Reaffirming the notion that musicians are rarely one trick ponies (think Bowie in Labyrinth; Edwyn Collins’ bird illustrations; Will Smith as the Fresh Prince, etc etc.); the new show from John Squire, formerly of The Stone Roses and The Seahorses, cements his place as one of the finest discipline-hoppers around.
Entitled Celebrity, the show explores the notion of our collective fascination with the total strangers that adorn our tabloids and televisions.
Squire, who also designed the Pollock-inspired artwork for The Stone Roses, invites his viewers look at our false idols in an entirely original way – replacing familiar faces with names and patterns.
Among the works – all of which are previously unseen – are abstract reimaginings of some of the most recognisable faces of the last few years – from the perma-pouting Keira Knightly, to jail-dodging part-time lesbian Lindsay Lohan, to David Beckham, to more chilling ‘slebs like Joseph Fritzl and Harold Shipman.
Squire says, ‘It’s a brief respite from the endless bombardment of celebrity images. It asks: How often do we really need to see copies of complete strangers’ faces, and why do we collectively choose those particular people?’
In a highly imaginative manner, Squire reconstructs these red-top filling folk as patterns and symbols inspired by the ancient and mythical eight pointed star, the mark used in traditional Islamic designs.
The appropriation of the symbol references the traditional Islamic artists’ use of the star to focus on pattern and geometry – a method of avoiding all forms of idol worship, since depictions of Allah and Mohammed are strictly forbidden in the Islamic faith.
Squire adds, ‘I applied this concept to the gods chosen by modern Western culture; those whose stories have been told and retold and whose images have been mass produced to such an extent that they are granted a kind of immortality.’
John Squire: Celebrity runs until 3 July at Idea Generation Gallery, 11 Chance Street, London, E2. For more information visit www.ideageneration.co.uk