Friday, 11 December 2015

"The God Damn Beauty of it All" - The Art of Joe Sangre exhibition

BMST Space, 5 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, N16 8BH

My friend Joe Sangre currently has an exhibition in Dalston. Okay, it’s bound to be gone by the time you read this, but you should browse his website at

Joe Sangre’s exhibition of art offers appealingly nostalgic imagery for mostly parodic effect, most evidently harking back to the cartoons and imagery of Max Fleischer and early Twentieth Century branding. For example, “Man vs Cactus” seems to propose machismo in a bottle, utilising the ridiculousness of the idea that drinking makes maleness. Or the repetition of “The Quitter” ~ a centrepiece for the exhibition as the kid chases the balloon all around the place ~ suggests always reaching for that thing that is just … out of … reach… but which you still pursue. Or then there’s the paranoia of “Kittie Got Dead”, where the blindfolded and sweating persecuted kitty shows some defiance in the pouting of the (presumably) last cigarette.

There’s a pleasing straightforwardness and spare aesthetic to these drawings whose simplicity draws you in directly. Joe Sangre doesn’t want to clutter the imagery or the meaning up with an abundance of detail, but this art harbours deeper connotation, creepiness and a black humour, should you want it.

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