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Brixton Beneficiary | Vanité | Ben Ashton, Hynek Martinec, Eleonore Pironneau, Edward Sutcliffe
May 21 @ 10:00 am - May 28 @ 5:00 pm
Vanitas painting was a genre that anchored the pomp and majesty of the Baroque world to the dark realities of existence. In these works, symbols of the fragility of life and the inevitability of death were juxtaposed with detailed descriptions of worldly possessions and material objects. Viewers were reminded of the transience of the physical world and the inevitability of death and it is these dark themes that lie at the core of this exhibition; transplanted into the contemporary world by four London based artists.
Hynek Martinec’s haunting daguerreotype of Zuzana reveals more than a mere record of reality. A face seemingly from another century, her soul trapped forever within the silver plate, we the viewer are able to see a moment of the past in the present and are at once reminded of the ephemerality of life. Eleonore Pironneau’s ritualistic works depict something more than the physical world around us. They are paintings that capture a dark spirituality, memorialising a ghost like other-worldliness that seems to overpower the surrounding reality with a magical aura. History, particularly the British regency period is the inspiration for Ben Ashton’s recent paintings. Hyperreal portraits of grandeur from this period merge with images of himself and his family. In the digital age of social media, these jarring paintings reference styles from our past to create disturbing investigations into how we record ourselves, and the futility of how we try to place ourselves within the context of history. Edward Sutcliffe’s work is a playful investigation between the real and the counterfeit. His detailed paintings act as an unreliable narrator exploring the blurred boundaries of reality showing us that an image no matter how beguiling will always be an untruth. The exhibition exists in the present yet is deeply rooted to the past and in many ways explores common ground between the contemporary and Baroque eras.
Ben Ashton (*17 June 1983, Lewisham) is a British painter based in London. He finished his Masters in Fine Art at the Slade in 2008 after completing his BA Hons in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle. He has lived and worked in London since finishing his studies, putting together three solo shows and currently working on his fourth entitled ’To Our Glorious Future”. His current series focuses on the regency period in British portraiture and how our history of past glories is misrepresented. As well as representational figurative painting, Ashton creates immersive optical installations and works on glass. Solo shows include The King is Dead Long Live the King, Cob Gallery, London (2016) – At Home with the Ashtons, Simon Oldfield Gallery, London (2011). Selected group include Mondo Tondo, Arcadia Gallery, Los Angeles (2019) – The New Portrait, Stoerpunkt Gallery, Munich (2019) – ICA Off Site – A Journey Through London Subculture 1980s to Now, London (2011) as well as selection for the BP Portrait Award (2014) (2012). Ashton has recently been commissioned to create layered glass works for Daphne Guinness (2018) as well as artwork for various music artists including the triple-platinum ‘Human” by Rag n’ Bone Man. His work has been placed in public and private collections internationally.
Hynek Martinec (*12 November 1980, Broumov) is a Czech artist, a graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (2005). Recent solo exhibitions include Voyage to Iceland at the National Gallery, Prague (2018), Intellectual Properties, Vaclav Spala Gallery, Prague (2015) and Every Minute You Are Closer to Death, Parafin, London (2014). Notable group exhibitions include Blow Up: Painting, Photography and Reality, Parafin, London (2015), the John Moores Painting Prize 2014 at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool Biennial (2014), Beyond Reality: British Painting Today at the Galerie Rudolfinium, Prague (2012) and the Prague Biennial (2009). He took part in the BP Portrait Prize exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2007, 2009 and 2013, winning the Young Artist award in 2007. Martinec’s work is found in international private and public collections including
the National Gallery, Prague and the British Museum, London. Martinec lives and works in London and is represented by Parafin, London.
Eleonore Pironneau (*4 February 1961 Paris) is a French artist living in London. She holds a Fine Arts Masters from l’ENSAD-Paris. Recent exhibitions include: Change of Signature, SometimeStudio Gallery – Paris, Royal Academy Summer Show, GV Art Gallery, London Art Fair, Art Chicago, Art Toronto, etc. with Bicha Gallery. Previous shows include: The Discerning Eye, Galerie Pierre Nachbaur, Galerie Patrica Dorfmann, etc. Her work is part of the collections of La Bibliothèque Nationale de France – Paris, Foster & Partner, Le Centre d’Art Contemporain Bouvay-Labuday. Alongside her work as a visual artist Eleonore writes a bi-monthly column about art interpretation in L’Echo Magazine.
Edward Sutcliffe (*14 March 1978, Walsall) is a British painter based in London. He finished his post graduate studies in Fine Art at the Central Saint Martins in 2006. Edward’s paintings combine a forensic realism with fabrication and artifice; exploring the blurred boundaries between what is real, what is fake and what is interpreted. Solo exhibitions include BP Travel Award, National Portrait Gallery (2015) and In the Bathroom Mirror, Dubai Arts Centre (2014). Recent group shows include The Ruth Borchard Award, Piano Noble, London (2019), The Lynn Painter Stainers exhibition , The Mall Galleries (2019), Semblence, Dorchester Art Gallery (2016). Edward’s work was also selected for the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery on 7 occasions (2000, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014). His work is represented in Public and private collections nationally and