Gallery run 15th September

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J B Blunk at Kate MacGarry with oriental ceramics.

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Kim Dorland at Beers London with images of forests, some figures aware of their impending death and a light-hearted egg motif.

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Richard Aldrich at Herald Street with a loose abstract piece.

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Christina Quarles at Pilar Corrias with abstracted figures in bright patterned landscapes.

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Moshekwa Langa at Blain Southern with great abstract works.

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Conrad Shawcross of Victoria Miro with developments on his tetrahedral motif.

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Urs Fischer at Gagosian. The candle is burning.

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Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) of Michael Werner Gallery with familiar animals that have become symbols.

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Keith Farquhar at Cabinet Gallery with familiar objects transformed for our viewing pleasure.

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Gallery run 22nd June

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Lesley Vance of Herald Street with beautiful formal compositions that use a range of styles including a nice gestural brushstroke stylie.

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Oscar Tuazon at Maureen Paley with work that references major projects in the US. These involve live-in spaces as well as political agitation for communities to keep access to dwindling water resources as it gets syphoned off by industry. We are presented with the basic elements in the gallery of fire, water and earth, or in this case rust.

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Anwar Jalal Shemza at Hales Gallery exploring the vast possibilities of composition using just circles, squares and, of course, colour.

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The star-crossed lovers are featured in a great mural near Hoxton.

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Kathryn MacNaughton at Beers London with carefully rendered re-workings of computer and mouse-generated images.

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Sarah Sze of Victoria Miro with great photo and paint collages. They are shown alongside lots of torn images attached to the gallery’s walls with blue tape. It is as though the artist has recreated the laboratory of visual associations from which the formally mounted works derived, as an installation in the gallery.

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Katharina Grosse of Gagosian with giant spray paint and stencil works, executed as high art abstraction.

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Eline McGeorge of Hollybush Gardens who creates pixilated images by weaving emergency foil blankets into natural imagery. The juxtaposition of the two materials creates an extra pathos suggesting that nature maybe in the position of the injured patient.

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Footie-England flags casting their red-crossed shadow onto a pavement somewhere near the end of today’s run in Peckham.

Gallery run 5th April

To start the Plus1 series, several invites have been made and sent out to people in the art world. This is perhaps the fantasy aspect of this project but sets out some of the key markers that define what Gallery Runner is about. This week features two of the best invites sent out. Alas, for the reader expecting a co-runner already, there are no takers yet. Fingers crossed on this one. Cards went to amongst others, Hans Ulrich Obrist of The Serpentine Gallery and Victoria Siddall of Frieze, featuring on the front covers the best Gallery Runner images acquired from the various shows they staged.

HansSerpentine Gallery, best of.

VictoriaFrieze, best of.

The images from my solo run are shown below and were harvested from a run up to Hackney along the Regent’s Canal. Here Hales Gallery featured and then slightly west, Beers UK. Then we see two artists at BlainSouthern. Michael Werner features on the western flank of the run close to Hyde Park, whilst the run due south brings us to Corvi Mora and Greengrassi. The respective photos of the eight artists showing at these galleries are shown below along with the various captions that have already been used on Instagram.

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Sebastiaan Bremer of Hales Gallery with altered photographs modified through the application of minute drops of paint on the surfaces.

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Daniel Jensen at Beers London with sculptures made from simple everyday materials.

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Mark Posey at Beers London with delicate paintings of still-lifes.

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Wim Wenders of Blain Southern with a selection of his many Polaroids taken during his film-making.

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Gabriella Boyd at Blain Southern with slightly surreal paintings.

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A.R.Penck of Michael Werner with colourful paintings from the 1980’s when the artist had finally crossed from East Germany to the west.

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Government building near Westminster actually looking rather good in the afternoon sun today.

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Myra Greene at Corvi Mora with small photographic portraits that use pigment on glass, a process used 150 years ago and a hint too at the important freedoms won for slaves in the US by Lincoln at the same historic period.

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David Musgrave of Greengrassi with illusionistic paintings of peeling paint.

Gallery run 18th January

With an invite to the Foundling Museum this morning it is necessary to divide the day into two halves. The first half will be in the East and the second half in the West. Parasol Gallery, the first stop of the day, is hosting Lisa Milroy, an artist who rose to prominence in the 1990’s. Her distinctive style is a grid pattern of objects standing out against canvas backgrounds and onto which there appear to have been cast drop-shadows. The pairs of black shiny shoes make a particularly strong impression in one of the older works, actually borrowed from Tate’s collection, since they go beyond the literal representation of an object and evoke additional associations notably of mussel shells. Such metaphorical readings of paintings often come from powerful childhood memories and whilst these certainly reside within myself, it is impossible to know if such associations are also shared by the artist. A small biographical detail recently provided by a friend, that the artist frequented a stunning beach close to Liverpool inhabited by razor mussels in their thousands, adds support to this further association but ultimately just confirms our own love of resemblances.

The theme of childhood memory is one that also underpins the new show at the Foundling Museum, a show aimed for children who may have lost a vital connection to their environment. Poet and writer Robert Macfarlane has turned away from our mediated worlds of digital technology and taken us on a stroll through nature while artist Jackie Morris has produced accompanying illustrations of the poet’s main themes to depict a world populated by birds, some resting on twigs, another with a pebble held delicately in its beak. What we see is a sort of hybrid world that never really leaves culture behind, for the gold-leaf backgrounds in many of the artist’s images are often more pleasing to the eye than those in which the complex structures of trees and vegetation have been presented. Perhaps nature is only digestible in small quantities. Following this theme, we find the most lucid and beautiful quote in the press release to be one that is actually set against the cultural reality of Pokamon characters. A child may be able to name over a hundred of these cultural brands, the artists inform us, but when it comes to naming the species and genera of our own natural habitats this number falls dramatically.

What does the window panel of an envelope mean? This is one of the questions that arises at Sadie Coles HQ where Darren Bader presents a room with a few highly collectable art sculptures mixed with tat, but where the buyer is not informed as to which is the art since this is precisely the nature of the game. In one sense then, all the work is art including the tat, since just as in a landscape the figure can only be picked out in contrast to a less busy background, here the artworks would only take their full meaning when viewed in relation to the much weaker objects that surround them. But this would be to miss the point which is that the viewer or potential buyer is expected to put their own judgement on the line, and this brings us back to the envelope windows. Are they art or simply the incidental and spontaneous product of HQ’s recycling activity? That they are reminiscent of any activity at all is why they get the thumbs up from me as accomplished artwork but this is an easy thing to say, whereas it is for the dedicated punter to make the real decision on this through a purchase.

Finally, at Thomas Dane Gallery Phillip King is presenting a fabulous multi-coloured installation using painted objects that appear to have been constructed out of wooden sheet. Large circular holes punctuate a central piece that makes it appear like a giant block of cheese. Though the yellow is provided not by the object itself, which is actually a bright lime green, but by the painted wall behind, the association of colour is nevertheless strong enough to impart the idea of food to it. In all there are several of these objects propped up against each other and the overall effect is to create a space reminiscent of a stage set where the viewer can move around and observe the curiosities of colour juxtapositions and perspectival lines.

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Lisa Milroy at Parasol Unit. Shoes, distinctive flat style, fab painting in general, but also a passing resemblance don’t you think to hinged mussel shells?

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Oli Epp at Beers London.

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Jackie Morris at Foundling Museum has produced images to accompany poetry by Robert Macfarlane.

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Christina Quarles at Pilar Corrias as part of Condo.

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Gerasimos Floratis at Pilar Corrias as part of the #Condo project where artists from different galleries do a temporary exchange.

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Koppe Astner at Sadie Coles HQ part of Condo.

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? at Sadie Coles HQ. There is a room full of conceptual sculptures including this one made up of envelope windows. Four are by A-lister Darren Bader and a few others are by guests, the rest is intended to be tat! The catch is none of the sculptures are labelled and prospective buyers are invited to take a punt. I fancy this one to be a quality piece.

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Phillip King at Thomas Dane Gallery with an installation of bold forms.

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Martin Kippenberger at Christie’s.

Gallery run 22nd November

The Saatchi Gallery has been closed for the last two weeks and today’s run offers an eagerly awaited opportunity to check out the group show there. Makiko Kudo, who was previously on the books of Wilkinson Gallery before its recent closure, is showing paintings in one of the rooms. Her subject matter includes figures and trees and a multitude of interactions between them. The figures actually appear to have been gathered up by the arboreal companions and then raised to a viewpoint where they can look down upon the world as though from a lookout post or treehouse replete with those memories of childhood. Also of note in the group show is Dale Lewis. His paintings of street kids and workmen in visibility tops are striking. The figures are all engaged in energetic mannerisms around tables or standing in groups and their movement is conveyed effortlessly, with the figures’ flailing limbs sometimes occupying several positions at once.

Meanwhile, though not quite literally, my own flailing limbs have taken me to South Audley Street where Massimo De Carlo gallery is showing Yan Pei Ming. This artist has depicted the famous scene first rendered by the painter David, in which Napoleon has taken his crown from the then Pope and is lowering it onto his head, his first act as emperor. For an event of such historical importance the painting has to be good and the artist doesn’t disappoint. He has rendered the image not just once, but five times over in a series of tinted, coloured monochrome paintings. Two of these striking images are actually placed beneath the gallery’s own elegant chandelier, and whether by accident or design, the painted crowns seem to sparkle and refract in a way that is prompted by the illuminated glass immediately above them.

At Southard Reid, the gallery assistant is on the phone. But she helpfully gestures to the press releases presented in a neat pile at the foot of a small staircase. The artist R M Fischer is from New York and undergoing something of a renaissance, we are told. He has made a particularly impressive work using plumbing fixtures, such as taps and pipes, to create a sort of bas relief against a background that is itself reminiscent of a section of bathroom wall. On this surface, almost like a graffiti artist, he has rendered fat lines with marker pens and possibly oil sticks, to create the rough forms of cartoon faces. These in turn have commandeered an occasional washer or random mark to act as make-shift eye or expressive feature.

From here it is eastwards. Having slightly overdone the Thames and Regent’s Canal routes in the past, today will use the busy streets, populated by cars and people, to play host to the remainder of the run. Hollybush Gardens is accessed by a staircase that connects the main road to a small network of streets below and it is in this hidden enclave that Claudette Johnson is on display. She has made beautifully economic paintings of figures that dominate the space in which they are portrayed and her sitters, who are all from ethnic backgrounds, appear empowered to leave the confines of the picture plane at any time of their choosing. Finally, at Stuart Shave Modern Art, Karla Black has produced delicate artworks of abstract marks on glass, paper and polythene. Light is the companion to these swirling compositions. It plays across their various surfaces and many of the artworks, despite their simple materials, resonate and glow like the insides of giant shells. Responsible in part for this is toothpaste which the artist has requisitioned from her toiletry bag, along with nail varnish, and then added to her artworks. Through these cameo appearances of objects that populate the artist’s own daily routines, she has not only created interesting visual effects, but also instilled herself in the artworks as an additional presence.

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AES+F at Saatchi Gallery with photoshopped minarets in traditional settings but the minarets are actually rockets.

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Makiko Kudo at Saatchi Gallery.

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Dale Lewis at Saatchi Gallery.

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Yan Pei Ming of Massimo De Carlo with reworking of a famous image in which Napoleon was crowned emperor.

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Bruce McLean with a public sculpture just off Regent Steet called Handbag Heads.

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R M Fischer at Southard Reid with a sculpture incorporating plumbing parts and some drawing.

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Claudette Johnson at Hollybush Gardens with dominating portraits.

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Karla Black at Stuart Shave Modern Art with delicately coloured materials using a range of pigments and extenders including toothpaste and nail varnish alongside traditional watercolour pigments.

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Nick Flatt and Paul Punk showing in a drawing show at Beers London.

Gallery run 31st August

The first stop today is a Science Fiction Exhibition at the Barbican containing artwork from several artists at London galleries. On arrival, there is a sort of sensory overload of robots, clips from 60’s sci fi films and models of rockets destined for the moon. Many of these items are film props which were used in classics ranging from Star Wars to The Incredible Shrinking Man. The initial attraction for this show was the abundance of familiar gallery artists, but this is soon matched by the great postcard-sized paintings by Andrey Sokolov of moonscapes and yet more rockets.

At the Barbican a helpful attendant points the way up to Old Street after asking me If I was lost and what look likes a very pedestrian unfriendly car ramp turns out to be a short cut back to the main road. At Beers, Adam Lee is showing some evocative paintings inspired by the exotic location of his studio in an isolated region of Australia.

From here the Regent’s Canal provides a direct, though fairly long, route to Regent’s Park where there is a choice selection of sculptures. This is the Frieze Sculpture Park show and it is kicked off with a stunning sculpture by John Chamberlain set against a background of the park and some of the Regency properties on its periphery. Next Ugo Rondinone of Sadie Coles HQ presents an enormous white tree planted firmly into the grass. Tony Cragg has a sculpture with his stacked disc motif all assembled into a gold figure that has some similarities to the fantastical machines and figures on show earlier at the Barbican. Finally Takuro Kuwata of Alison Jacques Gallery has presented some brightly coloured cylindrical forms that look slightly organic like brightly coloured mushrooms, though of a different shape. Urs Fischer, meanwhile, has a skeleton placed in a fountain. It is being cooled, or watered in some way, with a garden hose. Then for me it’s back south with tired legs after having spent much of the last week with feet up on vacation.

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Postcards by Andrey Sokolov shown at Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction at The Barbican Centre.

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Storyboard for The Incredible Shrinking Man shown in the exhibition Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction at The Barbican Centre.

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Robot figure with light stick. Conrad Shawcross showing at Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction at The Barbican Centre.

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Adam Lee at Beers London.

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John Chamberlain of Gagosian showing at the Frieze Sculpture Park in Regents Park.

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Ugo Rondinone at Frieze Sculpture Park in Regents Park.

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Tony Cragg at Frieze Sculpture Park in Regents Park.

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Takuro Kuwata of Alison Jacques Gallery at Frieze Sculpture Park in Regents Park.

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Urs Fischer of Gagosian in the Frieze Sculpture Park in RegentsPark.

Gallery run 21st July

To get to Lisson Gallery, I jog along the green corridor of St Jame’s Park, Green Park and Hyde Park before cutting through the Paddington Basin and finally taking the underpass under the busy A40 and Edgeware Road. Lisson Gallery is hosting a group show themed around Chardin and in true Lisson spirit, the artworks are decidedly minimal as though the artists know there is nothing to be gained in trying to outdo the old master’s realistic rendering of light. The artworks are good though and include a great piece by Audrey Barker that looks like the palette of colours in an oversized make-up box. In the gallery’s other building, the central room has been filled with razor wire. Santiago Sierra creates spaces that are reminiscent of borders and boundaries to try to make us reflect on the effect of separation and the extreme measures sometimes used to enforce it. The grid pattern of the razor wire is actually remarkable on account of its regularity, allowing distinct shapes and patterns to be picked out from different viewpoints.

The next destination is Camden Arts Centre on the outskirts of Hampstead. Daniel Richter is showing a retrospective of his painting that includes figurative and abstract works. One of the latter works stands out as stunning having an enormous quantity of elements and layers to it. Meanwhile in an adjacent room a second artist, Jennifer Tee has made juxtapositions of woven fabrics and plastic objects that seem to be colour-matched and produce a strong overall effect of unity.

Jogging up to Highgate, a number of shrines come into view occupying a small section of tree-lined grassland cordoned off from the main village green. There are candles, flags and photographs and it quickly becomes clear that these are dedicated to George Michael. But there is also an intensity to the tributes suggesting that he really did die before his time.

After several more miles of green space, albeit with a dusty stretch through Angel, Wharf road plays host to the next gallery, Parasol Space. Vibrant work by Monique Frydman is on show. Close by, Stuart Shave Modern Art is showing the work of gallery artist Katy Moran. She has incorporated great brushstrokes into her paintings that seem to be made up of different colours, as though she loaded up the width of her brush with a selection of different colours. Then having been passed across the surface, the resulting strokes have brought these colours to life as coloured streaks which remain differentiated from their neighbours.

Finally Carl Freedman gallery is showing Nel Aerts. She has produced sublime cartoon-like paintings which portray the artist herself experiencing a period of slight isolation during a residency she was doing at one of Van Goch’s former dwellings. The gallery manager sneezes at the front desk which is out of sight and in that split second when I’m wondering whether to acknowledge it, he suddenly remembers that the gallery lights have been switched off and kindly rushes to put them on. The colourful paintings acquire an even greater intensity and new details appear.

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Audrey Barker at Lisson Gallery with a fab palette of colours in an exhibition celebrating Chardin.

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Santiago Sierra of Lisson Gallery with a no-go space full of razor wire.

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Daniel Richter at Camden Arts Centre, with a retrospective of his paintings including this great abstract piece.

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Jennifer Tee at Camden Arts Centre with a great, colourful installation.

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George Michael shrines around trees on the way up to Highgate village from Hampstead.

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Monique Frydman at Parasol Unit with great abstract pastels built up from rubbings and a vocabulary of repeated marks.

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Katy Moran of Stuart Shave Modern Art with great multi-coloured brush strokes.

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Fiona Ackerman at Beers London.

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Nel Aerts of Carl Freedman with paintings and fabric cartoon-like figures, mainly the artist herself, inspired by a residency in a former home to Van Gogh.