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Artist Run: Daniel Hosego At Atom Gallery
Hannah Luxton , March 21st, 2020 09:16

Newington Green's Atom Gallery is a vibrant independent space for contemporary print-making, finds Hannah Luxton

all images courtesy Atom Gallery

Nestled in the heart of north London is the vibrant, independent Atom Gallery and print studio Atom Printing. This ‘small but vital’ enterprise was built by creatives Mark Perronet and Richard Pendry. “We're artists and screen printers ourselves,” says Pendry. “... we're big fans of the process, and the gallery sells predominantly prints. We are looking for technique, humour, political comment and originality – although not necessarily in that order and not necessarily all four at once.”

Founded by Perronet in 2012 as a screen and digital printing business, Atom moved into 127 Green Lanes, Newington Green in 2016, previously home to printing company WH Jones, who had occupied the address for ten years. “When we moved into the premises there were two huge Heidelberg printing presses in the basement – which is now our print studio. A nice bit of continuity,” says co-owner, screen printer and games developer Pendry. The pair have a great eye for talent, hand picking Survival Techniques aka Naomi Edmondson, publishing two of her designs just before she was named as Rise Arts’s Street Artist of the Year, and first showcasing Darren Cullen’s installation, Pocket Money Loans which made BBC News and went on to appear at Dismaland and many other sites and festivals.

The gallery ethos is born out of Perronet and Pendry’s passion for supporting exceptional emerging artists and making art accessible to all. From witty messages on their A board to fundraising exhibitions, Mark and Richard are always looking for ways to reach out to people. Last November their group exhibition Can I Get a Slice exhibited works of art on pizza boxes and raised over £3,500 for Hackney Foodbank. Atom radiates an approachable and friendly atmosphere. Its welcoming feel, bright peaceful interior, and crisp and colourful works of art offer refreshing and exciting visual experiences for the local community and passers-by, while its reputation has seen it grow into a buzzing community for artists.

Atom is committed to making art accessible and affordable to all, from unique original pieces to limited edition screen prints, with Mark and Richard often printing editions for other artists. The gallery works with Own Art, an initiative rolled out across the UK in 2004 to offer interest free loans to buy art. It allows collectors to purchase artwork over ten months interest free. The interest is paid by the Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in a bid to support the creative economy and engage new audiences.

Atom’s private views are always a great social affair. As I approached the gallery on the bustling thoroughfare that is Green Lanes for the private view of Daniel Hosego’s solo exhibition Waiting for Yesterday, the already steamed-up windows promised a happy social evening ahead. Entering the gallery, the glass floor offers a fun moment to peak into the colourful print studio in the basement. Atom discovered Hosego after he submitted his work to one of their group shows. Waiting for Yesterday presents his latest work. Demand for Hosego’s work rose fast after Islington gallerist James Freeman debuted his work at art fairs throughout 2018. He made a real splash, sealing the deal for their exhibition programme and rapidly establishing a collector base. 

“In the past,” Hosego says, “religion was an incontestable truth, science merely a tool for proving that truth and art a vessel for celebrating it. Today science has superseded religion as the ‘truth’ of our society, but science comes with none of religion's moral values ... As an artist, I engage in a conceptually motivated practice that explores this perception of ‘value’ in a secular, post-religiocentric world, and the role of the artist within that society.”

Hosego creates beautifully intricate drawings that hark back to classical mythology and traditional woodcut printing, the oldest technique in fine art printmaking. He layers them with reference to both Renaissance and contemporary culture, and uses humour, as Atom’s press release puts it, “to highlight the absurdities and anomalies of our digital age”. In among the mesmerising detail, one can recognise the social commentary: dick pics, selfies, social media and environmental damage. Our fast-paced digital age is growing an impatient society, and the world of social media ironically has the ability to leave us disconnected from others. Hosego comments on these emotional struggles in works like Melancholia 2.0, depicting the archetypal benevolent deity sitting astride the globe. He is devoid of his customary vigour and hope. These noble emotions replaced by an emptiness brought about by his unfulfilled addiction to social media.

Back in 2013 I shared a studio with Daniel at Second Floor Studios in Woolwich (now Thames Side Studios) and was inspired by his dedication. I was always impressed by the intensity with which he worked; the hours he spent sat at his desk labouring over his intricate drawings. Staedtler drawing pens were everywhere! 

His next step it to scale up his drawings to create large screen prints, often on Perspex. “These compositions are then recreated using modern, Pop culture, mass production printing techniques that transform the work into an up-to-date discussion of artistic frustration within the fragmentation characteristic of the modern world” says Daniel. Each work is produced with exquisite refinement, through methods and processes he has developed over many years. The result is a unique visual language, identifiable as the artist in an instant.

Waiting For Yesterday by Daniel Hosego is at Atom Gallery, London, until 28 March (albeit by appointment only for the time being)