You will never look at Toy Story in the same way again.
Philip Colbert has big boots to fill. Described by US Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley as “The godson of Andy Warhol”, the UK based “pop” artist covers all mediums of painting, sculpture, clothing, furniture and design. He has even dressed Lady Gaga.
But the multi-disciplinary creator chose west London’s Saatchi Gallery for the latest show “Hunt Paintings” which, is his most ambitious solo exhibition to date. Showcasing eight large-scale canvases, narrated by his alter-ego Lobster, it is presented by Unit London, and has collectors chomping at the bit.
Choosing to work with painting, film and sculpture, the show explores repetitive images from today’s’ popular consumerist culture, along with a nod to politics and climate change. Emojis feature heavily, as well as references to sportswear brands and luxury labels. Classical painters do not escape the mash up, as Colbert cunningly fuses heads of the greats such as Reubens, Van Dyck and Van Gogh onto today’s heros, turning them into a surreal pop collage which is abnormally relevant.
Social media plays a huge part of Colbert’s work, which is interspersed with like buttons, Instagram filters, mobile phones and keypads, but ultimately, he is expressing today’s hyper-pop culture. However, he has moved on from Lichtenstein and uses everyday objects as a base, on which he juxtaposes narratives of old master hunt scenes, inspired by artists like Reubens who used violence freely in his work. By connecting this to everyday associations, such as sportswear, films, fashion and fast food, results in the backbone of this satire. This powerful combination of the old and new represents everyday life, and is a stern nod to artistic elitism as it is accessible to everyone.
Channeling mass culture in visual media, is not a new concept, and the three gallery show is like entering a limitless, overactive imagination. The viewer can try and keep up with Colbert’s relationship to the philosophies and policies of the great artists from history, who are freely referenced, but ultimately you have to make your own mind up about the works and just enjoy his personal autobiographical journey which will no doubt take you to another world and spit you out.
Characterising the next generation of pop art, this “Neo Pop Surrealist”, has found a niche to capture contemporary culture and issues. Within a couple of months, these artworks will be dated, and within years will be priceless.
Check out the exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery, until 13 January 2019