I found Sadie Coles at the end of Kingly Street, a gallery treasure hidden behind the hurly-burly fuss of Carnaby Street. Buzzing to enter the space, Sadie Coles opens itself to members of the public as a small cubic space made up of polished cement floors and white walls. With a friendly nod from the receptionist at the front desk I ascended the stairs thinking to myself – Sadie Coles is actually quite small. I was quickly rectified in my misgivings of the space; the stairs led up to a vast open plan gallery, with lighting and interiors many curators would dream of working in.
On display since March and up until the end of May – last chance to catch it – are Jonathan Horowitz’s 304.8cm Paintings, a spectrum of zingy pop works proudly hanging as mirages of Queen Bey herself, Beyoncé Knowles. As a fan of the pop princess myself, I felt exhilarated entering the space to find huge ten feet paintings of one of the most famous women in the world. Each work has an obvious Warhol-esque theme, reminding us of the iconic Marilyn Monroe silk screen from 1962. Horowitz takes Warhol’s method and applies it in the contemporary using digital techniques.
Here is where we find the artist’s focused interest, a consideration for art and its interaction with the digital age. Beyoncé’s iconic ‘Pepsi Portraits’ are strewn in multiples throughout the hidden gem of Sadie Coles, some distort and sway when looking at them from the corner of your eye. This is deliberate and only adds to the already Pop Art imposed statement – very little is actually natural in these works, much like in the digital world. Beyoncé’s hair is yellow not blonde, her skin is air-brushed beige and her head finds itself outlined by thick black, blue and orange shapes. But isn’t this the beauty of Pop Art?
To match the vivid superficiality of Horowitz’s Beyoncé paintings, Sadie Coles also displays the artist’s minimalist dot paintings beside Roy Lichtenstein-eque abstract works. These work as an interesting contrast to the full-on nature of the Beyoncé portraits, however also draws similarities between the styles by reflecting on the ability to duplicate in the contemporary.
Jonathan Horowitz 304.8cm Paintings is an exhibition worth visiting before it closes on 30 May. If you like portraits with a bang and upbeat colours drawn against a classic white cube gallery, then this is an exhibition you won’t want to miss out on! Sadie Coles can be found in Soho at 62 Kingly Street, open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm.