Wednesday, 9 May 2018


In Quotes @ the Gerald Moore Gallery, Eltham Collage, Mottingham Lane - Mottingham
To 19 May

Cristina Garrido: Hymn, 2012 - homonymous work by Damien Hirst from the series of altered postcards Veil of Invisibility, 2011-present

The Gerald Moore Gallery makes a fine venue for Ann-Marie James’ stimulating presentation of collage and assemblage by 13 artists ranging from perhaps the most famous current practitioners (Linder, John Stezaker and Susan Hiller) to less known artists also finding logical reasons to represent and combine to generate a fresh aesthetic. For example Tim Davies subverts the function of bridges by sanding away their ‘from’ and ‘to’; Cristina Garrido almost erases the works of art from postcards, leaving us to wonder which are improved by the process; and Holly Stevenson’s riotously conjoins vintage postcards of 1950’s cowboy actors with the landscapes in which they acted, the latter in turn inhabited by snippings from jewellery adverts to ramp up their theme park qualities. I liked it more when Holly told me how one of the actors died following a marital row: he drove off with all his wife’s jewellery, crashed, and his head was fatally cracked by the flying casket of bling. 
Holly Stevenson: Phosphoresent, Palmy Bonheur Series - 6 silver gelatin postcards, 22 linen type postcards, magazine cut-outs. The series, says Stevenson, applies happiness to images that have come to foolishly symbolise a perpetual state of readiness for a good time.


Invisible Cities: Architecture of Line @ Waddington Custot, 11 Cork St - Central

To 4 May

Maria Helena Vieira da Silva; Le couloir (ou Intérieur), 1948
oil and graphite on canvas, 46 x 55 cm

It would be easy enough to throw together a few artworks relatable to Italo Calvino’s famous book of imaginary cities. Harder, though, to obtain works by four artists whom Calvino actually wrote about (de Chrico, Melotti, Paolini, Arakawa), complement them with three whom he certainly could have engaged with, and persuasively relate each artist’s oeuvre to a particular ‘invisible city’. That’s what curator Flavia Frigeri achieves here. Her three ‘extras’ are Tomas Saraceno (matched logically enough with Octavia, 'the spider web city'), Gego (steel drawing-constructions linked to Ersilia, a constantly regenerating metropolis based on a ‘pattern of strings’) and the Portuguese-Brazilian-French painter Helena Vieira da Silva. Her six shimmering visions of cities on the cusp of abstraction – the most I’ve ever seen at once – are the highlight, delicately teamed with Diomira, one of Calvino’s cities as memory triggers.


Maria Helena Vieira da Silva: Sans titre , 1955 oil on canvas 60 x 73 cm

Lorna Simpson: Unanswerable @ Hauser & Wirth, Savile Row – Central

To 28 April

Woman on Snowball, 2018 - styrofoam, plywood, plaster, steel, epoxy coating, 277 x 210cm

Having set up a matching weather backdrop, Lorna Simpson’s first London exhibition uses snow and ice to dance her female protagonists between suggestions of stasis (attempts to arrest modernity in the USA, perhaps), misinformation (stacked issues from 1930-80 of the black culture magazine Ebony are seen through icy distorting prisms) disaster (paintings based on mash-ups of mountains, volcanos and strips of news text), froideur (cold shoulders from the ‘Me Too’ movement?), and transformation between forms. And it’s the edge-of-surreal transformations in the latest 40 of her subconscious-tapping collage couplings of agency photos with heads cropped from Ebony which communicate most directly. One of them leads on to the dominant sculpture of a woman precariously, if funkily, placed on a giant snowball - even before we deduce that only the collaged-on head will remain once the ball-plinth and body go the way of all melts. 

nstllaion view,
Lorna Simpson. Unanswerable
,Photo: Alena Simpson. Unanswerable
, &a
The artist explains her collages: that for Woman on Snowball is just above her                               


William Coldstream @ Browse & Darby, 19 Cork Street – Central

To 2 May

Orange Tree, 1974-5  (with Seated Nude 1952-3 in the background)

He’s hardly high fashion, but William Coldstream (1908-87) is having something of a moment. A new catalogue raisonné has just been published, three of his paintings feature in Tate Britain’s survey of London painting ‘All Too Human’, and a further 27 are at Browse & Darby. Those 30 are a big proportion of the whole, given that Coldstream completed only 200 works (due I would think to his extensive and influential teaching, as well as an intense and fastidiously calibrated approach which meant that 60 x 90 minute sessions might be spent on one painting). Not many of the 200 are nudes, the subject for which he’s best known, but both shows have great examples, including two titled ‘Seated Nude’. The Tate’s, from 1952-3 after a 14 year gap, is paired with a still life in which it appears in the background twenty years later; Browse & Derby’s, from 1959-60, is of Monica Hoyer. That was a life-changing and all too human process of scrutiny for the 53 year old professor: he left his wife afterwards and married the 26 year old model in 1961. 

Seated Nude, 1959-60


Signe Pierce: Metamirrorism @ Annka Kultys Gallery, 472 Hackney Rd – Cambridge Heath

To 28 April


 Installation view with the artist's Signeture presence

Observing the methods of projection, reflection and lighting, and the various films and holograms which populate her studio environment in New York, Signe Pierce saw that she could create a visually echoic gallery installation. All is controlled through her mobile phone, but the effects are actually ‘real’ rather than digital, forming an ever-shifting ‘projector painting’ which responds to fanned air, visitor movements and changing light - both natural from overhead and artificial Red-Blue-Green from the floor level.  The factors are too numerous for full control, which keeps things lively, but I was reminded of Larry Bell paintings, lava lamps, fun fair mirrors, swimming underwater and the Aurora Borealis. 


Bernard Cohen and Nathan Cohen: Two Journeys @ Flowers Gallery, 82 Kingsland Rd – Hoxton

To 5 May

Bernard Cohen: Octet, 2011 - 137 x 167.5 cm

It’s possible to draw a sharp contrast between father Bernard (84) and son Nathan (55) in this unusual pairing: the former is a free, spontaneous spirit, the latter maps everything out beforehand. But both make complex abstractions, and the results are similar enough that you could believe that Nathan’s work is the newest direction of his father, as for all their intricacy they are simpler than Bernard’s thrillingly complex networks. Bernard - from gliding towards a limpid late style - seem to be upping the ante as he ages. That can be seen more fully in his current ‘Spotlight’ display at Tate Britain (to 3 June), which covers six decades.

                  Nathan Cohen: Crystal, 2017 -   111 x 107.5  cm                   

Damien Meade @ Peter von Kant, 25 Tanners Hill – Deptford

To 27 April

 Installation view with Untitled, 2018

Damien Meade’s paintings feel at home in Peter von Kant’s battered, brick-heavy interior in the deep ford which became Deptford, partly because they, too, make use of clay: Meade sculpts faces from it, and then paints from those models, so doubling up on artifice. Here, in a rare London solo, four of those visages  share the space with three flatter, more abstract depictions of clay as it could be after a head, unfired, is mashed back ready for the next to emerge. Do they represent the void for which all human clay is bound? Perhaps, but the plinth-necked presences seem more ineffable than salutary.

                 Untitled, 2017 - oil on linen, 44 x 35cm


Christian Boltanski: éphémères @ Marian Goodman Gallery, 5-8 Lower John St - central

To 12 May

Animitas (Blanc), 2017 - installation

This is just as elemental and impressively installed as the Nitsch show, but in a quieter register focused on the transience of life. That's represented most directly by a new film projected onto torn veils, documents mayflies - éphémères in French, with both languages building in the insects' brevity.  It sounds great, too, with the tinkle of Japanese bells on stalks (from a double installation of of Boltanski's roadside shrines to souls) contrasting with Mysteries, 2017, in which something like whale song results from colossal trumpets mounted on the Patagonian coast so that the ocean winds pass through them.  

from Mysteries, 2017


Aslan Gaisumov: All That You See Here, Forget @ Emalin, Unit 4 Huntingdon Estate, Bethnal Green Rd - Shoreditch

To April 28

Still from Keicheyuhea

Emalin have made a considerable effort to maximise the impact of Chechnyan artist Aslan Gaisumov’s linked films, remodelling the gallery and changing its entrance.  People of No Consequence (2016) documents a gathering of survivors of Stalin's mass explusion in 1944 of mountain settlement in the Galanchozh region of Chechnya. Keicheyuhea follows the artist's grandmother as she returns, at 90,  for the first time allowed to that remote landscape. She recalls being ordered to leave 'with fifteen minutes' notice - no trucks, only with what we could carry'. 'Hail place!', she exclaims, but 'only the mountains are standing' from what she remembers. Gaisumov pulls off an elemental and personal, yet  universal and thought-provoking, meditation on history and experience. 

Still from People of No Consequence

Matt Johnson: 0,1,1,2,3,5,6,13,21 
@ Marlborough Contemporary, 6 Albemarle St – Central

To 12 April
Installation view

By titling the show with the Fibonacci Sequence, American sculptor Matt Johnson indicates that he’s working with science and ratios: not so obvious when you see piles of baguettes and a giant (65cm square!) pizza box. But the bread, which is piled in the ration of the golden mean, is a scale model of the Giza pyramid, and it isn’t wheat but wood suggesting stone. And the pizza box has a black hole vortex in the middle – making it the logical pair of a version of the cosmos painted onto the fibreglass replica of the unevenness of a tarp, setting up Johnson’s version of a blip in the space time continuum. Opening just after after Stephen Hawking’s death, this show begun to feel like a tribute. A swan and a frog watch over proceeding, both made from shells enlarged, cast in bronze, and painted to look like shells again. Fun, to which Hawking himself was far from averse, of course, before  checking out at the surprising age, given his condition, of 76.


Black Hole Pizza Box, 2018, carved wood with paint, 26 x 25 1/4 x 5 in. (detail).


In The Future @ Collyer Bristow, 4 Bedford Row – Holborn

To 14 June

Installation view with Karen David

Law firm Collyer Bristow have, remarkably, now been using their offices to show art for 25 years*. And they’re big shows: 60-odd works by 20 artists appear in regulator curator Rosalind Davis’ latest, which uses a Talking Heads lyric even older than the gallery to set off thoughts about what the future might be like. Any danger of sci-fi similitude is countered by plenty of wit (eg Kitty Sterling, David Worthington, Sasha Bowles) and a good sprinkling of retro-futurism (Tim Ellis, John Greenwood and young German Arno Beck, who has the surprising idea in one of his age of using a typewriter to convert  digital images into deliciously delicate analogue equivalents). Four artists contribute especially large and coherent bodies of work: Dan Hays, Alison Turnbull, Ian Monroe and Karen David. You do need to know, I think, that the candies** are in David’s pictured installation because just that was used to lure E.T. from the woods.

* By appointment during office hours: and subject to meetings sometimes occupying rooms, so Friday afternoon is a good time to visit. Comes with a nice booklet.

** Odd what you can learn looking at art: Reese's Pieces are American packs of peanut butter candy spheres, manufactured by The Hershey Company in yellow, orange and brown. Sales tripled when, in one of the earliest such film product placements, they featured at a cost of $1m in ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’, 1982.


Arno Beck: Textmode (Mountain), 2017 - typewriter drawing on Japanese paper     

 Dominic Beattie: Cascade @ JGM Gallery, 24 Howie St – Battersea

To 14 April

Untitled (yellow/blue), 2017

Dominic Beattie has made his name with paintings which make a virtue of their scruffy construction, but here he adopts a new near-rigorous manner: repeated shapes are hand-drawn onto plyboard, which is carefully taped; and ink blotted on with a cloth to make patterns with two tones each of two colours depending on whether two or four layers of ink are applied; and modules so made are combined to make large paintings. The somewhat tapestry-like results  are complemented by several studio chairs (co-produced with Lucia Buceta) - monochrome contrasts on which one can sit to read Martin Maloney, in the excellent catalogue, compare his ex-pupil’s new mode to a schoolboy  sarcastically double-knotting his tie to indicate rebellious conformity.  

Installation view with studio chairs

Anna Reivilä: Nomad @ Purdy Hicks, 25 Thurloe St – South Kensington

To 7 April

Bond #31, 2017

Young ‘Helsinki School’ photographer Anna Reivilä cites Smithson and Araki as inspirations, though Christo and Goldsworthy seem equally present. Her first solo show anywhere presents photographs taken in the remoter parts of her native Finland. They follow a move from drawing on landscape photographs to ‘drawing’ on the landscape itself, using rope which she knots around tress, rocks and ice.  That proves a beautiful ambiguous way to muse on man’s relationship with nature. The rope nets, intuitively rather than systematically formed with sailor’s knots, hover between protection and strangulation. In the case of ice, of course, rope is a hopeless stay against melting, triggering the thought of how little chance we seem to have of protecting ice in the larger scheme of global warming.

Bond #29, 2017


Peter SchuyffPlato Combinato @ Carl Kostyál12a Savile Row - Central

To 31 March

Peter Schuyff came to prominence as one of the Neo-Geo painters in New York in the 1980's, but moved to Amsterdam in 2003. He's known for geometric abstraction with a 'stoner Zen' aesthetic, and wood carvings which use the shape of a baseball bat as a convenient starting template. Here the sculpture has swollen to uncover feminine undulations in three tree trunks, two of them named after ex-wives. They look great in the wood-panelled gallery. Other painted motifs include infinite spaghetti and a sort of anthology of previous themes, as shown below. The whole ensemble has a characterful vibe consistent with Schuyff's parallel interest in making music.

Plato Combinato, 2010, Oil on linen, 140 x 140 cm


Gideon Rubin: Black Book @ Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens - Finchley Road

To 15 April

Untitled, 2017: gouache on paper in antique frame

Whereby a Jewish artist tackles, modestly yet intensely, the reason Freud lived here during the last year of his life: fleeing Nazi Germany. Such a charged subject suits Gideon Rubin's way of sourcing old magazines (from Germany in the 30's) and using them to make collages, and paintings at a further remove. He paints out all fascist references as well as all faces - the latter an established move in his practice to universalise an image and shift what viewers focus on. He also blocks out, line by blacked line, a copy of the original serialised English translation of Mein Kampf, as if seeking to identify the abstract pattern of evil. Rubin, moreover, secretes much of the work in among the many archaeological objects in Freud's study. But some memories cannot be suppressed, and we know what came next. 

Black Book (detail) - ink on serial parts of the 1939 English  edition of 'Mein Kampf'


Giorgio Griffa: A Continuous Becoming @ Camden Arts Centre

To 8 April 

 Dall'alto, 1968 ('From the top')

The first show to be initiated by  Martin Clark – successor to 27 years of Jenni Lomax’s direction  of Camden – gives all the exhibition space to the 81 year old Italian Georgio Griffa, He kept painting when arte povera was at its sculptural peak in his native Turin, but in the most graceful of conceptual styles. Mostly he allows pastel coloured lines and simple shapes to soak into unprimed canvasses of various hues and roughnesses, then folds them away to be tacked to the walls in due course. Both method and display imply provisionality, as if  the brushstrokes could have gone further and the marks spread beyond the picture, and the creases are of no concern because the works are for demonstration purposes only and refolding will be necessary soon enough. Yet can a picture be  left ‘intentionally uncomplete’ as Martin Holman’s text claims, or is it finished by definition when  the artist decides there is no more to be done? In such delicate conundra lies the appeal…

Installation with with part of the 60-piece Frammenti, 1968 ('Fragments')


David Harrison: Fuck Me @ Lungley Gallery, 438 Kingsland Rd - Dalston - to 30 March  & Liane Lang: Prussians and Other Villains @ Coffee Is My Cup Of Tea, 103B Dalston Lane - Dalston - to 25 March

David Harrison: 'Fuck Me' installation view and the artist in an editioned mask alongside Ode To Joy (Saints & Sinners), 2012

This Dalston double of new spaces is good for refreshment and transgression. You can have a beer at The Haggerston, then step down to the basement where David Harrison (who's represented by Victoria Miro) has a decidedly left field project. 'Fuck Me' concentrates on his glory hole masks, which for all I know are made to be worn for sexual action. They're complemented by a couple of striking paintings and some short video loops of the artist dancing around, fully costumed, in his Aladdin’s Cave of a studio. Harrison’s masks are clean-shaven, but walk north-east and you can sip a hot drink as you examine Liane Lang’s collection of  bronze moustaches, inspired by the post-Communist theft of Stalin's mouth mirken from a statue. Various fascists and dictators are reduced to the suitably ridiculous and murine by these synechdochal portraits.   


Liane Lang: Stalin's moustache and  cafe installation view with Prussians and Other Villians (Prussian rulers and politicians) and Hair of the Devil (fascists and dictators), 2015


The Machine Stops @ Danielle Arnaud, 123 Kennington Rd – Lambeth North

To 23 March

Gabriela Schutz  DISconnect, 2016  clay  46 x 18.5 x 12.5cm  installation view by Oskar Proctor

‘The Machine Stops’ takes its title and themes from E.M. Forster’s only sci-fi writing, a 1909 short story in which physical interaction is displaced by communication over distance, and all surface desires are catered for - until a breakdown occurs. That sets the context for three artists and a composer to ponder what the Internet done to us, and what will happen when it shuts down. Clare Mitten's sculptural grouping  of plant-come-machines resonates with Forster’s prescient themes*. Gabriela Schutz contributes clay figures which seem overtaken by their mobile phones even before one of them is broken to the point of disconnection, and also shows her astonishing analogue blog, a giant roll of drawings and text setting out everyday experience and responses to artworks in front of which she unfurls her incongruous alternative to Instagram.

* Take these quotes: 'The imponderable bloom, declared by a discredited philosophy to be the actual essence of intercourse, was rightly ignored by the Machine' or 'Few traveled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over'.

Gabriela Schutz  Blog 3, Blog, Art Posts I Liked and First Hand Experiences  installation view by Oskar Proctor

Valérie Belin: Photographs of Women @ Huxley-Parlour, 3-5 Swallow Street - Central

To 17 March

Untitled, from the series 'Mannequins', 2003

Alongside other subjects from fruit to engines to bodybuilders, French photographer Valérie Belin has found several ways to focus on ambiguities and uncertainties in depicting women – if, indeed, they are women (‘Transsexuals’, 2001). Are we looking at a person or a model? (Mannequins, 2003). At the spilling out of inner life or the drowning out by cultural norms and excess information? (‘All Star’, 2016). At physical make-up or digital additions? (‘Painted Ladies’, 2017, in which the foundation is more like an abstract disguise than a figurative enhancement). All of which and a makes these 15 images from six series, all printed huge and clinical, an arresting line-up at the newly-named Huxley-Parlour. An interesting comparison, incidentally, is with Laurie Simmons' contemporary classic 'Fake Fashion' series from 1984 at Amanda Wilkinson's new gallery in Soho.

Lady Shadow, from the series 'Painted Ladies', 2017


Glenn Brown: Come to Dust @ Gagosian Gallery,
20 Grosvenor Hill

To 17 March

Fat Boy (1945), 2018: indian ink and acrylic on drafting film, 130 x 103cm - presumably a mash-up of the code names for the Nagasaki ('Fat Man') and Hiroshima ('Little Boy') atomic bombs, so pretty dark...

I tend to assume Glenn Brown is a slow worker - influenced, no doubt, by the exactitude of his famously flat ‘Auerbach copies’. Yet here are a commanding 60 works made in 18 months, with three distinct streams prominent: painting reworked, as usual, from many sources but always from other paintings, the queasy Life on the Moon being my favourite; Indian ink drawings which distort art history, often by taking their cue from the pre-sourced frame, as is at its clearest in Fat Boy (1945); and Brown’s signature method of making sculptures from paint in the very opposite manner from flattening an Auerbach, here applied to riotous effect on the armatures provided by found sculptures. Prolific, then, yet good.


Let me ferry you out to sea To see who you could have been When time comes to row back in You’ll be in the place you should have been, 2017 - Oil paint on bronze




Here & There: Paintings by Lisa Milroy @ Parasol unit,

To 18 March 

Party of One, 2013 - Installation painting and painting performed, nine dress object-paintings, one wearable dress painting, ten wooden stands, clay bases, oil on unstretched canvas

Anglo-Canadian Lisa Milroy is probably still best known for 1980’s paintings which put life into the still life against an off white background.  Since then she has brought increasingly experimental approaches to explore the performative aspects of painting and its relation to objects, and the role of clothes and shoes in identity formation. Here, for example, concentrating on this century, is a chance for visitors to rearrange 4 from 45 dresses as painterly wall-hung combinations; to choose between many shoes presented on paintings; to watch a performer move around dressed in a painting as she enacts connections around the show; and to read a 20 metre wide narrative of the studio. It’s a riot of colour and invention downstairs, and of monochrome-tending invention upstairs...   


Wall Assortment, 2011-17  various 3D object paintings


Roger Ackling:  Brought to Light @ Annely Juda Fine Art, Dering St

To 10 March 

Roger Ackling (1947-2014) worked through the universe rather than the hand, using the sunlight focused through a magnifying glass to burn lines onto card, paper, pieces of wood and detritus from marginal zones. He met his future wife, Sylvia Crowther, at the wedding of his close friends the artists Trevor Sutton and Carol Robertson in 1985, and now they have chosen and presented a wide range of Ackling's work and archive materials. “When Roger was working", says Robertson, "he   entered a world of ritual and hermetic order... Time burned in linear geometric patterns, line after line after line. He liked to say he was always making the same piece of work. So in our mind’s eye we join all the lines together like a burning fuse, stilling our minds too.” The resultant Gesamtkunstwerk is beautiful, meditative and - given you can get a twig for £1,000 - not so very expensive to buy in to.


Minjung Kim: The Memory of Process @ White Cube, Mason's Yard - Central

To 10 March

Pieno di Vuoto, 2008 - Mixed media on mulberry Hanji paper, 206 x 143 cm Photo: White Cube (George Darrell)

In her native Korea, Minjung was a pupil of Dansaaekhwa master Park Seo-Bo*: an inspiration, she told me, but rather severe and not a man to take women seriously as potential artists.  She moved to Italy, and then France, where she has found the Mediterranean light suits her as continues to use the traditional Korean mulberry Hanji paper, collaging singed pieces to make meditative series.. I’ve been impressed by her work several times previously at an intimate scale, yet White Cube's selection demonstrates across several series that the same processes can have a different but equally powerful effect when they assert themselves with gently but insistently in Mason Yard’s big spaces.

* Two years ago he, likewise, showed at Mason's Yard under Katharine Kostyál's aegis
Raggi, 2005 - Mixed media on mulberry Hanji paper, 214 x 155 cm Photo: White Cube (George Darrell)



Richard Ducker: End Credits @ dalla Rosa gallery, 3 Leighton Place – Kentish Town

To 3 March

Horizontal Hold 25, 2017 - 100 x 154cm

In which three streams of Richard Ducker’s retro-futurist practice come together  to create an edgy scenario full of size inversions. Eight Horizontal Hold aerosol drawings suggest an end-of-broadcast black and white TV with which the titular reversal of Joan Jonas’ 1972 ‘Vertical Roll’ would be temporally consistent*, but they’re on the scale of the biggest new colour flat screens. The cinematic-sounding End Credits impose tabloid newspaper styled headlines onto smoky backgrounds at tablet size: that is, phrases from the artist’s spam box are given mysterious prominence on top of online images of post-explosive smoke. And one of Ducker’s Stealth Devices, a wall-based missile-like sculpture domesticated by its small scale and flock covering, invades his own show.

End Credits, 2017 (detail) - ink and lettering on paper, 26 x 37 cm

TERRA: A contemporary history of clay @ Hotel Contemporary, Lamb Projects, 10 White Horse St - Shepherds's Market 

To 25 Feb 

Installation view with Liz Craft: Merrie Old England, 2017 and Paloma Proudfoot: Glover, 2017

Ceramics have been trending in the art world beyond their previous craft reputation for a while now, all of which is brought together by the Phaidon book Vitamin C: Clay + Ceramic *.  So where is the corresponding survey show? Curiously absent until this punchy gathering of 30 work shows by a classic (Lucio Fontana), five of Phaidon’s 100 ( Caroline Achaintre,  Liz Craft, The Grantchester Pottery, Emma Hart,  Mai-Thu Perret) and  nine up and coming practitioners who fit in well. The highlights include masks by Jonathan Baldock and Caroline Achaintre, an anus-cum-peephole by Zoe Williams and a boxing glove you wouldn’t like to be hit with by Paloma Proudfoot. The funniest is Liz Craft’s anti-Brexit piece Merrie Olde England, which might be sub-titled ‘Boris speaks shit’.  Certainly, if you’re redecorating your loo and have set aside £9,000 for a toilet roll holder, you should buy it immediately!

* Impressive, even allowing for my bias as a contributor

Co--curator Carmen Blanco Santos employs Paloma Proudfoot's ceramic boxing glove on artist Holly Stevenson, who happened to be in the line of firing

Painting All Around

I’m reasonably medium-neutral, but it’s hard not to notice that a stellar range of painting shows have already  opened across London this year. Even if group shows are omitted, many tastes are catered for:

Dale Lewis: Devils Juice, 2018 - Oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 200 x 400 cm

Pulsating figuration: Dale Lewis at Edel Assanti and Emma Cousin at Lewisham Arthouse - see separate review

Glenn Brown: Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above, 2017 - Oil on panel, 231 × 192 cm

Imaginative appropriation: Glenn Brown at Gagosian

Paola Ciarska: Untitled (Cześć, Pani Ciarska Series), 2017  Gouache on board | 12.5 x 18cm

Intricate interiors miniaturised: Paola Ciarska at IMT

The life in still life: Lisa Milroy at Parasol unit (see below)

Disturbingly detatched realism: Philip Pearlstein at Saatchi Gallery

Mindy Lee: It’s a bit scary (front and back). Acrylic and thread on  cotton,. 73 x 47 cm. 2016

Collaborating with a toddler: Mindy Lee & J.A.L-B. at Griffin Gallery


Painting on cut-up carpet: Bea Bonafini at Lychee One

Retinal repetition: Bridget Riley at David Zwirner and Mohammad Ali Talpur at Austin Desmond (see weekly column)

Geometries of space: Selma Parlour at Pi (see my review at Saturation Point)

The substance of colour: Carmen Herrera at the Lisson Gallery

Hans Hartung: T1988-E35, 1988 - Acrylic on canvas,180 x 142 cm

Unrestrained abstraction from a wheelchair: Hans Hartung at Simon Lee

Collaged means: Minyung Kim at White Cube (see below) and Tara Donovan at Pace

Self-painting performance: Neville Gabie at Danielle Arnaud

The grace of the would-be-unfinished: Georgia Griffa at Camden Arts Centre (see below)

Piero Dorazio: Nel Cuore Verde, 1965, oil on canvas, 148 × 197 cm

Maximally colourful and crisp abstraction: Piero Dorazio at Tornabuoni 

This, Georgio Griffa’s Paolo e Piero, 1982, is a tribute to Dorazio’s geometrics and the lances in Ucello’s famous Battle of Romano. As that’s in the National Gallery, you can see all three in London now!

And if group shows come into the mix, such as the five artists subverting portraiture in 'Face to Face' at  Angus-Hughes and the three gay women painting themselves and each other in the innovative triangulations of  ‘Threesome’ at New Art Projects, then there are even more worthwhile shows of painting...

Roxana Halls by Sarah Jane Moon at New Art Projects - also includes Sadie Lee

Mercury (shrouded), 2018 by Mark Jackson at Angus-Hughes - also includes Corinna Spencer, Wendy Saunders, Sue Williams A’Court, Sasha Bowles


Some Islands @ Coleman Projects, 94 Webster Rd – Bermondsey

To 11 Feb
Jyll Bradley: from Notes, 2016 - 89 x 69cm
Handily next door to Matt’s new space and close to Bermondsey tube station, Andrew Bick and Clare Goodwin have put together an elegant show – including their own work - which drives back from the geometric paintings which characterise most of the participants’ practices towards the wider life which informs them. The cue comes from a small etching by Dieter Roth, whose career writ that move large. It looks like a show of drawings, but the neat twist is that hardly any conventional drawing is involved: eg Daniel Robert Huzniker makes somewhat architectural reliefs out of card; Emma Talbot, whose main practice has particular affinities with that of Roth's long-term partner Dorothy Iannone, contributes writing-as-drawing; Jyll Bradley folds and unfolds the rare medium of white carbon paper, applying graphite front and back, then using tape to remove both types of carbon to achieve layered modulations.

Emma Talbot

Various Rooms at Tate Modern / National Gallery / Whitechapel 


Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake Keitele, 1904 (a slightly earlier version than the National Gallery's own, with more of the abstracting 'wake of a Kalevala boat' effect in the foreground)

It’s natural to think in terms of galleries and exhibitions, but what about individual rooms in large institutions?  Thomas Ruth is the main reason to visit the Whitechapel just now, but 'The Upset Bucket' is a wonderful selection from the ISelf Collection of 28 artists looking at how we project our identity through consumer choices: cue gold and caviar, bins and trash. Several whole room installations are of course core to the Tate Modern’s top current show – the Kabakovs – but two rooms of white works would also justify a trip: 'Painting with White', curated by Tanya Barson, and a display of Maria Bartuszová's under-known work. Not to mention the full version of Tehching Hsieh's One Year Performance 1980-1981 with all 8,760 of the photos taken hourly. And the various loans make up a Gallen-Kallela overview in Room 1 of the National Gallery, including all four versions of the seminal Finn's 1904-05 views of Lake Keitele.

Michael Buthe: White Painting, 1969 at Tate Modern

Combining Materials @ Rosenfeld Porcini, 37 Rathbone Street - Fitzrovia 

To 10 Feb

Keita Miyazaki:Collision of Species, 2017 - car parts, felt, paper, stainless steel, speaker system 155x110x78cm

This show puts forward a neat theme – the surprising combination of materials – and makes a stimulating choice of artists who use that approach for their own interesting reasons. Keita Miyazaki provides the ideal start by reconciling discarded car engines with paper folded origami-style. Continuing with tough meets fragile, Brazilian Túlio Pinto balances rock against glass with elegant drama. Felicity Hammond melds metal and concrete with photography. Alice Cattaneo’s glass and wood wall sculptures function a little like paintings, whereas Jane Bustin’s paintings edge towards sculpture with limewood, chiffon, crystal and copper included in Fluorite, 2017. And Leonardo Drew, the most established artist here, fixes large chunks of wood and mis-shapes of aluminium onto heavy paper.

Túlio Pinto: Complicity # 14, 2017 -steel beams and blown glass

Nature Morte @ Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard - City of London

To 2 April 2018, £8:

Caroline McCarthy: Vanitas, 2007
The large but little known Guildhall Art Gallery has a significant collection of Victorian paintings, currently complemented by and integrated with over 100 contemporary still lives. They provide new spins on flora, vanitas, food and domestic objects in a show – organised by Peckham's MOCA – which toured the world three years before arriving in London. You'll find, Andro Semeiko's 1.5m square  "Very big chocolate cake", a tribute to potential excess, more healthily topped by a 2 m high painting of cherries by Martin Gustavsson; and library of woodland books by Conrad Bakker; a Fright Wig made from household dust by Paul Hazelton; Caroline McCarthy's image of a skull made from Ben-Day dots punched out of a binbag hung next to it, waste to waste; and two classic Fantin-Latour florals – while both Philip Pirolo and Michael Petry (also the lead curator) make striking works which equate flower and anus.

Michael Petry: Red Roses, 2009 - one of three blown glass and cut flower arrangements in which the rim of the vase is taken from online submission  of anus shapes, and  each flower choice  represents a man's sexual preferences via the 1970's gay hanky colour code. 

Secular Icons in an Age of Moral Uncertainty @ Parafin, 18 Woodstock St - Bond Street

To 2 Feb

Installation view with Indrė Šerpytytė and Mimosa Echard

Quite apart from the matter of what's an icon nowadays, Coline Milliard’s five artist selection for Parafin lures you into apparent abstraction with attractive composition and colour, only for closer examination to reveal a backdrop of violence. Simon Fujiwara achieves more varied effects than I’ve seen previously from his patent process of shaving the fur off coats and reconfiguring them to show the construction behind what was, after all, a murder.  Indrė Šerpytytė’s elegant and seemingly cool double-sided towers of light derive their colours from internet searches for images of decapitation. Mimosa Echard works on top of horror movie stills to make the series Braindead. You get the picture… well, not the picture, actually, but you see where the non-pictures tend.

Simon Fujiwara, Fabulous Beasts (Bluewashed Mink), 2017. Shaved fur coat on wooden stretcher frame, 175 × 100 cm.


Rose Wylie & Wade Guyton @ Serpentine Galleries - Kensington

To 8 Feb (Guyton) / 11 Feb (Wylie) 

Rose Wylie: Choco Leibniz, 2006 - 366 x 305 cm

Both Serpentine Galleries feature artists who've found a highly distinctive visual language. Rose Wiley's cheerfully dispenses with convention in her thrillingly free and  spontaneous-looking accumulations of floating memories and sensations, featuring her wartime experiences alongside films, animals, football, tennis, skating... The installation aces the Sackler's spaces, with the multi-panel works particularly at home. Here she is, in the show's simplest and least colourful painting, eating that most philosophical of biscuits, the Choco Liebniz. Back at the old Serpentine, Wade Guyton - much lower key -  continues to develop the range of his his modern style of diptychs - doubled computer print-outs that push the capabilities of the equipment to a limit which becomes painterly. 

Wade Guyton: installation view

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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, Frieze, Photomonitor, Elephant and Border Crossings. I have curated 20 shows during 2013-17 with more on the way. Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.