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 11th January

The run to Trinity Buoy Wharf has been an attractive activity ever since a speaker at an event there, Ian Sinclair, notable for walking round the entirety of the M25 and writing a book about it, declared that this wharf, with its location next to the River Lee, marked an historic site. From here the Saxons would check out the Vikings, whilst the latter would return their reconnaissance in this direction from across the barrier of the River Lee. It is right on this junction that this smaller tributary departs the Thames as it takes its waters from the North. With a bacon roll consumed, it is time to head to the first gallery of the day via a series of waterways.

The River Lee provides quite a formidable barrier to the foot traveller even today and unlike the fairly tortuous route of a few weeks ago which required a four lane highway as travelling companion to cross the river, today’s route wends its way north past the giant docks of Canary Wharf and onwards up the Regent’s Canal, escorting me to Hackney, and indeed, arriving fifteen minutes early at one of the midday openers. PeerUK is hosting Catherine Story from nearby Carl Freedman gallery and in its window are clues to the nature of the show. Clay maquettes are the artist’s starting point and these have then been transposed to canvas as a series of Surreal looking paintings populated by chunky figures with shear planes suggestive of both limbs and machinery. They are in fact reminiscent of Cubism and with the clay being a plastic medium, the artist appears to have worked out in advance, the various folds, bobbles, distortions and protrusions, distinctive of that style, before then transposing them to the two dimensional world of paint.

Herald Street Gallery has opened a new space in Museum Street just near the British Museum and Ida Ekblad is on show. Her rather stunning, bright paintings are actually made with plastic, a fact gleaned whilst reading her press release off the phone in those last few minutes of waiting outside the previous space. The plastic has been melted and smeared with a palette knife and yet none of its intensity of colour, whether it be derived from a previous state as coloured carrier bag or plastic household object, a specific origin that the artist doesn’t actually divulge, has been lost. Rather this detritus of daily life lives on in a strange afterlife as material of a painting, depicting the simple forms of pots that are themselves reminiscent of Greek urns, along with a whole host of other types of ornamentation ranging from flowers to simple coloured planes.

After seeing yet more good quality work up for auction at Phillips, with a couple of stand out pieces by Alex Israel and Barnaby Furnas, the next destination is south of the River at Vauxhall where Cabinet Gallery sits proudly in the middle of the aptly named, Pleasure Garden. Henrik Olesen’s musings on the nature of an object lead to an unusual, though confident display of tacked, nailed and propped materials that sit and hang against the various white-walled nooks that this gallery has made available with its slightly unusual polygon-styled floor plan. On many of the box-sections of brushed aluminium, which feature as rectangular frames or stand-alone girders, there are small inscriptions presented on clear plastic rather as one might find accompanying cooking instructions on a ready-meal, and these provide further philosophical reflections by the artist on object hood. Perhaps by giving us a general scene of peculiar part-objects to look at whilst openly questioning their validity, the artist is also trying to evoke an aspect of the human condition that has been put into words by the philosopher Heidegger, that since the Greek ages we have passed over the phenomena of the world, a general being, and instead focused our attention, to our detriment, on individual objects from which we try to extract meaning.

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Catherine Story of Carl Freedman Gallery on show at Peer UK.

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Ida Ekblad of Herald Street Gallery with vivid paintings made from melted plastic.

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Barnaby Furnas of Victoria Miro provides the statement piece for auction at Phillips.

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Alex Israel on auction at Phillips and adorning the front cover of the catalogue as befits a top ranking artist shown by Gagosian Gallery amongst others.

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Michael Pybus on auction at Phillips.

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Clever use of stickers on this bike.

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Henrik Olesen presents a show at Cabinet Gallery of what could perhaps be described as partial objects, many of which are casually stapled or pinned to the wall. The show itself seems to question what an object actually is.

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Simon Thompson of Cabinet Gallery, an artist I’ve wanted to visit for a while, has done prints of objects on rather fab rug-like objects with a hanging tag.

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Michael Armitage of White Cube showing at South London Gallery. An allegorical piece as a mother gives birth to a goat. Not a good thing! and dreams of a better life symbolised by washing machine top right, are back on hold.

Gallery run 11th August

The day starts with a run up to White Cube Gallery near St James’ Park, followed by a visit to Gagosian just across Piccadilly and up past Berkeley Square. At White Cube, Harland Miller has painted more imaginary book covers using the 70’s style idiomatic of self-help manuals. He seems to look back at that era with affection and there is a suggestion in the blurb that it marked a time when such projects on oneself were seen as augmentative to an already ok self whereas now the self has become categorised by science as being afflicted by a range of disorders perhaps best left to the professionals to remedy. After these thought provoking issues, Peter Marino’s work consisting of several patinated bronze trunks, serves up a healthy serving of bling preventing any further circumspection of the soul. Above each of these floor-based works are priceless artworks by Bacon, Picasso and Warhol all hung on the wall. Taken from the Gagosian group of elite artists, these works provide a sort of imaginary setting which no doubt many rich collectors will identify with as home.

Initially when I then arrive at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park and see the slogan “The most popular show ever” before being asked to queue, I wonder who might have written this in their revue. Then I realise it is the title of Grayson Perry’s new show. He is displaying vases and tapestries and some gloriously sumptuous bikes with cow horn handlebars, a motorbike and peddle bike. Judging by the crowds milling around these great exhibits, the show title rings true. Across the Serpentine lake in the Sackler gallery are more works by a black artist Arthur Jafa, exploring political and urban street life themes. My favourite work is a video showing a performance of two artists spontaneously taking over the central isle of a metro train and swirling around the central pole. As I snap the image and look at the photo, they are upside down with lights and seats receding into the distance creating a spectacle that looks like the astronauts on a space station. They are modern day “metronauts”.

Finally the journey back south takes me to Vauxhall where Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff are showing at Cabinet Gallery. In the middle of the gallery is a long one metre wide strip of vinyl which is being passed over motorised rollers in a complex system of zig-zags. Printed on this vinyl are occasional images of stonework lettering which, we are told, are addresses of American government organisations that have been carved onto their stone walls. Meanwhile in a sort of contra-punctual relation there are also images of the interior of an Irish bar in Berlin. Whilst the former is perhaps associated with military prowess, the latter still has associations of military exemption, a feature of Berlin life for many years. The structure of the present artwork in Cabinet alludes to a standard printing procedure of airing the vinyl strip to allow time for the inks to dry. But it is also suggestive of a much more poetical process whereby it is acting as a sort of collaging machine. Here the contrasting images from Berlin and Washington that have been printed onto the vinyl strip, whilst not actually drying together in a literal sense, are nevertheless settling together over time.

A short distance further south takes one to the South London gallery. Opposite is an important base camp for this final ascent, called Sophocles’ bakery which makes excellent cheese boreks. The placement of this bakery allows for a five minute walk, to consume the pastry, before arriving at the gallery. Inside Lubeina Himid has presented some collage-based works relating to her placement within a domestic and political culture and she carries an additional aura now as a Turner nominated artist. Meanwhile on a TV monitor is “roadworks” an early performance piece by Mona Hartoum. She walks barefoot through busy Brixton market and carefully drags DM boots attached by their laces behind each ankle seemingly oblivious to the constant chatter and comments. These video works under stressful situations, as they are described, perhaps helped to hone her abilities in making the powerful more static works she is known for today.

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Harland Miller of White Cube with images based on imaginary book covers with very brief titles.

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Howard Hodgkin large scale work.

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Peter Marino at Gagosian Gallery in Davies Street with decorative bronze chests made in a classical style.

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Grayson Perry of Victoria Miro Gallery at Serpentine Gallery.

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Arthur Jafa at Serpentine Gallery with a performance of acrobatics in a metro train.

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Victoria and Albert Museum have a new entrance and courtyard.

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Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff at Cabinet Gallery.

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Lubaina Himid of Hollybush Gardens at South London Gallery.

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Mona Hartoum of Lisson Gallery showing a performance by herself in South London Gallery.

Gallery run 29th June

Today is the RCA degree show in Wandsworth and with a midday opening time, the run will start slightly later and will incorporate a zigzag to the bacon sandwich van parked outside Wandsworth’s recycling depot. The woman frying the bacon is quite chatty and says she has been up working since 6am, whilst in turn I tell her I have come along the Thames from Peckham on a gallery run.

At the degree show, two adjacent rooms stand out as exceptional containing respectively the work of MA sculpture student Rosie Reed and MA painting student Feline Minne. The work by the the sculptor has a sense of abandon to it. A stack of pots and brushes are covered in paint whilst alongside stand three towers containing yet more paint-covered pots. They resemble those organic chimneys found above termite nests to provide ventilation for the colony. Clearly there are formal principles behind the work but there is also a sort of mimesis that one finds sometimes in art whereby the very thing that gives rise to anxiety, namely dirty brushes and pots, is thrust into the artwork itself and becomes its subject. Meanwhile the paintings in the adjacent room maintain this sense of freedom using loosely applied paint which somehow has a chunkiness to it despite its application in thin drippy layers.

Further east along the Thames, having doubled back almost the entire route, is Cabinet gallery set amongst its fantastic location of Vauxhall zoo. Inside, the artworks of Gillian Carnegie are no less alive than the goats that are roaming outside. The paintings somehow retain one vital ingredient that is lost to the poorer pretenders of her craft of still life. This ingredient is time, and not just the time of execution which looks considerable, but rather the time embodied in hundreds of fleeting glimpses captured in the single image. Much of this is down to her treatment of light which marks each glimpse with its own stamp of authenticity.

Further into town, another captivating painter is showing at Sadie Coles HQ in Davies Street. I analyse how Nicola Tyson has skilfully blown up her original sketches to produce vibrant large-scale images which maintain the freshness of the absent original. This is partly achieved by brushwork that applies blocks of colour in single swipes thereby exhibiting a constant element of risk. For me on the other hand, tiredness is starting to kick in now. My legs still hurt slightly from the mammoth run last week. Nevertheless I get myself across Regent’s Street to the little oasis of Golden Square where Marian Goodman Gallery is displaying two major artists, one established from the 60’s and the other relatively new.

Downstairs Giovanni Anselmo, the established practitioner of art povera, has secured marble blocks on to the wall. Unlike the blocks on the floor which have been cut beautifully by a band saw and then worked on further with a drill, these appear to be hewn much more crudely and naturally. Upstairs, the artist Adrian Villar Rojas has created a stunning sculpture. It is basically the legs of the famous statue of David set in a fantastic marble-floored auditorium but containing on its plinth along with the well known tree stump that supports David’s right leg, two playfully rendered kittens that appear to be kissing. Photos secured and art feasted upon, it is time now to head off home.

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Invader on Lambeth High Street.

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Rosie Reed at RCA Graduate Exhibition with painted brushes pots and objects.

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Feline Minne at RCA Graduate Exhibition with great paintings.

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Gillian Carnegie of Cabinet Gallery with beautifully depicted flowers and leaves.

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Ryuji Tanaka at Simon Lee Gallery. The paintings have a powerful material quality.

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Nicola Tyson of Sadie Coles HQ with beautifully vibrant paintings.

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Gabriel Kuri of Sadie Coles HQ has created an installation incorporating these standard steel cubes. Each has circular inserts containing different small objects. Here, money.

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Giovanni Anselmo of Marian Goodman Gallery with dramatically positioned rocks.

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Adrian Villar Rojas of Marian Goodman Gallery with the bottom part of David and some kissing kittens.

Gallery run 16th February

Battersea, then east along the Thames.

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Stephen Sutcliffe at Simon Lee Gallery. This artist has also exhibited with Rob Tufnell.

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Vauxhall City Farm in the heart of London.

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John McCracken of Almine Rech Gallery with early plastic sculptures.

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Sonia Boyce at ICA, with multi screen installations of choreographed sound and movement.

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Jana Euler at Cabinet Gallery with images of objects that have somehow had their edges moved to the middle.

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Antoni Tapies of Timothy Taylor. Late works.

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Sherrie Levine of Simon Lee Gallery with cartoon imagery in artist made frame.

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DeWain Valentine of Almine Rech Gallery with translucent plastic sculptures in a group show.

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Dennis Oppenheim at Simon Lee Gallery with a video installation.

Gallery run 1st December

Finsbury Pk, Parkland walk, Hampstead then South.

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Rose Wylie at David Zwirner.

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Donna Huanca at Zabludowicz Collection with performance and great props including a rumbling base sound generator.

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Sean Scully at Timothy Taylor with a series of work called Horizon.

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John Currin at Sadie Coles HQ.

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Thomas Ruff at David Zwirner with press images from his archive but photographed front and back to capture the editor’s comments. The reflected lights, however, are not from the artist’s layering of images.

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Willem Weismann at Zabludowicz Collection with images built up from the imagination.

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Mai Thu Perret at Simon Lee Gallery with work inspired by Monique Wittig.

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A blue plaque honouring nature has appeared just feet away from the show by Gavin Turk at Newport Street Gallery.

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Bonnie Camplin of Cabinet Gallery showing here at the Camden Arts Centre. Images based on the artist’s mind expanding theories.

Gallery run 14th October

This week Mayfair and Vauxhall.

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Helen Marten of Sadie Coles HQ showing at the Serpentine Gallery.

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Borna Sammak at Sadie Coles HQ with popular culture imagery.

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Silke Otto Knapp at Greengrassi.

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Raymond Pettibon and Marcel Dzama at David Zwirner.

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Toby Ziegler at Simon Lee Gallery with Google image trickery. Matisse’s iconic image (above) is matched by Google’s algorithms through resemblance to various objects -presumably keyboards resemble the chequered background of the painting.

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Neo Rauch of David Zwirner.

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Marc Camille Chaimoiwcz of Cabinet Gallery at Serpentine Gallery with this installation Enough Tyranny as part of a retrospective show.

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Laura Owens at Sadie Coles HQ with abstract and figurative work.

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New Cabinet Gallery building with windows designed by Marc Camille Chaimoiwcz. The window frame is on display at the Serpentine Gallery as part of this artist’s retrospective show there.