Saturday, 30 April 2011

Modern Toss

I do a bit of writing for the excellent Bored of Brighton blog, about events in the Brighton area - generally arts and music. You can read some of my previous pieces here, here, here, and indeed, here.

Anyway, a couple of nights ago I was lucky enough to attend the private view of Modern Toss' new show at Ink__d gallery in Brighton. Here's a cheeky preview of my piece about it for Bored of Brighton, along with some pictures I took on the night.


The press release for Modern Toss' new exhibition promised - amongst other things - some 'challenging' tea towel designs. Tea towels are not generally renowned for being 'challenging', so I was pretty excited to head over there and take a look.

I arrived fully prepared to be 'challenged'… but although I was challenged getting through the crowds to actually see the work, I found myself more charmed than challenged by the work itself.

I got the impression that this show would consist mainly of anti-monarchist Royal Wedding themed work. Much of Ink__d's last show (Carrie Reichardt's "Mad in England") was based around this idea as well, and I did wonder whether two such shows in a row right be a tad samey.

Well I was completely wrong. For me, modern-toss are best known for their comical dissections of the harsh banality of day to day office life, as well as their 'home clubber' strips, published weekly in The Guardian. Both of these are generally small, simple illustrations, and I had wondered whether the show would just be many of these, blown up in size and framed, but again, I was delighted to be proved wrong.



With several beautifully produced screen prints, and some unexpectedly gorgeous type treatments, I was charmed afresh by their sense of humour in a new context. As well as these differences, there were also some unusual mixed media pieces, still cleverly reflecting the themes they work with so well, but in a new and fresh way. I was particularly delighted by their famous 'Periodic Table of Swearing' - while displayed in it's original context as a tea towel, it had also been made up into a suit by famous local tailor Gresham Blake. A perfect example of how this show takes their work and style and finds ways of displaying it in new and inventive ways.




While there were a lot of delights at this show, possibly my favourite piece was actually quite well hidden - pasted up on the back wall of the outdoor garden, entitled 'Retail Village of the Damned', it is an Escher Style depiction of crowds flooding into an inescapable shopping centre.



The show is on until May 30th, and is particularly worth a visit next weekend on the 7th of May, when the boys from Modern Toss will be there producing portraits of visitors to the gallery.





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