It’s time for the next instalment of our Fab 30 series, which we’ve been running throughout the year to celebrate 30 years of Enter Gallery.
This month, it’s the turn of our Art Buyer, Helen. When asked to compile her Fab 30, Helen protested, “But how can I possibly choose only 30?”, and she has a point. As buyer, Helen has technically given her stamp of approval to every artwork that we have in the gallery…but hey, we insisted she try!
In today’s blog, we chat to Helen about a few pieces from her selection to learn what they mean to her.
Bloody Empire, Jamie Reid
Bloody Empire – Rhubarb and Custard is a new piece released in June 2022 from punk-iconoclast, Jamie Reid – an artist whose work involves subverting portraits of political figureheads, and has been defined by his work with the Sex Pistols. Here, he turns his attention away from Queen Elizabeth II to Queen Victoria – the monarch who ruled during the bloody reign of the British Empire.
“This piece came about as part of a collaboration Enter Gallery did with Jamie Reid. We had a really exciting day where we got to go to his publisher’s studio and rifle through an absolute treasure trove of artworks and images that Jamie has collected over the course of his life. It was amazing to get a glimpse inside his mind, to see what he likes and what inspires him.”
“There was so much to see and explore there, and we just happened to chance upon a tiny postcard of Queen Victoria. As soon as we saw it, we were excited to see what Jamie would do with it.”
“What followed was a really smooth, organic development of the piece. I love that it’s a new image, but it has Jamie’s distinct flavour. It’s come at an interesting time too, when lots of people are looking back at punk because of the Sex Pistols TV show and the Queen’s Jubilee. Also, the title – Rhubarb and Custard! What a banger.”
Bloody Empire is available exclusively at Enter Gallery.
Callejeras is a piece by Colombian street artist, Erre, who creates murals and prints designed to empower women to fight for equality. Her rousing work features powerful females as a direct challenge to the culture of machismo in her native Latin America, and beyond.
“When we were over in Miami last year, we saw some of Erre’s incredible murals in the Wynwood District. We met her and loved all of her work. It’s empowering and defiant. It’s always really interesting to meet a female street artist, and she’s also a total punk which I love. Her work is a prime example of one of the things I love about art – that beauty can be combined with a powerful message.”
Oracle II, Mateo Humano
Mateo Humano is a French artist based in Montreal who uses forgotten images and traditional patterns and symbols to create his ‘monologues of the soul.’ By placing his stencils to compliment the patterns of oriental rugs, Mateo celebrates the complexity, spirituality and power of women.
“Mateo was another artist that we met in Miami a couple of years ago. It was two years in the making because of the pandemic, but this April Mateo was finally able to come over from Montreal for his first ever show in the UK, and it was a huge success.”
“Oracle II is based on the sphinxes from the film, The Never-Ending Story, and I love that the piece has that link with his childhood. Sphinxes are a symbol of knowledge, and all of Mateo’s work is about female power and knowledge which really appeals to me.”
See No, Hear No, Speak No, Triptych, Gavin Mitchell
Next up, Helen has chosen the See No, Hear No, Speak No Triptych from Gavin Mitchell’s coveted East Meets West series, in which he explores the differences and similarities between Japanese and European culture.
“This is my favourite piece from Gavin’s East Meets West series, because I love the mediums that he’s chosen to create the piece. I like how he’s split it into three in a nod to classical art, but for me, it also summons Japanese screen doors, and the art that is painted on those panels. Gavin has also glazed the piece perfectly to give it a lovely gold finish, which reminds me of warm light shining through those screen doors.”
I Only Want Everything, Marcelina Amelia
Marcelina Amelia draws on her Polish heritage and folklore to create artworks that celebrate the wild natural beauty of women. By juxtaposing sensual colour and imagery with expressions of anguish, Amelia challenges the observer to confront the multiple facets of femininity.
“I’m currently absolutely in love with this piece and it’s actually one of the pieces that I bought at Enter Gallery’s Art Yard Sale back at the start of June. I’ve always enjoyed the way Marcelina’s work makes me feel – it gives me a calm meditative feeling because of the colour palette, but the simple words imbue the piece with greater meaning.”
Glastonbury, Mark Vessey
In honour of the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury Music Festival, photographer Mark Vessey turned his collectors eye to acts who have performed at the world famous event.
The collection immortalises each of the festival’s headliners from the last 50 years, via the album the artist or band had out when they headlined the iconic Pyramid Stage.
“I hail from Somerset, and grew up attending the festival. Looking at the artists that appear in this piece fills me with nostalgia for all the sets that I saw on the Pyramid Stage, bringing back amazing memories of some of my happiest moments on Worthy Farm!”
“One thing that I love about Vessey’s work – this piece, and the rest of his Collections series – is that they are great talking pieces. They connect to different people in different ways. When people look at the piece in the Gallery, everyone has their own story from the festival, different performances, artists and moments that stick with them. It gets people talking and I love that.”
If you’d like to see these artworks for yourself, swing by the Enter Gallery on Bond Street in Brighton.
Select pieces from Helen’s Fab 30 are marked with blue stickers. Alternatively, you can view Helen’s Fab 30 online.