Arts Radar: 14th June

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Summer is the season we all like to go outside, drink 70s-revival cocktails, eat supermarket salami in parks and generally wave our knickers about all gleeful-like. And turns out that artists are prone to their own sort of seasonal cavorting, as this week’s shows prove.

Three female artists at Newport Street Gallery stir up the colour game, Brazilian flourish comes to South London Gallery while surreal springs are sprung up at Shoreditch’s Kate MacGarry. There’s expressive but slightly more sombre fare to be found in Howard Hodgkin’s last paintings at the Gagosian, and make sure to treat yourself to the Quality Street box of London-based artists at the triennial Open exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. Some summery summary we just had.
We think that this lot might’ve eaten a bit too much surreal pumpkin pie, because there’s shapes, objects and images going on at this show that no sensible, level-headed square would ever dream of creating. United by the aim to explore the irrational, artists Jordan Kasey, Luke Rudolf, Jonathan Trayte and Madelon Vriesendorp get busy with the strange and uncanny for all of our entertainment. Whimsy with a side of dizzy.
This snapshot into the London art scene rn features, among many, the conceptual artist Rachel Ara, contemporary numbness translated into Gabriella Boyd’s acidic paintings and Larry Achiampong, who’s responsible for some sinister audiovisual works addressing racial discrimination and post-colonial attitudes.

There’s plenty more political, economic and gender-related issues where that came from, so head on down. Plus, it only happens every three years, so you should probably because the next time it’s on you might literally have a child or something.
It’s funny (in a sad way) that Howard Hodgkin’s paintings seem to have such a strong human presence and sense of life, because he died just last year. Six pieces made just before he passed are exhibited here with over twenty other previously unseen works from the British painter: they'll make you feel a bit strange, like he should be there in the room with you or something. We recommend you give yourself an extra 20 mins after visiting to sit down on some steps somewhere and ponder a bit on, like, time and space and that.
Time to warble a bit of Phil Collins as you head down to ‘True Colours’, a new show at the Yard de Damien Hirst in Lambeth. Three artists each tackle colour head-on and square in the face, a bit like a load of aggressive rugby lads, only these are females and there are thirty sick paintings here instead of thirty cauliflower ears.

P.S. there are giant Crayola people doing it doggystyle.
Luiz Zerbini’s crowded, layered paintings look like a bunch of tiny mosaic tiles decided to band together, eat a whole load of blue Smarties (back when they were controversial), pop a ton of party streamers and start spontaneously growing cheese plants. Fun festivities aside, there’s a bleak industrial vibe to the Brazilian artist’s work and a niggling feeling about humanity’s destructive impact on the planet. Humans ruin all the fun, don’t they.
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