"Codes Of Faith "Exhibition moved at Barking Learning Center in collaboration with University of East London
Following the success of the "Codes of Faith" exhibition at our gallery in the IceHouse Quarter, Barking the exhibition is now being shown at the Barking Learning Centre, in this unique collaboration with the University of East London.
The exhibition runs until the 17th of February 2017 and the work is available for sale.
photos @copyright belongs to UEL
Dorothea Returns to Barking
Review by Dr. Keith G. Bowden adapted from the original article which is going to be published soon.
2017 will see the long awaited release of the sequel to Ridley Scott’s highly lauded 1982 Science Fiction film Blade Runner. The original film was loosely based on metaphysical SF author Philip K Dick’s much gentler 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The book’s plot is woven around a complex invented religion called Mercerism in which adherents telepathically commune with Mercer as he climbs a mountain, toiling upwards against various obstacles, but the metaphysical side of the novel is largely censored from the film, except for some casual asides (such as the origami mythical animals). Dick’s darkly surreal 1970 Maze of Death involves the gradual writing off – by death – of most of the main protagonists, against a background of another highly structured invented religion involving deities with well-defined roles, such as the Intercessor, the Mentufactor and the Form Destroyer. Deities can be addressed directly via a series of prayer amplifiers and transmitters (but they may not like it!) Each character perceives aspects of their environment – an off world human colony - in a quite different way.
In the earlier 1965 The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Dick’s protagonists again live in a drab, off world human colony, this time on Mars. In order to alleviate their harsh existence they commune via their “Perky Pat layouts”, using a drug to help them translate into the humdrum, 1950’s middle class American, sexually inept, pseudo-utopian world of Perky Pat and Walt. They spend large sums on Perky Pat accessories. Pat and Walt (clearly Barbie and Ken) are two children’s dolls. Those adherents who argue vociferously that their experience as Pat and Walt in the layouts is real, believe that the translation is a true religious experience.
Myriam Gross-Mall’s installation, Into the Museum, now showing at the new Laura I. Gallery in the Ice House Quarter in Barking, Essex, was the first time since Dick’s Three Stigmata that I have seen Barbie used in such a religious metaphor (although I have since learned that there are others). Seven naked Barbie dolls stand, some upright, some inverted, head down, feet up, in seven sealed jars filled with distilled water and a preservative. Other materials are added, jewellery, leaves, tools, body parts. Each doll represents a virgin martyr, including Dorothea of Casarea, Appolonia of Alexandria and Agatha of Catania. At first sight it seems that there might be sexual overtones to some of the exhibits. In one, a decapitated Ken’s head floats between an inverted Barbie’s knees. In another a brunette Barbie squats suggestively upon a rusting anchor. And in another a naked, golden haired Barbie with bright blue eyes and matching eye makeup and pink lipstick stares alluringly through a floating mass of pearl necklace. At the same time the installation is reminiscent of those Sci-Fi films (pastiched so well by Steve Martin) where a mad scientists keeps human brains, or perhaps shrunken bodies, preserved in Formaldehyde in glass bottles.
Mr.Cllr.Darren Rodwell ,the leader of Barking the Dagenham Borough talking about Myriam`s work
But on closer examination, there is a more serious and deeper historical context here. In Dorothea von Catharea, Barbie floats next to leaves and flowers. In Agatha von Catania, Barbie stands bent over, squashed between two falsie artificial breasts and a candle. In Apollonia of Alexandria she floats upside down under the weight of a rather industrial looking pair of red pliers. The full installation consists of twelve such jars, although only seven have currently made their way to Barking. Interpretation is partly left to the viewer but there are strong historical references and some knowledge of the legends may help. There is also, however a feminist quality to this installation that Ursula le Guin, who famously criticised Dick for his literary misogyny, would have appreciated. (As a response Dick created the wonderful Angel Archer, one of his most real and well characterised female protagonists.)
According to Wikipedia, having dedicated her virginity to God, the fifteen-year-old Agatha of Catania, from a rich and noble family, rejected the amorous advances of the low-born Roman prefect Quintianus, who then persecuted her for her Christian faith. He sent Agatha to Aphrodisia, the keeper of a brothel. The madam finding her intractable, Quintianus sent for her, argued, threatened, and finally had her put in prison. Amongst the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts with pincers. After further dramatic confrontations with Quintianus, Agatha was then sentenced to be burnt at the stake, but an earthquake saved her from that fate; instead, she was sent to prison where she died in 253AD. Saint Apollonia of Alexandria was one of a group of virgin martyrs who suffered in Alexandria during a local uprising against the Christians prior to the persecution of Decius. According to legend, her torture included having all of her teeth violently pulled out or shattered. For this reason, she is popularly regarded as the patroness of dentistry and those suffering from toothache or other dental problems. The references in Myriam’s installation are clear.
Saint Dorothy of Casarea was a 4th-century virgin martyr who was executed at Caesarea Mazaca. Evidence for her actual historical existence is very sparse. She and Theophilus are mentioned in the Roman Martyrology as martyrs of Caesarea in Cappadocia, with a feast day on the 6th of February. She is thus officially recognized as a saint, but because there is scarcely any non-legendary knowledge about her, she is no longer (since 1969) included in the General Roman Calendar. Virgin and martyr, she suffered during the persecution of Diocletian, 6 February, 311, at Caesarea in Cappadocia. She was brought before the prefect Sapricius, tried, tortured, and sentenced to death. On her way to the place of execution the pagan lawyer Theophilus said to her in mockery: "Bride of Christ, send me some fruits from your bridegroom's garden." Before she was executed, she sent him, by a six-year-old boy, her headdress which was found to be filled with a heavenly fragrance of roses and fruits. Theophilus at once confessed himself a Christian, was put on the rack, and suffered death. This, the oldest known version of the legend is Aldhelm's De laudibus virginitatis, addressed to Abbess Hildelitha of the now largely ruined Barking Abbey (AD666) on Abbey Road, Barking in Essex, perhaps five minutes walk from the Laura I.Gallery where the installation is on display. Dorothea has come back home.
Gross-Mall’s Into the Museum is part of a new exhibition curated by gallery owner Laura Iosifescu and entitled "Codes of Faith". Over thirty artists are represented. Like Dick’s novels, each work takes a different approach to religion. “Works may be representative or narrative”, says Laura, “depicting personal beliefs.Laura sees the exhibition as the continuation of an evolving dialog between religion and art (and science) that has gone on for millennia.
The first exhibit you see on entering the gallery from Abbey Road, Give me the Child by Seamus Moran, is a large wooden crucifix adorned with Victorian style decoupage, in largely religious themes, affixed to which is a mousetrap with a Jelly Baby as bait. The inference is clear. The artist is questioning the baiting of children into religion. The exhibition is, as intended, a balance of such relatively strong statements, casual or historical observations and artwork exhibiting deeply held religious or spiritual beliefs. On the left is a large oil and acrylic work in a vivid Rastafarian colour scheme (with a smattering of blue) by Laura herself entitled Exploring the Frequencies of Essence. Next is the beautiful Saviour by Ivan Djijev, an iconographic Byzantine mosaic portrait of Jesus. Further on is Worry Beads by Lorraine Clarke. A long string of worry beads made of “symbolically rich human hair” hangs from a human hand protruding from a closable wooden box.
Further on into the Gallery are a series of oil or acrylic on canvas works with some mixed media representing or addressing various aspects of spirituality, faith, places of worship and believers, celebrating iconography and calligraphy (which are themselves codes of faith) and questioning the nature of reality. Particularly striking is Keith Loker’s My Mother’s Thoughts. This ink stippled portrait, maybe of the artist’s mother, reflected in a window, was created in the artist’s cell whilst he was waiting in Death Row in San Quentin prison. The mother is lost in thought, perhaps remembering how things used to be with her son. Both share a strong faith which help them to survive the situation and even have hope for the future.
This is Laura’s second exhibition at the gallery. The first showcased her own work. She is to be admired for envisaging and assembling this exhibition, single handedly commissioning, curating and displaying the works so soon after acquiring the premises, whilst continuing with her own work as an artist.
Laura I. Gallery is thrilled to announce its first group exhibition, “Codes Of Faith,” opening on the 10th of December 2016 and timed to coincide with the lead up to the Christmas Holidays, a time of mysticism and spirituality for many individuals around the world.
Curated by Laura Iosifescu “Codes of Faith” is a group exhibition displaying artwork on the theme of faith from over 30 artists in order to celebrate diversity and promote world peace. Professional and amateur artists from myriad backgrounds and cultures will be displaying works representing their personal beliefs, varying from those who follow traditional religions to ideas about atheism and pagan spirituality. The aim of this multi-discipline exhibition is to inspire people to live in harmony, embrace differences and promote friendship and peace through our common values and wishes for personal peace and autonomy.
Throughout history, different religions and spiritual ideologies have had the power to separate people from each other and to create conflict. The organisers of “Codes of Faith aim to demonstrate that through art we can communicate to one another, overcome differences and unite in understanding and respect. By prompting dialogue and encouraging interdisciplinary exploration, “Codes of Faith” will ring in the holiday season in a truly thought-provoking way.
The List of the selected artists:
All of the photos are credited to the talented Gytė Gavėnaitė
Laura I.Gallery is thrilled to announce the official opening of its first exhibition "Blessings of Life" on the 7th October 2016 in the lead up to the Frieze Art Fair and the beginning of the London Art Season.
Blessings of Life is the inaugural Exhibition for Laura I. Gallery displaying a compilation of remarkable paintings from different collections by the inimitable Laura Iosifescu.
"Blessings of Life" is a collection of dynamic, sculptural paintings by Laura Iosifescu, playing on themes of nature, the human world and technology; this powerful exhibition celebrates the synergy and wonder of the world we live in.
In a world where mass media and social media revel in the darkness "Blessings of Life" celebrates the best of human kind. Here the artist wonders at the diversity of cultures, faith and our love for our environment. Our connection with the natural, with each other and even with technology is celebrated in evocative layered paintings.
Laura has already attracted considerable praise and attention in the art world following her creation of ‘Blossom Escape’, a dress sculpted entirely from paint. Showcased at a Princes Trust Event, hosted by the Saatchi Gallery, this creation highlights the artist’s passion for pushing the boundaries of art and her innovative application of paint. This unique piece was displayed alongside the work of well known artists such as Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn and Xavier Mascaro.
"Blessings of Life" is a textural exploration of painting inspired by the world around us and our connections. A vivid colour palate jars against stark backdrops to create imposing and rich imagery. The use of innovative painting technology means shapes and ideas literally leap from the canvas creating sculptural depth. In this exhibition the artist has strived to create a living Eden that arrests the senses and challenges traditional views of painting.
Laura draws on imagery and shapes from the natural world to create paintings that are both familiar and otherworldly. The paint becomes alive through the deliberately-formed, organic shapes which characterise Laura’s radical 3D paintings. Sculpted flowers and intertwining leaves are playful manipulated through paint to create an unusual but intense beauty.
The pieces in this exhibition show not only great artistic feeling but reflect technological advances in the use of paint. Laura has developed unconventional tools and harnessed machines to create her exquisitely crafted works. She believes, “Technology is a very important tool of our survival. That is why I use it in my work”. Her unique set of artistic tools are a closely guarded secret meaning her creations are one of a kind
Laura is influenced by issues affecting the world today including poverty, violence and human trafficking. These human stories have inspired her intense and emotionally complex artwork. Her artistic journey is driven by a desire to create impactful work that drives change and positive progress. She hopes to inspire others through her own journey and the energetic images she creates.
"Blessings of Life" marks an important step for this exciting artist. This exhibition marks the largest display of her work to date and celebrates a vision of modern painting that embraces both the natural and the contemporary with remarkable synergy. The future certainly looks bright for Laura Iosifescu.
In the heart of East London, Laura I. brings cutting edge art to an area of Barking that is tentatively beginning to show up on the creative radar. Laura I. Gallery is the brainchild of Laura Iosifescu, an artist who believes passionately in a world where beliefs and cultures no longer separate people but can be shared and celebrated. Her aim is to break down barriers, including those between artist and audience, and foster a collaborative and creative community in this post-industrial quarter.
Laura is the creator of Blossom Escape, the first ever wearable art created from paint. Blossom Escape was displayed at the Saatchi Gallery in 2014 at a special event organized by the Prince’s Trust Foundation. Shown alongside the work of well known artists such as Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Gavin Turk, Idris Khan and Xavier Mascaro, the ground-breaking work attracted considerable attention and praise. Blossom Escape represents a new concept in art that takes the ideals of painting to another level, bringing it off the canvas and out into the world. In one sense it can be said to represent a bridge between art and fashion, yet fundamentally in its uniqueness it defies categorisation. In her short time as a professional artist Laura Iosifescu has exhibited in over fifty local and international exhibitions, gaining a keen insight into the art world in the process.
According to Laura: “Being an artist myself helps me to better represent my artists. However supportive gallery owners may be, I believe that without being artists themselves, they can never truly understand what lies behind an artist’s work. They can imagine but they cannot share the discipline that goes into creating the work, the sacrifices the artist has to make and the sometimes overwhelming emotions and ideas they deal with, as a fellow artist will do. As a committed artist myself I can recognize the efforts, the stages, the sounds of the melodies in their works of art and help to make them accessible to others. The use of technique, the use of the colours, they all speak to me revealing secrets that sometimes not even their creators are aware of.”
Almost two years working part time at the British Museum have also deepened Laura’s appreciation of the importance of art in our lives, both as a means of self expression and as a legacy to future generations. Through innovative and inspiring public workshops and events, she hopes to share these insights with a wider audience and stimulate visitors to set free their own imaginations.
Quote of the day
"An artwork is a prophecy of possibilities"Laura Iosifescu
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