Wednesday, 19 July 2017


Up Now in London

Mark Leckey: Affect Bridge Age Regression @ Cubitt Gallery, 8 Angel Mews - Islington

Last year, Turner Prize winning artist and DJ Mark Leckey’s evocative film Dream English Kid 1964 – 1999 explored his childhood and adolescence in Liverpool through a collage of image and music. Affect Bridge Age Regression intensifies that by using a model of a motorway bridge as a site of childhood experiences, symbol of the early 70’s, link (OK, bridge) between then and now,  and a site of traffic vibration suggesting how formative experiences reverberate through the years.  Posters and sodium lamplight complete the visuals: the soundtrack has a team including Leckey chanting what amounts to an exorcism of the negativity of the era: OUT THIS HOLLOW RESONANCE, VOID OF HOLY IMMANENCE / RELIQUARY OF THE 20TH CENTURY, EMBALMED IN LUCOZADE…



Chelpa Ferro: spaceman / caveman @ Sprovieri, 23 Heddon St – Central

To 22 Sept (not Saturdays):

Installation view with hammock occupation

There was no shortage of art activity in London on the weekend of 1-2 July. Most of the East End’s Art Night activities ran six to midnight on the 1st: on 15 main sites with ludicrously long queues, and 60 collateral events more easily accessed. Further west was the ‘London Art Weekend’ (historic art in 42 galleries) and the Mayfair Art Weekend (exhibitions plus talks in 60 galleries with a more contemporary bias) – both, presumably, timed to coincide with the Masterpiece Art Fair. Phew! The Brazilian threesome Chelpa Ferro’s installation was best place to rest. Spaceman/caveman makes a virtue of the gallery’s columns to hang hammocks in a ramshackle sculptural environment in which you could feel the entropy setting in as 40 minutes of sounds sourced from the internet communicated (séance word) with and a primitive lighting to, in the show text’s words ‘rebuild genius gibberish to navigate, in a suspended improvisation, towards the present future’.




 ] [ @ Annka Kultys, 472 Hackney Road – Cambridge Heath

To 29 July:

Installation view with Jimmy Merris, Gabriele Beveridge,  Jean-Luc Moulène prominent

With so much work now viewed online rather than in the gallery, curator and commercial photographer of installations Damian Griffiths has taken the logical step of setting up the show in order to allow optimal photo-documentation from a fixed position camera rather than hang the show to suit the gallery then figure out how best to photograph it.  Plus it’s an evolving show in which photos of previous iterations will be shown. All very interesting, though actually the show looks pretty normal! It’s primary appeal is the quality of work tending to deconstruct the body, and hence physical presence, including Martin Creed wondering what the fuck he’s doing, one of Jean-Luc Moulène’s spooky heads made by filling a carnival balloon with concrete, a particularly witty Richard Wentworth street photo, and a shudder-crawling mass of animatronic heads from Jimmy Merris.

Installation view with Martin Creed, Dustin Ericksen and Ivana Basic prominent


Colour, Order, System @ Sid Motion Gallery, 142 York Way - King's Cross - to 28 July:

Cross Section / 04 @ dalla Rosa Gallery,
3 Leighton Place – Kentish Farm - to 29 July:


Roland Hicks: OSB 12 (On southern beaches), 2017 - gouache, coloured pencil, coloured paper on plywood panel, 23x30cm

Roland Hicks features in both of these interesting shows with witty paintings and sculptures in which the painting collapses into its ground and things are not quite as you might assume: what looks like plywood in Occupy Some Buildings, for example, is scrupulously so painted, and what looks like paint is collaged crayon on paper. Hicks’ titles add to the play, most of them suggesting what might be read into the apparent abstractions by words with the initials OBR. At Sid Motion, behind a window light adjusted by Fiona Grady's overlay, Hicks' work hides among comparable-looking paintings by Sue Kennington and Richie Culver which are what they seem. At dalla Rosa his is one of three miniature worlds of their own. Catrin Morgan’s tiny notebooks abstract elements from the history of art: buildings held by saints, for example, or their wounds (as in the smile/gash below), Tom Hackney makes delicate ink drawings of Duchamp’s own notations of his chess games, in the black, blue and red pen colours he used in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Tom Hackney: Notation Drawing 6 (Duchamp vs. Lilienthal, Folkestone, 1933), 2017 - pigment ink on paper, 34 x 34 cm

Catrin Morgan: page from Life Notebook #4: Holes, 2017 - pencil on paper on panel, 17 x 21  cm

Roland Hicks: OSB 16 (Occupy Some Buildings), 2017 - gouache, coloured pencil, coloured paper on plywood panel, 20 x 25 cm


Abstract Remix @ New Art Projects, 6D Sheep Lane - Cambridge Heath

Fri 07 Jul 2017 - Sat 26 Aug 2017

Installation with Markus Linnenbrink

Bias alert: this is very like my own 'Show Us Your Process' (nine abstract artists including Jonathan Parsons with an emphasis on methods of making) only bigger and more international. 23 large works across four rooms combine the home gallery's Parsons with guests from the excellent  Taubert Contemporary in Berlin. Markus Linnenbrink shows his poured colours (sometimes cut away to reveal the layers) together with the sculptural result of collecting five years of his drips in a perspex box as he works. Another room shows Beat Zoderer squaring a circle by folding it,  flattening another into something quite other, and using unfolding in his Fold and dip series.. Adrian Esparza unpicks a Serape which takes on a slightly ragged anti-minimalism when woven geometrically between nails on a white wooden framework. Nor are  Joachim Grommek, Jan van der Ploeg, Markus Weggenmann and Parsons himself merely making up the numbers...

Beat Zoderer: Squaring the Circle, 2013 and Ringfaltung #3 (folded ring), 2013

Adrian Esparza: Game Spot, 2014


Gabriel Kuri: Afterthought is Never Binary @ Sadie Coles, 62 Kingly St - Soho

To 19 Aug:
Quick Count 2, 2017 - vacuum formed panels 130 x 133cm

As an accountant who has seen a lot of art, I can testify that – for the best, I suspect - accountancy rarely features in the art. An exception is Gabriel Kuri’s cunning orchestration of clashes between the formal and the functional, the inchoate and the structured, the industrial and the organic, the man-made and the natural. The series of ‘Quick Count’ vacuum formed panels of bean shapes refer to the ‘bean counter’ nickname which we accountants rather dislike – and disrupt that lowly description of the function by falling out of order into disarray. Then there are five steel cubes, their minimalism disturbed by such incursions as a rather realistic rubber lettuce and – in ‘Box for Four’ – rolls of bank notes ready to be counted (or, they being Euros, counted out?).

box for and with, 2017 - stainless steel, rubber, plastic, 63 x 50 x 50cm


Alastair Gordon & Hugh Mendes: Remains @ Charlie Smith, 336 Old Street, 2nd Floor - Shoreditch

Charlie Smith’s small backroom has been upgraded to ‘project space’ status, more than justified by this tri-dyptich combination of two painters who post-modernise Trompe-l'œil. Paint is paint as Hugh Mendes, known for his obituary paintings, continues his series imagining the use of artist’s self-portraits to memorialise them, and Alastair Gordon documents / re-imagines the studio walls of the artists as the self-portrait was being made. We can read the walls as collateral results of the act of painting and as an extension of the portrait form: Bacon becomes an abstractionist in spite of himself; Craigie Aitchion’s wall is his favourite pink; Michael Andrews pins his study from Giacometti to the wall. Ah yes, Giacometti…



Jodie Carey: Earthcasts @ Edel Assanti, 74a Newman St – Fitzrovia

With all the Giacometti up in London at the moment *, it’s hard not to find an echo in Jodie Carey’s gallery-filling installation of 50 spindly figure-surrogates. But of course, there’s a lot more to both artists than attenuation. Carey made her earthcasts by burying timbers from the historically resonant source of the V&A, and replacing the wood with plaster – accepting the many contingencies caused by relative ground wetness, soil type and local matter, and adding some of her own such as the cut-aways and flecks of rainbow pastel. Wandering through the forest of casts makes for fascinating variety-in-sameness along with the references to nature, burial, rebirth, ritual… and maybe even Giacometti.  

* Tate Modern, Thomas Gibson, Gagosian Brittania Street

Lisa Yuskavage @ David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street – Central

Housewarming, 2016 , 203 x 203 cm, oil on linen 

This is ‘art for believers’ – you have to buy into Lisa Yuskavage’s wacky world of 70’s soft porn meets cartoonish distortion meets art history. Once you do, it’s all about painterly experiment and decision-making. The new developments here are more couples, with the ‘emotional formalism’ of colours coding their connectivity (or lack of it) with each other and their surroundings; the use of multi-coloured grounds to signal transformation (as in the renaissance use of cangiante rainbows for angel’s wings) or of flesh ground to represent flesh so that, it might be said, the naked body is the most naked part of the painting; and greater variation than before in the degree of orthodox ‘finish’ within a painting.

Ludlow Street, 2017, 196 x 165 cm, oil on linen


Philip Guston: Laughter in the Dark, Drawings from 1971 & 1975 @ Hauser & Wirth, 23 Savile Row - Central

To 29 July:

Late Guston – the work produced 1970-80 following his controversial shift away from abstraction, can seem the go-to influence for every young painter. It’s remarkable, then, to find a 250-strong body of work from that period which has hardly been seen. What’s more Guston’s savage critique of Nixon-the-dickhead’s various shenanigans couldn’t be more timely in the all-too-comparable context of the 45th President. The bulk of these drawings, styled as cartoon-strip but also feeding the paintings, are from a three month blitz in1971, with a separate 1975 group lampooning Nixon’s self-pity while suffering from phlebitis during his political and physical descent, having resigned in 1974.


Bridgette Ashton and Nicole Mollet: Only The World Remains @ Space Station 65, 373 Kennington Road - Kennington / Oval 

Installation view with Bridgette Ashton: A Summerhouse for George Howard, 2006 and Model for Banqueting Hall Cavern, 2014

Artist-run Space Station 65 has reopened with a teeming evocation of staged landscapes through such past eccentricities as grottoes, follies and pleasure gardens of which – in Diderot's phrase - ‘only the world remains’. Bridgette Ashton fills most of the space with what look like architectural models for future projects, but imagine how what has now disappeared might once have been planned, for example a summer house encrusted with seashells, and a concert hall built into a cave. Nicole Mollett amplifies the mood through painted and magic lantern slides and projections depicting imaginary creatures and features and evocative words - which chime with a further contribution from Ashton: posters announcing imaginary past events. The regaining of lost innocence rubs up against the inevitability of our demise.  

Nicole Mollett: The Triumph of Time and Truth (Star Illuminant); Rustic Pissing Portal, The Triumph of Time and Truth (Goodnight) and Rock Folly – all paint on glass, 2017


Images courtesy / copyright the relevant artists and galleries 


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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.