Double Entendre: Introducing Dangerous Minds

Dangerous Minds was founded by artists Michael Lake-McMillan and Alan Stuart who decided to start working together in 2014, drawn together by a mutual passion for exploring the absurd and the provocative.

Prior to setting out on this new adventure, both had been involved in the creation of bizarre props and installations. Their work today bears the influence of this formative period as well as inspiration from the radical and outlandish world of luxury fashion and event design.

This broad range of interests has led Michael and Alan to develop a variety of aesthetic styles and distinctive projects linked together by the overarching theme of duality and contrast. For example, their “Linear Musings” series uses neon lighting, mystical symbols and delicate damask wallpaper to amuse and provoke the viewer into deeper contemplation. By subverting the familiar with partially-formed heart shapes or paint-spattered wallpaper, the two artists question our accepted understandings of life and rigid societal expectations.

The constant tension between life and death is another theme that crops up often in their diverse body of work. Their two “War Horse” pieces are crafted from antique rocking horses mounted on aircraft wings with a bomb suspended beneath bearing the word “LOVE”. The large-scale painting “Kaiten” pursues the same theme, depicting a WW2 Japanese suicide submarine reimaged as an innocent Koi carp.

Although they frequently tackle heavy subjects, Michael and Alan fill their work with a sense of humour which is part irony and part sarcasm. “Stop Me / Buy One” is a pair of paintings featuring Kalashnikovs bordered by LED lights and overlaid with the provocative words “Stop Me” and “Buy One”. The double entendre here is witty yet deadly serious, and dependent on the viewing of the two works together side by side. The viewer is challenged to enter into this parallel narrative and to ultimately draw their own interpretation.

Michael and Alan celebrated their riotous debut show in 2015 at their then-studio in Elephant & Castle, with one well-known reviewer remarking that their exhibits ”should be bought outright and kept together for posterity”. Since then Dangerous Minds has relocated to a more spacious studio in a rural setting near Brentwood and exhibited widely across London including solo shows at The Underdog Gallery and M&C Saatchi.