Mixing art and fine dining, Sickboy (interviewed) is kicking off his latest show at the high-end department store Harvey Nichols tonight with a launch dinner and artist’s talk. Optical Delusions is presented by Fluorescent Smogg and builds upon his ever-expanding use of semiotics to create a dream-like world that glows and radiates light.
The Bristol-based artist has long experimented with an array of unorthodox mediums: from painting on bell-jars in the early 2000s, to creating tapestries a decade later and onwards to the lightboxes which dominate this most recent exhibition. These illuminated works appear like a modernist evocation of the stained glass windows that adorn many churches, and as such, they are very much in keeping with the oblique but ever-present biblical references to redemption, salvation and the sweet-ever-after which can be found throughout his oeuvre; in many ways, these are the perfect visual accompaniment to the gospel and soul music which the artist so loves.
A number of light boxes are highly graphic, but others introduce far more painterly techniques to this medium. The layout of some of these works mirrors that of a comic book, but rather than presenting an easily accessible linear narrative, we instead have a Gysin-esque mash up of imagery to explore and unravel. Each panel contains a picture that is capable of standing alone, but in this format, they instead enter into a dialogue with the neighbouring panel and create something which veers from the playful and spiritually-uplifting to the disorienting and anxiety-inducing.
The show is on display at Harvey Nichols, 27 Philadelphia St, Quakers Friars, Bristol BS1 3BZ.
Photo credit: feralthings