An out of space body beams down to meet us! This character jumps out of Ida Ekblad’s show, ‘A gentle looking little alien of sorts’, which is one half of two shows she has at the Herald St gallery in London, (the other more abstract series is on display in Bethnal Green, both open until the 16th Nov). White-walled galleries are probably quite a lot like out of space and Herald St’s half glass set up looks especially bubbly. Let’s hope our alien friend got to see the rest of Soho on his visit.
Paint is sprayed across canvas in a way that is halfway between MS Paint and sapphire blue biro ink. Two mediums which operate much in the same way as easy, great ways to fill the dead time between, (or during), lessons and meetings. This static in between space is where I imagine the alien operates, in the margins and side streets. I wonder if these less frequented common spaces feel more or less physical. The digital spray paint can on MS Paint certainly feels more tangible than it’s modern counterparts, it was clunky, and the pixels felt heavier somehow. The little alien feels far from a kind of nebulous being that might teleport through galaxies, the clip art-esque depiction lets us know they are a body just like us. Maybe we’re talking a bit about the weight of paint, bodies AND aliens, as well as the weight of characters, squiggles, displaced times and spaces.
‘THAT GIRL’ is written in bright yellow in graffiti across another large canvas. It’s a font for the disenfranchised maybe, for outsiders like our lil martian. The text floats superimposed on skies splattered from the tip of a real brush. They look from the inside out of the painting – Lil Alien is depicted contemplating sculpture, analysing a sprayed squiggled form. Alien is a cultural spectator maybe, as much as a foreign onlooker; his holiday is kind of critical. I’d like to hear more about what Lil Alien had to say. Outsider, alien bodies definitely hint to a needed and under-represented voice in art. Our guy seems a bit exasperated.
Another character that occupies the gentle sprayed planes is ‘Sad Dog’, a cartoon, big-eyed pup whose jowls and floppy ears seem really reminiscent of the way we used to draw in school. I’m sure there was a jingle for dog drawings; maybe this symbol works in the same way that that infamous ‘S’ did. A definite signifier that seemed to pop out of nowhere, it embodied only it’s own craze. Maybe these anomalies were cool like Nike ticks are or Adidas stripes, kind of mundane in form but translated through trend and so, so recognisable. It’s really great to have these old friends back in paintings all grown up. It really was meant to be…. or as B-Witched said: ‘C’est la vie’.
Words by Hannah Le Feuvre