March 2005


When my invitation for The Kiss exhibition dropped through my letter box I knew at once I had to be present. As I opened The invite, I was faced with a pair of sexy, sumptuous, ruby red lips (the omens were looking good) and sure enough cultural love was in the atmosphere at the Spectrum Fine Art Gallery, London W1 on a freezing Valentine's evening.

The arty cognoscenti were out in force and all cuddly together for the opening of The Kiss. The exhibition is under the curatorship of the mercurial Robin Dutt, who started this romantic arts trek more than 15 years ago at a west Soho gallery.

What is the inspiration for The Kiss? Dutt says, "The Kiss is an arena of possibilities where nothing is expected, but everything is accepted." The artists' imaginations have been tested, stretched and maybe at wee bit distorted in this eclectic mix of commissioned art. The show is all about throwing our perceived understanding of what a kiss is, up to the heavens. And then be confronted with art that will provoke, enchant - not exactly an anti-Valentine theme but an unconventional alternative to the traditional sentimental attitude.

And that definitely worked, as there were numerous red dots placed that night by passionate art lovers who purchased their unorthodox favourite Kiss work.

Among the exhibits on show are, A cosmic Kiss 05 by sculptural artist Umberto Di Zenzo. Umberto explains that in his Ultra Violet light painting "the aim was just to show the inner structure, colours, make up of energy transmitted by a kiss. And the cuts in the work are both a revelation and a Roman numeral for 20(XX) Kisses". The Kiss show invitation, the sexy lips mentioned was also Di Zenzo's very bright idea!

Sebastian Horsley's, photograph, A kiss is an application on the top floor for a job in the basement must be a candidate for one of the longest titles for a piece of art! It was taken outside Horsley's Soho house, with our dandy looking as glamorous and seedy as ever. And far safer then his last art expedition to the Philippines, for his controversial crucifixion. Well he has always been known for a writer and artist who takes his art to the edge, and stares into the abyss.

Duggie Fields, the flamboyant dayglo digital icon print artist has three works in the show. Temptation too, Kiss Off and Kiss of Life, featuring cartoonish mutant variations on classical pose s and genres. On view are Marilyn Monroe, Adam & Eve, singing nuns and an off beat skittish Francis Bacon image amongst others. One of the waggish arty comments about Duggie is "Nothing in western culture is safe from Fields".

Other artists whose work is in the show include Craigie Aitchison, Denis Bowen, Lennie Lee, Anna Malni, Helmut Newton, Sir Edward Paolozzi RA and David Begbie.

So all you adoring, art buying people, there is still time to catch the exciting works of art at The Kiss before March 13. If you desire to treat your loved one to imaginative love art this is one gallery you should embrace and put a few smackers down!


Rita Duffy

From March 18 one of Northern Ireland's most celebrated contemporary artists, Rita Duffy will be showing her arty emotive work. It is powerful, autobiographical work, focusing on the sensibilities, identity, history and politics of her homeland and how it affects women.

The show includes a series House to House, originally shown at the Lead White Gallery in Dublin.

Spectrum Fine Art is at:

77 Great Titchfield Street, London W1

Tel: 020 7637 7778


A youthful 20-year-old with pip-up boy looks, from the USA, gets tattooed by the UK's music press, with the dreaded words, "The new Bob Dylan". It just might have urged Willy Mason to take the first flight home to Martha's Vineyard, the stoic Mason stayed on to face the music. He has been well received, playing to almost sing along audiences that know the lyrics to the earthy songs.

Mason toured Great Britain last month, and in London's Boarderline venue by coincidence, singer songwriter Ramblin Jack Elloitt, one of the early influences on a young Dylan played a gig a few days before.

Being that I am fond of Dylan and Dylanish music, I went to my local record shop and blew the cobwebs off my credit card and purchased the CD Where the Humans Eat to see what all the PR's next big thing was all about.

The debut album's key track and current single Oxygen, is an acoustic guitar song. The lyrics sound like a lament from the author Naomi Klein's No Logo book, protesting against the over-branded world and consumerism. Gotta Keep Movin is the opening tune and straight away gives an oldie worldie steam train cadence. Alongside the storytelling we get a glimpse into Willy's itinerant universe. And a very, very fleeting Tom Waits inspired ditty entitled Letter #1.

This troubadour's anecdotes and reflection on life seem to come at you through a person far wiser than his years. He is able to caress the heritage of Dylan and Guthrie, the raw country, folk, and blues feel always has that beatnik Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, outmoded typewriter vibe and words of counterculture resonate in the listeners' ears.

Let's hope that the voodoo comparison to the old guard does not hamper his musical progress and the talent too much. And take a tip from me Willy, don't get too ravenous, find out quickly, where the humans eat!

Willy Mason CD, Where Humans Eat on Virgin Records. Produced by Willy Manson, Sam Mason and Tom Schick. Record Number: 0724387537620.

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