Tali Lennox & Co. @ Whisper Gallery

So, as if we didn’t have enough reasons to envy models: beauty, style, bodies to die for, the list goes on. It now appears, some of them have other talents relating to aesthetics – that talent being art. Currently on show at the Whisper Gallery is artwork from four of the fashion elite, and it isn’t half bad either.

The big name across blogs and on the gallery windows is Tali Lennox. Although I did not find her work to be the best of the bunch, it certainly was completely different to what I would have expected from the undoubtedly beautiful daughter of Eurythmics star, Annie. Tali’s entry to the exhibition consisted of a handful of portraits surrounding the theme of identity, many of which were of herself. Some paintings were covered in tribal dots, while others were adorned with crowns, feathers and even blindfolds. Colours had been inverted and watered down. With the lack of clothes in her images, it suggests that Tali is more interested in aspects of character, rather than fashion when it comes to personality. While this may not be the case, it is an interesting view point when looking at paintings by a model, whose whole industry is centred around outward beauty.

On the next wall is work by Mark Waddleton, a male model for the likes of Esquire and Men’s Health. His work is reminiscent of Christian Audigier and Ed Hardy. It is composed of classic tattoo imagery, with black and grey pin ups against candy coloured pastel backgrounds. He used an airbrush as his medium which makes the work look almost like graffiti, and it certainly is hard to miss.

Further along we come to Harry Gilliam, another male model and my favourite artist contributing to the show. His art contains a vast amount of cartoon imagery and the face of Hermes, model come artist, is said to have been inspired from manga and comic books. His work is bright and colourful, there is a fun aspect to it, and from an art historical viewpoint, he has clearly been inspired by surrealist artists Magritte and Dali.

The final artist, and the only photography on display comes from Polly Brown, whose photographs takes on more of a conceptual than an aesthetic purpose. She has put together a series of plant photographs with the names of various fashion organisations such as Vogue and Paul Smith underneath. These plants have each been photographed from inside the fashion companies and explore the idea of bringing in nature into our increasingly unnatural lives. It also touches on, or questions rather, the importance of nature and decoration in the work place – interestingly, all of the plants on display are green, apart from at Alexander McQueen headquarters, which is a white flower.

While the work displayed by each artist or model does not really flow or relate to one another, it is interesting to see art from people who are always seen as muses to someone else and is definitely worth a look.

The work is on display at the Whisper Gallery until 6 July.

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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