This month we asked Kate Bryan, Soho House’s global Head of Collections, to select her favourite artists from AucArt. Eight of our most promising artists showcase their work in a range of mediums from paint, print, photography, sculpture and design.
London born and raised, Cyrus Mahboubian’s education began with an obsession with drawing and an Art History degree. Ten years down the line he has had solo exhibitions in London, Los Angeles, Paris and Dubai, participating in group exhibitions internationally. Whilst the advancement of the digital world has seen a surge in electronic dependency, Mahboubian’s photographic practise has shifted against the current, gravitating towards traditional analogue methods which open his work up to chance, imperfection and unexpected results. His small-scale monochromatic imagery encapsulates a strong sense of atmosphere and stillness. His influences include the natural world, specifically rugged coasts, waterfalls, moonlight and mortality.
Chinese artist, Salome Wu, spent her early life moving around Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing, eventually settling in London at the age of 19. Wu pays homage to her own experiences, engaging with ideas on religion, psychology and philosophy, incorporating her background in calligraphy in order to establish an ever-evolving interpretation of personal mythology. Her focus on storytelling and engaging with human mortality welcomes a sense of otherworldliness and a chance encounter with the sublime, whilst she simultaneously endeavours to heal in response to trauma and loss. Preoccupied with the fragility of time and impermanence of life, Wu draws attention to the oxymoronic nature of her work, as her dealing with pain and life cycles are aimed to transport her viewers to a place of comfort and beauty.
English artist, Chris Gilvan-Cartwright, spent his earliest years in Germany, with a childhood marked by fantastical stories of the Brothers Grimm, shrouded in the forests of the Odenwald Mountain range. His family were musically inclined, which meant that he often found himself backstage, around the props and sets of operas. Consequently his work plays with reality and illusion, the fantastical and doubtful, even the beautiful and downright grotesque. This duality is also found within the artist, as he explores his creative endeavors through his other identity, ‘The Baron Gilvan’. Gilvan-Cartwright describes his work as a “hallucinatory playground”, saturated with colour, drama and teetering on comprehension.
View Kate Bryan’s full interview with AucArt where Kate tells us about her not so easy journey into the art world, buying her first artwork and what she’s learnt during lockdown
Orsola Zane is a young emerging artist from Italy. She typically works on scenes of parties, collectives and crowds, individually isolating her subjects. Her sources, low-resolution screen grabs from rave culture spanning from the 80s to the 00s, are used to subvert the idea of belonging, to explore the fragility and illusory nature of inclusivity. The effect is both isolating and bewildering. With low quality comes pixelation, which allows her to simplify the figure to a blurry collection of shapes, whilst still resembling reality. Her work is both investigative and discursive, shedding light on ideas about humanity and detachment.
British artist, Amy Worrall, is a sculptor and ceramicist, producing decorative objects that playfully explore her own distorted sense of reality. Her work is in dialogue with consumer culture, born out of a background in illustration and a preoccupation with developing personalities for inanimate objects; each of her sculptures have backstories which guide her practise. Her quirky, scantily clad female ceramics are playful, vivid, glossy and equally perturbing. So heavily reliant on pop culture, Worral’s practise is constantly evolving with the times and testing the viewer – paradoxically light hearted, whilst socially critical. She currently works in Stockholm, Sweden.
Davide Serpetti was brought up in the Abruzzo countryside, an area dense in forestry and animal life which conjured memories still vividly accessible to the artist today. His preoccupation with animal forms is felt thematically in his use of the hero and beast tropes. The hero is a modern character, usually delineated by famous personalities, whilst the beasts are inspired by the irrationality of childhood which remains in each of us today. His work is heavily indebted to the prominence of image-sharing platforms as he investigates how mass culture has reshaped our newly accepted and perhaps warped standards of beauty. Our current selection of his works are inspired by sculptures, which come in the form of icons. Other influences include mythology, the golden ratio and a strong belief that one can only paint narrations which words can’t describe.
Finnish artist and designer, Milla Vaahtera, creates sculptural mobiles crafted from brass and glass, made by hand from scratch. Exploring the interfaces of sculpture and design the artist questions emotion, sexuality and appropriations of space. The final product is created through the artist’s ability to listen to the materials she uses. Vaahtera investigates the performative nature of her works as even the lightest touch or airflow coaxes the stabile structures to move.
Previous winner of the ‘Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year Award’, Kemi Onabule’s work challenges a world in turmoil. Her visions of idyllic paradise transport us to a society rid of damaging socio-economic structures and ecological disarray, instead providing us with scenic visions of a place removed from the clutches of modernity. Using the figure, the British artist welcomes a symbiosis between human and nature, a relationship marred by modernism. Her decision to use the female body uproots the phallocentric male gaze, conveying the importance of femininity whilst questioning our relationship with it. Drawing on her Nigerian and Greek descent, Onabule explores the mythology and the importance of love, sexuality and our relationship with earth. Her work ultimately aims to bring the viewer closer to their own beginnings.