Only Until This Cigarette is Ended 14 July – 11 August 2023 Pictorum Gallery 2 Portman Square London, W1H 6LA
Only Until This Cigarette is Ended a group exhibition featuring nine international artists: Leily Moghtader Mojdehi, Tosin Kalejaye, Naomi Boiko, Olamide Ogunade, Elena Rivera-Montanes, Verde Cordero di Montezemolo, Nina Baxter, Johanna Bath, Brittany Fanning. The exhibition title is taken from a poem of the same name by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Focusing on a moment of calm reflection and nostalgic memory, the poem sets the tone for an exploration of both collective and personal past. Each of the selected artists explore this theme, colouring their works by the lens of their own experiences, culture, and heritage.
Only until this cigarette is ended, A little moment at the end of all, While on the floor the quiet ashes fall, And in the firelight to a lance extended, Bizarrely with the jazzing music blended, The broken shadow dances on the wall, I will permit my memory to recall The vision of you, by all my dreams attended. And then adieu,—farewell!—the dream is done. Yours is a face of which I can forget The colour and the features, every one, The words not ever, and the smiles not yet; But in your day this moment is the sun Upon a hill, after the sun has set.
-Edna St, Vincent Millay
Working dexterously with a complex vocabulary of visual languages, Leily Moghtader Mojdehi presents interdisciplinary textile works exploring her ‘transcultural identity’ as an Iranian woman living in London, blurring the line between collective experience and personal memory. Adopting a distinctive mix of materials and collage, Moghtader Mojdehi’s textiles acknowledge the unique feelings of confusion that arise from being torn between two cultures. Leily Moghtader Mojdehi has exhibited widely and was featured in the 2023 New Contemporaries.
Self-taught Nigerian artist Tosin Kalejaye’s portraits convey the artists own ideas and experiences around the everyday Black experience. The artist’s work provides a welcome variation on traditional portraiture, tackling the ‘lost’ histories of contemporary Nigerian culture. This sense of loss is palpable too in works by Olamide Ogunade, who couples research with physical representation in his paintings, similarly foregrounding discourses around individualism, beauty and race, placing them firmly into a contemporary context. Both Kalejaye and Ogunade have exhibited widely across African and Europe.
Reflecting on her own upbringing in Italy, Verde Cordero di Montezemolo paintings serve as a reimagining of historical archetypes. Challenging classical compositions, Cordero di Montezemolo’s paintings depict the intimate moments between two individuals, focusing as well on the power of the naked versus nude. British artist Nina Baxter’s works focus similarly on relationships, taking the quieter moments in life as symbols for collective reflection. Heavily featuring snapshots of her partner, and the meals they cook together, Baxter’s paintings hold a subtle melancholy and nostalgia that feels at once ubiquitous and original. Cordero di Montezemolo recently graduated from her MA at the City and Guilds of London Art School and has exhibited across Italy and the UK.
Artists Johanna Bath and Elena Rivera-Montanes respectively use photography as a steppingstone to their paintings. Rivera-Montanes, a Spanish artist based in London, paints interior spaces that primarily explore themes of time, loss and observations of life, directly referencing her own photographs, or those found in family photo albums. Painted with a sepia-toned colour palette, the artist stitches together memories, overlooked moments and personal history to tell stories rich in a familiarity most can respond to.
In a similar vein, Bath creates works which focus on the passage of time and memory. Utilising a photographic crop in her work, Bath seeks to make permanent fleeting moments, and create work that lingers between both the abstract and the figurative. Johanna Bath lives and works in Hamm, Germany. She has exhibited widely across the UK and Europe, with a recent solo show at Pipeline Contemporary. She will take part in the Fores Project residency in 2024. Watercolour on canvas works by Naomi Boiko and large-scale oil paintings by LA-based Brittany Fanning highlight our relationships with the domestic.
Both utilising colour to transform their imagery, they present fragmented snapshots into their own lives, highlighting their relationships with animals, food and the self. Despite their markedly different aesthetics, as well as scale, both artists generate a unique sensitivity to the work, encouraging a contemplative interaction with each of their works. Naomi Boiko recently finished a residency with Good Eye Projects and has exhibited across the UK and in Italy. Brittany Fanning has works in private collections globally, has recently exhibited with Penske Projects + Phillips auction house in LA, and has had a solo exhibition with Galerie BHAK in Seoul.
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