Enter Gallery is now 30, and so throughout 2022 we’ve been taking every opportunity to ring our birthday bell!
One means of celebration is our enormously popular, Fab 30 series, where we ask a different member of our team to select 30 of their favourite artworks.
This month our Fab 30 has been specially selected by Harley, one of our team of friendly and knowledgeable Art Consultants.
Harley's Fab 30
Harley moved to Brighton from the Isle of Man to study Fine Art Painting, and has since gone on to hold a sell-out solo show of his paintings, so his artistic eye always comes in handy when talking to customers. Speaking of what draws him to different artworks, Harley explains:
“I love any piece of art that sparks a reaction, and I like studying how different artists create their work specifically to invoke that reaction. It’s so clever – they know exactly what they’re doing, playing with people to make them take notice, feel something, and form an opinion – whether good or bad. That’s one of my favourite things about working at Enter Gallery – watching people react and then chatting to them about their take on the art. It’s interesting for me to gain insight on that – both as an art lover, and as an artist.”
“People think art needs to be something that’s taken seriously, and that you need to have loads of knowledge to understand it. I don’t think that. I like it when art is ridiculous – like the time Maurizio Cattelan taped the banana to the wall in Miami. Even if you hate that kind of thing, it created a conversation and that’s what art is supposed to do – get people together and talking.”
We’re in the Shit – Magda Archer
Harley’s first selection for his Fab 30 is We’re in the Shit by Magda Archer – an artist known for kitsch artworks that combine cartoon imagery with cutting statements with hilarious effect.
“I’m a painter so Magda Archer’s painterly work immediately appeals. It looks all cutesy, but the statements give each piece a clever, satirical twist. Her use of big, bold colours always catches my eye, and I’m a playful person so I love any artwork that makes me laugh. Art can be so serious – but it can also be hilarious. That humorous element is actually how I’ve selected a lot of pieces in my Fab 30 - because they are funny and intelligent, and artworks like that always make me smile.”
Oli Fowler – I Feel Love
Next up, we have this disco-inspired piece by London-based master of typography, Oli Fowler – an artist with a unique knack for capturing collective sentiment via his dynamic screenprints.
“When I first started working at the gallery, I wasn’t a massive fan of typography. I’d never really explored art that uses words. The more I encountered it and spoke about it at events like our Sound and Vision show back in March 2022, the more I started to fall in love with what can be conveyed through typography. Words speak to people in the same way that images do.”
“I Feel Love is one of my all-time favourite disco tunes. Every time I hear it, I feel good. I love looking at that piece, because it reminds me of the joy and euphoria I feel dancing to that song.”
Babak Ganjei – Clip Clop
Harley’s next choice is from London-based visual artist, Babak Ganjei – an artist who creates hilarious scrawled artworks musing on life, or pitching nonsensical, laugh-out-loud movie ideas.
“When Babak Ganjei’s work first arrived into the gallery, we were looking through it and I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s so simple. I love the ridiculousness of it. That’s what I engage with – how silly it is.”
“So much art takes itself seriously, and his work is the opposite of that. I love his weird imagination and enjoy watching people’s reaction to it when they come into the gallery. Some people get it straight away and find it hilarious, others question whether it even constitutes art – that’s a debate I always love to get involved in!”
Peter Blake – Dazzle Alphabet - H
Harley’s next selection is the H from Sir Peter Blake’s Dazzle Alphabet – a series inspired by Blake’s interest in the ‘dazzle effect’ – a method of camouflage used to help vessels avoid enemy detection during World War One. Speaking of Blake, Harley states:
“I knew who Peter Blake was before I worked at the gallery but hadn’t really explored his oeuvre. Since working here, I’ve studied his work, watched documentaries and I’ve learnt so much about where his work stems from, what it portrays, and who he has inspired. So many other artists have incorporated his ideas and done something really incredible with it. The amount of work that he’s produced is just insane. He’s also been inspired by so many people, which is such a lovely circle of creation to observe. Everyone and everything can influence you if you’re actively looking for that inspiration.”
Revealing why he’s chosen ‘Dazzle Alphabet - H’ for his Fab 30, Harley reveals:
“Being a kid with the name Harley, I’d always go into souvenir shops and my name wouldn’t be on anything. When I first came into the gallery and saw the letter H, I thought – this is probably one of the first places where everyone is included. There’s a letter for everyone so no one is left out.”
Boogaloo Stu – La Bite Dans L’espace
Boogaloo Stu is another Brighton-local whose creative talents know no bounds. Whether he’s designing clothes, hosting cabaret or creating visual art, his creations are fun, energetic and pulsating with positive energy.
Harley has chosen, La Bite Dans L’espace for his Fab 30 – a kaleidoscopic fantasy depicting a phallic rocket zooming into the cosmos, manned by a crew of sperm. Harley explains his choice:
“Not only is this piece hilarious, but I love the shock factor of it. I love seeing people’s reactions to it - some are grossed out by it and some think it’s the best thing they’ve ever seen. I really like the juxtaposition of the childlike style, with how in-your-face shocking it is.”
Haus of Lucy – Roll Up, Roll Up
Given his love of amusing artworks, it’s no surprise that the work of Brighton-artist, Haus of Lucy appeals to Harley. Inspired by Dadaist practice of objet trouvé which involves making art from found objects, Lucy creates tongue-in-cheek works that encourage the viewer to question contemporary culture by placing them within the framework of a historical perspective.
Harley explains why he has chosen Roll Up, Roll Up:
“Every piece by Haus of Lucy makes me laugh. I think the idea of mixing elements from modern life with Renaissance paintings is just absolutely genius. Lucy’s work always creates a conversation about what life was like back then, and what it’s like now. It’s so simple, yet so effective – the clever and cheeky creativity of it makes me happy.”
Cry me a River – Patrick Hughes
The final piece in Harley’s selection is Cry Me A River by Patrick Hughes - a British artist, inspired by the Surrealists, who is known for painted optical illusions, that he calls ‘reverspectives.’
Alongside these mind-bending paintings, Hughes is known for depicting rainbows in his artworks. Hughes explains this fascination: “A rainbow is a transitory event composed of water, air and light. I tried to give it a mass, permanence and personality.”
“I love this combination of bright, colourful life and also death. It’s interesting – when I look at it, I think why is there a dead skull crying out gay rainbows! It’s a fun take on a momento mori (a piece featuring a skull as a reminder of the fragility of life) – it reminds you that yes, life is fragile, so remember to have fun while you’re still here.”
Explore the rest of Harley’s Fab 30 Collection here.