Friday, 30 June 2017

SHOWS NOW CLOSED: MAY - JULY 2017



You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred and Zabludowicz Collection Invites Bea Bonafini @ the Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Prince of Wales Rd – Chalk Farm

 Lucas Blalock: Gaba with Fans, 2012

Paul Luckraft curates an impressive double bill at the Zabludowicz Collection. In the main space, fourteen artists use the indexical image as a mere starting point for their representation of the world, be that through appropriation, staging or manipulation. Lucas Blalock, for example, might be seen as a Brechtian user of Photoshop, making it a visible part of how he ‘depicts’ an oddball choice of subjects. In the project room, Bea Bonafini is the latest young artist to feature in the Collection’s ‘Invites’ series. Riffing on the building’s transition from religious to museological authority, she triple-tweaks hierarchical powerbases with a tapestry-come-carpet derived from battle scenes, a painting of an imagined chapel for non-believers, and a throne too spindly to support power viably.  

Installation view of Dovetail's Nest, 2017 (Photo Tim Bowditch)

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Sigrid Holmwood: The Peasants Are Revolting!  & Prunella Clough @ Annely Juda Fine Art
3rd & 4th  Floors, 23 Dering Street – central 


To 8 July: www.annelyjudafineart.co.uk


 

Sigrid Holmwood: Peasants fighting with scythes, 2017 - Mayan blue made from woad, ink, and gesso, on calico mordant printed and dyed with dyer’s broom, buckthorn berries, and logwood, on board, 120 x 185 cm


Sigrid Holmwood’s historico-conceptual paintings adopt the peasant as both subject and carrier of attitudes which run counter to the modernist mainstream. Part of that rebellion is against industrialised production, and so Holmwood displays the making of cochineal (from insect-infected catci) and Mayan blue (from the European indigo-producing plant, woad, so adding a colonialist reversal into the mix). The making of the paintings largely creates their subjects, which loop round on themselves with cheerful energy, as in this dance-come-fight with scythes. Add that, upstirs, there’s a reliably stimulating pick ‘n’ mix from across the career of Prunella Clough upstairs, and that Ronchini and Vigo have good shows just now, and Dering Street is well worth a visit…

 

Prunella Clough: Waterweed 6, 1988 - oil and string on board, 32 x 38 cm

                                  

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Searching for magic and the distorted image falling from your iCloud @ The Dot Project, 94 Fulham Rd - South Kensington

To 9 July: http://thedotproject.com

Konrad Wyrebek: KKKRInkOMan, 2016-2017
Oil and acrylic paint, uv ink, spray paint and varnish on canvas 200 × 150 cm

There have been quite a few shows exploring the interface between painting and  the online world painting, but this one is better than most. That’s because most of the 13 artists' works meets the simple-sounding but eminently missable criteria of working as paintings, having some digital content, and relating the two in an illuminating way – and with he processes explained to the viewer. For example, in a contrast grounded in similarity. Konrad Wyrebek shows a ‘Data Error’ paintings, this one from an image of someone jumping into water, which Wyrebek corrupts until it reaches a point he wishes to paint from; and Siebren Versteeg creates algorithmic programs that respond to and distort online imagery, then presents the (unpainted) results as painterly abstractions. Derek Mainella, Gordon Cheung, Kristian Touborg and Ry David Bradley are also excellent…
 

Siebren Versteeg:  Quavers, 2016:_Algorithmically generated image printed on canvas resin, 84x56.

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Vicky Wright: Night Shift @ Josh Lilley Gallery, 44-46 Riding House St - Fitzrovia

To 4 July: www.joshlilley.com






 LET IT BE MADE, 2017, Oil and natural gesso with geological   mica on linen over aluminium panel. 119 x 85cm



Vicky Wright's work has always been socially engaged, one sign of which has previously been her preference for painting on the reverse of panels as the site of the back story’s alterity. Here she paints on canvas with a directness suiting her subject: portraits inspired by her grandmother, a seamstress who worked in the mill by day and - inspired by the world of high couture - on dressmaking by night,. Wright sees that compacting of her grandmother's time as precluding today's more technological colonisation of the body. She calls their style 'calcified pop', though there's also plenty of cubist collage in the juicy mix.



 DOPPLER-EFFECT, 2017, Oil and natural gesso with geological mica on linen over aluminium panel. 119 x 85cm 

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THE HIGH LOW SHOW at Laure Genillard Gallery,
2 Hanway Place - Tottenham Court Rd 

To 24 June: www.lglondon.org


Kate MccGwire: Sentient, 2016 - Mixed media with goose feathers in bespoke cabinet

The High Low Show is a site-responsive adventure in contrasts and connections. Each of seven artists have work upstairs and downstairs in Laure Genillard's distinctively divided space. Each artist's work operates between registers of high and low, including altitude, viewpoint, mood, value and cultural register. Bronwen Buckeridge, Susan Collis, Sara Haq, Tom Lovelace, Kate MccGwire, Sarah Roberts and Julie Verhoeven  all rise impressively to my simple curatorial brief  with nary an unintended pratfall. Kate, for example, shows feather sculptures above and drawings made by maggots below - not without duality, as there is a sinister edge to the convolutions of Sentient...



Kate MccGwire: Vermiculus, 2016 - graphite on paper

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Sara Barker: a weak spot in the earth @ The approach




hour-watching silver and exact 
water is in water
within within within
2017 - aluminium sheet, mirrored steel, stainless steel rod, automotive paint

 
Glasgow based Sarah Barker has typically played literary inspirations – Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein come to mind - into her fusions of painting and sculpture. They charateristically start with paintings  which she - usually, but not always - cuts into narrow strips which are combined with  metal rods to make three dimensional structures. Now Barker writes a poem of her own which operates like a chain of haiku to provide seemingly imagistic yet elusive titles for six of these conjunctions of border lines, viewing templates and landscape settings which suggest nature framed and excerpted. The key dynamic is between the preciousness with which her process flirts, and the formal invention which negates the risk.  


conjunctions, eclipses, oppositions, 2017 
- aluminium rod & sheet, canvas, oil paint, jesmonite

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Paul Johnson: Teardrop Centre @ Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road - Camden

 To 18 June:
www.camdenartscentre.org




Whereas the chaos of Francis Bacon’s studio was reconstructed in identical disorder in Dublin, Paul Johnson has made what looks at first like chaos by shifting what may well have been his fairly tidy studio into Camden Arts Centre.  On closer examination, aided by Johnson’s own 40-feature map of the room, it turns out that all is very fully considered: he has variously cut, cast, re-oriented, combined and layered items, using the contents of his studio as raw materials for discovery as – or transformation into - art. Walls become a table, crates form a sculptural barrier, a door stands islanded... As he oversees the scene in the form of a 'Stack-Man' made from piled newspapers, Johnson must be pleased with how this rejig has turned out - the more so as he’s paired with veteran Romanian avant-gardist Geta Br─âtescu making the most of her studio in the other galleries.




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Peter Dreher: Day by Day, Good Day at The Mayor Gallery, 21 Cork St – Central







Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day good Day) Nr. 1637 (Day), 2001
Oil on linen, 25.4 x 20.3 cm

Peter Dreher is famous for having painted the same empty water glass over 5,000 times. I say famous, but ‘Day by Day, Good Day’ has been little-seen in London. Here are 58 examples from 1991-2011, sequenced day-night-day-night. The strongest contrasts are between sunny and cloudy days, but all 58 demonstrate Dreher’s exceptional praxical capacity to remain invested in the painting for itself, regardless of subject even, as he regards the glass and its reflections intensely. Obsessive? Oddly, I think not: he has other streams of work, and comes across as more akin to a daily jogger than a monomaniac, though at 83, he’s now too frail to jog.



Night - Day - Night sequence


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Athena Papadopoulos: The Smurfette @ Emalin, Unit 4, Huntingdon estate, Bethnal Green Rd – Shoreditch

Installation view
A love of stains and excess characterises London-based Greek-Canadian Athena Papadopoulos's bedsheet-like transfer collages, dense with scrawled overwriting. They’re the backdrop for coat stands as figures (is that a dig at Allen Jones’ Hatstand?), their several legs shod in concrete platform shoes, dripping with jewellery and so much other stuff that 35 materials are listed for CHEWED UP. That, like the other four 'Smurfettes' which occupy the gallery together with three child-sized versions, carries stuffed letters which spell out the title and seem to indicate that language, as well as attitudes, lies behind the construction of such assertively abject selves. So, we wonder, is Papadopoulos a smurfette?


                           

Detail of Smurfette,CHEWED UP, 2017 - wood dowels, screws, glue, antlers, self-tanner, synthetic hair, taxidermy insects,jewellery chain, wire, pigmented polyester resin, freeze dried worms, crustaceans andfish, crows feet with nail polish, confetti, bird feathers, taxidermy bird, image transfers,hair dye, lipstick on fabric and wool, lingerie, dyed fur, trimmings and thread, Pepto Bismol, Berocca, red wine, Malox, Gaviscon, foundation and bleach on carpet, auto-body paint and clear lacquer on pigmented concrete - 216 x 110 x 120 cm  
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Alberto Giacometti, Suspended Ball (1930-1931). Plaster and metal. Collection Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris at Tate Modern

Giacometti and Picasso are dominant just now, and Photo London and Peckham 24 are coming up - but there's plenty else...


Pablo Picasso: Minotaure dans une barque sauvant une femme (1937) at Gagosian. Photo: Eric Baudouin
Garth Weiser @ Simon Lee, 12 Berkeley St - Green Park


To 27 May: www.simonleegallery.com


Detail from '10', 2017
 I’ve been following Garth Weiser (say ‘Vyza’) for ten years now, but this is his first substantial UK showing for his multi-layered, digitally-aware immersively-scaled  but somewhat unphotographable abstractions.  You could say that every canvas is actually three paintings struggling to co-exist: a figurative underpainting – currently somewhat comic – an expressive abstract painting, and a geometric overlay. Such complexity is hard-won: Weiser lays strips of tape in patterns on top of the figurative ground,(adding rope in some recent works)  covers the whole with oil paint, removes the paint while the tape is still wet (accepting or rejecting accidental bleeds and drips to taste) and cuts into the remainder with a razor blade.  Result: an alluring all-over flicker between oppositions. If you could jam Picabia’s transparencies, Stella’s stripes and Richter’s overpainted photographs together, you’d be pretty-much there.

'10', 2017 - 244 x 201 cm


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Paola PiviYou Don't Have to Believe Me @ Massimo De Carlo, 55 South Audley St - Mayfair                                    

To May 27:  http://www.massimodecarlo.com


 
 Here are two polar bears made of feathers, and Duchamp for kids: a dozen spinning bicycle wheels with feathers attached merge his readymade and rotary phases. But both are parodies of flight and, downstairs, any innocent view of the world - as captured on 52 screens through 40,000 images culled from google searches - is undermined by a soundtrack of spoken lies (‘in the middle ages, kings only ate at night’, ‘catfish are mammals’, ‘the largest statue in the world is of Michael Jackson’…). Would we hear about Father Christmas? No, but upstairs ungainly drawings are blown up big time to tell of Pivi and her husband’s four year custody battle for their adopted son. They won, but the darkening still seeps.

I am a professional bear, 2017 - urethane foam, plastic, feathers


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William Mackrell: Hold Up @ The Ryder, 19a Herald St - Bethnal Green

To  27 May: www.theryderprojects.com 




Installation view with Interruption and Convulsive Repulse.


'Hold Up' enacts a round of bodily vulnerabilities and frustrations against the threatening backdrops of authority and non-existence.  A bank of malfunctioning fluorescent tubes splutter noisily into intermittent non-death. A performer lies* on a flickeringly illumined shelf, also made with lighting fixtures, emitting her inner response to its pulses. A record plays, but displaces to the back room, a collage of purgatorial call centre music. The redacted part of a Diane Arbus photograph (censored on entry into the United Arab Emirates) is made stark through the veiling of the remaining image by subtly stippling it with a scalpel. All feels connected, but somewhere just out of rational grasp.


* Performance runs every Saturday, 2-6pm



Cover Up (Stripper with Bare Breasts), 2016


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Annette Messager: Avec et Sans Reasons @ Marin Goodman Gallery, 5-8 Lower John St – Soho





Tututerus, 2017  Black tutu, fabric, paint, rope, rod, fan - with uterus wallpaper

Annette Messager’s agreeably wild show packs more than 50 works, many of them multi-part, into the downstairs galleries (leaving Sol Lewitt wall drawings to run on upstairs). Snails wear breasts for shells; a uterus dances in a tutu in room with fallopian wallpaper; Pinochio gets caught up in his viscera… yet gloves, with pencils for fingers, outline calm geometries. The title poses the question: is Messager with it, or not? I’m not sure it matters  for the purposes of enjoying the show, but you should behave yourself: 68 pictograms from round the world forbid pissing, tattoos, photography, music and driving in a burkha. On the other hand, 69thly, interdictions are themselves banned, so do as you wish…

 

Detail from Les Interdictions (The Interdictions), 2014 68 framed drawings + 1 frame, color pencils, 15 soft elements, fabric


Athena Papadopoulos: The Smurfette @ Emalin, Unit 4, Huntingdon estate, Bethnal Green Rd – Shoreditch




Installation view



A love of stains and excess characterises London-based Greek-Canadian Athena Papadopoulos's bedsheet-like transfer collages, dense with scrawled overwriting. They’re the backdrop for coat stands as figures (is that a dig at Allen Jones’ Hatstand?), their several legs shod in concrete platform shoes, dripping with jewellery and so much other stuff that 35 materials are listed for CHEWED UP. That, like the other four 'Smurfettes' which occupy the gallery together with three child-sized versions, carries stuffed letters which spell out the title and seem to indicate that language, as well as attitudes, lies behind the construction of such assertively abject selves. So, we wonder, is Papadopoulos a smurfette?


                           

Detail of Smurfette,CHEWED UP, 2017 - wood dowels, screws, glue, antlers, self-tanner, synthetic hair, taxidermy insects,jewellery chain, wire, pigmented polyester resin, freeze dried worms, crustaceans andfish, crows feet with nail polish, confetti, bird feathers, taxidermy bird, image transfers,hair dye, lipstick on fabric and wool, lingerie, dyed fur, trimmings and thread, Pepto Bismol, Berocca, red wine, Malox, Gaviscon, foundation and bleach on carpet, auto-body paint and clear lacquer on pigmented concrete - 216 x 110 x 120 cm  
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Elger Esser: Morgenland  @ Parasol unit, Wharf Rd - Hoxton 








Salwa Bahry I (detail), Egypt, 2011. C-print, Diasec, 97 x 124 cm



The key to German Elger Esser’s photographs of conflicted territories which appear ‘too quiet’, in the classic Wayne-spoken formulation of the American Western, is his perfect pitch. That brings just the right degree of implication to modest-sounding proposals: ‘fake an archive of views from Israel / Palestine in 1948’;  ‘make big modern photos of Lebanon and the Nile look like fading postcards’; ‘ask another artist to complement your travelogue with paintings of local orchids’ and, best of all, 'show either side of a border view printed on either side of a sculpturally propped sheet of copper’. 



Installation view with 'One Sky' series centre: Photography by Ben Westoby, Courtesy of Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
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George Rickey: Sculpture from the Estate & Sarah Braman: Here @ Marlborough & Marlborough Contemporary, 6 Albemarle St - Central
To May 20 (Rickey) / May 27 (Braman): www.marlboroughcontemporary.com




George Rickey: Column of Six Cubes with Gimbal, 1996 - Stainless steel, polychrome 83 x 32 x 32 in.


Marlborough has two outstanding sculptural shows by American artists. Downstairs are the elegant kinetics of George Rickey (1907-2002), all powered with expert calibration by the odd ceiling fan: not just his gleaming geometrical transformations, but a wild carrot and a sample of his more painterly late style - the  rotating coloured cubes of which  link seamlessly to the language of Sarah Braman upstairs. Her radical combinations of high art and vernacular, natural and fabricated, industrial and organic elements fuse, for example, tinted glass and welded cubes of steel with salvaged doors and rough-hewn tree stumps (she’s really enjoying a new chainsaw, she says). They include this fantastical parody of a bookcase, which is fully usable - but for just the one book.

Sarah Braman: Learning to Read, 2017, found chair, wood, fabric dye, acrylic paint, book, 49x49x42in.

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Katarina Rankovic: ‘Vernacular Spectacular’ in Xhibit 2007 at Art Bermondsey Project Space, 183-185 Bermondsey St – Bermondsey




The Widow



There are obvious and less obvious reasons to visit Bermondsey at present: Larry Bell’s sculptural rooms of glass at White Cube, David Batchelor’s first wall paintings at Matt’s, Waltercio Caldas’ resonant precision at Cecelia Brunson Projects, Anita Klein’s joyous linocuts at Eames, a delightfully sharp survey of the ‘Eccentric Geometric’ at ARTHOUSE1…  There’s also a showcase for 32 University of the Arts London students, of which one would expect less. Yet several interesting works feature across three levels, and the basement includes a showreel of films by Katarina Rankovic which piqued my interest as much as anything in the area. Her practice, which she describes as a ‘one woman empathy circus’, sees her adapt her appearance, accent and manner to a range of characters in short monologues. They are knowingly theatrical yet convincing, astutely witty, and carry their sub-texts about the construction of the self and the making of art with a natural ease.   Go there or – as there isn’t long left – to https://vimeo.com/katarinarankovic



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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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