The current show at Alison Jacques Gallery is a group show featuring ten international artists working with sculpture, canvas and paper, including Neil Tate, Daniel Silver and Annie Kevans.
Among Flesh, the title of the exhibition, declaims to explore “the notions of a number of English Modernist writers, notably Virginia Woolf, W.H. Auden and E.M. Forster” with particular interest focused on the thesis of the essence of a human being as situated in the body, as well as the mind – the kind of duality that ancient philosophy began struggling with centuries before – with the body exceeding its physical boundaries, touching 'the flesh of the world'.
This binary set-up, of flesh versus non-flesh, is examined through various media, from intricate graphite etchings to oil, gouache and pencil. But the curatorial focus, so the gallery insists, is a rumination on all that is of the human world, yielding the beautiful, base or emotive qualities and associations of the flesh.
In reality, the works on show here do not embody the impact as the curatorial statement would imply. Essentially, any works that study or take into account the human body could have been included here, but those exhibited seem to somehow miss the mark– the approach of these artists has more to do with classical portraiture than with revealing epiphanies about human physiology, and viewed together the works as an exhibition seemed somewhat hodge-podge and tenuous.
New York based artist Dan Fischer’s stunning Duchamp Behind Glass, 2011, is however, a standalone piece worth seeing, a minutely crafted graphite-on-paper piece, which seems to reflect on the undulating possibilities of reflections and perspectives. Fischer’s photo-realistic body of work, which has been applauded by the New York Times, is thrilling, and comes closest to living up to the exhibition’s message.
In short, though Among Flesh sets out to unveil new explorations of the fleshly, this show showcases something more predictable than providing a carnal exploration of human presence.
- Charlotte Jansen
Images courtesy Alison Jacques Gallery
Images: Daniel Silver, Untitled 12 (From the Coming Together Series), 2011, Soapstone, MDF, piano felt, paint, 194 x 34 x 36 cms / 76 3/8 x 13 3/8 x 14 1/8 ins; Annie Kevans, Nora Elam, 2011, Oil on canvas paper, 50 x 40 cm, 19 3/4 x 15 3/4 ins; Annie Kevans, Unity Mitford, 2011, Oil on canvas paper, 50 x 40 cm, 19 3/4 x 15 3/4 ins