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Edged
Black White Gallery, London 2023

Black White Gallery is proud to present the Edged: An Ode To Mapplethorpe, an exhibition of five artists on display at Unit 16 at 39 Gransden Avenue from Friday 11th - Thursday 17th August 2023. Featuring the work of Amir Chasson, Verde, Harry Freegard, Matt Macken, this exhibition draws influence from the oeuvre of late twentieth-century American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1949-1989). Situated at the intersection of queerness, subversion, resilience, and truth, the featured artists come together through their shared usage of diverse media and Mapplethropean influence.

Mapplethorpe, as a central figure in the emergence of downtown New York as an artistic destination in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is an artist renowned in both art and queer histories alike. Mapplethorpe's name is widely recognized, instantly evoking connotations of homoeroticism and a rejection of heteronormativity. The surname now carries an inherent provocation, exuding a deeply sultry and seductive quality. Characterized by his neo-classical curls and slender physique, Mapplethorpe is an iconic figure forever linked with Patti Smith. Adorned with a multitude of necklaces featuring skulls and teeth pendants nestled at the base of his collarbones, he remains within the realms of the infamous downtown queer socialites.

Art Historian Arthur Danto explains how Mapplethorpe described his practice as ‘[playing] with the edge’. Danto cleverly repurposed this phrasing, emphasising in his writing how Mapplethorpe edged the line between art and pornography. Edged: An Ode To Mapplethorpe takes Danto’s linguistic witticism one step further in this exhibition of emerging international talent. We are extremely proud and grateful to be showcasing such burgeoning creatives all of whom, in one way or another, have taken a holistic influence by this New York legend.

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Verde’s paintings mirror Mapplethorpe’s playful expressions of sexualities, such as her exhibited piece ‘Come through. Let’s be each other’s oracles’. The use of the tightly cropped frame creates an extreme closeness resulting in an uninterrupted picture frame saturated with flesh and flirty frivolity. Through her work, Verde strives to understand the world’s dynamics which she is involved in, such as gender identity and intimacy. Verde recently graduated from her MA at the City and Guilds of London Art School, and has exhibited across Italy and the UK.

Curated by Henrietta Scrine and Will Ferreira Dyke.

https://www.blackwhitegallery.co.uk/exhibitions/13-edged-group-show/works/

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