Women & Flamingos
The first work to be featured by the new Jack House Gallery comes from the young London born artist, Amartey Golding. Of Scottish and Ghanaian descent, due to an itinerant childhood he never really felt part of any particular place, seeing himself more of an observer. It seems that the constant change he experienced, and the continuous activity, informs his subject. Some find it unsettling and languorous, others playful, even circumspect.
Before he attended Central Saint Martin’s School of Art & Design, he studied art and design at a sixth form college in Cambridge. “I was always 'into' everything,” he says. “I didn’t really get on with the way the education system was structured, so my passion and enthusiasm was expressed in a more chaotic fashion though I can’t think of a subject that didn’t excite me.” But he found the teaching environment as more of an obstacle to his sense of intrigue: “I guess with so many other interesting things around, my attention quite happily shifted.”
Along with his mixed family life, an early influence was the Austrian artist Egon Schiele. “I related to the empty backgrounds and stark compositions and his figures inspired me.” He says that when studying, sculpture was his initial port of call: “I loved making things out of metal, wood, whatever really, the bigger and more physical the better.” When he discovered large scale drawing, it satisfied a need for both size and physicality that was relatively contained in a more practical sense. He cites the contemporary Chinese artist Yue Minjun as another influence. “I love the accessibility aswell as depth that his art has, which is such a hard balance to strike.”
With his art shown in London, the Middle East and in Europe, Golding also offers up the likes of Goya and Grayson Perry as being important to his development - “Lucian Freud even features in one of my a prints,” - but as with the eminent examples he cites as significant to him, he too possesses a talent for near mischief. Should you be travelling to Dubai with your skateboard for instance, you’ll be keen to visit the Tashkeel Skatepark where Golding was instrumental in the renovation of the extraordinary contours of its famous ramps.
Golding currently lives and works in Brighton. Here along the coast at Jack House there is also evidence of that mischievous spirit with a slightly disconcerting familiarity to the face on display repeated through a series of drawings within the show. “At the moment I work in my bedroom,” he admits. “There are drawings on every wall, usually from floor to ceiling. When they are finished I roll them up and don’t see them again until they are in the gallery. Every time I get a studio away from my house, I never really seem to feel as creative. I’m just used to having my work around me. I think my best work comes out of my room.”
So who is this mysterious and rather beautiful muse that has taken up so much space? The artist has a refreshing and somewhat unexpected reply. “Great British Bake-off finalist, Ruby Tandoh...” Clearly he is an artist whose expression is inspired by the sensuality of modern culture all around him and as such, you are advised to come and see his interpretation, among others, of this savoury exponent of a recently minted British media institution for yourself!