‘Being Human’ is the latest collection of original wall mounted sculptures, complimented by boutique and limited edition publishing, from innovative British sculptor, Nic Joly. Tackling the intangible social restraints that we impose on ourselves and each other, this body of work casts off convention to celebrate honesty and the words that, too often, go unspoken.
What is it that makes us human? This is an age-old question, Stephen Hawking recently asked “Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?” In contrast the naivety of a young mind may ask “Why is there something and not nothing?” Perhaps the question of what it means to be human can be linked back to that first painting made in a cave 30,000 years ago. All the forms of communications since the dawn of human intellect have served to tell a story and portray the very essence of human experience.
Let’s move forward to the 21st Century. We have all at one point or another in our life fallen prey to the widespread misnomer that confuses ‘can have it all’ with ‘should have it all’. The pressure we bring down on others and ourselves has led to a contagion that envelops the human spirit in self-doubt, a sense of not being quite good enough and a desperate need to hide that from our contemporaries who, outwardly, appear to be immune to such insecurities.
A natural progression from Joly’s previous collection ‘Light & Dark’, this body of work serves to highlight that we are all as much a product of our hidden talents, insecurities and faults as we are recognised for the traits we’re happy to display outwardly. ‘Light & Dark’ cast a satirical spotlight on human nature, and the myriad shades of good and bad within us all. Whilst ‘Being Human’ does likewise, it takes the next step and encompasses a fuller emotional range, with shades of politics and humorous nuances aplenty. The latter is a key theme for Joly, who urges that “we must be able to laugh at ourselves, we simply mustn’t take ourselves too seriously.”
In evolutionary terms, Joly asserts that we are merely “sophisticated versions of our animal kingdom counterparts”, and that our basest instincts render us afraid of being seen as the weak member of the herd. Darwinian natural selection genetically conditions us to ensure our success and survival by adapting to our surroundings, which in a modern context equates to conforming to accepted ideals, shaping ourselves to meet the standards of others.
Social media has played its part in perpetuating unrealistic, and often unachievable, standards against which a whole generation compares itself. The emergence of apps that allow us to slim our bodies, digitally alter our surroundings and free ourselves of the blemishes of reality are testament to our paradoxical pursuit of perfection.
‘Being Human’ throws societal ideals under the microscope, and gives us hope that our fear of judgement and the ensuing need to maintain a ‘stiff upper lip’ is misplaced. Leading by example, Joly has created an open dialogue where shame has no place. He asserts that “the confidence to bare our souls comes with age and experience, and the wisdom that we ought to wear our emotional scars with pride, as they represent challenges we’ve overcome not moments of failure.” His own inimitable style of tackling social commentary through the medium of observational art takes the sting out of the message it delivers. Despite the often introspective subject matter, we are left feeling renewed by the warmth and humour in the art, safe in the knowledge that Joly not only accepts our faults and flaws, he celebrates them.
An art collection celebrating Pelé’s finest moments on the pitch has been released by the UK’s leading fine art publisher, Washington Green, today (Friday 27th May) and now available to buy at Westover Gallery.
The eight new giclée on paper photographic prints are the second instalment of works to be released from Washington Green’s ‘Art Life Football’ series, honouring Pelé’s extraordinary life and career. Released in an edition of 295, each piece is individually hand signed by the football icon, and will be available to buy at Westover Gallery in Bournemouth, Dorset – a partnership gallery of Washington Green.
A native of Brazil, Pelé enjoyed a professional career during which he scored 1,283 goals in 1,366 matches. He is the only football player to have won three World Cup tournaments and remains the top scorer in the history of the Brazil National team.
Featuring some of his most memorable sporting achievements, those caught on camera in the new collection include Pelé’s spectacular goal in the 18th minute during Brazil’s 1970’s World Cup win and Brazil’s pre-game line up – known as ‘the beautiful team’ – at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
Other photos include shots of Pelé at Downing Stadium playing for the New York Cosmos in 1975 and one of Pelé’s personal favourites, ‘The Heart of a King’ image, taken by photographer Luiz Paulo Machado. One of the most famous and most globally publicised pictures of the star, exact moment when the perspiration on Pelé’s chest shaped a heart on his shirt – furthering the legend of Pelé as ‘the man of three hearts’.
The new collection comes at a key time for Pelé, who played a central role in helping Brazil to secure the Rio 2016 Olympics, which kick off in August. This month also sees the release of ‘Pelé: Birth of a Legend’ in cinemas in the U.S., a feature length film charting his life story from humble beginnings through to leading Brazil to its first ever World Cup victory in 1958.
Pelé, who celebrated his 75th birthday last year, said:
“My joy, throughout my life, has been football. Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
Ally Tanswell, Gallery Manager of Westover Gallery, a partnership gallery of Washington Green Fine Art – said:
“The unique range of photography we have chosen to release outlines key moments in Pelé’s decorated career. The selection of pictures – some taken nearly 50 years ago – capture the energy of the nation’s favourite sport in action and the grace of the international sporting icon that is Pelé.
“The highest quality products and printing techniques have been used to create these very special pieces of artwork which are all hand-signed by Pelé himself.”
Last year, Washington Green launched a collection of Pelé-inspired artwork from a variety of contemporary artists in honour of the icon’s 75th birthday. In addition to the new photographic prints, this May sees two of the pieces from UK art sensation Stuart McAlpine Miller and U.S. fashion photographer turned fine artist Raphael Mazzucco released as signed limited edition prints. Both of the artists’ original artworks featured in the Pelé: Art, Life, Football exhibition at Halcyon Gallery in September 2015, which saw unprecedented numbers flock to the gallery.
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Successful realist painter Rob Hefferan is renowned for his glamorous, romantic works; and Westover Gallery are honoured to represent Rob and his mind-blowing paintings in Bournemouth.
Rob's latest work is inspired by love and relationships. He describes it as: "The side we all want to shout about and the side we only whisper; love and hate, lust and desire - both sides of the same coin."
A typical day for Rob starts at 5am with a six mile run, which is his way of freeing his thoughts and bringing focus to his ideas. He asserts that “some of my best ideas have come to me whilst out running”.
An established and critically acclaimed figurative artist with a far reaching collector base. This body of work is an exceptional portrayal of duality; he has carefully crafted a world of light and shade, giving his audience both sides of every proverbial coin one could want or indeed imagine. Love and passion. Romance and lust. Sensual and sexual. Traditional and contemporary.
The balance between Hefferan’s two title themes, love and desire, is perfectly weighted. The pieces enveloped in the ‘Love’ leitmotif are softly lit, beautifully staged and speak to the viewer of Pre-Raphaelite ideals. The fabrics appear lushly swathed, the décor is ornate and the setting as opulent as one would expect for the beauty and grace of his subjects. Every texture is given great attention; Hefferan’s depiction of light and movement breathes great life and vibrancy into this array of beautifully engineered tableaus, courtesy of his refined brush technique. As such, it isn’t a far stretch to understand why each piece can take between 150 to 200 hours to complete.
Desire’ is a different world and a different time. Hefferan takes us by the hand and leads us away from the high vaulted ceilings, light airy rooms and decorous poses we have seen thus far, into a world far removed and altogether edgier. These scenes are decidedly reminiscent of sexual, rather than sensual, fantasy. They conjure up images of nocturnal Soho establishments, Sally Bowles’ 1930s Kit Kat Club, and the art of burlesque, as given new life in recent times by famous performer Dita Von Teese. Hefferan chose a prestigious members club in the heart of Mayfair as the backdrop of some of these pieces, lending an added layer of indulgence and decadence to the overall effect, as the viewer becomes the voyeur.
Roald Dahl was born in Wales 1916, to Norwegian parents. After a distinguished career as a fighter pilot and diplomat during the Second World War, he settled down to become a full-time author; first writing popular stories for adults; then, later, retelling many of the stories he made p at bedtime for his own children.
The first book Roald Dahl and illustrator Quentin Blake worked upon together was the Enormous Crocodile. The two soon became firm friends, cementing one of the most eye-catching and distinctive collaborations in children's literature. Ronald Dahl died in 1990. His work has been published in over 40 languages and today is considered a modern classic.
"It is Quent's pictures rather than my own descriptions that have bought to life such characters as the BFG, Miss Trunchbull, Mr Twit and the Grand High Witch."
Quentin Blake was born in 1932 and has drawn ever since he can remember. His first drawing was published in 'Pinch' when he was just 16. He always made his living as an illustrator, as well as teaching for over twenty years at the Royal College of Art. His books have won numerous prizes and awards. In 1999 he was appointed the first ever Children's Laureate, Quentin Blake was created CBE in 2005 and received a knighthood for 'service to illustration', in 2013.
"I could never guess what he was going to think of next." Quentin Blake.
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