Paul Carruthers isn’t just an artist, he is also the designer and producer of some pretty slick, high-end furniture and home accessories; an interior designer’s dream. Paul Carruthers has NOIQ his is debut exhibition at The Civic, Barnsley. It’s claimed that Paul has been at the centre of the northern urban art scene for over 10 years. His wide and varied work includes comment on a variety of subjects, ranging from gun culture to theology. This exhibition of exquisitely designed collages is a fine balance between both Carruthers’ home design and his urban art. It is nostalgic grime for the homes of those thinking they’re buying into some kind of street art edge! Taken as either a whole series which is displayed here or as individual works, everything works superbly together. If you were one of those buying, you could easily imagine parting with your money for a couple of them and they sit so well together – everyone is going to have their favourtite(s).
Each work contains various iconic characters, objects and logos. There is a heavy presence of Japanese Manga, Lolita Girls, Cartoons, film stars and Super Heroes from the 50’s to the 00’s. Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin sit comfortably alongside a tabloid shot of Michael Jackson; as does Boris Karloff next to Hanna Barbera’s Top Cat. Among my favourites works here is Life at the End of the Rainbow with its Harajuku Girls and Mighty Mouse. The collection is in a similar vein to ‘next big thing’, Stuart McAlpine Miller in it’s fusion of pop culture icons and pretty ladies. It also draws on elements of Antony Micallef’s Japan 2004 collection and the work of another UK urban artist, BenFrostIsDead. Admittedly, there are a lot of artists out there doing a similar kinds of things, however Carruthers’ is up there with the best of them, especially his darker work. It’s well worth checking out because he seems to be someone who never stays on the same page for long, so who knows what he’ll be coming up with next.