Oh my goodness, what was that? – The busiest private preview of an art exhibition I have ever seen at the Saatchi Gallery!
Back in December I went to the opening of Philip Colbert’s first solo show called Hunt Paintings. I waited an hour outside, observed people and listened to the conversation in front of me. My eyes followed the ones with noticeable outfits. I love people who stick out with their style. And there were quite a few in that never ending super long queue in front of the gallery. Finally, I made it to the entry and a lady in her 50s who was already inside signalled me through the window that the beer was not tasteful. An intense “Don’t drink it” kind of gestures! Ok, got it. I don’t drink beer anyway. However, all the beer bottles were labeled with a piece of the artist. I found that really nice! Once I got in with a bunch of others we had to go upstairs to the very top exhibition rooms. The closer we came the louder the music. It sounded like a great party already. Ah and there was the bar where you could get yourself an arty beer. Alright, I thought. Let me squeeze in here. The entire chattery crowd in the first room had a beer in the hand. Remarkable! As a marketer that got me really thinking, maybe this could be something for the next public speaking event at work (where you can bring your own drinks with you, very “Londonish”, I know). But once I discovered the first painting behind a wall of people, I was in trance and forgot almost everything around me. Okay, well - there was no way to not see those IT girls with their fake lips and cheek bones taking instagrammable pictures in front of a painting I was trying to decipher. Overall, I very much enjoyed looking at one Philip Colbert’s painting after the other.
What do I think of his paintings? – Intense, Overloaded and Great!
Do you know this fascination you have when looking at a picture of an old historic building (maybe a church) next a super modern skyscraper? That’s what I experienced looking at these pop art paintings. His pictures allowed me to go on a discovery of my own modern pop lifestyle juxtaposed with old master’s hunt scenes. I don’t have that fun with abstract decorative art to be honest. I agree that Colbert’s '“hyper-pop cartoon” pieces push the limits of pop art while developing a deeper historical tone to his work. Take your time and just look at the contemporary portrait of London for example (picture above: London as a contemporary take on today’s high saturated pop images). The lobster (Colbert himself) is the protagonist of all paintings, a recurring ego I would say who reflects my own very self-centred lifestyle combined with every day details like living on social media, having Brexit cornflakes for breakfast, Tesco, tube and much more.
Also looking at his Destert Hunt painting (below) I felt being pulled into a battle of different artists, and therefore of different tastes and ideologies of what great art is. I see Basquiat, Picasso and Van Gogh to name only a few. Kanye West is trying to kill Basquiat … oh please don’t!! I love Basquiat! The number of social media likes above the heads of our fighting heroes here makes me wonder how much do I “fight” for that attention and likes? It reminds me of a creepy episode of Black Mirror where a world is pictured in which we are ranked by scores and likes of others. That’s not only creepy, it’s a questionable development that we all should watch with some healthy sceptic.
There is so much more to discover and discuss about Colbert’s paintings and even sculptures which I have left out here. It’s a great first solo exhibition of this British “lobster” organised by The Unit London gallery. So, go and see all 25 painting for yourself! But …
HURRY! The exhibition is open only until 13 January 2019!
Desert Hunt - inspired by Reubens Hunt painting