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Three’s company

Three’s company

A trio of art projects featuring Andrew Curtis and Leon Chew are running simultaneously in London to accompany the opening of Art13, London’s newest art fair. The exhibitions include Curtis at the Collective Gallery, Chew at the PayneShurvell art gallery and a joint project with both artists at Art13.

Curtis’s “The Leisure Circle”, an off-site collaborative project between PayneShurvell and curator Annabel Cary, features in a temporary space near King’s Cross. His exhibition presents two bodies of work that address the nature of taste and judgement, exploring images that once informed habits and methods used by middle-class Britons to shape their external and internal environment.

Andrew Curtis, “International Lawns (In Place of Reality)” (2013) 144cm x 218cm (diptych), Rotring Ink on Epson Ultrachrome Inkjet Print, Courtesy (c) PayneShurvell Gallery

In the first group of prints, Curtis adapts photographs of domestic settings that feature house plants, masking all background and context to set them against a field of black. In using Rotring ink, painstakingly applied by hand, to obscure the scenery in which the plants were set, Curtis eradicates the very domesticity these images sought to convey, introducing a discordant visual element.

Andrew Curtis “Head of a Man (New Empire)” (2013) 160cm x 122cm, Courtesy (c) PayneShurvell

His second body of work is based on large-format monochrome photographs of a colonialist’s exotic winter garden, built in Eltham in the 1880s. Funded by self-made millionaire ‘Colonel’ John Thomas, its aim was to bring ‘taste’ to the masses of south London, from which a post-war suburb grew. These images extend Curtis’ work on the faux-exotic presence in suburbia and anachronistic signs of cultural appropriation for which he has become known: monkey-puzzle trees (Chilean Pine), Torbay palms and the façade of worldly culture they present.

“The Leisure Circle” ties in with the collaboration between Curtis and Chew at Art13 in Olympia Grand Hall from 1 to 3 March. Chew’s photography-based show opens on 22 February in PayneShurvell’s main gallery space in Shoreditch.

Andrew Curtis “The Leisure Circle”
PayneShurvell at Collective Gallery
4 Crowndale Road
London NW1 1TT
Tel: +44 (0) 2000 114 115

Opening hours: Wed–Fri 2pm–6pm; Sat 12-6pm; Sun 3 Mar 12–6pm; and by appointment