Wilding Cran Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in Frieze No.9 Cork Street, with the exhibition of the air on youa selection of new works by Los Angeles artists Michelle Blade, Mustafa Ali Clayton, Karon Davis and February James.
As keepers of our own stories, our bodies carry the air of our surroundings, our dreams and emotions, the passage of time and the legacy of our ancestors. In a celebration of the monumental, everyday moments that have the power to make us reflect, the air on you aims to explore the frameworks that shape our individual perceptions of the identities we inhabit.
At the heart of the exhibition, Karon Davis Reclining Nude #1 serves as a landmark, paving the way for the works of Blade, Clayton and James. Presenting his very first nude installation, the artist nods to ancient techniques, plaster casting to capture the physicality of a fleeting moment. Flaunted with an extravagant hairstyle and accessories, Davis’ figure reclines on a decadent swoon sofa. The tension between the roughly hewn plasterwork and the model’s languid pose exudes a magnetic air of luxurious confidence, catching the viewer’s attention. She is the central goddess, the BOSS, as indicated by her earrings. By her power and her grace, she challenges us to decipher the narrative for ourselves.
Using only organic and sustainable materials, from clay and fibers to wood and wax, Mustafa Ali Clayton bases his work on the natural elements of the earth. Despite differences in approach, Davis and Clayton present sculptural works that harness their artistic mediums to pay homage to the ancestry of material iconography. Unlike Davis’ textured nude figure, Clayton’s larger-than-life ceramic heads are coated in a mirrored ebony glaze. Each sculpture rests on a plinth, with a surprisingly intimate and individual face. There is a tender, timeless beauty to each subject, their inner strength radiating through the delicate ceramic medium.
Stepping away from the graceful countenance of each of Clayton’s figures, February James undresses the faces of her subjects, using watercolor, acrylic, oil pastel and charcoal to create portraits that capture pathos. of what is hidden in our interactions with another. In this selection of paintings, James’ attention to color draws the viewer through the eyes of his subjects, into their inner landscapes, emotions and memories. Juxtaposed against the haunting nature of James’s work, Michelle Blade incorporates characters into her depictions of the Southern California landscape, allowing the body and the natural world to flourish and bleed poetically through her signature poplin canvases. There is an inherent sense of eternity and passage to the rocks, the clouds, the stars, the weeping willow. The incidental glimpse of a human figure fades in and out of large-scale luminous canvases, pale in comparison to the regenerative immortality of the natural world.
Whether they communicate the truth of an image, a belief, a memory or an environment, the works on display seek to capture the energy contained in spaces of vulnerability. By creating a dialogue between the figurative explorations of each of the artists, the air on you invites the viewer into a space charged with catharsis, compassion and agency. Immersed in a palimpsest of past and present, artists and their subjects act like theatrical actors, permeating the emotional terrain that lies between embodiment and transcendence.
Launched in October 2021, No.9 Cork Street is Frieze’s first permanent exhibition space for international galleries in the historic heart of Mayfair, London. Selvi May Akyildiz is the manager of No.9 Cork Street. Designed by architectural studio Matheson Whiteley, No.9 Cork Street is spread over two converted townhouses and set over three floors.
Michelle Blade, Mustafa Ali Clayton, Karon Davis and February James
Event title: Wilding Cran Gallery
Description of the event: Wilding Cran Gallery is pleased to announce its participation at Frieze No.9 Cork Street, featuring The Air Upon You exhibition, a selection of new works by Los Angeles artists Michelle Blade, Mustafa Ali Clayton, Karon Davis and February James.
Start date: October 6, 2022
End date: October 22, 2022
Location name: FRIEZE N° 9
Address: 9 Cork St, London W1S 3LL, United Kingdom