21 Jun 2022
Purslane: In Reverie | An Ethical Approach in Fine Art
Charlie Siddick discusses the concept behind Purslane, as well as her latest exhibition 'In Reverie', featuring Colette LaVette
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Purslane Founder Charlie Siddick was operating as a freelance journalist and PR editor. Specialised within the arts, she gained a large network of artists and audiences. When the 2020 lockdown dawned - Charlie launched Purslane to accomodate a new way of selling art.
As a woman of mixed British and Jamaican heritage, Charlie felt urged to respond to the social unrest and proliferation of the Black Lives Matter movement in June 2020. Whilst starting her own venture was always on her mind, the events in 2020 incited the Purslane Founder to devise a model that gave back to communities and charities. With online exhibitions requiring less financial commitment than physicals, Charlie found taking a 50% commission fee unjustly. Although some galleries may share the charitable donation percentage with the artist, Purslane uses the sole gallery commission revenue to donate 25% to a charity chosen by the artist. This model allows the artist to benefit as they would in a regular gallery, but also fundraising for chosen causes without limitation to their own financial situations.
For her latest exhibition, Charlie is featuring an exceptionally talented artist based outside of London, who is donating a portion of her sales to The Children’s Society. Colette LaVette graduated from Northampton University in 2013, and has been developing her classical-abstract/modernist styles ever since. The styles of Michelangelo, or Sir James Thornhill - were some of the personal associations made upon my first glimpse of LaVette’s artwork. However, step closer and you will witness the true variety of styles and forms present. Inspirations and pigments from cave paintings find their way into the phantasmagorical landscapes, with striking drips and detail fuelling an abstract expressionist interplay. Upon further inspection, subjects become more distorted and gain surrealist properties.
There is no underplaying LaVette’s use of art history and styles to form her own contemporary landscape. The level of ingenuity when reinventing older styles into the contemporary could be correlated with Philip Colbert’s landscapes. Although Colbert specialises in pop-art and is digitally heavy, the two artists both successfully rekindle forgotten (and new) loves and adorations towards historic painting styles. This privilege can only be experienced wholly in-person, due to the intricate nature and textures of Colette LaVette’s work.
Colette LaVette wishes to paint a world for her children - one which is without prejudice and fear, but based on dream-states, the removal of pressures, routines and the technological life which we have come to know as natural. Purslane Founder, Charlie stated: “For her, this could be a contemporary society that has done away with modern modes of living and gone back to a simpler life, yet we can easily assume it to have the styles of The Renaissance or the Classical Period.” Much is left to the viewer’s imagination, and there is nothing short of a feast to derive differing perspectives from.
The exhibition has a range of works in different mediums, shapes and sizes to choose from. Whether it’s a circular portal-like canvas, or a statement landscape piece - prices range from £300 - £7000 (roughly). The exhibition runs only until the 29th of June, so make sure to visit the J/M Gallery on 230 Portobello Road to gain a glimpse into LaVette’s extraordinary artworks.
Book tickets to view the exhibition here, or turn up at the gallery during normal opening hours.