Sims Reed Gallery Present Aaron Kasmin: Strike A Light

Coloured pencil drawings by Aaron Kasmin
Coloured pencil drawings by Aaron Kasmin

Sims Reed Gallery is delighted to present Strike a Light by British artist Aaron Kasmin, opening this summer from 9th June – 20th July 2023. His biggest show to date, Strike A Light will mark the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with over 30 new works that are all large in scale, more detailed and diverse, yet equally as bold, dynamic and captivating.

Coloured pencil drawings by Aaron Kasmin: The Chef
Coloured pencil drawings by Aaron Kasmin: The Chef

Inspired by American feature matchbooks, Strike a Light will showcase Aaron Kasmin’s signature style of fusing together vibrant colours with striking imagery to shed a new light on American culture. While the matchbooks are small, ephemeral and almost forgotten, this exhibition will bring to life themes from food and travel to fashion and sports as it aims to inject a bit of much-needed fun into our everyday lives.

Strike A Light pays homage to the glitz and glamour of the post-prohibition era through a myriad of nostalgic chalk pencil drawings drawn from the artist’s own treasured vintage matchbook collection. Motivated by his ever-growing collection, which will be on display as part of the exhibition, he decided to turn them into an art form in their own right. Their stencil-like quality incorporates the matches within the works themselves and reflect the rise of America’s consumer culture.  

Sims Reed Gallery will transform the space into the dynamism of a bygone America, setting the opulent party scene for viewers to wander to exotic places, and venture back in time to the glamourous early to mid-20th Century America – also known as a romantic world in the era of F Scott Fitzgerald, Humphrey Bogart and Raymond Chandler.

Having acquired his first matchbook in 2012, Kasmin became an avid collector of Lion Match Company’s matchbooks and was inspired by their lively and inventive images that reflect the rise of America’s consumer culture, originally mass-produced for advertising purposes. In the early 1920s, the humble matchbook soon became the most effective advertising medium and embraced by almost every industry. Its broad range of subjects are colourfully reflected in this exhibition.

Highlights of Strike A Light include Bubbles – a new artworkfeaturing a model taken straight out of a film noir encapsulating the nightlife and excitement of the times. This will hang alongside The Palette, where the paint brush holding the paint has been cleverly re-interpreted as the striking part of the match, something Kasmin refers to as “a genius idea, and all artists need a palette’. In The Chef, the refined and graphic design has a touch of Roy Lichtenstein with the dots, use of primary colours and simple forms whilst simultaneously highlighting the chef’s unwavering focus and expertise. Additionally, a depiction of an intimate moment between a couple in Coleman House Bar, reminds the viewer of a romantic scene from a Fitzgerald novel, and will be on display alongside Scotty’s, perfectly portraying the style of the times as a well-groomed dog patiently waits outside a beauty salon for its mistress.

Aaron Kasmin comments, “Matchbooks are wonderful pieces of cultural and social history that mark the rise of America’s consumer culture when advertising was still a fairly modern and exciting construction. My work draws attention to these forgotten ephemeral masterworks of art.”

Chloe Christian, Director at Sims Reed Gallery, comments, ‘We are thrilled to be partnering with Aaron for his fifth exhibition with us, Strike a Light. This wonderful series of works invoke energy, dynamism and fun, exporting us to new and exciting places. The works are beautifully and painstakingly rendered with so much depth, detail and colour, lighting up the gallery walls”.

Sims Reed Gallery

43 Duke Street St James’s, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6DD, United Kingdom

Sims Reed Gallery Present Aaron Kasmin: Strike A Light

Event Title: Aaron Kasmin: Strike A Light

Event Description: Sims Reed Gallery is delighted to present Strike a Light by British artist Aaron Kasmin, opening this summer from 9th June – 20th July 2023. His biggest show to date, Strike A Light will mark the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with over 30 new works that are all large in scale, more detailed and diverse, yet equally as bold, dynamic and captivating.

Start date: June 9, 2023

End date: July 20, 2023

Location name: Sims Reed Gallery

Address: 43 Duke Street St James's, St. James's, London SW1Y 6DD, United Kingdom

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