London-based painter Guy Allot looks at how we seek to explore and control nature, and has used spaceships and American pioneers to represent that spirit. The latter led him to energise landscapes to striking effect by showing us the view through a hole in a tree – inspired by Californian giant redwoods you can drive under. ‘Blue Pylon’ varies this by applying a sort of constructivist fragmentation to the scene by means of a pylon. This, like the tree paintings, plays with how we frame what we see, and also has the pictorial logic of generating a serendipitous cubism while implying the human impact on the landscape in a fresh way.
There must be 50 Diane Arbus photos which everyone likely to have seen this show will know, but only a couple of them were in this refreshing 35-strong choice covering her mature years of 1956-71: instead there were less often seen examples of her theatrically surreal full-on portrait studies, such as ‘Two Girls in identical raincoats, Central Park, NYC’; several from an intriguing London series of look-alikes, including Valentino, Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor; female impersonators seen making up; and two landscapes which are not just empty of people, but of substance, too – this movie set house and a screen of clouds at a drive-in.
Jane & Louise Wilson: from the eight photograph suite Atomgrad (Nature Abhors a Vacuum) (2010) in ‘Moments of Reprieve’ at Paradise Row, July-Sept
Guillermo Kuitca: Untitled (Guille), 2011 in his solo show at Hauser & Wirth, June-July
What may look like a abstract canvas by Argentina’s leading painter has a lot of personal and collective history behind it: the mountain-like forms derive from Kuitca’s memorialisation of modernism, itself parallelling remembrance of the fate of those oppressed in the military dictatorship in which Kuitca grew up; and the coloured lines are from unmoored cartographies which speak of alienation and losing the right way and can be traced back in turn to Kuitca’s affecting 1990’s paintings of maps on mattresses.
Emma McNally: Carbon Sounding in 'Atoms, Insects, Mountains, Stars' at Trinity Contemporary, Feb-March
It’s a shame that Green Cardamom is moving away from physical exhibition as its five years in
Dan Holdsworth: blackout 8 in 'Transmission: New Remote Earth Views' at Branco Grimaldi, March-May
Otto Peine: Untitled in ‘Otto Peine: Retrospective’ at the Mayor Gallery, May-July
Song Dong: Writing Diary with Water in the Hayward Gallery’s ‘Invisible’, June-July
I have a list of completely invisible art – works which could have been included in the Hayward’s survey of the genre ‘Art about the Unseen, 1957-2012’, but were not… Photographs of Song Dong making diary entries were, though, in that entertaining show: he claims to have written them in water on the same stone each day since 1995. There’s nothing to see, but the meditative practice removes the risk from the diary getting into the wrong hands even as it becomes, says the Chinese artist, ‘thicker day by day’ with his thoughts.
Klaus Weber: Sandfountain at Stratford in Frieze Projects July-Aug
Tina Tsang: Memories of Life on Earth in ‘Psychopomp’ at Mead Carney July-Aug
Aglaé Bassens: Exposed, 2011 in 'The Perfect Nude' at Charlie Smith, July
‘The Perfect Nude’ had pretty much the same content as its eponyme in Wimbledon during January to March. The hundred nudes felt more attuned to July, but this creamily provocative painting by Belgian-born recent Slade graduate Aglaé Bassens made more sense second time around: while hinting at performance and fairytale contexts, Bassens’ decision to keep a fur coat of sorts in reserve gained an extra logic from the kind of summer we’d had…
Kim Lim: INTERVALS II, 1973 at Tate Modern
These pine units by the still-underappreciated Singapore-born wife of William Turnbull (1936-97) recently emerged from the Tate’s storage is something of a minimalist analogue for Ishchuk. Lim actually gave several allowable ways of displaying the three pieces, so altering the relative placements of its elements – but none of those endorsed are flat on the wall, Lim explained her interest here as being in ‘that space between wall and floor - the tension set up by the vertical, horizontal and the angle’.
The Gao Brothers: The Execution of Christ in 'Death' at SHOWstudio Shop, June-Aug
Piotr Janas: Untitled, 2011 in his solo show at the
Gordon Cheung: Tulipmania edition at Alan Cristea Gallery, July-August
When I first saw Gordon Cheung’s work (at the Keith Talent Gallery in 2002) his use of stock market listings as a ground charged with social and economic trauma might have seemed of short-term topicality… but on the contrary. Cheung has recently used the tulip as a subject, referencing the still life of the Dutch golden age and also the infamous speculative bubble of 1636-7, when a bulb could cost more than a house before prices collapsed. The print versions, pepped up by hand-applied blob-streaks of paint, strike me as more reliable investments.
Jonathan Trayte: Two Nudes (Black), 2012 at Josh Lilley
Gabriel Kuri: in 'Classical Symmetry, Historical Data, Subjective Judgement' at Sadie Coles, March-May
Sarah Braman: I Can't Seem To Drink You Off My Mind in ‘Shapeshift’ at Stephen Friedman Gallery, June-July
Picture credits: courtesy the artists and galleries + Thuring = Collection of Hugh Gibson, image courtesy the of artist and