1st March – 30th April 2021
The Young Savage exhibition at the Fairhurst Gallery takes its name from 70’s punk rock number by British new wave group Ultavox!. Jamie Andrews, or better known as J, becomes synonymous with ‘the young savage’ as his rule-breaking, punk attitude carries his satirical accounts of contemporary life documented through his mixed media practice and the use of found objects. J’s use of collected objects and plastic figurines reflects the age of the throwaway, yet through the use of childlike toys and the thick daubing of vivid acrylic colours, the work holds an air of playfulness and childlike naivety. However this inviting, brightly toned visage acts to engage the senses, tease the eye and trick the mind as the work tackles the darker complexities of the contemporary world, an overriding sense of the loss of innocence surrounds the work as the artist invites mockery and irony in his recordings of modern times with great empathy towards his fellow man and the environment. The action and process of collecting is as important to the work as the final project. J plays with value, taking his carefully sourced, often rare antique toys and solid gold jewellery charms and subverting their value; sawing them into pieces and pushing them into pools of paint.
Thus Young Savage, refers not only to Ultravox’s “Young savage, Anything goes where no-one knows your name”, but the uniting combination of the young and the savage throughout the work. The youthful nature of the plastic fridge magnet letters embedded in smears of coloured paint and the interactions between smiley fuzzy felt people in their flat fuzzy felt homes maintains the immaculacy of the young, whilst the matter of fact exposure of challenging themes, conveyed with the artists witty, dark humour denotes the savagery of J’s attack on current affairs. It is this beautiful juxtaposition which makes the work so striking, each piece offers a loose thread to pick at, allowing a deeper picture to unravel before you.
Young Savage includes a varied collection of J’s recent work, from text pieces, acrylic paintings, sculptures and cleverly curated found objects tackling relatable themes such as living in a socially distanced, lock-downed world, environmental issues to wider political and international concerns as well as more personal and autobiographical works as the artist navigates his own relationships, all with his punk rock flare.