Review: Jonathan Baldock’s The Fool’s Flipside Through to 6th June 2010 at Cell Project Space


Image:Lost for Words, 2007

As a giant procrastinator I sympathise with those who let things pass them by. Although, let’s face it, in London blinkers are a necessity to maintain a certain level of sanity. A big caveat to this however is missing out on the once offs. Like the burgeoning beginnings of a bright career. Like Jonathan Baldock’s. There are so many ingredients to the consensus of success that it can all too easily slip by the way side. Something tells me this won’t happen in Baldock’s case. With just 8 days left till Baldock’s first solo exhibition since he graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2005 is dismantled and packed away, this is a call to action.

His funky colourful hand crafted sculptures, mostly busts and figures, are a blend of references from Comedie del’Arte to Henry Moore’s reclining figures to contemporary sci-fi without being, to use that awful word, in any way derivative. They are unsettling to some, ‘darkly humourous’ according to the blurb. I imagine having one in your house staring at you through those freaky dolls eyes could well be disturbing, but in general the atmosphere at Cell Project Space is not so dark, more curious. Together perhaps, the works nomalize each other. Isolated they’d react differently.

The paintings are really interesting too and sufficiently different to the sculptures to show that he understands the mediums in their own terms. This makes the works sound conventional or conservative somehow and me too but they are not, I‘m not. That said, what I do like is the lack of force that is so often present in contemporary art, where it seems artists expect their work to have an edge before it has even had a chance to form at all. Baldock’s exhibition seems to me at least to be a very substantial marker in an unrushed and ongoing path. Focused yet very open and inventive.

I really don’t want to give too much away. Nothing worse than too much of a low down before you have had a chance to think about how and when you can get to the little gallery near Vyner Street in Bethnal Green. It is quite hidden, so be warned. Ok, you know what the message is – go see it.
www.cellprojects.org
Claire Flannery runs Artfeelers art tours – www.artfeelers.com

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