Graffiti-like scrawls, canvases with semi-familiar faces, and tactile, bulbous sculptures in an array of bright colours – “Stitchingthecracks” (6 September – 6 October) at Kristin Hjellegjerde London, presents an investigation, reinterpretation and recontextualization of the meaning of the everyday. While different in approach, the works of Richie Culver, Lauren Dicioccio and Pedro Matos share an investigation of abstraction, colourways and humanness, as we navigate our way through a messy world.
In his Untitled (Carving) series of paintings, Pedro Matos references the messages and carvings we find in our urban spaces, from city walls to public stairwells and bathroom stalls. They reflect the immediacy of a moment – “a love story or simply expressing identity,” he says. However, where carving and graffiti have an ephemeral element to them – where they can be covered up, eroded or swept and washed away off walls, in these paintings, he gives them a permanence by bringing abstract and fleeting messages into a concrete form. “I think this work, and the works in this exhibition share an appreciation for the usually overlooked and underappreciated, then reinterpreted and brought into a new context and meaning, both visually and conceptually,” Matos says.
Richie Culver’s exploratory and improvisational approach to painting results in a tension between what he refers to as “binary cultural and social opposites”. He is interested in the juxtaposition between “provincial vs cosmopolitan, benefits vs affluent, art museum highs vs street cultural lows”, examining one’s inner experience and inner self. From racing greyhounds, Prince Di and even Elvis, his autobiographical approach to painting, he explains, is an attempt to paint “the grey areas of English culture… people on benefits, Local Heroes on a domestic scale, single mums, counterfeit goods, boasts in the local hairdressers with the stories of ‘I could have gone Pro’, etc” what he refers to as “high hopes and broken promises” – the British Zeitgeist so prevalent post-Brexit.
Finally, Lauren Dicioccio’s Comfort Objects are colourful boulders and knots in contrasting colours, a series of round, bulbous shapes placed at various angles to each other. She examines the physical impact of colour on us, while the dangling threads that hang from each piece “reach out “reach out into time and space to emit energy and vibrate the form into the world around it” – and colour does the same, she says. The process of hand-sewing and embroidering each work allows her to explore the “presence and disappearance of objects common to day to day life and the relationships we make to them,” creating a tension between what she refers to as “the precious and the pathetic”.
Whether making fleeting scrawled messages permanent and precious, or ruthlessly parsing the dull, everyday stories of human life that otherwise fall into the cracks, or even giving recognition and beauty to objects that otherwise would be simply sad little heaps of cloth, each of these three artists, in their own unique way, takes the often-overlooked yet hiding-in-plain-sight aspects of our lives that surround us, that define us, and mark every day of our being, and bring them to the light. Or perhaps, as writer Barbara Morris writes, they provide us with “a closer look… of the persistence feeling that our world has shifted into some improbable dystopian shape.”