The idea of beauty is a double edged sword; just like the Sirens it is both alluring and destructive…
Artistically, the concept of ‘beauty’ is defined as much by what is fashionable as by what many would consider classically beautiful. Has the concept and use of the word beauty become synonymous with the idea of commercially viability? If so, we have to wonder, has art become all about skin deep looks making for deepening pockets or are there artists out there who are taking beauty as a bottom line and building from there?
The pieces in this exhibition are not classically beautiful. They are a mixture of unique, dignified, political, disturbing, poignant, beguiling, striking and beautiful. The works are alternative; like the Sirens they are both beauty and other. They are unashamed in drawing people in with their looks, then hitting them with something totally unexpected.
The artists in this show have a certain duality to their work. There are messages about climate change, humanity, brutality, wisdom and forgiveness hidden behind the beauty. If there is no subtext to the images, one finds instead fearlessness in the creation of images which are not necessarily conventional in style, subject or colouring and are thereby refreshingly unfettered by convention.
Hauntingly poignant works by Mario Dubsky and Thomas Newbolt sit beside extrovert works by the great John Christoforou. William Newcombe and Roy Turner Durrant’s abstract works provide a muted expression of ‘otherness’ beside the flamboyant beauty of contemporary artist Michael Priest. Landscapes by notable 20th Century artists such as Heindorff and Singier, rest easily beside contemporary photographer Catherine Lindsay-Davies and Saatchi short-listed artist Rachel Cosgrave.
Making the most of one’s looks is not a crime, but it can be very boring. A Siren at the very least will give you a surprise too...
“Have the courage to be more than beautiful… It is only ever skin deep.”