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  • How shape-shifting plays a huge part in the contemporary artwork of Mark McClure

    We caught up with Mark McClure as his work is displayed as part of the abstract showcase at our Brighton gallery. Building up dynamic layers is something the original Abstract artists excelled at, and it’s something that artist Mark McClure knows something about too.   Artrepublic (AR....
    We caught up with Mark McClure as his work is displayed as part of the abstract showcase at our Brighton gallery. Building up dynamic layers is something the original Abstract artists excelled at, and it’s something that artist Mark McClure knows something about too.   Artrepublic (AR):Abstraction, by definition is dealing with ideas rather than events. What kind of ideas do you find yourself dealing with in your work? Mark McClure (MM): My early painted pieces originally developed from landscapes – the structural and architectural shapes around me in London. I took this further when I started using bits of wood and paper on canvas, taking the landscape to a more directly connected work that used materials found in the scenes that they represented. These ideas of abstract landscape and representing structural forms, patterns and everyday motifs – combined with using materials and textures from my daily surroundings – are the basis for all the work I do today, albeit using a more pared-down, condensed visual language. AR: Abstraction is also a state of preoccupation. In general, what do you find preoccupies you and why? MM: Challenging my own perceptions of what I like about a piece and what I don’t. It’s not always constructive to consciously think about this for too long, but I find it fascinating. If I like something immediately I often find that I don’t so much a few days later… It’s usually the works that are a struggle that become the long-term loves. It’s a hard-earned thing. There’s probably a profound life lesson in there somewhere. AR: Historically, abstract art was as much about process and materials as it was the outcome. Can you talk us through your usual making process, and the materials you feel an affinity with? MM: It varies a lot. The trigger can be one of many things; sometimes a certain piece of wood or metal will catch my eye and become the starting point of a piece, especially for the sculptural works. These then slowly develop – as a pile of changing shapes and objects on the worktop, which are added to or taken from – before they slowly settle into place and are fixed. For the mosaics I tend to sketch in a sketchbook or on the computer and take a piece to an almost finished state before cutting wood or having it cut, and then painting and assembling the work. There’s always an element of chance and the happy accidents often make a piece – either with loosely painted additions or through the way cut shapes interact with each other AR: If you could collaborate on a project with anyone – artist/ non-artist, dead or alive – who would it be and why? MM: I think it’d be someone like Joshua Davis, a creative coder and artist who has been doing amazing work for decades on Praystation. My background is in digital interactive design, and I’m slowly introducing elements of that journey back into my current work. So to do a project with someone with that knowledge and creativity could only end in kickass awesomeness. AR: Consider the Cubists as an early-20th century art collective, pushing each other’s work forward. Who’s in your art gang? MM: Good question. I don’t really have a core group who are connected through similar work. It largely depends where I am. I’m lucky enough to live near the good folk at LookUp Editions, who live and breathe abstraction and do a very good pint-based critique. After that it’s all about long boozy chats in the pub, which normally go off topic after 20 minutes and onto something entirely different. The usual suspects include the likes of Ben Slow, Dan Cimmermann, Nadeem Chughtai and the Static boys. My studio neighbours Richard Stone and Hannah Ludnow are my daily sounding boards – even though our work is hugely different to each other’s, it helps to have a completely fresh take on things.   Discover Mark McClure’s work for yourself at artrepublic Brighton, or find out more about his art and our abstract showcase by speaking to one of our personal art advisors on 01273 724829 For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page $test =
  • Deco By Design: meet artrepublic’s newest abstract artist, Cleo Barbour

    Former fashion designer Cleo Barbour creates intricate prints that combine mechanical and human processes with Art Deco stylings. As her work goes on display as part of our Abstract showcase at our Brighton gallery, she shares some insights into her work and motivations.   artrepublic (....
    Former fashion designer Cleo Barbour creates intricate prints that combine mechanical and human processes with Art Deco stylings. As her work goes on display as part of our Abstract showcase at our Brighton gallery, she shares some insights into her work and motivations.   artrepublic (AR): Abstraction, by definition is dealing with ideas rather than events. What kind of ideas do you find yourself dealing with in your work? CB: My work is lighthearted and designed to give pleasure through beauty and detail. It incorporates a set of signature visual principles that are combined to bring aesthetic pleasure. Through the combination of well-considered shapes and colour palettes I aim to achieve a satisfying feeling of simplicity. I apply hand-embellished details to my work, which brings further depth and encourages the viewer to engage and consider the process of creation. This detailing also gives the work a sense of being human made – an intentional ‘backlash’ to our existence in a world that is heavily influenced by mass production and lacking in authenticity. AR: Abstraction is also a state of preoccupation. In general, what do you find preoccupies you? CB: I am often preoccupied by society’s obsessive relationship with material things and how overconsumption and our throwaway culture is affecting the earth, and causing humans unhappiness. These ideas stem from having worked in the fast-moving fashion world for a decade, with it’s superficial inclinations. Since moving away from this industry I find myself wondering what we can individually do to make these issues better and change mindsets. Nowadays these ideas drive me to consider what I am putting into the world and how it can hold its value. I strive to create authentic and high-quality artwork that is accessible and collectible. I hope and wish that it is treasured and passed down through generations to bring happiness to as many people as possible. AR: Historically, abstract art was as much about process and materials as it was the outcome. Can you talk us through your usual making process, and the materials you feel an affinity with? CB: My hand-embellished geometric series takes inspiration from Art Deco patterns and motifs. I design the artworks digitally, experimenting with shapes and colour combinations before the printing process begins. The works are giclée printed first and then treated with various screen-printed glazes to achieve different textures and finishes. I then carefully hand-stitch golden thread to certain parts of the prints. Hand-embellishing my artworks has provided me with a way of combining my love of embroidery with my signature graphic style. I spent a considerable amount of time honing my technique so that I can flawlessly apply threads onto the delicate paper; the gold stitching adds a special element to the sections of the artwork, creating eye-catching reflections alongside the various glossy and matte textures of the screen prints. AR: If you could collaborate on a project with anyone – artist/ non-artist, dead or alive – who would it be and why? CB: My dream collaboration isn’t with another artist – I’d love to be given a large wall space within an iconic Art Deco building and asked to create contemporary artwork to suit the space and reflect its history. The challenge would be to find the balance between the traditional detailing of the building and the modern style of my art. AR: Consider the Cubists as an early-20th century art collective, pushing each other’s work forward. Who’s in your art gang/ who is your sounding board? CB: Being quite a new artist, I am still working on my gang. On a daily basis I try to channel a balance between my commercial approach (honed in my fashion days!) and a new, freer attitude that breaks down barriers and allows artistic exploration. These days I am careful who I take advice from, but would like to build up a well-considered gang.     Find out more about the artists in our Abstract showcase – and their work – on our blog. See Cleo Barbour’s prints alongside new work by Mark McClure and Dave Towers at artrepublic Brighton, or call us on 01273 724829 to find out more about her work from one of our personal art advisors. For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page $test =
  • Building Towers: discover the abstract work of artist Dave Towers at our gallery

    As his work is hung as part of our Abstract showcase, one of artrepublic Brighton’s newest additions, Dave Towers, answers a few of our burning questions.   artrepublic (AR): Abstraction, by definition is dealing with ideas rather than events. What kind of ideas do you find yourself dea....
    As his work is hung as part of our Abstract showcase, one of artrepublic Brighton’s newest additions, Dave Towers, answers a few of our burning questions.   artrepublic (AR): Abstraction, by definition is dealing with ideas rather than events. What kind of ideas do you find yourself dealing with in your work? Dave Towers (DT): I'm trying to walk the line between something controlled and disciplined yet also organic and free form. The lines in the ‘Cosmic Blob’ work are unique in every painting but the intention is always to form a circle in the end. AR: Abstraction is also a state of preoccupation. What preoccupies you? DT: I'm preoccupied with trying to learn new techniques. My career as a graphic designer has informed my painting and vice versa. The crossover of techniques is what excites me. AR: Talk us through your usual making process, and the materials you feel an affinity with... DT: I'm concerned with the interaction of colour, and how overlaying colour alters texture and form. I use wide nib acrylic ink pens. Traditionally these have been used by 'calligraffiti'  writers. The instinctive way to use these pens seems to be in a calligraphy style, the nature of the nib gives the the thick and thin form of a calligraphy line. I tried to use the pen in a simpler, purer way with a single thick line width. The texture of the ink and imperfections of the nib as it dries gives each painting its own unique feel. AR: If you could collaborate on a project with anyone, who would it be? DT: I'd have liked to have spent some time studying at the Bauhaus. AR: Consider the Cubists as an early-20th century art collective, pushing each other’s work forward. Who’s in your art gang/ who is your sounding board? DT: Instagram has been my inspiration and sounding board. It allows me to gauge reaction and also encourages me. Particularly when I began to make these paintings in my spare time around 6 years ago. People reacting to my work gave me the confidence to continue.   Find out more about the artists in our Abstract showcase – and their work – on our blog, by dropping into the artrepublic gallery or calling to speak to one of our personal Art Advisors on 01273 724829. For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page   $test =
  • Abstract ideas: meet the new artists making waves (and other shapes) at artrepublic

    We put a spotlight on contemporary abstraction, as created by artists Cleo Barbour, Dave Towers and Mark McClure. Have you ever become so familiar with something that you stop even seeing it properly? For instance, your home; when it’s freshly decorated it feels like a whole new space, but on....
    We put a spotlight on contemporary abstraction, as created by artists Cleo Barbour, Dave Towers and Mark McClure. Have you ever become so familiar with something that you stop even seeing it properly? For instance, your home; when it’s freshly decorated it feels like a whole new space, but once you get used to furniture sitting in a certain place or walls and floors being a particular colour or pattern, it’s easy to begin to take it for granted. This has happened (stylistically speaking) in the art world again and again through the centuries, but one of the most distinctive periods of renewal (and, for some, upset) came with the advent of the Cubists at the turn of the 20th century. Quite literally breaking down their scenery and setups, removing perspective and  reformatting what they saw to create flat planes containing numerous viewpoints, the artists at the forefront of these movements – think Picasso, Braque, Leger and Gris – forced themselves and those viewing their work, to stop taking their experience for granted and look at it anew. Albeit in a slightly jumbled, disjointed and at times uncomfortable way. But those artists recognised the need to try and see things with fresh eyes, or from a different angle or perspective in order to be present and engage with whatever was in front of them. Abstraction may not take on quite the same form these days, but it still operates on the same basic principle: dealing with ideas rather than actual events. So, with that in mind – and knowing that a change of scenery is good for the soul – we’re shaking things up down at artrepublic Brighton with a rehang throughout our space. And, while we’re at it, we’re showcasing the work of some new artists who we are adding to the artrepublic mix – Cleo Barbour, Dave Towers and Mark McClure – each of whose work (coincidentally) is based in abstraction. From bespoke surface design and hand-embellished prints to textural and typographical paint applications, let us introduce you to the latest trio to join our artrepublic family of artists.   Cleo Barbour Taking inspiration from tropical travels, architecture and Art Deco design, among other things, Brighton-based artist (and shoe designer) Cleo Barbour is known for her strong colour palettes, geometric compositions and hand-embroidered finishes. Mark McClure A respect for materials runs through Marc McClure’s dynamic abstract work. Whether executed on a grand scale in a public space or on smaller surfaces, the artist’s sculptural (even in 2D) geometric pieces draws attention to scale, structure and the space in which they are displayed. Dave Towers A career in graphic design, has seen Dave Towers heading up design teams at some of the UK’s best advertising agencies and picking up a number of awards for his work. And this background underpins Towers’ artwork too – layered colours, attention to line and typographical processes showcase an abstraction of ideas as well as form.   We spoke to each of the three artists for a quick Q&A about their work and take on abstraction. Read more about them on the artrepublic blog, at the links below and why not drop into the artrepublic Brighton gallery to see their work in person (displayed in a special presentation until 12th September 2018), or give us a call on +44 (0)1273 724829 to speak to one of our Art Advisors about their pieces. Cleo Barbour Mark McClure Dave Towers   For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page $test =
  • artrepublic is celebrating 25 years: video

    View interviews with artists and celebrities (including Fatboy Slim) at the opening of our new gallery space. artrepublic has been bringing cutting-edge, contemporary art to Brighton for 25 years, and earlier this year we celebrated that by expanding the gallery space at our home in Bond Stree....
    View interviews with artists and celebrities (including Fatboy Slim) at the opening of our new gallery space. artrepublic has been bringing cutting-edge, contemporary art to Brighton for 25 years, and earlier this year we celebrated that by expanding the gallery space at our home in Bond Street. Relive the night. For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page .   $test =
  • Live Screen Printing Event with Rob Wass

    Friday 31st August, 6-9pm, join the artist Rob Wass at artrepublic Brighton for after work fun at our special free screen printing demonstration evening.   Learn about the skill of screen printing, with new works created before your eyes. With limited edition prints, produced and signed....
    Friday 31st August, 6-9pm, join the artist Rob Wass at artrepublic Brighton for after work fun at our special free screen printing demonstration evening.   Learn about the skill of screen printing, with new works created before your eyes. With limited edition prints, produced and signed by the artist during the evening, also available for purchase. Brought to you in association with Private Press, Brighton. Rob Wass is an exceptionally gifted artist, know for his intricate and colourful abstract works featuring nature and the urban environment. To take part in this free event, simply visit our Eventbrite page to register. Hope to see you there! For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page. $test =
  • Manchester Art Fair is back for 2018

    The 2018 fair will run 12-14 October at Manchester Central.   One of northern UK's largest art fairs Manchester Art Fair returns this October. artrepublic was hoping to once again join the many exhibitors taking part, but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we are unable to....
    The 2018 fair will run 12-14 October at Manchester Central.   One of northern UK's largest art fairs Manchester Art Fair returns this October. artrepublic was hoping to once again join the many exhibitors taking part, but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we are unable to exhibit at the 2018 fair. However, we will be back, bigger than ever, next year.   Now recognised as one of the UK’s leading fairs of visual arts, Manchester Art Fair 2018 will bring galleries and artists to Manchester from across the UK. Over 3,000 artworks will be for sale and there will be a host of exclusive events and activities at the fair and across the city. The artrepublic stand at a previous Manchester Art Fair   This year's venue Manchester Central Get your tickets at www.buyartfair.co.uk Full details: Manchester Art Fair  - Manchester Central Friday 12th - Sunday 14th October 2018 Opening Times VIP Opening Night Friday 12th October 2018     17.00 - 21.00 Including a complimentary drink.  Weekend Tickets Saturday 13 October 2018      10.00 - 18.00 Sunday 14 October 2018         10.00 - 17.00  Map and Directions Visit the Buy Art Fair – Manchester website for more details and to purchase tickets For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page. $test =
  • A Little Bird Tells US… Artist Lucy Sparrow’s set up shop in Downtown LA

    The fully felt Sparrow Mart is home to 31,000 individual works, and they’re all for sale. Her first pop-up was a Corner Shop in London’s East End, stocked with familiar products made from felt and funded by a Kickstarter campaign but, since that initial installation, artist Lucy Sparrow....
    The fully felt Sparrow Mart is home to 31,000 individual works, and they’re all for sale. Her first pop-up was a Corner Shop in London’s East End, stocked with familiar products made from felt and funded by a Kickstarter campaign but, since that initial installation, artist Lucy Sparrow’s projects have just got bigger and better. And as nowhere is more familiar with large-scale consumerism than America, that’s where she’s been setting her sights. Having sold out her 8 Till Late bodega in New York in record time – it shut a week earlier than it was due to, as the store cupboard was quite literally bare – Sparrow has spent the past year stitching 31,000 (yes, you read that number correctly) individual pieces to sell in a new pop-up shop. This time, she’s set up Sparrow Mart, a 1980s-themed (in)stall(ation) at the Standard Hotel in Downtown LA, and the locals are going mad for it. One of our artrepublic family of artists, Sparrow is known for her felt sculptures that depict everything from bathroom cabinets to sushi sets, domestic cleaning products to famous sweet treats. Sparrow Mart pulls together the themes from her smaller-scale works, to stock an entire store – from the vegetable aisle and deli meat counter to packaged convenience foods and even an ATM. Everything is for sale, with items priced from $5 upwards, making it affordable as well as experiential art. Even street artist Shepard Fairey, aka Obey, couldn’t resist stopping by to take a spin round the aisles. If you’re not in LA and can’t make it to Sparrow Mart (which is open throughout August from 11am - 9pm daily, but closed on Mondays), why not drop into our Brighton gallery to see some of Sparrow’s other sculptural work. We have two of her editioned Cabinet series on display; the bathroom-based ‘His N Hers’, as well as ‘Such A Sad Time’, whose shelves are lined with familiar processed foods (all made out of felt, of course). The innocent-looking soft sculptures are almost guaranteed to make you rethink the way you consume (and potentially hoard) goods. Outside the States right now, and beyond the realms of the LA supermarket sweep, artrepublic Brighton is one of the few places you can stock up on Sparrow’s editioned pieces. Find out more by calling us or visiting the gallery to speak to one of our Art Advisors.   To view our  Lucy Sparrow felt art, call into our Brighton gallery, where our Art Advisors will be happy to help. Tel. 01273 724829 or email brighton@artrepublic.com. For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page $test =
  • Feel-good fronds: CJP’s pineapple prints make an environmental impact

    The artist’s Rewilding Rainforest Pineapples offer more than just a totally tropical taste. Pineapples have had an enduring appeal within the worlds of fashion and interiors since the 15th century when they became widely known in Europe, becoming Western symbols of hospitality and a warm welc....
    The artist’s Rewilding Rainforest Pineapples offer more than just a totally tropical taste. Pineapples have had an enduring appeal within the worlds of fashion and interiors since the 15th century when they became widely known in Europe, becoming Western symbols of hospitality and a warm welcome. While you can thank Christopher Columbus for introducing it to the West, it was the Maya and Aztec communities who first cultivated the obscure plant. Once in Europe, the (then) hard-to-come-by fruit charmed society – whether served up as a tropical candied treat at dinner parties or used as gilded adornments on furniture, lighting and home accents. And if recent years’ fashion and design trends are anything to go by, this plant’s natural form still maintains that same magical pull. Saying that, pineapples aren’t solely a nice decorative trend – they can carry a far deeper message. Just take a look at artist CJP’s Rainforest Rewild Pineapple prints and you’ll discover there’s more to this sweet fruit than meets the eye. Let’s be clear: the intricacies of CJP’s artwork instantly makes it more special than your average pineapple. Hidden within the bromeliad’s tightly overlapping leaves and suckers (that is actually a technical term) are representatives of Costa Rica’s animal kingdom. This particular pineapple becomes a zoology lesson in local wildlife, highlighting all sorts of creatures from a jaguar, harpy eagle and sloth to spider monkeys, toucans, a kinkajou and parrot. What you don’t necessarily know, however, is that almost all of these animals are on the list of endangered species, with one of the key reasons behind that being loss of habitat due to the destruction of the rainforests in which they live. So, you see, within CJP’s painstakingly detailed inkwork there’s a hidden message that takes us from fanciful fruit to far more serious subjects in the blink of an eye. The artist is clearly passionate about this major environmental issue and, as such, has actively chosen to donate a percentage of the profits from sales of this print to The World Land Trust, who work to protect, conserve, rewild and regenerate threatened habitats around the world. One of the organisation’s patrons is Sir David Attenborough so, by investing in one of CJP’s Rainforest  Rewild Pineapples and supporting the WLT, you’ll be in very good company. The giclee prints are available in two sizes – A3 and A2 – and five different colourways, so there should be one to suit your tastes. Take your pick and then sit back and enjoy the view from your own natural habitat. For more information about the prints, speak to one of our Art Advisors either in our Brighton gallery or by calling us on 01273 724829 or emailing brighton@artrepublic.com. For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page $test =
  • Inked Up: the latest intriguing additions to Sir Peter Blake’s Tattooed People series

    Discover an art form within an artwork, as the prolific British artist takes another look at the intricacies of decorative tattoos, and the vivid characters of those who have them. Most of us think that the popularity and acceptance of tattoos is a relatively recent phenomenon, and that prior t....
    Discover an art form within an artwork, as the prolific British artist takes another look at the intricacies of decorative tattoos, and the vivid characters of those who have them. Most of us think that the popularity and acceptance of tattoos is a relatively recent phenomenon, and that prior to the contemporary surge in inked skin, only sailors, bikers and criminals underwent the needle. But that assumption is very wrong. If you saw last year’s exhibition Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed at the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall, you’ll have a better idea about the practice and origins of tattooing, including the fact that in some form, it reaches back as far as the Neolithic period. In different cultures, tattooing has different meanings and motives – from the spiritual to the decorative, and it has even been used as a form of punishment (Ancient Rome and Greece, we’re looking at you). It’s pretty fascinating to delve into, especially if you travel right up to the present day, where artists like Sir Peter Blake are drawing on tattoo culture within their artwork, and tattoo artists are, in turn, taking inspiration from the work of other visual artists (we’ve discussed Audrey Kawasaki’s impact on the Californian ink studios before). But back to Sir Peter Blake and his ink-based story. Long associated with portraiture, Blake started creating his Tattooed People series around 2015. The originals are small watercolours on paper, which depict a number of figures, of all genders, races, shapes and sizes, but the focus is on the intricate details that mark/ decorate their skin. Blake has recently added some new figures to the series, releasing a limited run of 75 prints of his ‘Tattooed Ladies’, some of which our artrepublic curators have secured for you. The print depicts two women – one black, one white – standing side-by-side and directly facing the viewer. They are clothed only by the inked images that adorn their skin; there’s all manner of cultural references here, from native American Indians to cowboys and pin-ups, cartoon characters to Chinese-influenced dragons. Considering the size of the originals, the detail is spectacular. There’s so much to take in that it’s hard to pull your gaze away. But tear yourself away you must, if you want to bring one of these prints home. Fans of the playful Tattooed People series will need to act fast to secure this print, as the signed giclee editions are in short supply. Drop by the gallery and speak to one of our art advisors, or call us on 01273 724829 to talk inked skin...or inked paper with us, alternatively email brighton@artrepublic.com. For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page $test =

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