TACO! are gonna present an exhibition of a new body of work by young British artist Joe Cheetham. Cheetham employs gestural mark making, spray painting and an exotic colour palate in the production of abstract and figurative paintings that draw heavily on a range of influences from rave flyers, club culture, cartoons, graffiti, pop, and art history.
Can You Feel It? is Cheetham’s largest and most ambitious exhibition to date. Lifesized caricatured figures of gurning revellers made from cutout painted canvas are collaged and pasted directly on the wall to form a running frieze running around the gallery walls.
These comedic ravers, replete with party detritus and dress, dance and march arm in arm towards a future promised land, warmed by a benign acid smiley sun.
Joe Cheetham Uforia, 2019
The tongue-in-cheek bravado of these figures and their trompe l’oeil quips form a mise-en -scene that holds a tangible sense of capriccio*. The promise of the night meets the hedonism of the dance floor and the inevitable desolation of the morning after. Dribbling mouths, printed textiles, popped champagne corks, pills, stray hairs, nipples and bloodshot eyes are executed by Cheetham with painted exuberance.
Cheetham’s comedic figures have a distinctly British visual vernacular, resembling the crass cartooning of Viz Magazine merged with the tacky positivity of club culture and the gestural rhythm of spray paint to create vibrant, energised painting that sincerely celebrates its own tastelessness and the romansticism of the big night out.
In his exploration of contemporary culture and consumption Cheetham’s installed figures can perhaps be read as an allegory for our troubled times of political unrest and unleashed dark social forces. Cheetham’s figures unabashedly offer up an antidote, but one we know will leave them spent and wasted in the morning.
Can You Feel It? borrows its title from the bouncy House classic by Larry Heard. In Cheetham’s title there is a nod to his continued interest in the of legacy rave culture, its promise and positivity, but also a wink to its comedown and the inevitable feelings of cultural exhaustion and loss. Can you feel it even though the music has stopped?
Joe Cheetham Klass, 2018, spray paint on canvas, 160 x 125 cm
CAN YOU FEEL IT? AN EXHIBITION BY JOE CHEETHAM MAY 12 – JUNE 23 /PV MAY 11 TACO! taco.org.uk
*Italian, literally ‘head with the hair standing on end’ meaning both a lively piece of short music and a painting with fantasy and realist elements
About The Artist
Joe Cheetham (1992) lives and works in Glasgow. Graduating from the MFA at Edinburgh College of Art in 2017 previous exhibitions include Trade Gallery, Nottingham, Jackob Kroon Galeri, Slugtown, Newcastle and Voidoid, Glasgow.
TACO! is an artist-led space in Thamesmead, South East London. invites artists research, develop and realise projects over a dedicated period of time alongside a public programme that includes exhibitions, events, discussions, workshops, screenings, publishing, and co-authored participatory projects with local people and groups.