Amelia’s Magazine | The Phantasmagorical World of Gackland

All illustrations by Gackland.
I first encountered the prolific Gackland two years ago when we shared a desk at Amelia’s Magazine. At the time he was operating under the guise of journalist, clinic writing exhaustive opuses (under the pseudonym of Gareth David) such as Cheesy Rider, more about where he dove nose first into the smelly underworld of the cheese night/pub quiz hybrid. Investigative reporting aside, prescription this polymath is also an accomplished musician and an artist. (He studied Fine Art at Coventry after doing a Foundation at Chelsea). And it is this art that will get an airing in the next few weeks at the Brick Lane Gallery. Entitled BOOM! (opening night June 8th), the exhibition has kept the artist extremely busy for the past few months, creating a prodigious body of work that I was able to take a sneak peek at when I went round to Gareth’s house a few weeks ago. The plan had been to interview him and see the man in action, although as befits a multi-tasker and all-around good guy, he spent most of the interview giving me a guitar lesson. But we managed to talk a bit about his art, I’m pleased to say.

Could you define your art and its message? Or would that be over-simplifying it?

I’m really just responding to the call of an addiction with my art. I’m addicted to conventional wordy, chatty communication, too, but I often find that there are notions that can’t really be expressed that way. Really beautiful, subtle possibilities that words fail need to be painted. I once had a massive stab at communicating my Ronald Reagan portrait in words to a complete stranger and got maybe 40% of the way there, but only because there was a really tasteful live bongo electronica band on and we were standing in front of the painting anyway with brains full of beer. To get the full 100% with that magic stuff, person A needs to paint it and person B needs to look at it.

You and I have spoken about recurrent themes in your work; could you expound on these themes to our readers?

My previous arty phase was very laborious. I would have complex one-issue monoliths of canvas. I’d give myself one go at saying what I needed to say about x subject, plan for weeks, do a reading list, weave my subject into a heavy, heavy compositional labyrinth. They were my Sistine Chapels. The new stuff really just feels its way around vaguer notions of experience. Like what is happening when I listen to music? How should I feel about the fact the Universe doesn’t care for me? And most obviously, aren’t patterned blobby organic forms lovely?

Turning to the work that you will be showing in the gallery; what can visitors expect to see in your exhibition? And please enlighten us about the Gack-Pack.

The bulk of the Brick Lane show will be the new style Gackland thing. Oil paintings and drawings that explore that unwordable how-it-feels-being-a-unit-of-life comic beauty. There will also be my recent labour of love, the Rolf Harris portrait – done from life. And I’ll even have a couple of giclee canvas prints of my old epic work. That stuff looks really good in miniaturised form, and it’s so right to democratise – I suppose I mean cheapen – political and philosophical Art.
As for the Gack-Pack, it’s yet a further democratisation of Art. If you’ve got £18, you get a unique, original, ten-centimetre square signed drawing, six stickers, and a ticket to Gack-Lottery, which is a chance to win and direct my next painting. I’m selling hope. Cheap.

You are also an (very talented) musician and writer. If your house was on fire and you could only save one thing, would it be a paintbrush, guitar, or pen?

Everything’s economic, as Groucho Marx once said. These things are all replaceable. Between them things there, it’s the guitar, but really, I’d try and grab as many paintings as I could. And my signed Rolf Harris book, of course.

I know that Rolf Harris holds an esteemable place in your heart. Why is that exactly? (Although no explanation is needed when we look back to his Cartoon Club days).

These are tricky days for Art. I just feel that Rolf, though he wouldn’t claim to be a Van Gogh or Rembrandt or whatever, shows more of the spirit of creating things than anything that the establishment is willing to go near. Most of the Art that came out from under the shadow of Saatchi was obsessed with being perfect and slick on one hand or throwaway and careless on the other. Everyone wanted to be a completely unassailable fortress, risk-free. But Rolf… Rolf is the answer. Rolf lets you see him creating, he talks you through it, panting rhythmically and most importantly, every Art tutor, gallerist and wannabe hates him. Also, I saw him spilling his guts to Mark Lawson on BBC4 and his disappointment with his time at Art School brought highly personal tears to my eyes. It wasn’t just the vodka-fumes.

Gackland in his natural setting, multi-tasking as per usual.

Apart from the Brick Lane exhibition, where can we find (and buy) your work?

Well obviously, there’s no better place than the Brick Lane Gallery for your needy citizen’s Gack-demands. But there’s also the web. Just visit Gackland and you can see loads of work. Not much of the new stuff just yet, but that will be going up sometime after the Opening Night’s happened, which is June the 8th. And the website leads you to the rest of my fledgling online presence, enabling you to pester, complain, haggle and abuse through facebook and even twitter, if you’re into that. I’ll quite likely be in a beer garden with my sketchbook at the time, but I’ll probably get back to you before Winter if you’re funny.

BOOM at the Brick Lane Gallery (free)
Opening Night: Wed 8 Jun, 6-8.30pm
Open daily until Sun 19 June, 1-6pm.
Brick Lane Gallery 196 Brick Lane, E1 6SA

Categories ,art, ,Brick Lane, ,Brick Lane Gallery, ,exhibition, ,Fine Art, ,Gackland, ,Gareth David, ,interview, ,nature, ,Rolf Harris, ,Ronald Reagan, ,surreal

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Amelia’s Magazine | Royal College of Art MA Degree Show 2011 Review: Ceramics and Glass

RCA MA degree show 2011-Malene Hartmann Rasmussen
Surreal ceramic tableaux by Malene Hartmann Rasmussen. Amazeballs, ambulance truly.

I loved the clear booklet Old Material* New Work** provided by the Royal College of Art Department of Ceramics and Glass. It really does make life so much easier when all the information is in one place, clinic smartly presented…

RCA MA degree show 2011-Katy Jennings
Beautiful bone china plates from Katy Jennings, erectile and ‘knitted’ birds.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Makiko Nakamura's Baronage DeclasseRCA MA degree show 2011-Makiko Nakamura's Baronage Declasse
Loved Makiko Nakamura‘s Baronage Declasse (100 Years After the Party) – baroque styling meets the more surreal elements of pop art in these fun porcelain and lustre decorative objects, where rabbit faces pop out of dripping golden polka dot clocks.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Sarah Wiberley's Cameo SeriesRCA MA degree show 2011-Sarah Wiberley's Cameo Series
Sarah Wiberleys Cameo Series of hand blown glass were just beautiful, in tall vases and squat shapes. She used the traditional motif of a bird flying away.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Louis Thompson
Louis Thompson also showed colourful blown glass back lit against the wall. He is fascinated by repetition, sequencing, collections and medical apparatus. Objects thus become as important in a collective as they do alone.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Sadhbh Isabelle McCormack
Sadhbh Isabelle McCormack created bold statement jewellery from a mix of metals and perplex. Her totemic pieces were designed to combine the skills of craft with computer aided design in a balanced way.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Malene Hartmann RasmussenRCA MA degree show 2011-Malene Hartmann RasmussenRCA MA degree show 2011-Malene Hartmann Rasmussen
Malene Hartmann Rasmussen‘s surreal ceramic tableaux made me gasp in wonderment – her intention is to impose personal emotions and narratives onto container objects that traditionally have no feelings. She wants her work to seem skilled, elaborate and clumsy all at the same time and I’d say that this was achieved admirably. Beautiful and unique.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Chrystalla Achilleos
Chrystalla Achilleos‘ had created a wall installation called Strata: flowing glass forms made the most of the glass blowing process.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Silvia Weidenbach
Silvia Weidenbach created bundles of ceramic jewellery in Made to Treasure and Pleasure.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Helen Moore RCA MA degree show 2011-Helen Moore
Helen Moore ceramics were presented in beautiful graded wall installations. Here hopes to connect ‘the seemingly disparate facets of my own consciousness’… to create an ‘expanded understanding of the emotional and metaphorical capacity of colour within an analytical framework.’

RCA MA degree show 2011-Paul Stopler Paul Stopler Flow
Paul Stopler Flow. Photo by Ester Segarra.

Paul Stopler was standing next to his installation, and he offered me the aforementioned booklet as I admired his enormous cast glass vases up close. Thanking you kindly Paul, your work is stunning. The heavy glass changes subtly according to the light source.

Categories ,2011, ,Baronage Declasse (100 Years After the Party), ,baroque, ,Blown Glass, ,Booklet, ,Cameo Series, ,Cast Glass, ,ceramics, ,Chrystalla Achilleos, ,Department of Ceramics and Glass, ,Ester Segarra, ,Glass, ,Graduate Shows, ,Helen Moore, ,jewellery, ,Katy Jennings, ,Knitted birds, ,Louis Thompson, ,Makiko Nakamura, ,Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, ,Old Material* New Work**, ,Paul Stopler, ,Pop Art, ,rca, ,Royal College of Art, ,Sadhbh Isabelle McCormack, ,Sarah Wiberley, ,Silvia Weidenbach, ,Strata, ,surreal

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Amelia’s Magazine | Royal College of Art MA Degree Show 2011 Review: Communication Art and Design

Tom_Senior Nomads
Nomads by Tom Senior.

I will confess that I found the new location for Communication Art & Design at the Royal College of Art show somewhat difficult to navigate – all those nooks and crannies had me convinced that I must have missed something.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Tom Senior
Tom Senior‘s animation looked at the consequences of being greedy ‘Four travellers come to rest in a bountiful land where luscious red strawberries grow on trees and meat and fish are plentiful.’ I guess it’s a metaphor for inherent human greed. It was fun, I’m sorry I can’t show it to you here.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Peter Jessien Laugesen

Peter J. Laugesen produced an observational portrait of human alterations within nature that included a singing gnome. This was ‘wild life under control and the domesticated running wild.’

Jo Blaker
RCA MA degree show 2011-Jo Blaker
Jo Blaker in Communication Art & Design tackled illustrative ceramics as 3D Drawings, inspired by 17th century slipware. Symbols came from contemporary consumer culture.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Marine Duroselle
Marine Duroselle made a simple and beautiful card set alphabet using a risograph and letterpress.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Mike Redmond
RCA MA degree show 2011-Mike Redmond
Mike Redmond, who won the V&A student award, was hanging about near his Moving Towards Going Away Blueshift – Redshift. With titles such as 2. Hiding things we like and showing things we don’t. and 7. Angry country part 2 the museum is flooded and the bubble man is defeated, the escape plan is at hand it’s fair to say this was a fairly surreal final piece.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Cat Roissetter's The Violent Ordeals
Cat Roissetter‘s The Violent Ordeals in graphite and pastel was weirdly beautiful.

Eleanor Taylor RCA Land of Milk and Honey
Eleanor Taylor RCA Land of Milk and Honey
Eleanor Taylor’s Land of Milk and Honey – Detail.

Eleanor Taylor‘s Land of Milk and Honey was an astonishing pencil and photocopy collage.

And there ends my coverage of this year’s RCA MA shows. Don’t forget to check in and read the others if you haven’t already!

Categories ,2011, ,3D, ,animation, ,Cat Roissetter, ,ceramics, ,Communication Art & Design, ,drawings, ,Eleanor Taylor, ,Graduate Shows, ,illustration, ,Jo Blaker, ,Land of Milk and Honey, ,letterpress, ,Marine Duroselle, ,Mike Redmond, ,Moving Towards Going Away Blueshift – Redshift, ,pencil, ,Peter Jessien Laugesen, ,rca, ,Risograph, ,Royal College of Art, ,Slipware, ,surreal, ,The Violent Ordeals, ,V&A Illustration Awards, ,va

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Amelia’s Magazine | Art Listings

Time and Place

Bridget Macdonal
New paintings and drawings from the artist’s new figurative and landscape work.

Art First, online abortion 1st Floor, 9 Cork St, W1S 3LL
Apr 28 – May 21, 2009


Where Eagles Tremble

Vic Reeves
TV comedian Vic Reeve’s art work mixes the surreal and the mundane in an amusing way,
the exhibition features a new series of paintings that focus on aviation.

Mews of Mayfair
, 10-11 Lancashire Court, New Bond Street, Mayfair W1S 1EY
2nd April – 29th April 2009
Weekdays 10am – 6pm


Optimistic Immigrants

Performances and films from a group of London based immigrants as Part of the East End Film Festival 2009.

Vibe Live and V Gallery, The Vibe Bar, The Truman Brewery. 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL
Main event: Tuesday 28th April 7-11pm

Tickets £7. £5.50 concessions.



Dan Mort
This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with Museum 52 gallery.

Museum 52, 52 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP
20th March – 30th April 2009, Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 6 pm or by appointment


Still Life

Robin Conway
An exhibition of stunning underwater photography.

Red Gate Gallery
, 209a Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8RU
24th- 30th Apr 09, Monday – Saturday: 2.30 pm – 6.30 pm


Swedish Fashion: Exploring A New Identity

This exhibition showcases fashion and jewellery from a group of Swedish designers.

Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, Tower Bridge, SE1 3XF
6 February 2009 – 17 May 2009, from 11am – 6pm
How Much: £5 tickets, £3 Concessions


Categories ,Art First, ,Aviation, ,Avoision, ,Brick Lane, ,Bridget Macdonal, ,Dan Mort, ,Drawings, ,East End Film Festival, ,Fashion, ,films, ,Identity, ,Jwellery, ,Landscape, ,London, ,Mews of Mayfair, ,Museum 52, ,New Paintings, ,Optimistic Immigrants, ,Performances, ,Red Gate Gallery, ,Robin Conway, ,Still Life, ,Surreal, ,Swedish Designers, ,Swedish Fashion, ,Textile, ,The Truman Brewery, ,The Vibe Bar, ,TV comedian, ,Underwater Photography, ,V Gallery, ,Vic Reeves, ,Work

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