Art critic Simone Pereira Hind has written this lovely review of SALON16 for the summer issue of local magazine N16... Sim and Steve visit SALON16
Sim – Well here we are at David Caines’ home on Lordship Road, temporarily transformed into a new art venue and hosting the exhibition We Who Are Not as Others. Have you had a good look around?
Steve – I have. David is showing his own paintings, his brother Matthews’ Jacob Epsteinesque sculptures, and photographs by David Swindells, Tess Hurrell and Kalpesh Lathigra. The work is immaculately presented in the garden, garden studio and in parts of the house. The staging is intimate without being domestic.
Sim – What’s the title all about then? Looking around I’m struck by the idea of ‘outsiders’ in much of the work, such as in Lathigra’s photographs of Sioux Native Americans. The subjects seem alone and lost in the landscape, ironic given that they are the indigenous people. And Swindells’ photos of London clublife star larger-than-life characters like Leigh Bowery, who dare to be different. I’m particularly drawn to his YMCA-style go-go dancer print. Very sexy, but weird to think the guy is dressed as a ‘Red Indian’, given that I’ve just been looking at Lathigra’s work.
David’s work reminds me of one of my favourite films, Freaks, Tod Browning’s 1932 film set in a freak show in which he cast real sideshow performers with deformities. As well as alluding to circus perfomers David’s paintings often represent groups of seemingly disparate people; an aviator, a contortionist and a shaman for instance, who seem unaware of each other, don’t relate to one another, yet share a space on the canvas. I heard someone describe the work as poignant just now and I think that’s true.
Steve - Without wanting to get too deep, it seems like a comment on the human condition, that in the end we’re all alone.
Sim – Oy, oy Steve. Cheer up, it may never ‘appen. Come and have a look at Tess Hurrell’s work if you’re going to get all earnest on me. As well as being technically accomplished her images are truly enigmatic. In the three photos entitled Basic Needs she transforms mundane objects - wipers, a chair and an umbrella into mysterious objects of beauty and her Drawing Light No. 1 suggests the sublime in spite of its exposing its own construction. They’re beautiful.
Steve – You know, thinking about it, We Who Are Not As Others is also a reference to these artists kicking the mainstream and taking control of showing their work, rather than relying on the vagaries of the art world. It’s the enthusiasm of people like David Caines that helps guarantee a thriving art scene in spite of the much-discussed financial meltdown at our midst. I’m happy to report that this may be the first of many shows that David plans to curate in this space.