A few weeks ago I checked my blog to see when I had last published an art-related post, and was horrified to realise I hadn’t written an art post since my trip to New York in 2016! I felt awful, would I be ending the year without not having written anything on my second favourite thing after fashion and beauty? But then I realised I’d in fact been to two amazing exhibitions (see my previous art post here) in the space of a few weeks, and had plenty to write about.
Having said that, I wasn’t sure whether to do this post, as sadly this awesome exhibition I went to is no longer on. But before you hate me forever, I decided that there was no way I could not share the ridiculously cool discovery that is Jane Hayes Greenwood, and the equally as cool exhibition space that is Block 336 in Brixton.
‘After The Fall’, 2017
I found out about this exhibition on Instagram and admittedly thought “Hello, Instagram opp!” when seeing the crazy installation and striking paintings that were to be found in this exhibition, titled “Lead Me Not Into Temptation“. So on the 1st of November my friend and I headed to Brixton to see what it was all about – funnily enough, I didn’t put any pictures on Instagram and decided to do a full-on blog post about it because there was so much more to this exhibition than a few photo ops for the ‘gram.
We were lucky enough that the artist herself, Jane, and her colleague opened up the exhibition for us, as they were initially going to be opening it later in the day. Jane was incredibly nice and when I asked her if she could give us an insight into her artwork and thought process, she gave me such an interesting and detailed answer. Her aim was to explore our contemporary relationship with temptation by inserting her own unique take on pop culture and interpreting biblical references. The results are a mix of sexual imagery, the iconography of Christianity and a humorous reflection of society’s at times painful obsession with food, which I loved and found 100% relatable. Because as many temptations may arise in our day-to-day relationships with partners, acquaintances and strangers, food is, possibly even more so, one of those areas in which we tell ourselves to either be good, treat ourselves or somehow feel a ton of guilt. Our human relationships our complex, but is it any easier with food?
‘The Pleasure, Principle’, 2017
‘I’ll Tell You A Story And You Won’t Be Hungry Anymore’, 2017
What I really loved about Jane Hayes Greenwood’s work was the perfect balance there was between visual excitement and ideas. At a glance, you see these vibrant images of sweet treats, comfort food or so-called junk food, at times on their own or accompanied by some naughty imagery. But there seems to be something more to it, something slightly sinister behind all those cheerful colours and shapes. My favourite kind of art is art that combines striking, playful, possibly even cute images with something sinister, it’s a juxtaposition that never fails to get me. This exhibition was just that – colourful and fun paintings and sculptures that you look a little closer at and they’re not as sweet as they initially seemed to be.
‘A Cherry On Top’, 2017
This part of the exhibition was the part that made me want to come see it because I’m basic that way – I mean who can resist such a (at a glance) cute-looking playground? It really is the perfect combination of cute and slightly creepy.
Those figurines might be coated in a sweet sugar-pink palette and backdrop, but that’s where the sweetness ends at.
Nothing screams temptation as joyously as love hearts.
‘Astonishing Pair’, 2016
‘Strung Out’, 2016
‘I Heart You’, 2017
Jane Hayes Greenwood is not only a super talented artist, she’s also the co-founder and director of Block 336 Gallery. It was founded in 2011 and is an artist-run project space. A registered charity, it aims to advance the education of arts and to make art accessible to everyone – prioritising art over gallery sales. So watch that space because Block 336 are clearly up to a lot of amazing things.
Pictures taken by me and my friend on November 1st at Block 336 Gallery in Brixton, south London.