Glitterbug

The Last Tuesday Society, an elegant organisation of aesthetes devoted to artistic endeavours and decadent parties, most recent exhibition was an intriguing offering of spooky and sublime artworks to delights hearts, eyes and minds in the depths of winter.  Entitled ‘Glitterbug’, it aptly shimmered and  featured a myriad of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and cabinets of curious objets d’art.

On display in the intimate gallery were long-lashed mustachioed bandits, tottering in stilettos on legs that emanated from the head, silkscreens of shadow puppets of birds, eerie sketches of people shovelling sand into an open chest, surfboards turned into a canvas to show tattooed demon-esque creatures carrying a skull-handbag and degradation of the planet inspired pencil drawings of a nude female explorer climbing a rubbish tip mountain with a paper bag over her head.

Some of the most dazzling works were a series by Stephen Wright which were mixed media portraits of otherworldly characters, employed in the depiction of these bizarre people included sequins, brooches, fabric collages, beads, buckles, toy legs, ribbon, fringing, buttons, earrings, rope, combs, polka dot gloves for noses and of course glitter.

There were Warholian sculptures of products and packaging from Marty Thornton from a ‘Fab’ Ice Lolly made from glitter and beads, sparkling Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets, to pop art silk screens of Colonel Marilyn. Pretty things were used to explore dark themes for example a cabinet of fabric figures in a birthday party scene with a Ku Klux klan family, the child holding balloons and the adults holding spiked sticks. Others in this category were KeelerTornero’s ‘Eidolon’, a hyper real acrylic and paper collage on canvas of a family in a park looking at something strange in the sky, an unhappy person with a starfish in their mouth. Notably in this Grimm Fairy Tale-like theme was Raul Pina’s ‘The Golden Rider and The Silver Snake’ which was made from a nude disfigured barbie doll, with flattened legs, an absent arm, a dishevelled demeanor and strap on phallic Pinocchio nose whom all the while is riding a serpent which is coming out of a monsters groin.

There were surreal oil on canvas’s, like Nicholas Jolly’s ‘The Arrogant Stranger’ which portrays a naked lady on a tropical beach, in the pose of a lizard on a wall but with a sieve for a head and beside the foreboding figure of a giant fork

Religious iconography popped up and tabloid headlines were painted over to create apocalyptic imagery. There were whimsical works such as Bert Gilberts ‘Watch Out, Mooths About’ a unsettling picture of the creature juxtaposed with the witty description “Discovered by Bert, part moth, part mouth, a cross-breed with a Tourettes problem, usually kept in a cage and trained to sing opera.” Or Samantha Sweeting’s and Grazia Cantoni’s wistful ‘Hair’s Dream’ which featured a diary entry for the 14th of November written to an unnamed person “I’ve been dreaming about you again. I can only remember that you have very long hair and you cover me with your hair while I sleep, then I wake up and you fly away………. Strange isn’t it? Are you happy at this time in your life?” It is accompanied by a C-Type photograph of a long haired person covering their hair over a sleeping lover and a long lock of hair in a glass frame and was particularly poignant in conveying the poetic nature and inexplicability of dreams and the sense for what was lost.

I think the art which I would have most liked to purchase from this exhibition where all was on sale were Jessica Voorsanger’s archaic and quaintly framed miniature historical portraits whose faces were covered with cutouts from contemporary celebrity culture such as Natalie Portman and Elton John and then the backgrounds were filled with modern craft decoration such as wine glass confetti or of course glitter, it was this contrast with classical antiquity with quirky modernity that was so marvellous and also very gorgeous looking.

Other odd things on display were Santa Claus on a crucifix, a glow in the dark picture of Mr Blobby, 361 beer bottle tops on a wooden board, colour co-ordinated to make the shape of a star in the centre and an acrylic of a bespectacled half-beetle middle aged cigar-smoking man in the company of a half-beetle bird. But I think my favourite works were by Maria Teresa Gavazzi, called Veil 1 and 2, which were flesh coloured stockings stretched over a frame and were outlineless faces made of make-up, eyeliner eyes and lipstick lips, stunning in its simplicity of form and scarlett and noir palette and with all the charm of a fashion illustration but with an especial ambiguous quality.

As always, much like the society itself, an exhibition that was fascinating, eclectic, eccentric and beautiful.