldine Swayne makes seductive, lyrical paintings in enamel on copper or aluminium. Swayne’s evident enthusiasm for the physicality and fluidity of paint is coupled with diverse and instinctive choices of subjects that are often surprisingly transgressive. Serial killers, murder victims and effete male models populate Swayne’s paintings alongside celebrities, friends and historical figures.      

Together with this exhibition we will present a new set of prints that was made to exhibit at the recent Saatchi Gallery exhibition ‘Cultus Deorum’, curated by gallery director Zavier Ellis. The series features etchings; offset prints; linocuts; lithographs and c-type prints by Florian Heinke, Sam Jackson, Reece Jones, Eric Manigaud, Alex Gene Morrison, Gavin Nolan, Dominic Shepherd and The Cult Of RAMMΣLLZΣΣ. Each is an edition of 50 and available at £250 + VAT.

Thursday, 30 October 2014


   'No Man's Land', 2014 Oil on wood panel 122x180cm

Friday October 10th – Saturday November 15th 2014 
Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment

Above the waist it was semi anthropomorphic, though its chest had the leathery, reticulated hide of a crocodile. The back was piebald with yellow and black and dimly suggested the squamous coverings of snakes. Below the waist though, it was the worst, for here all human resemblance left-off and sheer fantasy began. H. P. Lovecraft - The Dunwich Horror.

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present John Stark with his third one person exhibition at the gallery. 

In this exhibition Stark presents a new collection of paintings that appear to depict a world divided, besieged and devoid of moral constraints. By opposing common assumptions based on Christian mechanisms, for example that prayer is purer than incantation; and by addressing the idea that modern civilisation uses Christian morality to legitimise its own violence, Stark seeks to go beyond centuries of doctrine and propaganda to express the reality of the horror that lies beneath western reason.

The centrepiece of this exhibition, ‘No Man’s Land’, Stark’s largest painting to date, includes numerous figures: witches, demons, satyrs, Greek gods, zombie soldiers and pin up girls who cavort and coagulate in various rituals and invocations. It is a place of metaphysical darkness where such perversions are permitted to exist. Recalling historical allegory painting by way of pulp horror and erotica, we are presented with a Bacchanalian depiction of indulgence, malevolence and empowerment that refers to the cyclical births, evolutions and downfalls of societies throughout history, everywhere.

But there is a deep underlying contradiction at the heart of these paintings, where the artist employs traditions and narratives in order to demystify and undermine those very same traditions and narratives. By embracing otherness Stark parodies the familiar and in doing so ensures his position remains ambiguous, with the viewer never quite able to make certified judgements, both morally and aesthetically. Our intellectual assumptions are challenged as we are forced to contemplate the contrary relationships between reality and illusion; modern and primitive; good and evil; sacred and profane; salvation and damnation. Stark tells us that these are not contradictions but interrelated aspects of a complex universe, where hierarchies are dissolved and polarities dismantled.   


'The Siege', 2014 Oil on wood panel 112x154cm

John Stark

Witchcraft & Warfare
Text by Jessica Lack | Flesh Remains

Highway 31 stops abruptly, ten kilometres short of the North Korean border. All roads north end like this, snipped off like short fuses waiting for ignition from a lighted match. Beyond is the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a pervasive void framed by a hazy grey mountain range. You can’t see much of North Korea from here, but it doesn’t stop tourists filming the open range. Their jerky panoramas accompanied by the timbrey whistle of a high wind on the microphone.

This no-go zone is the inspiration for Witchcraft and Warfare, John Stark’s new series of paintings on show at CHARLIE SMITH LONDON. The paintings can be divided into two parts. Those created while Stark was living in Seoul in 2013 and those made on his return to England earlier this year.

‘Prey’ and ‘Enter’ capture something of the old shamanic mysticism that still exists on the margins of the Korean Peninsula. It is a hidden world, rarely spoken of, but integral to the Korean way of life. These paintings are a continuation of an earlier series he made called ‘Field Work’, documenting the Haunted Mountain where the Shamans still operate.

Among the myriad of oddities that go hand-in-hand with being a dislocated expat in South Korea, Stark was frequently mistaken for an American soldier. Out of the Promethean shadows of this alienation came the paintings he made on his return to England which confront imperialism and the moral dilemma between East and West.

In ‘No Man’s Land’ a naked woman rises up out of a swarm of slatterns into a forked lunar light, a Mother Teresa horror show saint. Beneath her is a scene of unimaginable gruesomeness. Skulls hang from a tree; a woman with bloody stumps has a rope tied to her breasts, which is being pulled by her spinsterish companion. Their faces, pictures of middle-aged fatigue, resemble dowager aunts who should be exploring the back streets of Florence, prostrating themselves on the altar of Fra Angelico, not submerged in the dank waters of this Dantesque hell.

I’m not sure if Stark has read Alan Moore’s graphic novel Lost Girls, a mix of bawdy humour and pornographic de Sade depravity, but there’s a similarity in the way Moore’s sexual imagination runs riot while still retaining a strong moral agenda. Stark, like Moore has a prodigiously fertile imagination, yet the real drama in this painting exists not with the furies, but in the intense kryptonite eyes of the watchtower as it gazes out over no-mans land to a cool, silvery figure in the foreground.

That radioactive green, the colour of Fairy Liquid, resurfaces again in ‘The Lookout’ and ‘Conjuring an Armed Skeleton’, in the pensive face of the watcher and then as a freakish fire sprung from a grinning cauldron. There is something unearthly about the colour’s lurid artificiality, perhaps because it is also the green of night vision. A device first used to brutal effect during the Korean War, and now a familiar technique in low-budget horror movies ever since Blair Witch. I feel this paradox is not lost on Stark, an artist who has made a career out of re-working old masters in audacious new ways.

‘Conjuring an Armed Skeleton’ is a great piece of theatre in the manner of Goya. With its pig’s head, mock-Celtic symbols and mad-as-a-box-of-cats witch, it embraces a long tradition of undead cadavers dating back to early International Gothic. What happens when you call up a rotting soldier covered in seaweed and slime? Who knows? The women in the painting seem peculiarly uninterested in the results of their alchemy; the wraith is more ghoulish abstraction than cautionary tale. Skeleton soldiers rose up from the depths in Brueghel’s ‘The Triumph of Death’, yet Stark is also alluding to the West’s romanticism of Orientalism in fantasy films like ‘The 7th Voyage of Sinbad’. There are obvious references to gaming here too, particularly in the flatness of colour, reminiscent of CGI while those surfaces, as shiny as plastic wrap, say something about the rampant capitalism witnessed by Stark in South Korea.

The dead solider theme continues in ‘The Siege’ with a wounded GI staggering about in the shallows while Bacchanalian revellers party on. Stretched out on the shoreline is the blubbery mass of Silenus, tutor to Dionysus who, when drunk, became incredibly wise. For Stark this sated creature represents Western Enlightenment, except here his intellectual brilliance has been entirely eclipsed by Lara Croft’s buttocks. It’s a nice moment of balloon pricking.

Ultimately it is the shadow of war and its accompanying depravities that linger over these paintings – one cast with a vigour that has eluded the Chapman Brothers. The beasts and the witches, the muddled fumbling of satyrs and porn stars climaxing to a frenzy, are simply a microcosm of human vulnerability. Silenus believed that it was better not to be born at all, that the world of the dead was preferable to that of the living. Stark’s paintings, in all their degeneracy, are a humane call to arms, a seductive defence of the right to exist.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


TFCW 2014

Saatchi Art’s New Sensations and THE FUTURE CAN WAIT present London’s biggest independent curated exhibition.

Once again Saatchi Art’s New Sensations and THE FUTURE CAN WAIT join forces to present over 60 artists in Bloomsbury Square’s stunning museum scale venue Victoria House.

The exhibition is London’s longest running event alongside Frieze Art Fair and has become a key destination for discovering the best emerging to mid-career artists and recent graduates in the UK. Selected by contemporary art world taste makers, the event continues to provide the opportunity for first time buyers and world class collectors to acquire the most exciting new wave art.

New Sensations, sponsored by Absolut, and THE FUTURE CAN WAIT, were initiated in 2007. New Sensations was launched by Rebecca Wilson, chief curator of Saatchi Art, to support the most imaginative and talented young artists in the UK and to present their work to an international audience during Frieze week. THE FUTURE CAN WAIT was launched by Zavier Ellis and Simon Rumley as an ambitious, curated exhibition of emerging to mid-career artists to offer an alternative experience to the traditional gallery and art fair systems.

The artists in both New Sensations and THE FUTURE CAN WAIT will be announced soon and all work is for sale.

Websites: |


 'The Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Of The World', 2014 Charcoal & polymer varnish on paper 130x110cm

They can be quite insistent, considering the potential for variables. They are frightened I suppose that interpretations might somehow deviate from theirs - that the truths they have established and curated are vulnerable to evolution or misinterpretation. Their landmarks and milestones are wreathed in floral offerings, the fences and riverbanks are daubed with soil encrusted paint. I may have failed to honor a particular boundary marker sufficiently and now the larger of the congregation have me hoisted above it, inverted, blood rushing to my face as it is squashed into the mossy flint. Local flint.

On the other side of the ditch another boy. My age I suppose. He prods at a dormant mole hill with his ceremonial staff. He jingles. They have bells on that side of the ditch. No such humiliation here. My smock is silent but for the wet slap of the muddy hem on my ever reddening face. He looks up at me and I squint at him. He nods in solemn recognition as I am dropped arse first to the ground.

My attention is directed to a line of black painted bricks running up the side of the old house by the pond. We hitch up our skirts and climb through the pantry window. The clatter of pots and the smashing of vases a justifiable, ceremonial admonishment for the insult of maintaining a dwelling within and beyond the parish border. The boy continues to prod at the turf until the loud crack of a whip echoes out and he is startled back to his group.

Reece Jones, 2014


'The Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World III', 2014 Charcoal & polymer varnish on paper 50x32cm

Curated by Reece Jones
Matthew Cowan, Reece Jones, CJ Mahony
Thursday September 4th 6:30-8:30pm
Friday September 5th –  Saturday October 4th 2014 
Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm or by appointment

Artists exist within and alongside pre-determined, pre-existent boundaries, co-ordinates and pathways long since established. They are variously aware of the proximity of these territories, their histories, their previous inhabitants, their provocative neighbours and dearest defenders. Making more art re-asserts these invisible lines, naturally challenges them or deliberately disregards them - enabling the layout of entirely new spaces in which to dwell.

Before modern systems of mapping, tradition insisted that members of tribes, townships or cities would physically trace the borders of their parish, being made aware of its variables, correcting its anomalies and assuring a new generation would carry the knowledge on. This knowledge was often forcefully imprinted on the psyche of young villagers by beating upon them at key junctions or even bouncing them forcefully on marker stones or fence posts. The tradition became known as ‘Beating the Bounds’ and is still practiced on occasion to this day.

The artists in Terminalia all seek to draw attention to or deliberately subvert particular marker points. Either exploring latent lore and tradition, marking new terrain by counteracting existent architectures or allowing unstable signs and signifiers to create navigational anomalies and mis-steps.

Reece Jones


Matthew Cowan is a New Zealand artist working in the realm of traditional European customs and folklore. His works are photographs, videos, installations and performances that play with the inherent strangeness of the continued popularity of long established folk customs in a modern world.

Many of his works can be viewed as staged folk performances in themselves, acting on the elements of rituals which link people to the past. In investigating the celebration and intent of such traditions, a primary theme is the presence of humour and subversion of the accepted social order.

Cowan has recently exhibited in, London, Sapporo, New York and Auckland.

A newly commissioned 16mm performance film, The Terminalia of Funny-land is showing at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Auckland, New Zealand from August 2014. Recent solo exhibitions include Agency Gallery in London and NURTURE Art, New York. For 2009, Matthew Cowan was the artist in residence at Cecil Sharp House, the headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

Reece Jones predominantly makes invented images on paper using particular processes to enforce or define pictures whose initial subject territories may be whimsical, improbable, impossible or theoretically muddled. Cross references, samples and complete fabrications are often layered and juxtaposed until an image is made manifest whose origins are potentially difficult to define.

In his recent work Jones uses ‘evidence’ of mythological or supernatural beasts as a point of reference, working with and evolving these core signifiers until they become apparently more authoritative. Ultimately the viewer is invited to assess the legacy of surface, process, documentary, translation, actuality and illusion. An ongoing game of Chinese Whispers wherein a mischievous player throws occasional curve balls.

Jones graduated from the Royal Academy Schools in 2002 and was one of the founding members of Rockwell project space in Hackney. His work has shown internationally. Solo shows include All Visual Arts, Andrew Mummery Gallery and Triumph Gallery Moscow. Group shows include: Lion & Lamb, London; Newlyn Gallery; Stephane Simoens, Belgium; Voorkamer, Belgium; Torrance Art Museum, LA; Drawing Room. London; Fruesorge, Berlin; Tokyo Wonder site and Transition, London.

CJ Mahony’s practice explores stability, impermanence, and space via the distinction between sculptural object and immersive environment. Using structures that allude to corridors, paper folds, geometry, fragments, support structures, the subterranean and backstage spaces, her work ranges from large scale, site responsive constructions to fragile, speculative models.

Her work sets up complex contrasts between the dimensions of architecture, the scale of the human body, and the idea of the object, often manipulating light and darkness to create a heightened state of awareness and uncertainty, requiring the audience to negotiate physically and emotionally in order to traverse the work.

Mahony graduated from Camberwell’s MA Fine Art course in 2012. She has featured in the Art Angel Open 100 and The Catlin Guide and was a finalist for the Royal Society of British Sculptors Sculpture Shock (Subterranean) commission. Over the past 8 years she has undertaken a large number of public commissions. Group shows include: Block 336, London; Aid & Abet, Cambridge; Matt Roberts, London; Momentarily Lost, Leeds; Aurora International, Norwich; Borrowed Site commissioned by Situ Projects Cornwall; The Fishmarket Gallery, Northampton; and Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge.

Forthcoming projects include; The Hand That Takes, Cambridge Junction, and Machines to Crystallise Time, Smiths Row Gallery. 


Ellis, Zavier 'Cultus Deorum', 2014 Hard ground etching on 300 gsm Somerset soft white velvet paper (Ed. 50) 29.7x21cm



Cultus Deorum

1 October  – 27 October 2014

Curated by Zavier Ellis, Director, CHARLIE SMITH LONDON

London, UK – On 1 October, the Saatchi Gallery will open Cultus Deorum, an exhibition of works by nine contemporary artists, in the Prints & Originals Gallery.

The artists featured in the exhibition are Florian Heinke, Sam Jackson, Reece Jones, Eric Manigaud, The Cult Of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ, Alex Gene Morrison, Gavin Nolan, Dominic Shepherd and John Stark. Zavier Ellis has also made a curator’s etching.

The term cultus deorum was defined by the Roman philosopher Cicero as ‘the cultivation of the gods’. Pre-Christianity, these gods were pagan and the focus of many and varied cultish rituals. Prayer, sacrifice, offerings, symbols and ceremonial actions came to define any individual cult. Each artist in this exhibition explores the ‘cult drive’ with reference to their general practice.

Florian Heinke is influenced by traditional and digital media sources and often combines text and image to create an aesthetic suggestive of polemical posters or advertisements.

Sam Jackson makes psychological portraits that employ religious signs and symbols in the form of tattoos and graffiti.

Reece Jones investigates the whimsical, improbable, impossible or theoretically muddled in his unique charcoal drawings. In his recent work he references ‘evidence’ of mythological or supernatural beasts.

Eric Manigaud makes impeccable large scale photorealist pencil drawings that are representations of the consequences of political and social ideologies.

The Cult Of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ is an avant-garde group working in performance, video and installation, exploring the history of the city and graffiti, whilst adopting ancient notions of the ritualistic.

Alex Gene Morrison employs motifs in his paintings, collages and animation drawn from contemporary notions of the primitive and references to the occult.

Gavin Nolan is known for his ongoing series of portraits and self-portraits. The artist draws upon religious cults including Judaism & Catholicism, political cults such as Nazism and the modern cult of celebrity.

Dominic Shepherd creates paintings inspired by his experience of living in Dorset woodland and his interests in historic and contemporary cultures and folk groups.

John Stark expresses his interests in philosophy, religion and the occult through an impeccable and labour intensive painting process.

Zavier Ellis is the Director of the gallery CHARLIE SMITH LONDON and an artist. The gallery was established in east London in 2009. It has rapidly gained a reputation for innovative exhibitions showcasing the work of emerging, talented and sought after artists.

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