Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialCultureArchitecture.

April 2006 - The Good, the Bad and the Pop Culture

This month Jason takes a look at artZu, The Richard Goodall Gallery, and <i>that</i> Britney sculpture...

Published on April 20th 2006.

April 2006 - The Good, the Bad and the Pop Culture

» arTzu
» Richard Goodall Gallery
» Britney Sculpture


You can’t avoid them, they’re everywhere. Scattered across our fair city from one side of town to the other. If they’re not bouncing down the street on the chest of someone with something to say then they’re staring back at us from a photograph, poster or canvas. Celebrities.

More often than not in the case of those painted or printed onto canvas, they’re not very good. And in some extreme cases they’re so bad that they look as though the celebrity in question has had an eye transplant and a nose job, followed by a mild stroke, which has left them partially paralysed down one side. So you can imagine my apprehension when I was invited by Nick Betney, the Managing Director of arTzu, to have a sneak preview of Heroes and Villains, a solo exhibition by the artist Ed Chapman. Thankfully the above couldn’t be further from the truth. Here we not only have an artist with a massive amount of talent, we have an artist who has captured some of the most famous faces in the world, both alive and dead, in tiny fragments of ceramic tile, sometimes up to two thousand pieces, and kept their likeness intact. Genius.

Chapman is a Northwest based artist who has sold work both here and abroad. His desire is to bring the ancient medium of mosaic into the 21st century with his use of colour, sizes of mosaic pieces and different colours of grout. That’s why most of his subjects are modern icons. For Chapman the process of creating a piece is always an emotional journey with several emotions tending to come to the fore at each stage of working on a picture, joy, anger, and love. Fondness, frustration, hate and sorrow tend to come at the end.

When talking about this new collection of work, Heroes and Villains, Chapman said, ‘People have polarised views of celebrities and icons and there’s a rogue’s gallery of good and bad. It is up to the viewer to decide which category the person falls into.’The exhibition opens with it’s private view on Thursday 20th April and you’ll be able to see among others, Johnny Rotton, Madonna, Tony Blair, HRH Queen Elizabeth, Albert Einstein and even a likeness of probably the most infamous icon of our time, Osama Bin Laden. Remarkably, or unremarkably, this quite controversial piece sold soon after entering the gallery and is now on loan for this solo show.

Using a limited palette, sometimes vivid, at other times quite subtle, Chapman has managed to not only capture his subject but also call to mind the moment when the particular person could have made ‘that’ speech or sat for ‘that’ photo. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and with his use of thought provoking subjects I believe it’s a collection of work I won’t easily forget.

Richard Goodall Gallery

If you’re into Hip Hop, graffiti, skateboarding or you just have a great eye for design, there is no way in this world you haven’t heard of or seen the work of Dalek. From his humble beginnings in Connecticut in 1995, to 2000 when he was featured in the magazine Art Week and began doing commercial work with cult skate companies Element, Innes, Duffs, Planet Earth and Mutiny Wakeboards, Dalek like his futuristic paintings has been heading for the stratosphere. So much so, in 2002 Sony Creative Products recruited him to begin working on commercial designer toys subsequently making him one of the most sought-after artists in the urban vinyl scene. Nike, Levis, Calvin Klein and Rookie Skateboards soon followed.

By 2003 he was exhibiting work in Tokyo, Paris, LA, New York and London and that same year he had his first artist monograph, Dalek: Nickel Plated Angels, published. Then came designs for the toy company KNEX, snowboard companies followed, closely by major features in various international glossies. But it didn’t stop there. 2004 saw major stateside shows and international exhibitions, commissions from Activision computer games to work on the best selling Tony Hawk skateboard console game, and features in the Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine. In 2005 he released his second monograph, Sonic Order Of Happiness, and with it collaborations came with even more major players and international exhibitions.

Every piece Dalek paints, whose real name is James Marshall, tells a tale of character he calls “space monkey.” Often there is more than one of these creatures in the picture, each one focused on carrying out some demented, obscure mission. Look inside and you’ll see them executing their destructive tasks with glee as they fly around their two-dimensional spaces.

Dalek: Purple Monkey Print

His influences are clear, from Takashi Muakami whose studio he once worked in, to ‘Superflat’. It’s all there right down to the way in which, like Japanese scroll paintings, another great influence for Dalek, his works always move from right to left and incorporate the quirky violence and humour comparable to Japanime.

His first show of 2006, and his first major one man show in the UK, Violent Pacification is being exhibited at the Richard Goodall gallery in the Northern Quarter, and I must say I wasn’t disappointed. That was once I’d rang the bell to gain entry, and once in, blocked out the very unhappy receptionist who lets you in without so much as a ‘hello’. But block that out because Dalek paint’s vibrant futuristic worlds in his own very unique style that actually take you on a journey to another plane. The impressive array of work on show is excellent from the acrylic on wood paintings to the acrylic on cardboard works encased in clear cases. His vinyl toys are present, as are a collectable little collection of greeting cards for the tighter budget. But my favourites by far had to be the limited editions. With a starting price of only £50.00 for an unframed print and £90.00 for one which is framed, my advice to you is get to the gallery before the stampede leaves nothing to be had.

Britney Sculpture

Did anyone see the Guardian newspaper on March 25th? I turned to page 29, Marina Hyde’s column, and there before me was a very large photograph of the new, life-size sculpture of none other than Britney Spears, naked and pregnant, crouching down on a bare-toothed bearskin rug. At the opposite end, out of site in this photograph, the baby’s head appears. The title of the piece by the controversial artist Daniel Edwards, who’s sculpture of Ted William’s severed head stirred up an artistic storm only months ago is ‘Monument to Pro-Life: the Birth of Sean Preston’, and it was partially funded by the Manhattan Right to Life Committee. In Hyde’s words, ‘Isn’t that like finding out Rodin’s Kiss was a part of a government scare campaign against glandular fever?’

When Edwards was asked whether he himself was pro-life he said, ‘You nailed me. I’m not saying that I am. I wouldn’t march with either pro-life or pro-choice advocates. This is not meant to be political. I admire her. This is an idealized figure,’ he said. ‘Everyone is coming at me with anger and venom, but I depicted her as she has depicted herself, seductively. This is a new take on pro-life. Pro-lifers normally promote bloody images of abortion. This is the image of birth.’

Apparently when word got out about the exhibition being held at the Capla Kesting gallery in Brooklyn’s artsy Williamsburg neighbourhood, the gallery received over 3000 emails in one week and calls from Tokyo, England and France. Some people were upset that Spears was being used for this subject matter, whilst others who were pro-life thought this was degrading to their movement. And some pro-choice people were upset that Edwards had sculptured a pro-life monument using Spears as his muse. Edwards states that Spears never posed for the piece and he took his inspiration from many different photos he found of the pop princess.

Not one to be easily influenced I tried to be objective, but no matter how long I looked and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing? Why wasn’t I convinced? Then it hit me! She needed a smoking Marlboro Light and a can of Tenants Super!! Replace the bearskin rug with a piece of lino off a trailers floor and you had it. Ta Dah! The Britney we all know and love.

The sculpture was unveiled on April 7th and will be on show free to the public until 21st of April. If your over there and get the chance to see it for yourselves, you can make your own minds up. But for me, any artist who creates a piece of work in the image of an ‘icon’ which is funded by a lobbying organisation with an aggressive political stance, then sits on the fence when questioned about it, should take their money and shove it up their fame hungry and capitalist…

But to finish on a lighter tone, this time around my favourite exhibition, although it was a close one, has to be Ed Chapman at arTzu. Although I’m not usually a fan of artists who use icons as their inspiration, in this case I have to make an exception. Chapman has not only captured his subjects perfectly, he’s done it in a rare style that couldn’t help but impress me. The title of the show I feel say’s it all, and I must admire his bravery and conviction. He believes in his work and allows the viewer to make his or her own mind up. This combined with a beautiful space and an extremely helpful team only wetted my appetite to see more of not only Chapman’s work, but other British artists with something to say.

Jason Selby
Email me now!

arTzuVirginia House, 5 Great Ancoats Street, The Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 5AD Tel: +44 (0) 161 228 3001Tuesday - Saturday: 11am - 5.30pm. Sun: by appointment only. Monday: closed

Richard Goodall Gallery 59 Thomas Street Manchester, England +44 (0)161 832 3435Tuesday to Friday, : 11 to 6. Saturday, : 10 to 5 ..

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Aadil Khan

Its the most entertaining game that i have played robloxfreerobuxgenerator.com… and all should try…

 Read more

I know that this is an older article, but I have memories of my parents having to attend an…

 Read more
Jill B

I wud luv to tour the building as I worked as a telephonist at Millgate exchange Dial House in the…

 Read more

I started work at Dial House in 1946, as a trainee telephonist . Did any body else work at the…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2021

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord