Modern Portraiture In Covent Garden

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 44 months ago
Modern Portraiture In Covent Garden
Ivan Alifan, Melt. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Ivan Alifan, Melt. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Jake Wood Evans, after Van Dyck. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Jake Wood Evans, after Van Dyck. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Mark Demsteader, Shelter. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Mark Demsteader, Shelter. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Ryan Hewett, Fake Idol. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Ryan Hewett, Fake Idol. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Henrik Uldalen, Bleak. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Henrik Uldalen, Bleak. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Jake Wood Evans, Portrait of the Duke. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist
Jake Wood Evans, Portrait of the Duke. Image courtesy of The Unit and the artist

The Unit London is a young gallery trying to establish itself in London. It started out in Turnham Green before moving to the more central location of Covent Garden. The gallery is now one year old and its latest exhibition is all about contemporary artists' takes on the traditional subject of portraiture.

There is a varied mix of artists on display from the street art inspired Snik, with his colourful and glossy large scale works, through to the abstract Ryan Hewett, whose strength lies in his dark and brooding profiles where only the outline of a face is discernible.

Henrik Uldalen and Ryan Demsteader are two artists who use obscurity to make their works stand out, by either making the subject appear to be drowning in mist or replacing their clothing with scratches of colour.

Ivan Alifan is one of the stronger artists in this group show with his faces affected by the elements, seeming to melt and freeze as dictated by their surroundings. The other highlight of this show are the portraits of Jake Wood Evans inspired by classical works by Velazquez or van Dyck. We've seen Evans featured in a few exhibitions before and been impressed by his merging of contemporary and classic styles.

The two young directors of this gallery have come from outside the art world, and though their previous shows have had great visual appeal this is their strongest showing yet — staying true to their vision of being accessible while also offering a greater depth of work.

'U' is on at The Unit London, 7 Earlham St, WC2H 9LL until 18 October. Entrance is free.

Last Updated 30 September 2014

Luca Pierre-White

Saw this exhibition a few days ago....inspiring!