Wild at Heart by Russell Young at Imitate Modern

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Described as Marylebone’s very own ‘hall of fame’, Imitate Modern’s latest exhibit ‘Wild At Heart’ transforms an intimate space into a larger than life spectacle, with floor-to-ceiling prints that glorify the golden years of several perpetual icons.

Russell Young, artist, adopts a pop-art style in his production of colour-washed acrylic screen prints of celebrated images from popular culture that, quite literally, dazzle any onlookers with their coatings of ‘diamond dust’ – no doubt inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol. Son of prestigious photographer and contemporary of Warhol’s, David Bailey, it is no surprise that Sascha Bailey, who has curated ‘Wild At Heart’, is an enthusiast of this style. Fittingly, the launch of the exhibit was just as glitzy and glamorous as the faces that looked down upon it, complete with a red carpet. Whoever thought ‘sparkling cocktails’ referred to merely champagne when providers Beat Bar London season theirs with glitter too?

Despite each of the artworks displaying household names such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Mick Jagger, it is striking how Russell’s varied experimentation with tone and colouring affects how each icon is represented. Particularly notable is the gray-scaled landscape shot of Marilyn Monroe entertaining troops at the Korean War. The smoky colour scheme evokes the bleak backdrop of war, brightened only by a recognisable blonde bombshell of hair, and is juxtaposed with Russell’s signature diamond dusting which arguably represents the bright, more common portrayals of Monroe we are all familiar with. A brief timeline at the entrance signposts various key dates of such events to accompany the works.

A feast for every pop-art fan, ‘Wild At Heart’ encapsulates the decadence of the mid 20th century through its medium, but all the while providing poignant reminders of key snippets of the photographs’ historical and political context. Samples of prints can be seen on the Imitate Modern website.

Exhibition runs 29th March – 26th April


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