January 16 2012
As we approach Valentine’s Day, the image of the heart is not only ubiquitous but also often used in cloyingly saccharine ways. So it’s refreshing to see 30 artists using the form to produce striking pieces that combine symbolism, emotion and experience as they put their own hearts into works in aid of the British Heart Foundation’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal. Target the Heart showcases the results at Contemporary Applied Arts (CAA) in London, from January 20.
The artist Ronald Pennell has good reason to be involved in this exhibition: after undergoing life-saving heart surgery last year, he has dedicated his wonderfully executed and charming Angel Doctor Saving Hearts series of bronze and glass pieces to the doctors and cardiology departments at the hospitals where he was treated (glass form, about £5,800). Jennie Hancox’s eye-catching My Other Half brooch (second picture, £600) in oxidised/unpolished sterling silver is bolder, split down the middle with a blood-red interior and crimson-stitched “veins”. For a softer, more romantic image, take a look at willow artist Lizzie Farey’s Hawthorn for the Heart (first picture, £450), which was inspired by the traditional use of hawthorn as a heart tonic and by the ancient Greek and Roman perception of hawthorn as a symbol of love.
Ten per cent of profits from the show will be donated to the Appeal, which was launched last year and aims to raise £50m to fund groundbreaking research. It’s truly art with a heart.