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Recent graduates selected for Discoveries, an exhibition of work by emerging artists

Alex Urie and Untitled 1
Alex Urie and Untitled 1
Alex Urie and Untitled 1
Written by
John Wallace
Published date
26 January 2018

Two recent graduates of Chelsea College of Arts have been selected to take part in ‘Discoveries’, an exhibition at the new contemporary art gallery, Fiumano Clase, which features the works of recently graduated students from London’s top art schools.

Alex Urie, who graduated with a BA in Sculpture from Camberwell College, then with an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College, brings a selection of abstract paintings to Discoveries. Awarded the Frank Bowling Scholarship, and the MA Studio Award 2017 for his work. He will be exhibiting ‘Untitled 1’ (2017, attached), among other works.

Image: Alex Urie, Untitled

Urie’s paintings deal with residual spaces, functioning like transitory backdrops to an ongoing provisional cast of objects. Taking prompts from cartoon landscapes, film stills and imagined interiors, these dissolving surfaces all the while nod to the history of painting.

The work is difficult to define; his often monolithic large scale canvases have a clear link to formalism, emphasising the compositional and technical elements of the work over any iconographic subject matter or historical/social context.  However, the viewer can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious forms that populate the canvas, searching for a narrative that the artist hints at but never fully reveals.

He approaches a stretched canvas as a dumping ground for obsolete, itinerant forms, and uses staining and timed action to address ongoing concerns with surface and ground. Urie works directly onto raw canvas; as paint seeps into the material, forms are undermined and disrupted. He is interested in the fixtures and fittings of a painting, the props and background figures. Within an unstable canvas ground aesthetic ideals become dislodged and corrupted. With this instability between ground and surface and conversation starts to take place. Painterly tropes, framing devices and modernist structures all emerge as forlorn icons traced across the picture plane.

Another fascinating work featured in Discoveries is “When the Curtain Falls”, a video installation by Shadi Rezaei. Born in Tehran, Iran, Rezaei is a London-based interdisciplinary artist who has recently graduated from Chelsea College of Arts with an MA in Fine Art. Inspired by her country of origin, Iran, Rezaei’s passion for the visual arts comprises an exploration of the relationship between traditional and contemporary art. Her works bring a series of mutable and spontaneous gestures that negotiate the relationship between stability and uncertainty.


Image: Geometry of Pain II, Shadi Rezaei

In her practice, she explores her own eidetic memory. A wide range of themes, such as power, gender, animalism/humanity, oddity/beauty and identity, are depicted in her work. Her journey of examination and exploration is carried out through various creative mediums and the use of unconventional materials, which enable her to create and question metaphoric expressions of the untold. The narratives she wishes to communicate determine the medium she chooses to work in.

When the Curtain Falls, by Shadi Rezaei

Her subjects are often invited to play a part in the creation of the work, and a combination of photography, performance, dance, painting and the use of video render her work truly multi-dimensional.

‘Discoveries’ is at Fiumano Clase, 30 January – 16 March 2018

Private view: Monday 29 January, 6.30 – 8.30pm

To find out more about the exhibition and Fiumano Clase, visit the gallery webpage.

Find out more about the MA Fine Art at Chelsea