Geisha Arts: London Vs Brighton: 1st July 2010 at Madame Geisha’s, Brighton

Geisha Arts has unveiled itself as a new up and coming gallery with a difference. A self proclaimed ‘uncompromising and urban space’ where one can go to observe great art without the usual alienating decorum one might experience in any other gallery. There is no hush-hushing to be found here – in fact you are encouraged to interact, discuss and appreciate the displays that surround you whilst enjoying an aperitif or meal. It manages to find equilibrium between cafe/ gallery/ bar and it does so very classily. This may be because it is the brainchild of artist and curator Zac Walsh.

Tonight’s launch sees the exhibition and city battle of emerging and established talents such as Matt Small, John Simpson, Rob Sample, Andy Doig, Goldie, Jamie Reid and other cutting edge artists causing a stir on the underground art scene in the UK. There is no doubting these artists have originated from the 21st century. Each conveys their own vision of the present day, be it in the content (Reid chooses to depict ‘a culture in distress’, his most famous piece coined by the Sex Pistols saw the destruction of the Queen herself, whilst Sinna One is heavily influenced by Science fiction) or the media used (Eel makes sculptures from spray cans and Remi Rough is known for using the street as a canvas for his graffiti).

On entering Geishas you are immediately drawn, like a moth, towards Andy Doig’s formidable neon lights, which are sexily illuminating the low-lit space, cleverly setting the dingy scene for some deliciously gritty art. Zac Walsh and Matt Small’s work is reminiscent of a contemporary take on the ‘School of London’ movement; Walsh’s figurative painting brings to mind a modern day Lucien Freud whilst Matt Small’s destructive and abstract portraits are Francis Bacon-esque in colour and emotion.

The exhibition stretches over three floors but manages to retain continuity and atmosphere; it is obvious that a lot of thought has gone into the positioning of the art work, which includes sculptures, constructions, collages, graffiti and even forms of transport! It is such a dynamic collection that even on the 5th round you are still noticing new details. It is a refreshingly careful insight into current cultureand has avoided the naff clichés so often seen in art when representing ‘the modern’. Not mentioning any names. Emin.