Hetty Douglas and Alfie Kungu are two of the most exciting young artists working right now. Part of a generation turning back towards painting, after years of conceptualism, they're rediscovering the fun in the simple pleasure of canvas and colour. GOOD LUCK -- featuring the joint work of Nottingham-born, south London-based Hetty Douglas and Bristol's Alfie Kungu -- marks the first joint exhibition from the two young artists, and is opening tonight at Cob Studios.
"GOOD LUCK challenges the techniques of conventional painting styles whilst exploring and questioning the contemporary aesthetic of maturity/immaturity, in a world that demands so much of us," Hetty explains. "The never-ending cycle of belonging, competing, being part of all that is seen to be measurable, mature and meaningful is expressed in a raw and fundamental exploration of emotion through painting."
Douglas is fast becoming known for work that's a joyful blast of colour and also a darker exploration of the pressures of modern life. She conveys, subverts and celebrates the complexities of trust, boundaries and the labyrinth of unspoken intimacies of masculine/feminine truths.
Her last exhibition featured works scrawled with iconoclastic idioms such as, 'I'M NOT FUCKING CUTE," or "WALK INTO THE CLUB. LIKE HEY WHAT'S UP I'VE GOT SOCIAL ANXIETY & I WANT TO GO HOME." Hidden within the layers of Douglas's work there is a clear pursuit for something that poignantly matters -- a search for that stable significant place in a world that can chew you up and spit you out, to feel further more temporary. These ideas are still explored within GOOD LUCK but perhaps through a more measured gaze via a loftier lens. "GOOD LUCK is on a larger scale," She explains. "Texture has always been important to me, but I've been exploring texture in a different way by using mediums such as concrete, poly-filler and oil -- taking these and applying them to canvas. My work feels more mature now with the colours I use, and less text based work."
Kungu meanwhile is more interested in the contrasting approaches to painting. His style places childlike figurative characters alongside classical painting techniques. "Previously my work has been much more figurative, in this new series I'm trying to develop more abstract techniques and focus on the relationship between texture and colour," Kungu tells i-D. "It's been much more fun to create this series as I've been trying to incorporate my characters into my paintings."
GOOD LUCK represents the pair's largest works to date, which challenge and stretch the subject matter and medium of both artists. "Alfie and I have wanted to do a joint show for a couple of years now," Hetty explains. "We are always sending each other details and progress of our new pieces, we get stoked off each other's work; his is hectic, full on and loud, mine is loud and colourful, just like Alfie's, but with more blank space. Our work complements each other's perfectly. We share a love for texture and pushing the boundaries of conventional painting. We both have direct approaches to painting, and express our values in a complementary way."
GOOD LUCK is open to the public from 7 - 17 July at Cob Studios, 205 Royal College St, London, NW1 0SG
Text Hattie Collins