PM/AM is a contemporary art gallery located on the border of Soho and Fitzorovia in the heart of London. It hosts a busy programme of shows across the two exhibition floors of the Eastcastle Street space. The gallery’s lower ground floor studio provides the location for a residency space for international and under-represented artists to develop their practice. Together the spaces form a unique cultural and creative hub in the bustling centre of the city.
PM/AM’s mission is to reflect through art how we engage with ourselves and the world today, expressed through the artists it is fortunate enough to work with. Recent graduates, those emerging into the spotlight and in their mid-careers on the international stage all feature across a dynamic programme. The gallery works on the vanguard of the emerging art sector, responsible for finding artists of tomorrow, and is keen to explore and present work originating from the many interlocking diasporas of the world. PM/AM’s plays a part in the incubation of contemporary art’s future by representing a carefully selected roster of artists, working with them to initiate and grow lasting careers in the global art world.
As a dynamic arts organisation PM/AM’s activities extend beyond exhibitions into consultation, publications and editorial, providing the means to facilitate placements with collectors and institutions, and create extended content to further support and expose the artists we work with. This self-contained structure is key to the gallery’s broad outlook and capabilities, however we value collaborations with external writers, curators and other galleries to realise our goals.
Cultural movements respond to societal developments, political shifts, updated ways of co-existing and co-creating. They root themselves in a collection of influences existing at various points in time, which are complexified and compounded, eventually forming a new era of being for particular groups of people. Unifying a movement into a singular statement – in written form, an agreed vision, a shared aesthetic or identity – is a near impossible task, not least under the watch of subjectivity.
In this regard, art offers a lot to us as a means to communicate a picture of how a cultural movement is characterised, and Rebecca Gilpin’s work is a good case in point. Her painting roots might rest with 40s and 50s New York abstract expressionists, and the influence the natural world had on the impressionists before them, but her subject matter is a unification of people, places, and the vibrancy of the human spirit.
Through interviews, direct experience and clear passion her focus areas are researched and understood, absorbed into the creative ether, and re-emerge as striking, vast paintings. Through using oil paint and oil stick, the work is an articulation of energy, representing the continual fervour of human beings to connect and create, to shine. In direct dialogue with her work, Rebecca paints with a performative liveliness – the large canvases affording the artist room to engage the body in motion.
“Hearing the song ‘Carry On’ by Crosby, Stills and Nash for the first time felt like a religious experience; my mum played it in the car while driving me home from school one day and I was immediately struck by such a sense of hope and wonder. So much of my practice has been the pursuit of creating something that aptly responds to that moment; its influence is ever-present in my work.”
Rebecca’s work has close ties with countercultural music. She has referenced Louis Jordan and Herbie Hancock, mirroring the structural and harmonic looseness in free improvisation in the way her paintings are constructed. She lends character to her work by referencing song lyrics and titles, and extracting colours from record sleeves.
She takes inspiration from the frenetic pace of London nightlife and UK rave’s inception and explosion in the late 80s and early 90s; a defiance in the stare of its detractors. The spirit of rave – in contrast to what many say about punk – will never die. It is precisely this spirit which even the less astute of us can feel in Rebecca’s paintings; the multisensory experience of sound and light, excitement and resistance, a culture built on communality and hope and much as music and hedonism.
In a significant body of work a similar approach is taken to illustrate the free-thinking movement of the 60s and early 70s, a time very much connected to rave. Each had their Summer of Love; each had their controversies and were celebrated and feared depending on the opinion of the onlooker.
“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”
Looking at these examples from a more universal, ‘zoomed out’ perspective, we see an energetic connectivity through time, transcending ideas of geography and place. We might question how extensively these tendrils infiltrate humankind, in what other forms they exist. Feeling a sense of reverence around them – the dancefloor or concert hall taking the place of the church – exalts them to an almost religious status. Influenced by William Blake and Eastern spiritualism, it comes as no surprise that looking at Rebecca’s work this way reveals such depths. Her decision to paint diptychs, for instance, carries practical implications but is also symbolic; a dualism between our reality and the next, life and death, the Buddhist idea of the mind being like a mirror.
The images she paints are largely abstract, but in anonymity they become universal and accessible. Though a piece may have a direct identity in being named after a lyric or song title, the levels buried within it invite further questioning. A particular mind might see the structure or timbre of music, a palette from a record sleeve; another may happily become lost in unnamed possibility.
Born: 1996, London, United Kingdom.
Lives and works in London.
2019 – MA, Fine Art. Oxford Brookes University.
2022 – PM/AM, London.
2022 – Delphian Open Call. Unit 1, London.
2022 – Inner Worlds. Fitzrovia Gallery, London.
2022 – In Awe of You. Liliya Art Gallery, London.
2021 – Into the Cosmere. 188 Shoreditch High Street, London.
2020 – The Koppel Project Exchange, Piccadilly, London.
2019 – Speak Productions. Elephant West, London.
2019 – Poland Street. London.
2019 – Strange Brew. Poland Street, London.
2019 – Free Range. Brick Lane, London.