FORTHCOMING EVENTS: Art Fairs, Exhibitions and Previews

EXHIBITION: James Dodds ‘The Work of Human Hand’

2 – 23 December

Messums is delighted to announce the forthcoming solo shows of long represented artist, James Dodds.
Dodds began his artistic career at Chelsea School of Art before going on to the Royal College of Art, graduating in 1984. In many ways however it began when he left school to work as a shipwright where he learnt the craft that would continue to influence him and his creative practice.
Though initially drawn to abstraction the tidal pull of the fascinating and at times surreal beauty of the built vessel bought him back to his true focus. Floating on plains of colour, away from the human hands that built them, these paintings, which still draw on an element of abstraction, are anatomical studies. To Dodds, these vessels are his models, his sitters that come into the studio to sit for a portrait.


4 December 2020 – 10 January 2021

Messums is delighted to announce representation of emerging talent Hannah Mooney. Mooney began painting en plein air in her third year at the Glasgow School of Art. When she began this new technique, she says ‘I found a subject matter I identified with and a release like no other. It was as though I discovered an appetite, I never knew I had.’

ONLINE TALK: Richard Hoare

Wednesday 9 December, 6:30pm

As Richard’s exhibition ‘Alchemy of Light’ opens at Messums Wiltshire, join us online for a conversation with Richard and Johnny Messum.
Richard’s work is always moving forward, evolving, a reflection of a pilgrimage. This is despite the apparent paradox of his regular return to stand on the same spot in the same locations seen in his work, year after year. The journey begins, rests and then continues with every step, enriched by his experience of Light.
In his new exhibition Hoare explores the landscapes of Wiltshire, where he now lives, Dorset and South Cornwall. A focus is the lake belonging to the Fonthill Estate near Tisbury. Central to the park laid out by the estate’s original owner William Beckford in the 18th century the lake is surrounded by a myriad of caves and bridged by a weir.

ONLINE EXHIBITION: Francesco Poiana ‘Italian Journey’

8 January – 7 February 2021

Born in Faedis near Trieste, the son of an architect and winemaker, Francesco Poiana attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and then the celebrated Albicocca fine art printing workshop in Udine before studying for a Masters degree at St Martin’s College of Art in London.

EXHIBITION: Christian Thompson

12 January – 12 February 2021

Born in Gawler, South Australia (1978), Christian Thompson is a photographer who is often the subject of his own work and is highly engaged with navigating colonial dynamics. As someone with indigenous Australian heritage Thompson avoids the term ‘aboriginal artist – a mechanism often used for further marginalisation – while grappling with the tensions and undercurrents of his country’s nationhood.

ONLINE TALK: Olly Steeds

Wednesday 13 January, 6:30pm

Join us online for a conversation with Olly Steeds on his mission to genome the ocean. For years Olly Steeds has lead missions to catalogue the underwater environment. Now he is on a mission to genome the ocean to understand where it has come from and where it is going. Oliver Steeds is the Founder of Nekton and leads the management and development of the organisation and field operations. Formerly he was a critically acclaimed broadcast journalist with ABC, NBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channels and others. He is co-founder of Encounter EDU including the Ocean’s Academy.

ONLINE TALK: Ben Goldsmith

Wednesday 20 January, 6:30pm

Join us online for a conversation with activist, environmentalist and conservationist Ben Goldsmith about rewilding and the environment. Ben Goldsmith, who owns a 300-acre farm, near Bruton in Somerset, plans to transform it into a wild habitat within the next four years.
He says, “We want to achieve the kind of species-rich, shape-shifting scrubby wood pasture environment that once blanketed much of western Britain.”

Working with a wildlife ecologist, Ben has encouraged wetlands along the River Frome, wild flowers and native species including water voles, beavers and glow-worms – which used to be a feature of long summer evenings.

Ben is an advisor to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and is CEO of Menhaden, his green investment business.

Attendees will receive a Zoom link before the start of the event.

EXHIBITION: Elliot Walker ‘Surf’n’Turf

In 2021 the programme at Messums has sought out artists that fuse together skill, traditional technique, and contemporary concepts. Eliot Walker will be debuting in Messums London with his first solo show in this very vein. Born in Wolverhampton, the son of a cobbler, Walker was familiar with glass from a very young age having grown up surrounded by crystal glass companies.

ONLINE TALK: Isabella Tree

Wednesday 27 January, 6:30pm

Join us online in conversation with writer and conservationist Isabella Tree who will be speaking with the travel writer and novelist Philip Marsden about her pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex.

EXHIBITION: John Beard ’22 Vesalius’

17 February – 13 March 2021

Messums is delighted to represent the important contemporary painter John Beard, whose work has been exhibited worldwide and is held in the collections of major gallery museums and institutions, and to welcome to the gallery for his first UK since 2013.
John Beard is a painter of the late 20th century whose subject is as much the process of painting as it is the artworks he makes and his practice, which has spanned over forty years, explores important propositions about the role of painting in the 21st century.

PAST EVENTS: Art Fairs, Exhibitions and Previews

ONLINE TALK: with author Loyd Grossman

Wednesday 25 November, 6:30pm

Join the conversation with author and broadcaster Loyd Grossman online as he discusses his new book on the intertwined lives of Bernini and Pope Alexander VII. By 1650, the spiritual and political power of the Catholic Church was shattered. Thanks to the twin blows of the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War, Rome, celebrated both as the Eternal City and Caput Mundi (the head of the world) had lost its pre-eminent place in Europe.

ONLINE TALK: The Origins of Aesthetics and Neanderthals

Wednesday 18 November, 6:30pm

Join an online conversation with Rebecca Wragg Sykes, archaeologist and author of ‘Kindred; Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art’ and Johnny Messum as they discuss the very earliest expressions of art by our most ancient relatives. Long before Homo sapiens daubed their cave walls with pictures of bison or running deer, Neanderthals were experimenting with aesthetics of their own, whether applying mineral pigment to fossil shells or other curiosities such as geodes, to constructing mysterious underground rings of fractured stalagmites.

ONLINE TALK: Dante Marioni – Challenging Form – Contemporary Glass

Saturday 14 November, 6:30pm

Bridge continents and join in the online conversation with Dante Marioni, the world’s greatest glassblower live from Seattle.
Hear first hand from the master of glass making. As enigmatic as the vessels that he creates, Dante is seldom in front of camera or in conversation. We welcome him here to talk about the importance of mastering technical craft to push the boundaries of form and how aesthetics underpin good design.

EXHIBITION: Custodians for Covid

10 – 30 November

We are delighted to help support the fundraising initiative ‘Custodians for Covid’ set up by Oxford-based photographer Joanna Vestey and collaborator Tara Rowse in order to raise funds for threatened arts institutions. It’s first edition focuses on raising money for theatres currently in crisis due to the Covid-imposed lockdown. This includes world renowned theatres such as The National Theatre, The Roundhouse and the Young Vic. It’s second edition will be displayed, one photograph or institution a day, in our Cork Street gallery window.

EXHIBITION: Peter Brown ‘A Big Year’

28 October – 28 November

A new exhibition of paintings by Peter Brown documents the spring and summer of 2020; from the empty streets of London to the masses crammed onto the beaches of the south coast of England.

EXHIBITION: Jørgen Haugen Sørensen ‘A Dark Story in White’

30 September – 24 October

Jørgen Haugen Sørensen, born in Copenhagen in 1934, is one of Denmark’s most esteemed and decorated sculptors and we are delighted to represent his work in the UK. Throughout
his entire artistic career he has consistently and independently focused his attention on the human condition in society and has shifted effortlessly between materials and modes
of expression within the sculptural sphere – each transformation has been mastered with continuous success.
Whilst Jørgen works in materials including bronze and marble, this exhibition – his debut at Messums London – will focus on his white clay works, one of the most basic of materials
that has always been in line with his aesthetic approach.
According to legend, God modelled human figures out of clay. He breathed life into them, let them live and will determine if they deserve to burn in hell or not.
In front of Jørgen’s work, we lose our sense of position and we experience uncertainness for
a moment as we determine if we are looking
at sculptures or if we are looking at ourselves. With the positions he chooses, the situation
of the human and the clay, Jørgen unveils the relationship between the human and his own filth. When we look at his figures, we don’t know what to see: the humanity of the clay or the muddiness of humanity. Is he presenting to us a humanity we don’t know or what we don’t want to know about our humanity?
Armen Agop

EXHIBITION: Daniel Agdag ‘Radio Silence’

2 – 26 September

Daniel Agdag is an artist and filmmaker based in Melbourne, Australia whose practice sits at the nexus of sculpture and motionography. He creates highly detailed sculptural pieces that have been described as ‘architectural in form, whimsical and antiquated in nature and inconceivably intricate’ and we are delighted to welcome him back for his second solo show with the gallery this autumn.
Daniel sits within a group of artists represented by the gallery who take quality and the handmade to the extreme. His works, made primarily from cardboard, take many hours to complete and are strikingly beautiful in their intricacy. Drawn to the utilitarian origins and monochromatic presentation of his material, Daniel creates a paradox of fragility and strength with structures that resemble architectural forms and machines by utilising a medium that is essentially paper, preserving them under glass vitrines or bell jars. His work is both delicate and eccentric and he spends a lot of time thinking about and absorbing objects in the built environment, their peculiar details and functions, which, once resolved in his mind, begin to slowly emerge, and coalesce.

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EXHIBITION: Andrew Hemingway ‘Sanctity in the Mundane’

2 – 26 September

There is nothing too inferior or not worthy of being turned into a work of art according to Andrew Hemingway. Like the Dutch painters of the Golden Age or the Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, Hemingway finds inspiration in the ordinary fixtures of domestic life and turns them into pieces of visual poetry.
So it is with his latest series of 16 pictures of cardboard toilet roll interiors which appear almost anarchic as an artistic subject yet are translated by the immense skill and sensitivity of the artist into objects of beauty, personality – even dignity.

STUDIO STORY: Jørgen Haugen Sørensen

Wednesday 19 August, 11am

Jørgen is one of Denmark’s most esteemed and celebrated sculptors. Listen to him discuss his fascinating life and work with Johnny Messum ahead of his show at Messums London this Autumn.


EXHIBITION: Atong Atem ‘Self Portraits & Family Studies’

8 – 28 August

Atong Atem is an Ethiopian born, South Sudanese artist living in Melbourne. Atem works primarily with photography and video to explore contemporary identity through portraiture and in particular the fluidity of migrant narratives and postcolonial practices in the African diaspora.
Atem explores concepts of home and identity through a critical and sentimental lens and references the works of photographers Malick Sidibe and Seydou Keita as well as science fiction writers such as Octavia Butler as her aides in navigating these liminal spaces.
Atem has exhibited her work across Australia, including MUMA Monash, Gertrude Contemporary, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and Internationally at Red Hook Labs in New York, Vogue Fashion Fair in Milan and Unseen Amsterdam art fair.
First collected by this gallery on a visitto Melbourne in 2019, we are delighted to welcome Atem to Cork Street as part of our Emerging Talents programme and to be exhibiting her collection of self-portraits and family studies. Her work is hung alongside the work of New York born and raised Neal Slavin, providing a juxtaposition of individual responses to the thoughts of how we identify both as individuals and as groups.

EXHIBITION: Photography

8 – 28 August

This summer at Messums London we will focus on photography as part of the wider picture alongside our debut for Emerging Artist Atong Atem. Nancy Bundt will be headlining this new collection with her iconic images of the musician Prince. Photographing fame and power, from pop stars to prime ministers, the journey of Bundt’s career led to her being the official photographer of Prince’s Purple Rain tour in the mid 1980s.

ONLINE TALK: with artist Paul Benney

Wednesday 5 August 2020

An online discussion with artist Paul Benney, currently exhibiting in our London ‘Curating in Contrast’  Show interviewed by curator Catherine Milner.
Paul Benney has worked as an artist and musician in both the U.S. and U.K. and is represented in public collections world wide including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Australia, The National Portrait Gallery, The Royal Collection, The Eli Broad Foundation, AIG Houston, and Standard Life.
Benney has twice won the public choice award in the BP Portrait Awards and has been short listed on two occasions. In 2013 he was invited to be one of the judges for the Threadneedle prize at the Mall Galleries.
A member of the Neo-Expressionist group of the early 80’s in New York’s East Village, Benney became known for his depictions of stygian themes and dark nights of the soul. Also one of the country’s leading portrait artists, he has painted many prominent cultural and political figures.
Benney’s work is held in many public and corporate collections worldwide including, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 20th Century Wing. New York, National Portrait Gallery, London, National Gallery Canberra, Australia, World Bank, Washington DC, House of Congress, Washington DC, House of Lords, London, House of Commons, London, Eli Broad Foundation, Los Angeles, First Bank of Minneapolis, Rothschild Foundation. Uk. Israel, Royal Bank of Scotland, Museum of Modern Art, Catanzaro, Italy.
Attendees will receive a Zoom link in their order confirmation email.