All works sourced from the artist's website
I recently had an opportunity to browse the artworks of Oscar Whicheloe at the Medici Gallery - one of the myriad fine show spaces on London's Cork Street - and although the show concluded yesterday (let alone that I should have visited it earlier), I thought some of my semi-regular readers might entertain yet another sartorial artist in their hearts
Of course, Whicheloe hews to a different blueprint than my favoured illustrators (Leyendecker, Fellows, Sheridan, that Grafton guy... can't think of any others); presently working at Wimbledon Art Studios, he is a graduate fine artist of Surrey Institute of Art & Design (class of 2003) who has set his brushstrokes on producing still life and portraiture, as well as prints, etchings and monotypes. Rendering tailoring is only one of the facets this gifted creator presents to the world and like my dear friend Ian Bruce, he can find the inner artistic boldness in even the most conservative suiting
Nevertheless, for those who are as enticed by Savile Row window displays (now de rigueur since Nutter's began putting on a show in 1969) as the next man, Whicheloe's reverent, skillful and evocative series of half finished suits framed on that famed street are ineluctably delightful. As my own forays in painting and drawing taught me long ago, nothing vexes quite so much as the near infinitesimally small detail - the strings on a harp bow; the fuzzy turf-like texture of a towel; thread hanging from a needle or, perhaps, a bespoke suit. It is, therefore, a feat that he can so accurately capture the stitching so necessary to this sort of work in progress; additionally, by focusing on the incomplete suit, he brings a certain dynamism to it by making it a centrepiece - it congratulates the skill involved and enjoys it for the tantalising hint of a finished article that it is. Even an unfinished work done well holds a certain amount of value. The guessing game for the windows will no doubt keep one or two of you Paraders diverted; I have so far spotted Richard James, Huntsman, Kilgour, E. Tautz and my countryman Ozwald Boateng. One may also note the presence of Paul Smith's socks and furnishings from other Piccadilly locations; the Royal Arcade and Albermarle Street shops, respectively; Smith's signature use of his tumescent palette and print libraries is just the sort of challenge that's at home in Whicheloe's catalogue of nuances
It is this combination of a bold, up-close aesthetic packed with unerring detail that gives the artist's work a certain piquancy; his nous for composition, shape and colour also deftly leavens his output. For those of you available later in the year, Oscar Whicheloe will return in a solo show at St. George's Hospital, London
My present focus is on the still life scenes that are captured in a tailor’s window – a very precisely controlled environment, entirely constrained by the way the tailor has decided to position and display his creations.
These displays capture both the wider society they aim to reflect and attract, as well as the hidden inner-world of the tailor. “Finished suits are presented with tacking threads still visible, echoing the glamour and attraction of bespoke luxury clothing and the society that consumes it, as well as the physicality of the fabric and the hidden work involved in its manufacture.