Wednesday, 24 November 2010

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DECEMBER

Steamship Captain, R.N., 1987

Colin Self: One Thousand Sketches @ James Hyman Gallery, 5 Savile Row - Central

To 18 Dec: www.jameshymangallery.com

By such means as living in Norfolk, avoiding gallery representation, and not quite producing true pop, Colin Self has pretty-much avoided becoming fashionable. He’s said his drawings are ‘meant to be overloving to the point of being vulgar’, and there’s plenty to overlove here, with a thousand works on paper (and they’re all on-line, too) arranged by subject: a leopardskin nuclear hamburger, parrot on roller skates and sailor smoking a triple-funneled pipe and crumpets caught my eye along with a whole wall each for rabbits and his rather genital take on the hot dog. The intoxicating effect is a variety show akin to the RCA’s secret postcards but in which every style comes back to one self.


Location shot of a bride at Birling Gap, Sussex

Sarah Pager: Unbridled, Unveiled @ GALERIE8, 195-205 Richmond Road – London Fields

To 19 Dec: www.galerie8.co.uk

By the spring, GALERIE8 will be a purpose-built space in a new housing block three quick bus-stops north of Vyner Street. For now, recent Chelsea graduate Sarah Pager has four large spaces amid the ongoing construction. She’s filled them with self-lit installations which are particularly atmospheric at dusk. All embody physical experience, and the biggest suspends seven baths as 'brides' in front of lightbox 'familiars' showing one beached before cliffs, as if an attempted flight has just ended – though Pager actually had to lug the bath down to the sea! A persuasive combination of place, content… and madness.


Installation view

Anna Barham: Panoraming @ 401 Contemporary, 13 Mason’s Yard – Central

To 31 Dec: www.401contemporary.com

Berlin’s 401 Contemporary has a lively London presence just behind White Cube West, where young English artist Anna Barham has three tightly inter-related works which mine meaning from history, systems and chance. Anagrams of the phrase ‘Return to Leptis Magna’ draw you into their own pictured process and cloudy poetics, and also provide the letters to name 500 animals and plants projected almost illegibly at a rate of five per second. That content is separated from its apparently-intended form, as a big curved screen is just part of a structure from which to view the small video monitor, with no panoraming (longhand for ‘panning’) thereon. Philosophical, yes – but enchanting, too.


Morten Viskum: The Hand With The Golden Ring @ Vegas, 45 Vyner St – Cambridge Heath

To 19 Dec: www.vegasgallery.co.uk

The very wide-ranging Norwegian artist Morten Viskum gives us an extreme version of the traditional coveting of ‘the artist’s hand’ in the work through a show of innocuous-looking all-over abstracts. They find their meaning in the performance of their making: Viskum painted them with a dead hand dipped in paint. You can examine the hand, preserved in a box, and see the drag of stiff fingers in what prove to be acrylic paintings with liberal admixtures of blood and glitter. Viskum has used several hands in this way over the past decade, each producing its own particular style…


Shoot

Anna Bjerger: A Perfect Throw @ Paradise Row, 74 Newman St – Fitzrovia

To 23 Dec: www.paradiserow.com

The second show at Paradise Row’s new space in Fitzrovia marks the welcome return of the Swedish painter Anna Bjerger – formerly shown here by David Risley before his move to Copenhagen – to representation in London. Not a few painters collect diverse photographic images which they re-present, but Bjerger’s luminous oils on aluminium transform her sources in a hauntingly winning way, flickering back and forth between the recorded moment and the painterly elevation of its significance through the artist’s (own!) hand and the dialogues set up. Here the dice she sounds as if she’s thrown have come down with a high proportion of images of image creation.


Boo Ritson: Mary – Lou

The New Chapter @ Poppy Sebire, All Hallows Hall, 6 Copperfield Street – Southwark

To 23 Dec: www.poppysebire.com

Poppy Sebire, holding a second show in the same space for the first time, marks that permanence with her represented artists: James Aldridge (who is, handily for the trip from Sweden, Anna Bjerger’s husband), Georgie Hopton (Gary Hume’s wife, if we’re playing that game), Danny Rolph and Boo Ritson. All have interesting work here, but the most radical development is Ritson’s theatrical and sculptural move away from literally painting people to digitally painting a canvas which becomes a body mask she wears for a photo. She then hangs the mask (like the painted skin she couldn’t display that way before?) sparking dialogues between inner and outer, between two and three dimensions.




Marc Vaux: New Paintings: Triptychs and Ovals @ Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 6 Cork St – Central

To 23 Dec: www.jacobsongallery.com

Lively veteran Marc Vaux – who gets a room at Tate Britain shortly - feels his latest paintings tackle all the issues he has previously addressed more separately. They combine the colour fields for which he became known in the sixties with the internal constructed-edges-round-white which characterise his more recent work. Those issues, I surmise, would include the to and fro between the rational (represented by geometry), the random (computerised number generation determines some aspects) and the intuitive (choice of colours) aw well as the sculptural play on the objecthood of the painting – added to which the move away from horizontally-aligned shapes gives the new work decidedly 'sharp elbows'.


'The Carnivore, The Spirit, The Monster, The Fish, The Juvenile, The Feline, The Dreamer' (single £10 note collage)

Jack Strange: The Same as Usual @ Limoncello, 15a Cremer Street - Hoxton

3 Dec - 15 Jan: www.limoncellogallery.co.uk

The young and increasingly internationally-known Jack does indeed make the everyday humorously Strange by giving it surprising new uses and relationships. I was very taken by his recent work with money: on one hand making a collage from the discs obtained by punching holes – small enough to allow re-circulation - in thousands of notes; on the other inventing characters made up from bits of a single note cut up and reconfigured. No doubt there will be fresh invention at Limoncello in a show slated to burrow into molehood, spiritual stones and videos of fizzy water shot by different cameras.


Noor Ali Chagani: Life Line

Noor Ali Chagani and Rehana Mangi - Mashq: An Endless Lust @ Green Cardamom, 5a Porchester Place – Marble Arch

To 15 Dec (not weekends): www.greencardamom.net

Anita Dawood and Hammad Nasar’s Green Cardamom space has been organising interesting Asian-tinged projects for five years now. This show is one of a series cohering around the Persian word ‘mashq’, meaning practice or drill, and looking at how Muslim repetition can chime with western minimalism. Two young Pakistani artists achieve that with unusual materials. Rehana Mangi sews human hair into her work with such delicacy that it’s easily mistaken for fine drawing. Noor Ali Chagani uses handmade miniature bricks, most effectively by threading them into a cloak-like form which suggests a covered body and fallen building as well as a collapsed geometry.


Trojan Virus

Mauro Peruchetti: Modern Day Heroes @ the Halcyon Gallery, 24 Bruton St - Central

To 8 Jan: www.halcyongallery.com

The impressively-scaled Halcyon Gallery, soon to get yet bigger, tends to struggle for art world credibility with its formally conservative roster. Mauro Perucchetti, though, makes spectacular use of glitzy materials – specialty: pigmented resin - to lure the viewer into satirical takes on politics, commerce and the artworld itself. Hence his hyper-glamorous presentations of apples, shoes, jelly babies, skull-flowers, a crystal-covered handbag dog and plenty more are knowing – and risk-taking – kitsch. A set of self-censoring swords of the press and a group of horse riders named for a computer virus but also representing the Chinese ‘honey trap’ style of commercial spying seemed to me the most interesting excesses here.

Also recommended:

Dirty Kunst @ Seventeen to 23 Dec: Some startling stuff, and even the subtlest work features the gallerist’s urine…

Heavenly Creatures @ Aubin Gallery to 24 Dec: Uplifting animal-themed show with African-born George Lilanga and Appau Junior Boakye-Yiadom the highlights.

Motif Motif @ FOLD Gallery to 19 Dec: Interesting show from Willem Weismann and Lutz Driessen, including joint work - and just 250 yards from GALERIE8 above

Anka Dabrowska: Welcome to Paradise @ Payne Shurvell to 18 Dec: Collage versions of Polish buildings make for fresh sculptures with a nod to Isa Genzken

Spirit Level 010 @ Go Modern Ltd: 3 Dec - 28 Jan: Novel location – a furniture store at 535 Kings Road - for curator Catherine Loewe’s pick of fresh talent

Caragh Thuring @ Thomas Dane to 8 Jan: excellent young painter has found a distinctive way to add figures to her repertoire of urban landscape elements

Ceal Floyer @ Lisson Gallery to 29 Jan: the concisely witty conceptualist on things that are not things…

Tamy Ben-Tor @ Brown Collective to 11 Dec: new film from the American Israeli inventor of pointedly off-kilter characters.

Francesca Woodman @ Victoria Miro to 22 Jan: thirty years after her suicide at only 22, Woodman’s apparent attempts to hide in her own self-portraits remain influential.

Tom Hunter: Unheralded Stories @ Purdy Hicks to 23 Dec: more myth-making in Hackney from the distinctive photographer.

Zoe Paul: Pass Quietly @ Cole Contemporary to 18 Dec: young scultor and printmaker who builds perceptions of history into her work very effectively.

Huma Bhabha @ Stephen Friedman Gallery to 15 Jan: first British solo for the rising American sculptor features some amazing use of cork.

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About Me

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Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
I was in my leisure time Editor at Large of Art World magazine (which ran 2007-09)and now write freelance for such as Art Monthly, The Art Newspaper and Border Crossings. I have curated five shows in London during 2013-15 with more on the way.Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.

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