The Saatchi Gallery held Jamie Hewlett‘s first fine art exhibition in Nov 2015. I was excited to hear about this event as he is one of my favourite graphic artists, most well known for his artwork on the band Gorillaz and the Tank Girl graphic novel.
Three bodies of work were on display: his interpretations of tarot cards; etchings of the Pinus Pinaster tree in different orientations and unexpectedly (or not unexpectedly!); soft-core porn movie posters were presented in a side room.
In the Tarot series, I enjoyed the symbolism of the artworks, how each representation, marking or character had a meaning. Each card has a duality to them, a good or bad connotation associated. Each were followed by poetry, which I thought was refreshing than reading straight details of the artwork. This highly resonated with me as I myself have been studying tarot cards and attended workshops in the past, always fascinated by the art and historical meaning of them.
Each colour represents something in tarot and everything has its purpose in the picture. Water could symbolise emotions, Eagles could symbolise authority, Earth- fertility/growth and material abundance. Tarot readings are very open and personal to the reader and the client. Each reading looks at a person’s situation and the combined cards formulate a suggestion, a possible path of action to take or not. We all contain qualities of all the cards, but show different states at different times.
In The Suggestionists book Jamie mentions briefly the mathematical proportions and sacred geometrical patterns found in Tarot artwork, I like the hidden meanings and small details. I also like how he conveyed this in his usual graphic cartoon style, which for me displays some maturity, depth and a bit of darkness.
My favourite works were The Strength (La Force) which typically features a woman holding open the mouth of a lion and The Star (Le Toille) which is an optimistic, hopeful card.
I saw lots of patterns when moving closer to the art, in the hair of some characters and in his other exhibition with the contrasting black and white ink drawings of pine trees.
Other notable works at the Saatchi gallery featured a huge roll of paper which noted ‘fire’ as a medium; I liked the holes burnt into the paper which appeared a bit like a reverse tree bark.
Another contemporary artist (Adeline de Monseignat) placed fur inside transparent shapes, one in particular had a ball filled with fur on a bed, and the fur inside pulsed like it was breathing!