The diversity is extraordinary – ranging from monumental sized canvases by Don Julian that could be likened to those of Jean-Michel Basquiat to small triangular nudes by Gareth Morgan. There is undoubtedly something to suit all tastes. Whilst the selection varied, one thing all the artists have in common is that none of them seem to shy away from controversial or political themes.
On display are several works by Elizabeth Roman, a Peruvian artist based in Paris. The Hope Wanted, which hangs in the street-level entrance to the gallery, is a vibrant piece depicting a crowd of protestors with their hands raised. Roman, who cites Mexican Murals and street art amongst her influences, here explores the concept of revolution, which in the wake of the Arab Spring and protests in both Greece and Spain, is a more pertinent theme than ever.
In contrast, the tongue-in-cheek works of the street artist known as iCON are much more light-hearted. His piece Dirty Harry, cleverly reworks the 1971 Clint Eastwood film poster with Harry, the party prince and soldier, taking place of the protagonist. Furthermore, Gee Street Artist parodies President Obama in his painting Obama Punk’d a piece that is perhaps his own satirical comment on US politics.
Whilst these works have a clear message, it seems that there are other pieces that are more simply ‘art for art’s sake’ and are witty, bright and fun. These include Alex Becker’s series, one of which is Bitter Sweet (Goat in aubergine). Here, Becker depicts a goat in abstract colours in a similar style to artists such as Julian Opie. Street artist Binty Bint’s painting Chickens are fun portrays a series of Roger Hargreaves-styled pink cartoon hens with patterned backgrounds. This light-hearted piece shows the artist’s signature tag and brings joy and reminders of childhood to the viewer.
The building is also filled with artworks from the gallery’s January 2013 exhibition 100% Nude and a huge variation of interpretations of the human form are exhibited. The artist known as Pouka’s unusual painting Tree women shows the body of a woman as part of a tree – perhaps a comment on the dangers of deforestation; the tree is akin to a living, breathing woman. In stark contrast are Gareth Morgan’s nude women such as Athena, carefully constructed from triangular shapes with an impressive overall effect.
Ultimately, Guerilla Galleries is awash with a wide range of interesting pieces, ranging from purely political to light hearted fun. It seems that whatever your artistic inclination, there will be something to excite your inner art critic.