2022 has been an exciting and eventful year for Enter Gallery! Back in the summer we saw the return of our in-person Art Yard Sale as part of Brighton Fringe, and as we speak, the gallery is on a tour of the country that will culminate in our London Pop-Up, launching on November 17th.
2022 is also the year that we celebrate 30 years as Brighton’s leading independent art gallery. To honour this birthday, all year we’ve been running our Fab 30 – a monthly collection, curated by one of the team.
In November, our penultimate collection has been selected by Gallery Supervisor, Will – who celebrates an anniversary of his own this month – one year at Enter Gallery!
Speaking of what draws him to an artist or a piece of work, Will explains:
“For me, it’s very immediate. It’s about that emotional reaction. I’m drawn to art that is impactful, unusual, transgressive. Things with shock value that provoke an instinctive reaction.”
In today’s blog, Will has told us a little more about five of the pieces that make us his Fab 30…
Jamie Reid – Fuck Forever, Silver
Will’s first choice is Fuck Forever, Silver – a limited edition print released to celebrate the 45th anniversary of iconic Sex Pistols album, Anarchy in the UK.
Reid originally created the design as part of a collage to promote punk documentary, The Great Rock and Roll Swindle. The piece subverts the traditional pin-up girl, while employing the same gritty aesthetic of his Sex Pistols artworks, which are known for lurid colours and ransom-style type.
“I love this piece as it sits at the intersection of two of my passions – art and music. This print is 25 years old, and I love the fact that we have it in the gallery. It’s a slice of music and art history, and as someone who is in to music and was a music journalist for a while, it really appeals to me. I’m also really into the fanzine culture that Jamie Reid helped put forward.”
“In my opinion, Fuck Forever is art made for people that aren’t art connoisseurs. It’s brilliant design, the print quality is exceptional, and I like that the colour scheme is different to what Reid normally does. It’s a really underrated and beautifully-produced example of his work.”
Francis Bacon - Michel Leiris, 1978
Next, Will has chosen a special piece from Francis Bacon – an acclaimed figurative painter, known for raw and often unsettling works that are some of the most sought-after on the art market. Speaking of his choice, Will explains:
“This piece is one of two portraits Bacon painted of his friend, Michel Leiris – a French Surrealist writer, one in 1976 and this one, in 1978. This piece has been called Bacon’s ‘finest close up portrait’ and I agree - the details and colours on it are incredible and really subtle compared to the other works that we’ve had from him. It’s also a very niche piece - unless people know his work, many glaze over it when they come into the gallery.”
“Francis Bacon is my favourite artist of all time, bar none. Ever since seeing his retrospective at the Royal Academy, I have a brand new appreciation of his work, and his portraiture is my favourite, in particular his portraits of George Dwyer. Bacon’s work is a prime example of art that provokes an emotional reaction.”
“If I could own anything in the gallery, it would be this piece in a heartbeat. In fact, I think it might be my favourite piece from my whole year working here. It’s an artist proof, created by a French printers, so it’s from a run of just 20, which is absolutely insane as I think the standard run for this was 100. It’s amazing to have it in the gallery, signed by the man himself. I hope it goes to someone who is a true Bacon fan, and who really appreciates his work.”
“Saville’s other work is incredibly detailed ballpoint pen drawings of very morbid things. It’s in the same realm as Francis Bacon in that she’s inspired by old medical journals and dentistry. I remember reading an interview where Saville spoke about her Mum’s passing and how it gave her a new way of thinking about death. It inspired her to start doing these colourful pigment prints that were like gradients, some of them were huge, and they are really beautiful.”
“Sometimes Saville exhibits pieces like Contact and Gaussian alongside her ballpoint pen drawings and the contrast between the two looks amazing. I’ve not seen these prints outside of London, so to have them in the gallery is a real privilege. These pieces are prime examples of artworks that people are drawn to instinctively.”
B is for Boxer – Peter Blake
Next up, we have B is for Boxer by Sir Peter Blake. Hailing from his coveted 1991 Alphabet Series, which is inspired by the people and objects who have made their mark on popular leisure culture, the piece is a prime example of Blake’s ‘found’ imagery signature style.
“I’m a huge boxing fan, so it’s cool to see one of my favourite artists do a piece based on one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. I remember when I first started working at the gallery, I looked through every single Peter Blake piece we have (which is a lot) and this is the piece that stood out for me, as it was different to a lot of his work.”
“The piece is very subtle – and that’s why I like it – because it’s more about the subject than the art. As well as being one of the best boxers of all time, Louis was integral to the Civil Rights Movement in America. He was also one of the first black people to play in a PGA golf event. He spearheaded inclusion and did a lot for the community. It’s cool to see Peter Blake represent heroic and influential people like Louis, alongside those like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, who are so synonymous with mainstream culture.”
Manifest Destiny – Elizabeth Waggett
Finally, Will has chosen Manifest Destiny – a striking piece by British artist, Elizabeth Waggett.
Will explains: “Elizabeth Waggett has such amazing technique. It’s so succinct – you know her work the minute you see it. I love the contrast between the graphite and charcoal and the hand-finished elements with gold. Her work is a prime example of simple ideas executed perfectly. She’s brilliant at what she does and I enjoy selling her work.”
Speaking of the piece, Will states:
“I love this piece. It’s very immediate. There is so much white space and aesthetically it’s just really cool – it’s a great example of her technique. The shine on her revolvers look unreal. Her print quality is incredible and the hand-finished handles of the gun look amazing. She is great at producing striking works with subtle meaning to them."
Explore the rest of Will’s Fab 30 here.