The latest in my rolling choice of ten, together with previous choices which
Albert Irvin: Painting the Human Spirit @ Gimpel Fils, 30 Davies St – Bond Street
To 12 Sept: www.gimpelfils.com
Bert Irvin died recently at 92, having worked exuberantly to the end on his passionately colourful abstractions. A selection of them make for a suitably upbeat summer show. Most are from his 80’s, when he settled into an attractive, if slightly predictable, language of smallish canvases full of noughts and crosses, quatrefoils and dashes. But he left a lot in his studio, some of it apparently too big to display at Gimpel Fils, large as their space is – and so the show is spiced by such as the more monumental close tones of 1960’s Moving Through; a stain-based Untitled (above) from a 1970’s series, shown alongside Irvin’s favourite sunflowers; the larger gestures of Pegasus, 1982; and the sonorously dark Endymion, 1991 . Though Irvin was very much a London artist, a retrospective at the light-filled Tate St Ives would make sense, I reckon.
Endymion, 1991 - acrylic on canvas, 84 x 122 cm
To 5 Sept: www.piartworks.com
|Rae Hicks: Lux, 2015|
This is the second of three shows refreshingly programmed over the summer in which the Turkish Gallery take the chance to show British artists. This atmospheric installation curated by Isabel Dexter features two with a knack for disrupting the domestic. Rae Hicks' paintings stage the mundane with a seriousness which elevates its significance, and in combinations which take the such quotidian items as cookers and rooftops beyond themselves to generate ambiguously unsettling atmospheres. Charles Sandford is more direct, as when parking a hearse outside the opening and having it meticulously polished, or giving a kinetically billowed curtain the title Rape Scene. The two join forces to tie the show together with a carpet piece in which Carl Andre meets wolf grey and dog red which the show suggests are hard to distinguish at dusk.
|Front: Rae Hicks & Charles Sandford: Ties the Room Together, 2015. Back: Charles Sandford: Rape Scene, 2015|
|Still from Claire Macdonald: Launderette|
|Alice Robinson: Cartwheel - graphite on paper, 95 x 42cm|
Alex Cecchetti: the printing house of hell @ Kunstraum, 15a Cremer St – Hoxton
It says something for Alex Cecchetti’s charisma that the audience stuck with him during the two hour tour of the building which kicked off this show, and which you can now sample on video. The Franco-Italian artist runs the gamut of performative approaches: he draws clouds (without looking, so as to surprise himself) then has the viewer fly among them by following his lines while playing a birdcaller; dances round teapots, outlining their phallus and womb spouts and interiors as he goes; pays homage to the movement required for female masturbation in a wall drawing made with blackberries; and requires that the gallerist leaf through fifty drawings of lovers entwined just once for each visitor, so that they become unrepeatable actions. Then there’s a Blakean backstory, and sculptures…. quite a quantity of diversions for a small space.
|Alex Cecchetti showing his erotic Memoires, 2014 at the opening|
Object Painting – Painting Object @ Jonathan Viner,
|Charles Harlan's Tree, 2014 and Michael Rey's Fromes, 2015 either side of Elias Hansen's strikingly titled glass on self work If fucking would’ve fixed this, I’d have fucked the shit out of you a long fucking time ago, 2015|
|Aaron Bobrow: Untitled, 2015|
‘Invited’ is a pop-up in a just-renovated and surprisingly extensive Notting Hill house in which many separate spaces are turned over to a mixture of contemporary art and medieval carvings as the property is marketed. I was almost bound to like it, as Flora Fairbairn and Philly Adams’ curation could have been derived from Paul’s Art World: I’ve written on recent shows by Jodie Carey, Alastair Mackie, Liane Lang, Alejandro Ospina, Jodie Carey, Rafael Gómezbarros, Boo Saville, Dominic Beattie, Phoebe Unwin and Tim Ellis… and they all have good work here! And yet I was most struck by the new to me Alexi Williams, who has three rather baroque plaster sculptures on dollies: they look a little as if Rebecca Warren has turned to working with a cake decorating gun, but were made by filling and casting the somewhat floral complexities of cows’ stomachs.
|Dominic Beattie: Untitled, 2014 - ink, spray paint, enamel and varnish on board, 47 x 30 cm|
Imi Knoebel @ White Cube, Bermondsey and Lars Wolter: Framed @ Rocket, 4-6 Sheep Lane - Cambridge Heath
|Imi Knoebel: Installation view with 'Molani', 2001|
Oddly, White Cube has the first solo London by the seminal German abstractionist Imi Knoebel, who has had any number of such shows elsewhere, and it's well worth seeing. There's also a table by Knoebel at the beautifully appointed new premises of Jonathan Stephens' Rocket gallery, together with new work by another German minimalist with a wider crossover with furniture. Lars Wolter makes all his own superbly crafted painting-objects. Here he has four separate streams of work, much of it - like Knoebel's - exploring colour, but I also like the more chromatically restrained series which can be read as a sleep-scape punctuated by dream events.
Lars Wolter: 'Dream A', 2014, veneer & paint on wood, 196 x 139 cm
Thomas Eggerer: Ozone @ Maureen Paley, 21 Herald St - Bethnal GreenTo 23 Aug: www.maureenpaley.com
|Untitled, 2013 - collage, 63 x 50 cm|
|Mint Ozone, 2015 - oil on canvas, 130 x 112 cm|
Emily Young: Call and Response: London @ The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond St
To 29 Aug: www.faslondon.com/fine_art_society_contemporary/exhibitions
Caramel Dark Face, 2015 Caramel Onyx - 23 x 16 x 19 cm
Emily Young, though born in London was partly raised in Rome and recently returned to live in Italy, where she works with the most traditional of means– free carving in the manner of Michelangelo. Yet there's a 60s counterculture feel to how she sees her conversation with stone as being 'small part of mankind's most serious, most elemental conversation, that with Earth'. So it makes some sense that in her youthful days experimenting with drugs she was the Emily in Pink Floyd's 'See Emily Play'. Here, in the London half of a show shared with Venice, she shows an ability to release faces from a huge variety of minerals - typically discards from defunct quarries, which she prefers for their characterful imperfections.
|Verdite Forest Head, 2015Verdite 23 x 23 x 20 cm|
To 12 Sep: www.carrollfletcher.com
|Alias Re_Versioned, 2015|
|Impingement no. 63 (installation detail)|
|The Greenhouse, cyclamen and tomatoes, 1935|
|It isn't hard to work out why Ravilious's paintings appeal: his quirky eye for the objects and landscapes of the decade to his death in 1942 plays in to nostalgia tinged by the war to come or in progress; his apparently straightforward depictions are seeded with an almost vertiginous sense of underlying strangeness; he has a remarkable sense of how to build up a persuasive whole from detailed patterning of grass, sea, wallpaper or repeated flower pots, largely achieved by importing experience of making woodcuts into his watercolour production; and he has the most amazing watercolour technique, lighting clarity from within through the blazing white of the paper. Art history has taken little notice, but these 80-odd paintings are your best-ever chance to enjoy a ravishing achievement.|