Blessing Force Art – The Old Fire Station

Blessing Force is a name becoming synonymous with success. The Oxford collective of musicians and artists keeps on going from strength to strength, gathering momentum all the time.

Blessing Force ArtViolent Universe, Sebastian Thomas, 1968-1969

In these hard times it doesn’t pay to go it alone, especially not when surrounded by a pool of talent, enthusiasm and foresight. And this is very much the philosophy of Blessing Force. The list of associated names is ever growing, with the likes of Foals, Jonquil, Pet Moon, Chad Valley, Motherhood, Trophy Wife and many more storming the music scene, releasing records through their own label and gigging extensively not just in Oxford but the world over.  With the music side of the operation becoming increasingly well established, we now begin to see a parallel tide, emerging as a dominant force in its own right – this is the rise of Blessing Force art.

The art contingent currently consists of Charlotte Freeston, Valeska Hykel, Sebastian Thomas, Amy Honor and the self styled baron of the art world, Tinhead, all of whom bring their own touch to create a style that while playing to their individual strengths combine together to create something that is undoubtedly stamped with the unique seal of the collective. Their work can currently be seen on display at the Old Fire Station, Oxford and is shows these artists as a group destined for big things, and names we will no doubt be hearing a lot more of in the future.

With these separate exhibitions we really see the Blessing Force artists coming into their own. Often their exhibitions and artworks exist temporarily within the framework of gigs, in clubs and warehouses, and whilst being an important part of the collaborative aesthetic tend to become over shadowed by the music and booze. This is not to say that exhibiting in these settings is a bad thing, this is far from the truth. However, in the longer spanned setting of the focused art exhibition, we get a clear, unadulterated view of exactly what is going on. Sebastian Thomas’ magical, detached, otherworldly collages line the walls. Amy Honors pixillated fabric mop rests tranquilly beside Charlotte Freestons inspired video instillation – two seemingly arbitrary clips cleverly aligned to mimic one another. Tinhead presents us with a number of prints, and two site specific drawings, one a large wall drawing and the other adorning the gallery shop front, bringing out his surreal, dystopian disfunction. Valeska Hykel delivers a series of meditatively absorbing screen prints drawing from the myriad of cultures and religions that have played a large part in her upbringing. And this is just for starters. Despite being a small exhibition their is a wealth of great things to get your teeth into.

Blessing Force Art

My life is complete, Amy Honour

What started as a group of like minded friends in Oxford, joining forces to give each other a helping hand has become something much more. Blessing Force has become a mentality. And when subjected to this mentality it is impossible to not feel the surrounding excitement, the no nonsense approach, and the idea that the world is there for the taking.

Here at Distorted UK we are filled with excitement about what is to come… watch this space and check out the Blessing Force blog for more info.

Blessing Force Exhibition runs at the Old Fire Station, Oxford until 24th February 2012.

-Marcus Pibworth