Gallery run 1st October

1351Albert Oehlen at Serpentine Gallery. The bit I liked in his interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist at the Serpentine was when the artist said he was sick of Turpentine and HUO quickly warded off the potential pun.

1352Albert Oehlen at Serpentine Gallery is showing this retrospective based on a mash-up of a curious unassuming work by a forgotten artist John Graham. This is the remix series. Spot the mermaid, text element, lock of hair.

1353There’s a message in Leake Street.

1354This is not a light. Ceci n’est pas une lampe, back here in Leake Street.

1355Jannis Varelas at Frieze Week with a stylish use of colour, gesture and detailed flowers.

1356Andre Butzer with Galerie Max Hetzler showing at Frieze Week.
This artist was mentioned earlier in the week by the great abstract painter Albert Oehlen as one of his favourites.

1357Alexandros Vasmoulakis at Frieze Week. What great colours in this abstract.

1358William Monk with Pace Gallery showing at Frieze Week. Lovely abstract work.

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Gallery run 17th September

Harmony Hammond at White Cube Official with great abstract works based partly on the materiality of canvas and other fabrics.

Dora Maurer at White Cube Official with colourful shaped canvases.

Mona Hartoum at White Cube Official . When by chance a woman was leading a tour of this show, I did a quick google search and her characteristic curly hair revealed it was in fact the artist. Fascinating tour I had tagged onto and here is something the artist described as being almost a self portrait… any guesses?

Goshka Macuga at Kate Macgarry with works that on first sight seem based on the theme of weaving. However, the deeper reference is computing and the artist explains that there are many connections between the information needed to weave fabrics mechanically and that of the old computer punch cards. Surprisingly the pioneer of such technology was a not a male we have heard about, such as Charles Babbage, but rather a woman living in the early 1800’s.

Cui Jie of Pilar Corrias with paintings of Chinese viewing platforms and architecture.

Yoshimoto Nara and David Shrigley of #StephenFriedman with cartoon-like drawings that depict clever or witty ideas.

Jasmine Thomas Girvan at David Zwirner with intricate figurative sculptures shown alongside the paintings of Chris Ofili.

Chris Ofili at David Zwirner with figurative paintings including this great piece.

A wheel of sorts and it’s a big one.

Gallery run 20th June

1331Dulwich Pavilion inspired by the Nigerian cloth patterns of artist Yinka Ilori‘s native country. Pricegore architects complete an impressive team.

1332Serpentine Pavilion, what a fantastic jagged roof it has!

1333It’s here!
This year’s Serpentine Pavillion has arrived, curtesy of the architect Junya Ishigami. The rock-covered roof was the chief design consideration and all else is periphery. A crow was the inspiration , the wings mimicked by several tons of slate. Destination, due South!, since for added impact the roof is also aligned to due South, tapering to the rear in the NE and NW directions.

1334He’s still as ascerbic as ever. Blah, blah, blah. The colours are stunning, helped by the velvet fabric. The old print set hasn’t changed but the experimentation with paint continues apace. Mel Bochner at Simon Lee Gallery.

1335Jannis Kounellis at Almine Rech Gallery.
These striking letter-canvases are inspired by ship’s lettering in the artist’s native home of Piraeus, Greece’s shipping port close to Athens.

1336Howardena Pindell at Victoria Miro with collages comprised of paper chads- those circular discs of paper made from hole punchers. Not to be confused with hanging Chad or Florida 2000. These artworks are very beautiful and represent the artist’s mature phase, set against her determination to recover from a severe car accident.

1337Well this is the subject of many an art school dissertation on movement and it’s arrived in London, in the flesh, as it were. Even in its latent state with power switched off it can’t resist a few impromptu light events, Obviously the shadows below are staged, but the refractions further up casting light pools on the surrounding walls are more telling of the machine’s potential to play with light. This is Lazlo Moholy Nagy‘s light machine -a sort of hybrid cross between film projector and stop-motion light house. On show at Hauser and Wirth.

1338Keith Tyson at Hauser and Wirth exploring the genre of flower painting. This is the standout example for me as there are allusions to swamps and a wider ecosystem. A question, though, to an old colleague and technophile. Is single, vanishing-point perspective appropriate, for rendering nature?
Nature is no friend of our Cartesian systems as the ironic quoting of equations attests. But the flowers are nevertheless signifying something with their spiral patterns in these photorealistic paintings. Do we consider the Aesthetics, or do we look deeper at some strange flower-sprouting- laws based on osmotic pressures and electric field lines, perhaps?

1339Francis Bacon at Gagosian Gallery They are all behind glass which makes them a pain to photograph, oblique angle photo to remove my own reflection followed by correction using the tilt toolbox- is not really the way to experience art. Being there , however, brings a few sublime moments and the eye’s remarkable ability to selectively choose its depth of field offers are far more forgiving editing of miscellaneous reflections.

Gallery run 5th June

Marylyn Molisso at Tension Fine Art.
Exciting new show at a gallery that supports experimental art in South East London.

Street art meets canal boat on Islington stretch of Regent’s Canal.

On the water near Kings Cross, propane tanks aglow.

Laure Prouvost at Lisson Gallery with text on a corner.

Faith Ringgold at Serpentine Gallery with poignant painted canvases integrated into stitched, quilted, borders.

Faith Ringgold at Serpentine Gallery with paintings showing powerful narratives. A burning ship and its trade are the very symbols of injustice.

Faith Ringgold holds court and all of our attention at Serpentine Gallery today as she discusses her work there.

Shelagh Cluett at Greengrassi with delicate, sea-creature-like sculptures.

David Lieske at Corvi Mora.

Gallery run 22nd May

1311
Zaha Hadid design for the Sackler Gallery where we met for a press view this morning.

1312
Luchita Hurtado at The Serpentine Gallery with beautiful studies of light. There are also fine figurative works and amazing abstracts in this retrospective of a woman who met artists from all the great artistic movements of the last century whilst resolutely pursuing her own ideas.

1313
Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery with large scale stone works exhibited in the gallery’s courtyard. They look stunning in the summer sun.

1314
Jason Martin at Lisson Gallery with bands of paint that remind me of newly laid snow snagging occasionally on small protrusions.

1315
Fergus Polglase at Central Saint Martins graduate show. Great tongue-in-cheek abstract painting of a motorbike road trip.

1316
Navid Nuur at Parasol Unit with blown up doodles from those scribble pads where customers try out the new pens. We are all graffiti artists when we are not thinking about it.

1317
Frank Bowling at Hales Gallery with abstracts reminiscent of the artist’s native Grenada. A warning is struck too as the iridescent water sometimes has rubbish strewn across the surface portrayed playfully by collage.

1318
Near Brick Lane. Was in the prospect of a bagel or this fab mural that injected energy into those flagging limbs?

1319
Sarah Morris at White Cube Gallery with an installation that reminds me of artificial intelligence.

Cell Graffiti Show

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Show open Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Tension fine art.
135 Maple Road, SE20

Cell Graffiti is my new solo show at Tension Fine Art. Visiting the London Galleries as a jogger helps give an objectivity to the shows, I feel, as you are grinding out those last few miles and reflecting on the art in a state of ego-less exhaustion. So here I should try to be similarly objective about my own show if only through mentioning how the gallery owner and curator, Ken Turner encouraged me to stretch beyond the comfort zone with this installation.

Much of the following review, then, focuses on this experience. Our remit, Ken says, is to take risks and question what art is and what art can be. Hence it was the ping-pong ball theme that caught Ken’s interest and one that I was happy to explore further, encouraged by our shared interests in drawing and unusual media.

Ostensibly the show is ultra traditional since it focuses on themes that reach back to the Italian Renaissance, namely anatomy and humanism. Cell Graffiti is a metaphor for the sort of complex machinery that cells actually produce within themselves and which we simply call proteins. 500 years after Leonardo, then, anatomy has become microscopy whilst humanism, a belief that shared genetic heritage can unite animals, humans and yeasts alike.

Whether one agrees with these sentiments is a matter of personal judgement, but I’ve certainly never expressed them with a walk-through artwork before. Ken reminded me when doubt crept in that I had to be ambitious. Thus the ping-pong ball cell membrane has rightly ended up in the doorway to the gallery feeling the stresses and strains of constant use. No easy option was taken here of just sticking it onto a wall with a price tag.

Though the work is for sale, the main emphasis is to allow the artists freedom to experiment. So, as a postscript to this review, when the current show by myself comes down and the next installation goes up we will see scaffolding, mattresses and builder’s tresses I believe! Tension will not only be accommodating this next round of drilling and madcap ideas, but true to its name, will be actively encouraging it!
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Gallery run 22/2/19

1301
Tracey Emin at The White Cube Bermondsey until 9th March. Work entitled Another Goodbye in the show A Fortnight of Ashes.

This show focuses on the powerful feelings evoked by love, sex, death and loss. In this piece, located in a room Tracey has renamed the Ashes Room, is a remembrance of the artist’s dead mother.

Remembrance and memory are the themes of this show and the power that they hold over us are clearly visible here. For Tracey, the memorabilia of her past are displayed in glass vitrines, rather like the sealed vessels of Prousts Remembrance of Things Past that hold the long forgotten memories of past habits and routines shared with loved ones. Just as Proust’s vessels burst open when triggered with a sensation often of smell or taste, it looks like these glass vitrines too have been smashed apart and plied their powerful subject matter upon the work in the show.

1302
Staging Jackson Pollock at The Whitechapel Gallery until 24th March. Not so much about the American artist himself as rather a narrative of two intertwining events. Firstly, the display and eventual purchase of a beautiful painting called number 9, Summertime, by the Tate Gallery and secondly the ground breaking exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery back in 1958, of Jackson Pollock’s works, where this painting was originally displayed on a bespoke wall by modernist architect Trevor Dannat. The wall ran right through the middle of the gallery and epitomised the brutalist architecture of the day. Alongside all this archive material is the real thing. Number 9 has been lent back to the Whitechapel for this show and it is still looking resplendent.

1303
Woskerski mural near BrickLane.

1304
Hyon Gyon at Parasol Unit, until 31st March. Work entitled We Were Ugly.

This enormous work running the length of the gallery is composed of 17 styro-foam blocks in the traditional builder’s dimensions of 4 feet wide by 8 feet high. Here the similarities to the building trade comes to an end, however. The bright painted surfaces have been burnt with a soldering iron revealing the blue granular layer that comprises the region behind the picture surface. Paint fuses into this nether world and offers a comparison to the artist’s own psyche, we are told.

1305
Me in front of my works Life In A Cell and Psychic Space exploring the hidden realities in nature and science.
This is my base in Peckham, Ideas Lab and the start point for each #galleryrunner event.

1306
John Korner at Victoria Miro until 23rd March. Work entitled Apples as Architecture, 2019 in the show Life in a Box.

For John Korner, apples are a mini-theme and one that I both recognise and love. Previous apple works are Apple Bombs and Running Along Apples. This mini-collection of apple works also offers a clue as to why this show should seem to be all about dynamism, with its running figures, sports track and climbing-frame bar where you receive free alcohol shots on a Friday afternoon, yet its title Life in a Box should simultaneously seem so static. The apples in Korner’s paintings are not strictly still, but pulse across the picture surface leaving behind their glowing after-images. Thus grids and boxes as exemplified by these vibrant apples are therefore only temporary states. Everything is ultimately dynamic and changing.

1307
Peter Joseph at Lisson Gallery, until 2nd March. Work entitled Dark Blue, Mushroom, Light Blues, Greens and Yellow 2016

These enigmatic works give little away on an intellectual level but nevertheless show the acute aesthetic sensitivity of a 90 year old artist at the top of his game.

1308
Liu Xiaodong at Lisson Gallery, until 2nd March. Work entitled Weight of Insomnia (Beijing) 2016, in the show Weight of Insomnia.

In a glass vitrine we see a typed proposal for a kind of painting machine, three in fact, that could work tirelessly for several weeks depicting three different landscapes from digital images captured by CCTV. By a certain good fortune one of these CCTV regions would be outside the artist’s own apartment and is the image shown here.
This and the other two images were a great success in the artist’s native China and the project continued to grow, incorporating iconic squares and public spaces in many other countries. The machines are still painting night and day, and one of them is even on show and at work in the present exhibition, where we see scaffolding, some delicate wires, a kind of makeshift print-head and finally a small laptop displaying the CCTV image providing the electronic subject matter of its current painting of Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar Square.

1309
Miroslav Balka at White Cube, until 9th March. Show title, Random Access Memory.

Walls are the theme of many news stories currently and here we have two. They are made of corrugated metal sheet, heated to a temperature of 45 degrees, which apparently is the temperature at which the enzymes within organisms begin to denature and their cells die, but when this temperature is delivered by objects resembling giant radiators, they actually feel lovely to rest against. Random Access Memory, the type used by computers to store data, is the show title that adds a more sinister note to these giant structures straddling the galleries.