LONDON - Nothing is more refreshing than the discovery of new talent and new work. Hashtag Abstract opened on the hottest night of the year to a swelling crowd outside Ronchini Gallery on Dering St., proving that the soaring temperature was not related to the climate alone. The show is the brainchild of Iranian-born London-based curator and collector Kamiar Maleki who has proven on more than one occasion that he has an eye for a real find. Bringing together international artists Oliver Clegg and Kasper Sonne from New York, alongside Chris Kuhn from LA and Richard Hoglund from Paris, Maleki explores trends and current developments in abstract painting. As the title suggests, the show looks at news travelling fast in the digital era and the impact of social media in engaging viewers in a critical way. 


INSTALLATION VIEW, HASHTAG ABSTRACT, RONCHINI GALLERY,  2 JULY - 29 AUGUST 2015.

Of the four artists, I was most immediately drawn to the works of Hoglund – two of his three works were immediately acquired by Charles Saatchi in person – and Christopher Kuhn, an artist whom I have been independently following for a few years on social media. Hoglund’s language-based technique turns linear forms into melodic abstract compositions, creating an ambiance of stillness through muted colour, at the same time as marking the canvas with a busy flurry of pseudo-calligraphic scribbles. The contrast is both elegant and decorative, explaining the immediate popularity of these canvases. Kuhn on the other hand, deftly combines gestural abstraction with geometric designs. Each work contains a multitude of techniques, referencing the changing and fast-paced art world. He borrows from an early method of creating the illusion of depth while accentuating the flatness of a picture plane. ‘Smear Campaign’ frames blood-like smears over a stylized background design and drags the eye rapidly from one effect to the other. Chris tells me that it has been very significant for him to bring his art all the way from LA and its art scene to the international hub that is London. We have Kamiar to thank for these discoveries, and wait with bated breath for more!


INSTALLATION VIEW, HASHTAG ABSTRACT, RONCHINI GALLERY,  2 JULY - 29 AUGUST 2015.