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Peter Linde Busk: new art from the UK
Painting by Peter
Linde Busk (see below)

The influence of the YBAs may have long waned among British artists themselves, but public perception of the UK art scene has struggled to keep pace.

It's true that a new generation of artists has failed to attract the frenzied media coverage once doled out to Hirst, Emin, the Chapmans, Ofili et al, but their concerns are far removed from the attention-seeking ethos espoused by their predecessors.

Uninterested in the easy clamour of the sensational, today's best Britart is considered, thematically complex and frequently understated.

Erstwhile hierarchies of educational excellence are also being challenged: whereas institutions such as Goldsmiths and the Royal College once produced the cream of UK talent, art schools such as The Slade, Royal Academy, Wimbledon and Glasgow have stepped up their game, nurturing some of the very best recent graduates.

A new decade of British contemporary art already boasts some of the most interesting practitioners produced in the UK for some time, with talented artists from a wide range of disciplines regaining the direction - and integrity - lost to the market-obsessed, lacklustre post-YBA years. Here's our choice of the best.


Matthew Burrows

Matthew Burrows: new British art

Born in 1971 and a 1995 graduate of the Royal College of Art, Burrows has spent the last fifteen years developing a rich and idiosyncratic idiom that is only now starting to receive the wider attention it deserves.

Despite his relatively low public profile, Burrows' influence (both as tutor and cultish referent) on a number of new painters is significant, with names such as Ryan Mosely (featured on the next page) or even Nick Goss (below) showing stylistic affinities with his work.

Burrows typically explores the meaning and representation of mythological or semi-legendary figures via the filters of contemporary culture.

Depicting characters sourced from Greek legend to hagiography, his work attempts to capture the metaphysical aspects of fabulous being in an idiom which, while wholly contemporary, retains the essence of otherworldliness ascribed to saints, gods and heroes through centuries of art and belief.

Matthew Burrows
Matthew Burrows
images © Matthew Burrows

Peter Linde Busk

Peter Linde Busk: new art from the UK

Danish-born Peter Linde Busk completed both his graduate and post-graduate studies in London (at The Slade and Royal Academy, respectively) and now divides his time between London and Berlin.

An accomplished printmaker as well as painter, Linde Busk's melée of influences include outsider art, folk art and childrens' drawings. His works often appear to focus on the anti-hero, with variations on the figure of the jester or minstrel providing frequent subject matter.

Such material, in conjunction with an exuberantly decorative style, sees him contributing to a vividly carnivalesque tendency that's increasingly visible in contemporary British painting.

Contemporary British painting - Peter Linde Busk
images © Peter Linde Busk

Jack Strange

Jack Strange: British contemporary art

The name alone takes some living up to, but Jack Strange doesn't disappoint, roaming gleefully across disciplines in a compulsive dissection of the absurd and seemingly trivial.

A well-known early work, g, places a lead ball on a lap-top's 'g' key causing the screen to continually fill with the same letter - a kind of bemused, potentially infinite exclamation.

'Stunt Doubles' is an ongoing photographic record of whoever happens to be wearing the same coat as the artist; miniature portraits are created by punching strategically positioned holes in banknotes.

Jack Strange
images © Jack Strange

Strange's video works are particularly strong: Tom melds assorted footage of the actor Tom Cruise running, a seamless chase from movie to movie that's both comical and disconcerting.

There's far more to Strange than oddball one-liners, however. Tom, for example, succintly underlines the contradiction typified by big-name actors: namely, how audiences can really believe in characters played by such familiar stars.

In Strange's video, Cruise is nothing more than himself (already a complex and ultimately indeterminate subject), fixed in the act of fleeing from role to role.

The many absurdities we easily overlook are precisely what fuels Strange's quicksilver imagination, and his particular gift is to bring such oddities to the fore through works which, equally, manifest their own eccentricity.


Nick Goss

british contemporary art today

Recent MA graduate Nick Goss is already attracting attention for his beautifully nuanced, large-format paintings of dream-like scenario.

Abandoned carousels, elfin figures and sublimely desolate landscapes are recurrent motifs; recent, more abstracted works in thin washes further emphasise the oneiric, other-worldly quality of his painting.

Nevertheless, Goss's work is firmly rooted in first-hand observation and experience, his imaginative adaptations of reality a conscious attempt to render the actual in new and improbable form.

new UK artists
images © Nick Goss

Lindsay Seers

Lindsay Seers - emerging British artists

Lindsay Seers' extraordinary narratives combine film, installation, artefacts and fantastical premise to create beguiling docu-fictional accounts of her life and artistic practice.

While an interest in photography and film firmly underpins her work, Seers expands these mediums to new levels of complexity and critique in which the nature and veracity of photographic image - and indeed, documentary in general - is consistently questioned.

Much of her early work consisted of using her own body as a camera by inserting light-sensitive paper into her mouth. The evolution of this practice is supported by intricate neo-narrational exposition in which Seers recounts the story of her young life as a child and the trauma which led to her 'becoming' a camera.

Things get more bizarre still when, in later stages of her practice, Seers relinquishes this role to vampiric avatars and camera-mouthed ventriloquist dummies in order to explore a different persona as human projector.

Offbeat, darkly gothic, but always fascinating, Seers is rapidly emerging as a major new contemporary voice.

Lindsay Seers
images © Lindsay Seers

Clunie Reid

Clunie Reid - new art from the UK

Clunie Reid's photo-collages and installations take on familiar territory: the negative impact of media and celebrity; self-image and idealisation; power and control.

Her vociferous, forceful works consist of images slashed from glossy magazines, yoked together (sometimes with her own photographs), then defaced with scrawling, hand-written slogans.

While Reid's lo-fi approach to making and presentation is reminiscent of many other artists - Thomas Hirschhorn for example - the urgency of the aesthetic is ideally suited to her protests.

What sets Reid apart, too, is a wry sense of humour and the scope of her critique. Movie stars, models and pop princesses receive the biggest bashing, but Reid is equally unafraid to chastise the boozed up, brawling, empty-headed consumer that wifully buys into the worst of today's culture.

Clunie Reid
images © Clunie Reid

New British art > continued

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