Until December 9th | London
By Galit Lerner
Ant Carver’s new exhibition ‘Not for us to say’ recently opened to the public in the heart of Shoreditch, a location where the artist has been celebrated for his eye-catching colorful portrait murals. The show has run all week and finishes on 9 December 2018.
The British artist began spray-painting the streets of the hip east London district from the early age of thirteen. After completing his art GCSE, he discovered his intrinsic passion for portraits. Carver appreciated the history behind the evolution of portraiture and therefore began to develop modern techniques applying oil paint. During the past few years Carver has been experimenting these innovative techniques in the streets of various different cities, including London, New York and New Jersey, as well as in his studio, creating audacious wall paintings and exquisite commissioned art. His mission has always been to combine his two passions: traditional techniques amidst street style, the perfect mix between 19th century and contemporary art; producing what he loves most – portraits. As Carver explains, “Portraits let me paint and they allow individuals to create their own feeling towards the work, I do not dictate the response of the viewer.”
Not for us to say is an eleven-portrait show curated by the artist himself. Carver began preparing the show roughly a year ago. His mission was crystal clear from the start: eleven paintings and three distinguished models. His inspiration was embodied by Tashi Rodriguez, an American model living in Los Angeles; whose unique portrait stands as the highlight of the exhibition. Carver, after a long premeditation, began the project by working hand-in-hand with a professional photographer. He chose two other models and began the photo-shoot. Carver´s aim was to create powerful portraits playing with the stare of the model, altered upper body postures and alternative physical appearances.
In the exhibition, we appreciate black and white perfectionist and detailed oil-paint portraits which stand out due to their colorful bold backgrounds whilst being shocked with a twist of freedom, introduced by the vibrant abstract spray paint enveloping the faces of the models. Notwithstanding, I felt all the portraits expressed a very similar emotion through the parallelism of their facial expressions; Carver then revealed that what he actually sought was for all of them to look directly into the eyes of the viewer rather than look in different directions, hence the similarity of their expressions. He fixated on constructing a bold statement using clearly different models whilst working on the ideas of achieving to “make the paintings work by themselves as well as creating a harmony between all of them,” a point the artist strove to improve and develop from his previous show.
Carver´s show, Not for us to say, mounted on a white-wall basement in Hoxton Street, displays sensationally powerful portraits, with elaborated techniques and from which each individual viewer is free to create their own emotions and feelings