Heavy Metal Whispers

10 Ounce Prop, 2009; Transportation, 2008. Courtesy the artist.


Anyone familiar with the name John Squire will recall his musical avatar, but the Stone Roses guitarist and songwriter was a fine artist before taking the stage. While his cover art for the band’s albums, featuring Pollock-like one-offs, collage and original paintings, were inextricable from the band’s identity, Squire’s career as a visual artist has evolved independently. Tonight Squire opens a new show and a new chapter of work with Heavy Metal Semantics at the St. Martins Lane Hotel in London.

“I think that there’s a need for communication, a need for approval and engagement. [For me, art] was a way of doing that,” says Squire, relating his craft to his natural shyness. “I think music serves a similar purpose,” he’s says, and adds, “But [with music], I felt that I was working to someone else’s design brief, and I was giving them my time creating for them. Although I enjoyed the process, I realized that I could have much more fun realizing my own ideas rather than being paid to do somebody else’s.”

Heavy Metal Semantics features a new body of sculptural work made from heavy gauge lead and steel sheets. Squire cut and polished the metals to create wall hangings and sculptures, and, recalling an earlier series of text-based paintings, he stamped the metal sculpture with phrases like “Much was decided before you were born” in block letters, which offer endless possibility for interpretation, more in what’s not said that what’s said. Asked of the significance to his choice of text, Squire refers to it as a type of code: “I’d like to see if anyone puts it together rather than making it easy.”


Heavy Metal Semanitcs is on view through February 17. St. Martin’s Lane is located at 45 St. Martin’s Lane, London.