The Last Judgement

This was a solo exhibition that took place at MOSTYN, Llandudno (Mar 16 - Jun 30, 2019) and took it’s title from the painting of the same by Michelangelo on the end wall of the Sistine Chapel in The Vatican.

From the press release:

“Taking Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting of the same name as a starting point and reference, The Last Judgement by S Mark Gubb includes a range of new and existing sculptural works exhibited as an installation. The exhibition builds on Gubb's long-standing use of popular culture and history in his work, along with his interest in historical paranoias, created by things such as The Cold War, and in our ability as individuals to influence the world around us, for better or for worse. As part of his research for The Last Judgement, Gubb revisited classic works from art history such as Goya’s ‘Black Paintings’, key works by Hieronymous Bosch and works by the acclaimed Welsh artist, Edgar Herbert Thomas, the latter a great-great uncle by marriage.”

Alongside the show was a publication which included a new essay by Jonathan Griffin contextualising the relationships between mine and Derek’s practices. Catalogues can still be bought from the MOSTYN shop for £12.

An excerpt from the essay ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’:

“Pop Art, in its most saccharine and caffeinated, polychromed and electrified form is usually considered an American phenomenon. But it was actually in post-war Britain that it first took root; Eduardo Paolozzi’s 1947 scrapbook collage ‘I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything’ included the debut appearance of the word ‘Pop!’, while the English critic Lawrence Alloway was the first to use the term in print, in an essay published a decade later titled ‘The Arts and the Mass Media’ (1958). In Europe, Pop was from the beginning a critical and ambivalent genre, a matrix of ideas about translation (and mistranslation), desire, longing, disappointment and distance.

It may seem strange to say that, given these parameters, I consider S Mark Gubb to be a contemporary Pop artist, while Derek Boshier – who first enjoyed fame as part of the generation of British Pop artists that included David Hockney, Peter Blake, Pauline Boty, Allen Jones and Peter Phillips – I’ve always thought of simply as a contemporary artist. I have known Boshier for nearly a decade, and Gubb for nearly two. During that time, both artists have been guided in their art by their enthusiasms for music, film, television, sports and literature, not to mention their shared outrage at aspects of contemporary political discourse. I knew, when I introduced them, that they would have plenty to talk about; it is only as time goes by that I have come to understand quite how frequently their paths as artists intersect.

Both are South Coast boys – Boshier from Portsmouth, Gubb from Herne Bay. Both left their home towns in early adult life to seek wider horizons (the sea not being wide enough) but each retains the indelible memory of what it feels like to be an outsider, an observer on the periphery keening for a glimpse of the big time, an obsessive fan scouring the small ads and sending off for home-dubbed tapes, rare LPs, fanzines and stickers. Both must be familiar with the almost unbearable anticipation of waiting for the postman; though they were born nearly 40 years apart, they recall the time pre-internet when printed ephemera was passed, like precious lucre, between fellow fanatics.”

On the day of the launch we also held a public talk where myself and Derek were interviewed by Chris Fite-Wassilak. The full video, with BSL translation, is available to view below. Following that, there was a performance by theHowling Beatnik Punk Duo of songs from their ‘Robert Fraser’s Groovy Arts Club Band’ album, along with a new song written specially for the opening - ‘The Last Judgement According to S Mark Gubb’, which can also be viewed below.

I was also excited to work with Si Mitchell for the first time (the balloons) and with Chris Gadd, again, (the main painting). Two very talented individuals. Check out their own work via the links.

The show also got a few nice bits of press. There was great review in June’s Art Monthly (which you’ll either need a subscription to read or follow this link to my tweet of it) and another by the wonderful Jon Gower in Nation. There were also two pieces on Wales Arts Review - one a review, the other the transcript of an interview I did with Derek about how he came to live in Wales back in the 70s. Last, but by no means least, I did a short QnA for the Daily Post (you can link to a tweet of it here).