Danny Pockets and Shuby at the St Leonards
Celebrated artists Danny Pockets and Shuby have worked together at the Artist Led Collective Compendium Studios in St Leonards for six years. A new exhibition at The St Leonards on London Road shows previously unseen work from both of these artists. Pockets presents Objects, a series of work motivated by mechanical drawings, and the objectification of women. Shuby shows a range of her playfully subversive work from various points in her career including new, layered, perspex presentations of her images developed in partnership with her new gallery in Germany, Galerie-F.
Pockets had been working on Objects when he heard of the death of David Bowie. Struck by how productive and creative a life Bowie had led, he was pulled towards a new focus in his work inspired by the artist. The diagnosis this same year of a serious illness has increased Pockets’ creative output and led to commitment to a busy schedule of international, London and local exhibitions. You may have seen his exhibition BLLDZR last year at the blackShed Gallery in Robertsbridge, which responds directly to Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes video, amongst other themes. Next month he is showing fifty of his large-scale works in a solo exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall.
Pockets’ paintings were the first to be shown in the St. Leonard Pub, kick-starting a consistently impressive roster of local artists. He has a great affection for the pub and its owners Chris and Phil, and was keen to exhibit here again, finishing a large wasp painting in his signature style specially for the show. His other works on display are all part of Objects, which includes a series of nine square works that draw on the iconography of the instruction manual. These seem to indulge a straightforward, geeky pleasure in both the object represented and the explanatory nature of the diagram. Nudes are presented alongside and, continuing this aesthetic, include images of women in pornographic poses alongside the machines and mechanisms. The women are given the same status as the other items depicted and this creates a complex feminist statement from an artist for whom, as a heterosexual man, these images are not neutral.
Hastings and St Leonards residents will be familiar with Shuby’s grinning bunny face which can be seen as you head up the Brassey Steps from America Ground. Much of her work on show at the St Leonard was produced in the first instance for a solo show in Soho last year which celebrated the diverse culture of retro Soho; its film culture and sex industry, while acknowledging the impact of extreme gentrification on this world. A giant sign announces, ‘This Is The Spot!’ with pink light bulbs emphasising T, I, T, S! Basking in this light are Shuby’s prints and collaged posters. One features a documentary called Take Your Clothes Off and Live which had been a censor-busting vehicle for showing naked women. Like many such films, it promised sex but didn’t really deliver. This idea of a promise unfulfilled is continued in a pair of oversized x-ray specs silk screen printed on mirror, inspired by the kind of adverts you find in comic books. Her work is punctuated with her signature bananas and bunny faces and also shown is her Lone Ranger Banana Guns, a twist on Warhol’s famous prints, where this icon of American machismo is holding a banana instead of a gun.
Pockets’ and Shuby’s work exhibited here together, provides a unique insight into how working in a shared studio space has influenced both their work. There are similarities and common practices and themes, but also differences which clearly define their individuality as prominent artists.
• The St Leonard Pub, 16-18 London Road, St Leonards, For more info call 01424 272332 or visit
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