Kids of Dada's Inaugural Exhibition: Up & Coming

by Cass Art

Creative collective Kids of Dada are dedicated to selecting and showcasing artists at the forefront of contemporary art and design. From all over the globe, both fashion and art is championed by Kids of Dada, if you miss an event you can review all their artists' work online with an easy click. Cass Art is proud to sponsor Kids of Dada in their latest exhibition, Up & Coming.

Running from the 14th – 16th March at Hoxton Gallery, 9 Kingsland Road, Up & Coming showcases 22 international emerging artists that have been nominated for the first ever Kids of Dada Prize. The grand total of £2000 will be given to only one lucky winner to support their artistic practice. With the array of art luminaries judging, including Tim Noble & Sue Webster, the winner destined to be a star.

We spoke to a selection of the artists exhibiting to find out more...

Can you tell us a little about what's on show at Up & Coming? Do the pieces you've submitted adhere to a specific theme?

Gemma Nelson: The painting on show is called 'Rollback Roly Poly' and made from indian ink, enamel, acrylic and mixed media on canvas. My work incorporates hidden imagery to create intricate layers of organic mythological creatures and landscapes in response to various themes such as female sexuality, fairytales and notions of webbing and nets. In 'RollBack Roly Poly' I was exploring abandoned architecture; crumbling roller coasters, abandoned helter skelters and carousels, the patterns creating organic structures and ziggurats. I wanted the painting to be composed like a Poussin painting, 'Triumph Of David' in particular; the painting is very busy but yet amazingly still and frozen, the eye is drawn around the surface in a loop and travels around as though it is on a roller-coaster ride.

Jessica Pearless: The work that I am showing in Up & Coming is a small painting, acrylic on canvas, called Interference. I work with painting and site responsive installation. My style could be described as geometric or non objective abstraction. 

Anja Priska: I will be showing the painting PICSO. This piece of work is an early one of my long-term monkey theme, which my paintings as well as my porcelain sculptures are based on. Most of my paintings imply a spirited character study. The primate’s fur and frame is subject to an soft, yet precise working that is above all empathetic, and decorated with curious accoutrements including human breasts and quaint arrangements of flowers. It typically inhabits a nondescript universe touched here and there by hallmarks of our contemporary pop culture - boxing gloves, billboards, fishing lines, cartoon-y eyes or hands - with the size and appearance of each tailored to tease out comedy and absurdity at every turn.

What inspires you within your practice? How does the notion of collaborative events such as those hosted by Kids of Dada benefit you as an artist?

Gemma: In my new work I have been exploring ancient cults and rituals, (Baalism and Osirism in particular) who used sun worship and mimesis of nature and the phallus in order to aid fertility. Within the intricate patterns of my work are landscapes, organic figures and symbols which act rather like a tapestry telling a story, creating a new mythography. The Cargo Cults of Melanesia are a big influence in my new work; these were indigenous groups of people who were previously estranged from colonising society who would partake in various ritualistic acts that would lead to them being bestowed with material wealth. From time to time cargo would accidentally wash up upon the shores of the islands, from container ships or dropped from airplanes, and the leader of the cults would present the 'gifts' as spiritual offerings from their future ancestors. This leader may have a 'vision' (or "myth-dream") of the future, often linked to an ancestral efficacy thought to be recoverable by a return to traditional morality. The indigenous people would respond by using sympathetic magic, mimicking the conditions that brought the 'gifts' in the first place, like making airplanes from straw and creating effigies. The cult members thought that the foreigners had some special connection to the deities and ancestors of the natives, who were the only beings powerful enough to produce such riches. In my work I include symbols and objects I have 'found', and create environments within the painting.

Jessica: The crux of my practice is an exploration of the Non-objective in Painting and Contemporary Art.  My ideas revolve around the concept of the role of the artist as a seeker, searcher or archiver of knowledge in search of self realisation and understanding of the world through Non-objective painting. I aim to define certain factual visual aspects of painting including colour, form, space, material alongside the metaphysical - intuition, perception, otherness. My work attempts to explore the notion of contemporary painting as a set of signs or signifiers. The Kids of Dada concept is exciting on a number of levels. Being from New Zealand, it offers me a chance to expose my work on to an international platform, through the Up & Coming exhibition and through the on line catalogue of works. It has also introduced me to a number of other artists working worldwide making interesting work and contributing to the global conversation about contemporary art.

Anja: I guess it's the dialogue between my work and the viewer, which I wouldn’t say 'inspires' me, but rather pushes me to do my work. The monkey is my vocabulary so to say, and becomes as much an expression of the audience as of itself. I personally much prefer showing my work alongside other artists.  It’s always an interesting experience, especially in this case, in which I just know one other artist so far personally. I am sure it will be good fun and maybe we get ideas for other potential shows or collaborations.

What are you most looking forward to about the Up & Coming exhibition?

Gemma: It is such an honour to be nominated for the KOD prize and exhibit my work with such fantastic artists, really looking forward to seeing all our work up together.

Anja: I think it’s hard to answer this, because I would need to have expectations. And I think that it’s never a good thing to anticipate or expect things. I am sure it will be a show of high standard and quality. This is the most important thing. Everything else will be naturally happening on that evening.

Feeling inspired? Cass Art stocks a range of materials for you to get creating too, from acrylics like Jessica, Gemma and Anja to a vast range of papers, scissors and glues to collage just like the original dadaists!

Head to our online shop to stock up on your own art supplies and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with exhibitions and exclusive Cass Art events.

Located in the heart of Shoreditch at the Hoxton Gallery the exhibition will be opening on 14th March with an exclusive Kids of Dada party and closing on 16th March. Be sure to put it in the diary as this exhibition is the insight into the pioneering contemporary art scene of today. Head to their website for more information.

Take a look at the full range of work by Gemma, Jessica and Anja on their websites: Gemma, Jessica Pearless & Anja Priska.

Image Credits

Anja Priska, PICSO, 2010, oil on canvas, 150 x 130cm

Jessica Pearless, Satellite, 2012, metallic, matte and interference acrylic on linen on board, 305mm x 205mm

Anja Priska, WITH THE SMILE OF A LION, 2014, oil, vinyl and spray-paint on canvas, 45 x 55 cm

Anja Priska, PICSO, 2010, oil on canvas, 150 x 130cm

Gemma Nelson, Rollback Roly Poly 

Jessica Pearless, After Titirangi, 2012, fluorescent, matte and interference acrylic on stretched canvas, 800mm x 1200mm

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