• Bllead

    Ben Long: Moving Landscapes – The Hay Wain (after John Constable)

Art

Ben Long's brilliant blurred billboards on show in Birmingham

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Birmingham is a city that has had its share of bad press – enduring decades as the lazy punchline of a sneering Jeremy Clarkson style joke. But anyone lucky enough to have experienced Britain’s second city knows that recent years have witnessed a Renaissance in the Venice of the Midlands (it’s do with canals).

Another artistic string to the Brummie bow has come courtesy of the EC Arts 48 Sheet project which is inviting artists to take over 100 billboards across the city throughout April, creating an unusual al fresco urban art gallery. Pick of the work comes from the brilliant Ben Long, whose blurred digital prints not only wrong-foot passing motorists but also explores the idea of images losing their potency through ubiquitous representation.

“These artworks could be taken simply as a subversion of representational art because they appear to disrupt the traditional values of painting and present abstraction as high octane thrill-seeking,” Ben says.

“But I also think there is a cautionary meaning in there too, which is to do with how the historic can be manipulated and used as a commodity, and how we have become over-saturated with paintings by artists such as Constable to the point that we are no longer able to see them clearly. The Hay Wain is a perfect example of that because it appears on greetings cards and biscuit tins – my Nanna even has Constable place mats that she brings out when guests come to dinner! Rarely are we afforded a direct and pure experience of art. The reproduction is how we’re constantly receiving information and in a commercial world the meaning and original intention of these artworks become subtly distorted given enough time."

  • Bl1

    Ben Long: Moving Landscapes – Dedham Lock and Mill & The Stour Valley (after John Constable)

  • Bl2

    Ben Long: Moving Landscapes – Dedham Lock and Mill & The Stour Valley (after John Constable) (detail)

  • Steve_parsons-_l_-lawrence-roper-_r

    Work by Steve Parsons and Lawrence Roper (Pic by Leah Carless)

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List

    Swedish creative Henrik Franklin is a designer, illustrator and animator with two of the world’s leading design schools (Konstfack in Sweden and Rhode Island School of Design) sparkling on his CV. Invited to showcase his considerable talents in Anna Lidberg’s Gallery 1:10 – “the miniature gallery for contemporary art” – Henrik produced a table of tiny tomes and the attention-to-detail on each cover design is really impressive.

  2. Main

    Victoria Siddall has worked at Frieze for just over a decade and two years ago was made Director of Frieze Masters. Excitingly, just a few weeks ago she was appointed Director of Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze London. As well as being one of the most powerful women in the art world, Victoria is also my sister, so I was curious to find out how she’s feeling on the dawn of her new career.

  3. List

    The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern has an incredible presence when it’s void of installations, which is what’s so wonderful about the huge enclosed space. As much as I admire the vast emptiness though, it’s even more exciting when a piece of work is placed in the hall and interrupts the vacuum. Opening today, American sculptor Richard Tuttle is the latest commissioned artist to show his work in the space and his 24ft sculpture certainly makes an impact.

  4. Main2

    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

  5. 8

    A kind of magic happens when Seth Armstrong puts brush to canvas. Having only been familiar with his work for the Mr Porter Journal, I became instantly bewitched by his paintings when clicking through his website.

  6. List

    Whatever the some naysayers may claim there is an art to collage and not everyone can do it, despite how good you think your teenage collages of cut-out red lips, Leonardo DiCaprio and puppies were. Anthony Zinonos is the perfect example of this, having featured on the site previously he’s updated his portfolio with some really cool bits and bobs.

  7. List

    There’s something very fun and raw about Jessica Hans’ vases and her approach to ceramics in general. Based in Philadelphia, she’s had a longstanding interest in foraging and raw materials since university; this has carried over into her ceramics work, which in the past has seen her driving to clay sites, digging her materials out of the ground and then firing them in their original state to see what would happen.

  8. Listt

    “To be an artist and for anyone to care vaguely about what you do is a great thing,” says street artist Moose in this fascinating new Nissan campaign, but his work is more important than most. As the inventor of reverse graffiti – whereby he uses a high-powered pressure washer to stencil imagery in the dirt that accumulates in our cities – Moose’s work asks questions about our attitudes to pollution in a very creative way.

  9. List

    To stare into a Danny Fox painting is like waking up in a world written by Charles Bukowski on a particularly heavy bender. There’s sex and drinking and guns, plus boxers and strippers and cowboys; here a horse, there a tiger. It’s intense and unnerving and exciting, but although there’s something very contemporary about Danny’s paintings, his rise to prominence owes a great deal to the support of a more well-established artist (an age-old route for up-and-coming artistic stars).

  10. Listjmp_cg_house_float_10

    Heads are turning in Covent Garden this morning, and they’re not just looking at the usual street performers – they’re gawping at a levitating building. Master of illusions Alex Chinneck’s latest mind-boggling public art installation is on show in what must surely be the spiritual home of his craft; one of the busiest piazzas in London and its theatrical hub. His floating building follows on from a sliding house, upside down house and many other puzzling optical illusions.

  11. List

    Back in 2013 designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman launched 40 Days of Dating, where they entered into a seven week relationship with each other to explore the world of romance from a creative perspective.

  12. Main

    Switzerland-based artist Pascale Keung makes delightfully diverse work which is inspired by her chosen country’s stunning natural landscape as often as it is by wild fantasies. This series Muttsee is an example of the former, a collection of images about “a very special place in the Alps of Switzerland” where she goes to fish with her friends from time to time.

  13. List

    Anna Burns is a set designer with a taste for the ambitious. Who could forget her work with Thomas Brown where they created B-Movie inspired installations out of flammable umbrellas? For her latest work Anna has collaborated with Michael Bodiam on a series inspired by nuclear catastrophe and our contradictory attitudes towards it – apocalyptic fear on the one hand and weird fascination on the other.