West London gallery opens new space in Notting Hill

Already spoilt for choice when it comes to art, Notting Hill residents are in for a visual treat.

Taymour Grahne Projects have opened a new gallery, named The Artist Room.

The third such space in the area and the second to appear on Lonsdale Road, its premier exhibition entitled Night Fever, is by South Korean-born Minyoung Kim.

She said: “Sometimes my dreams are quite connected to my paintings.”

One piece in particular, of a woman drifting over the edge of a waterfall is taken directly from a dream.

A quick analysis points towards it being anxiety related.

Kim, 32, is afraid of water and said: “Semantics fail to truly express these things.”

Minyoung Kim's art from the Notting Hill art project
Minyoung Kim, When The Moon Rises, 2021. Acrylic on un-stretched canvas. Courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Projects.

Her work appears naive on the surface but conveys a deeper, more sophisticated meaning.

Animals feature throughout the show, with a black cat acting as a recurring motif.

Kim said the cat adds humour to her work.

She finds “the ability of painting to evoke laughter” fascinating.

This is most apparent in ‘Hot Tea-rs’ – an image of a ceramic mug with a face, gurning in pain as hot tea is poured into it.

Elsewhere Kim has painted a bowl of squished cherries with cute, cartoonish faces.

She said: “I imagined if I was a cup, or some fruit or something like that, how scary the moment is.”

There is a certain gruesomeness to these culinary flights of fancy, which is echoed in pieces featuring a bloody kitchen knife and a squirrel chowing down on some human remains.

I was tickled by her work, but equally enchanted by the surreal scenes she depicts.

Little of the meaning or aesthetic of her dreams seems lost between her mind and the canvas.

Kim captures the twilight zone of our sleeping minds through faded, lunular colours.

In one piece a school of fish are baying at the moon, just off the coast of a tropical island – the type of thing you only see when you close your eyes.

She said her subjects inhabit the same place and are “connected to each other” as part of a larger narrative.

Looking at her work, you feel as if you’re being absorbed into a fully formed world that exists even between the canvases.

Mikey Yates' art from the Notting Hill art project
Mikey Yates, Jeremiah at No Name Bar, 2021, courtesy of the artist and Taymour Grahne Projects.

Mikey Yates, 29, is exhibiting just across the road in a pre-existing Taymour Grahne project.

He adopts a more down to earth approach to his art.

He said: “One aspect of my work that I wanted to maintain is accessibility for everybody.

“I didn’t grow up looking at art really. I grew up doing graffiti and customising shoes.

“I realised quickly in art school that sometimes the art is only relatable to other artists who understand certain theories and it has to be explained.

“I always wanted my work to be understandable to everybody.”

Yates’ show focuses on portraits of family and friends, in places that have sentimental resonance.

He said of one piece: “That’s me and my dad playing chess, but I combined different elements from different places we lived.

“That’s Mount Rainier [Washington State] in the background, but the image of us playing chess was taken in Texas.

“Its a collage.”

One of his more offbeat compositions features a basketball net looming over the viewer like a sentient monster, with spikey tree branches in the background looking like tentacles.

It is rare for a piece of sports equipment to take centre stage in a painting, but it works.

I was reminded of a book by Neville Gabie, which collates photographs of makeshift goal posts.

Since the pandemic, the future of London’s galleries has been up in the air, with some choosing to exhibit in cyberspace or not at all.

The opening of The Artist Room feels like a welcome return to reality, courtesy of two artists who are worlds apart but, in a sense, now share the same postcode.

Mikey Yates’ Love Letters and Minyoung Kim’s Night Fever run until 20 November.

For more information visit https://www.taymourgrahne.com.

Images Courtesy of the artist and Taymour Grahne Projects.

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