by Ben Luke
I can’t remember a time when contemporary art in London was as shapeshifting and multifarious as it is today. There have been times when certain media or approaches seemed off the menu or beyond the pale, when certain groups held sway. But in 2022, increasingly, anything goes, and often within individual practices: among the six artists introduced here, Phoebe Collings-James, Vlatka Horvat and Yarli Allison are performers and makers, their practices happily drifting between whatever medium fits. These are my artists to watch in 2022: a smattering of bright young things, like Rachel Jones and Collings-James, alongside those who’ve steadily made great work for years, like Samson Kambalu and Allison Katz. They testify to the ongoing strength of the art being made in this city, whatever is being thrown at its artists.
Essex-based Jones is in a great moment. Her excellent solo exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac in Mayfair, SMIIILLLLEEEE, continues until February 5, and in March she unveils a new commission at the Chisenhale, say cheeeeese. As the title suggests, we can expect more compositions using teeth as a rack for her distinctive, exuberantly coloured combinations of pastels and oil stick. The teeth are a universal symbol for an artist ambitious to reach as many people as she can: “everyone understands what it is to have pain in your mouth and your teeth, or for it to be a site of pleasure”.