Tuesday, 20 August 2019


SHOWS TO SEE: Up Now in London 

see also my Instagram feed as paulcareykent

Shana Moulton at the Zabludowicz_collection  to 15 Dec

The wonderful Shana Moulton is in sauna-suit mode here as Cynthia finds fresh worries in spectacularly installed new films. Add diverting - though also stressed - supplementary shows by Puck Verkade and Rebecca Allen for a treble top at the current must-see venue. 

Feliciano Centurion at  Cecilia Brunson Projects to 13 Dec

This is from a set of plastic toys in crochet, c. 1990. The Paraguayan artist (1962-96) was an AIDS victim who said that his nation was constructed by women after the men disappeared in war, and that lay behind his adoption of the knitting, weaving and embroidery of his mother and grandmother. The show reveals him to be a nature lover who uses such media playfully, yet with a hint of vulnerabilty. Is this a dinosaur waking with a hangover?

Clare Woods: Doublethink at Simon Lee to 6 Oct
In 'The Upsidedown' 2019, Clare Woods has taken to revisiting an isolated tree on her annual visits to Austria, photographing it in many conditions. This meltingly snowy version is the second of what could become a long-running series. It's in line with the established process she explained at the gallery: take / find many photographs, preferably in black-and-white , so that she can more naturally find her own colours; simplify the essence into a drawing; set out a tonally gradated small range of colours in oil mixed with resin; having unpicked the source image, rebuild it in one hit, wet on wet, working on aluminium on the floor; when she senses completion, look at the painting and decide whether it is one to keep (' I never look halfway through', she said). Only then does she look through her ongoing list of possible titles...

Welcome Home at Elephant West to Oct 6

Above is a still from Aideen Barry's 'Not to be Known' 2015.   She takes off from Article 41.2.3 of the Irish Constitution which still, remarkably, states that 'a woman's place is in the home'. Barry performs as a Medusa whose vacuum snake-hair - usefully but narrowingly -  sucks waste into the head which deals with the 'mental work' of running a home. That tends to fall to women - according to my wife, as well as to Aideen. From Becca Pelly-Fry's highly maginative show envisaging the future of home through various room installations.

James Rosenquist: Visualising the Sixties at Thaddaeus Ropac to 22 Nov

An excellent survey. Here's 'Bedspring', 1962: if there's tension here, I guess it is from the Cold War background, but the painted strings probably couldn't take much tightening. It's more suggestive of fragility, perhaps relating to the mental state of the woman on (or forming part of?) the bed. 

Rhys Coren: 'Up and down (I'm up the wall)' 2019. Rhys Coren has retained his signature subtly-wow use of interlocking laser cut pieces to make up paintings, but whittled his colour choices down to five - the better to concentrate on building a narrative to do with the benefits of walking as a means of reducing urban anxiety. Here the pathways seemed very convoluted and Coren declares himself 'up the wall' - presumably with stress. But walking engages the hippocampus, which plays an important role in our bodies' responses to stress. That is, coincidentally, the genus of the seahorse, explaining the mysterious inscription, and suggesting that those winding paths may actually be in the brain

Frost, Heron, Lanyon, Scott at Beaux Arts to 19 Oct

A show of Frost, Heron, Lanyon and Scott sounds routine: you can always find a scattering of their work in London's secondary dealers, But Beaux Arts has sourced particularly good examples. This unusually fluid Lanyon ('Saltillo', 1963) is set in Mexico, and he also has a construction centered on an oar. There is an early mining landscape by Scott, top Herons, and above average collages by Frost.

Mona Hatoum: 'Remains (Playroom)' 2019: this once-cute toy dog features in the newest stream of work in the #monahatoum show @whitecube : the homely is unhomed through charred forms barely kept intact by a delicate wrap of chicken wire.

Nina Mae Fowler: 'I didn't know Robert Rauschenberg could dance' 2019. The latest of @ninamaefowler 's conglomerate drawings sports a striking title (it's true, he danced with Merce Cunningham) which stands as a possible passing  thought of Kim Novak's character. She emerges from a strip joint in a street scene from the druggy tale of The Man with the Golden Arm (1955). Extra figures from Fowler's extensive photo-archive ramp up the noir of the film still: Sophia Loren engages with a bucket of water; Lenny Bruce is recorded as dead - from a morphine overdose - by a crime scene photograph; a stripper takes an axe to another stripper's water tank stage prop.  just another day in the tragi-excess of celebrity culture as per Fowler @cobgallery

Károly Keserü: 39 at Patrick Heide to 2 Nov

Contains a great range - 39, I suppose - of characteristic Keserü works, including several new additions to the '20th century' series, which tweaks the language of the greats. Here, Bridget Riley emerges in an Aboriginal version (the Budapest-born artist lived in Australia and England before returning to Hungary a few years ago). 

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelly: Rand/Goop at Studio Voltaire to 6 Oct

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelly's from 'Rand/Goop' features six weirded versions of  Mary intoning the words of Ayn Rand's 'Objectivism' and Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle advice for 13.5 minutes. The press release says that Ran's espousals of individualism begin to resonate with the purchasable wellness offered by Paltrow's Goop. Actually I wasn't always sure what came from which source...


Mike Nelson: The Asset Strippers at Tate Britain to 6 Oct

Related image

'The Asset Strippers' 2019 fills the Duveen Halls with online auction sourced industrial, agricultural and bureaucratic detritus from our analogue past, repurposing it as sculpture and memorial while echoing many modern art tropes. The best use of this space since Phyllida Barlow in 2014...  Moreover, Frank Bowling's retrospective is as worthy of enthusiasm as Lee Krasner at the Barbican.

Images courtesy / copyright the relevant artists and galleries 


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Monday, 12 August 2019


Visiting Colchester recently, I was surprised to find in a fairly small place that it was over a mile from the railway station to the town centre. Perhaps that influenced my mind set, but as I strolled in there seemed to be quite a few features of questionable logic. Here are my questions for Colchester:

Does Lewis really bring his car to be serviced here?


Is it always good to be green?

Just how confidential are the secrets?

Since when did angels have tattoos?


Would Boards & Boarding be a better name? 


Will those flowers really suit a buttonhole?


Why should people have to copy statues? 


Wouldn't nature rather live outside? 

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.