The trappings of a rich and luxurious life, with brightly-coloured beach chairs, umbrellas and inflatable rings alongside or in the sea, in front of the a sleek super yacht, the grand houses – one Palladian; the other modernist in style – and, strangely, sitting in a row in the snow near the ski resorts. But where are the people? Who are they, that can afford such luxury?
Unit London in Hanover Square has opened its autumn programme with two shows by two very different British artists, but with a common theme of mystery and leaving it to the viewer to add his or her own interpretation. We could be looking through a telescope at Will Martyr’s circular, precise, highly organised, and quite architectural works in ‘Fathom’ which build on the swimming pool paintings of David Hockney, but stripped of people, and often with reflected images, while the street artist Mr Jago’s colourful refracted abstract paintings in ‘Strata’ are, in contrast, much more informal, muted in tone, and reflect his love of the natural world.
The titles of the paintings also leave the viewer shrouded in mystery – two loungers facing each other in the snow are ‘The First Seduction’, and two plastic beach chairs facing the pool are ‘To Love and be Loved’; while Mr Jago’s paintings include titles such as ‘General Confessional’, ‘Immortal Beloved’ and ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh’. Thank goodness both resisted the use of ‘Untitled’ which all too many artists fall back on.
Unit London have arranged the two artists on different floors, perhaps for logistical reasons given the size of Martyr’s paintings. It would have been interesting to mix them up just a little to see how they contrast with each other.
Only recently moved here to Hanover Square, the gallery is already shrouded in scaffolding. The first impression is that you are not sure if this may be a trick by Mr Jago, but he would have made more of it – a missed opportunity!