Gallery run 10th May

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Beatriz Milhazes at White Cube with a 15m long tapestry in her characteristic style.

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JeffKeen at Kate MacGarry with an early example of spliced 8mm film intercut with animation.

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Birgit Jurgenssen of Alison Jacques Gallery with delicately presented photographs using gauze fabrics to give a soft focus and welded metal frames which she made herself.

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Wilhelm Sasnal at Sadie Coles HQ with paintings in his distinctive style.

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Christian Boltanski at Marian Goodman with films of interventions and installations in deserted landscapes.

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Juan Usle of Frith Street Gallery with delicate brushwork.

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Rose Wylie at David Zwirner with evocative paintings made from the artist’s memory and images she finds in her studio.

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Alvaro Barrington at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac with paintings and sketches.

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Joseph Beuys at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac with a big retrospective and here a transformer and felt installation.

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Gallery run 23rd March

A classic stop-off point is Brick Lane, at Beigel Bake to be more precise, where apple strudel costs just 80p. From here I move on from some of the galleries in the east of London towards the west end and on the way encounter Hollybush Gardens in Farringdon. On show is Turner Prize winner, Lubaina Himid. The room is full of wall paintings extending onto some additional objects propped upright on the floor. It is fascinating that the original utility of these painted objects, such as piano lid, is still immediately recognisable.

Jogging west past Holborn, the Mayfair galleries are finally reached. David Zwirner on Grafton Street is hosting Andrzej Wroblewski, a Polish artist who oozes Eastern Block charm. His Chauffeur series features drivers with their back turned to the viewer. A Gauguinesque blaze of colour near the driver’s head appears to demarcate that area of the vehicle window where the subject’s own psyche has intervened into this external world.

Then doubling back slightly, for a reason I can no longer remember since this is a slightly stripped down and edited re-write, Sophie Von Hellermann has been exhibiting some lovely loose paintings at Pilar Corrias. Formally of Vilma Gold, which shut last Autumn, the artist has found a good replacement with this gallery on Eastcastle Street.

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Lubaina Himid of Hollybush Gardens with a painted piano lid.

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Jose Damasceno of Thomas Dane Gallery with a small intervention on the eyes of Brazilian money-prints.

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Pier Paola Calzolari at White Cube who uses refrigeration units in his sculptures to produce pure whites.

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Mel Bochner at Mazzoleni Gallery.

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Andrzej Wroblewski at David Zwirner with an image from his Chauffeur series.

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Roy Newell at Simon Lee Gallery with meticulously worked miniature paintings.

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Michelangelo Pistoletto of Simon Lee Gallery with shelving images on his characteristic mirror backgrounds.

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Jean Dubuffet at Timothy Taylor with one his familiar cellular-based sculptures.

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Sophie Von Hellermann of Pilar Corrias with colourful paintings from the imagination.

Gallery run 25th January

At Blain Southern, Rachel Howard has produced a series of black and white paintings including an interesting one with a wallpaper motif. She appears to have then developed this image extensively in red and on a larger scale with four examples shown in the adjacent gallery. For the artist, wallpaper is a powerful motif because it represents the liminal space between a safe domestic environment and uncontrollable external events such as war. In some areas the wallpaper appears to reveal this external space through a semi-transparency, whilst the red of the pattern itself becomes a vehicle for introducing a more free-flowing use of red paint symbolic, of course, of blood and strife.

Meanwhile in the downstairs gallery, Brian Griffiths has created a puppet-like character which he has presented against simple cardboard and wooden off-cut stage sets on the gallery walls. The artist’s characteristic use of visual metaphor is clearly apparent in these simple backdrops commandeering, for example, a second hand spindle to function as a high-tech sun lamp. The introduction of figurative elements is by no means new to the artist’s oeuvre but the combination of low-tech figure in low-tech background is an interesting development.

It would then be a long loop up to Notting Hill via the Regent’s Canal followed by a return through Hyde Park, which lands me back amongst the Mayfair galleries and the shiny black door of Michael Werner bejewelled with brass trimmings. Peter Doig has produced a set of images based on a powerful looking figure standing astride a sandy beach. The paraphernalia of a red and white flotation device lends an air of the everyday to the image as well as pleasing colour harmonies whilst the figure itself is more reminiscent of the mythical tales of Odysseus and a Greek ideal of the male physique.

Craig Kauffmanm is on display at Sprueth and Magers with work from the 60’s that uses bright plastics. In the main window is a stunning display incorporating work by this artist alongside additional works by Donald Judd and Robert Morris. Each of the works by the three artists has been produced in a single coloured plastic and seen together they create an overall harmony as the eye moves from one piece to the other, resting upon a single colour before moving to the next. The plastic used by Craig Kauffman is actually slightly transparent and the effect is to make his works look delicious with the coloured lozenge of plastic both reflecting a warm glow of light but also, in some cases, projecting a coloured patch onto the gallery walls.

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Rachel Howard of Blain Southern with a wallpaper motif that she has then developed extensively in a further series.

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Brian Griffiths at Blain Southern has created a puppet-like character presented in simple cardboard stage sets on the gallery walls.

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Wim Wenders of Blain Southern showing a selection of his Polaroids at The Photographers Gallery. These were an important part of his movie film preparations.

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Peter Doig at Michael Werner.

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Josh Smith at Massimo De Carlo with colourful depictions of the Grim Reaper.

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Bridget Riley at David Zwirner with new work.
Delete Comment

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Craig Kauffman at Sprueth Magers with works from the 60’s using bright plastics.

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Andreas Schulze at Sprueth Magers with colourful pipework.

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Tara Donovan of Pace Gallery has created a series of images using stacked cards with small cut-out sections.

Gallery run 9th November

After a run through St James’ park and spotting a black swan, which in 1738 was used as an example by philosopher David Hume of an inconceivable event of such rarity that it might as well be compared to the Earth no longer orbiting the sun, today’s run continues northwards to the first gallery of the day. The galleries themselves are subject to similar laws of induction that aroused the attention of Hume, whereby oft repeated events start to seem almost necessary in the future, and in this vein, today’s planning takes into account that it would be almost inconceivable that White Cube gallery and Marian Goodman should not open at 10am, Sadie Coles HQ and Thomas Dane galleries would not open at 11am and Mother’s Tank Station would not open at 12 noon, though in the case of the latter there is slightly less inductive certainly of this owing to the status of the gallery as a relative newcomer.

With an itinerary set out, then, for the arrival at each gallery shortly after their respective opening times, the run is under way. First stop is White Cube. Haim Steinbeck has made elaborate shelves that look almost like triangular plinths. He has then arranged objects on them and in many cases even embedded the objects into smaller triangular plinths that nestle into the larger ones, fitting snuggly due to their precision of craftsmanship. The press release claims that these resting and embedded objects evoke nebulous associations reminiscent of how words function in a sentence. As a witty addition to this worthy aim, the current show uses surfboard fins in a variety of different coloured plastics. They have been flipped over whence they resemble the fins of sharks, the bane of any surfer, and function as a cipher for the commodified terror that has permeated our popular culture with films like Jaws. Elsewhere and with the clock confidently past 10am Marian Goodman gallery is hosting Hiroshi Sugimoto. This artist has photographed movie theatres and music halls incorporating a white projector screen as both focal point and also sole light source. Appearing as brightly lit, white rectangles these screens have in fact acquired the illusion of being white through the conjunction of the flickering forms of an actual movie and the long exposure of the artist’s photograph.

As the clock strikes 12 noon, Mother’s Tank station seems to be strangely elusive. The SatNav dot is directly above my location and then a glance upwards reveals the viaduct that straddles Farringdon road and which defines the upper level of the City’s geography at this point upon which Mother’s Tankstation is also situated. Yuri Pattison has excavated into the fixtures and fittings of the gallery’s temporary space and created small cavities. A square ceiling panel is casually pushed to one side whilst on the floor, tiny traces of carpet adhesive accompany the occasional excavations downwards. Circuit boards and computer screens populate this strange part-hidden world and on these circuit boards, which are fully functioning, software creates migrating crowds of tiny figures which interact with each other and even, as the gallery assistant tells us, commit a few murders.

Finally, at Whitechapel Gallery a small show of previously stored artworks is enjoying a rare exposure to the public. Michael Borreman’s hoodie portrait is stunning whilst Jim Lambie’s red and and silver bags is equally impressive . It is assembled, one assumes, into some sort of soul, since the secondary theme of this show is portraiture. Lambie’s piece actually evokes the feeling that it has been seen before which either means that this is the case or, more impressively perhaps, that it hasn’t been seen before, since this after all is the remit of the show, and that instead it has acquired its sense of familiarity by actually tapping into some sort of fundamental truth which simply makes it seem familiar.

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Black swan and white swan in St. James’ Park.

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Haim Steinbach of White Cube with wall mounted arrangements of objects that create associations like sentences.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto at Marian Goodman Gallery with photos of old cinemas. The artist has used long exposures whilst a film plays in the cinema he is photographing, causing the cinema screen to appear white.

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Thomas Schutte of Frith Street Gallery with glass busts blown in the Murano workshops of Venice.

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Catherine Opie of Thomas Dane Gallery with intimate photographic portraits.

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Yuri Pattison of Mother’s Tank Station with computer screen imbedded in the gallery ceiling which is showing crowds of small figures. These are generated by a computer programme and can be observed acting in certain ways and with certain objectives.

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Ad Minoliti at Project Native Informant with an installation of painted wall and two inkjet reproduced images.

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Jim Lambie of Sadie Coles HQ at Whitechapel Gallery.

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Michael Borremans of David Zwirner with a typical hidden face painting, at Whitechapel Gallery.

Gallery run 20th October

At Stephen Friedman Gallery Rivane Nauenschwander has produced an installation based on the Brazilian version of the board game known in the UK as risk. Flags represent the individual countries that the players would normally roll dice for in their pursuit of world domination. Long all-nighters with friends playing this game have imbued this artwork with a particular aura for me. Round the corner in Grafton Street Sprueth Magers have been doing a refit to their gallery. It looks very slick and the formerly creaking floorboards have now been lovingly preserved and firmly secured. Gary Hume has experimented with gloss paint on paper and the effect is very interesting. The painted surface takes on a mottled form due to the paper support yielding in some way to the gloss, yet it still looks as though it has the solidity of a worked and beaten metal support.

Further down Grafton Street at David Zwirner, Sherrie Levine is displaying work made by re-photographing some iconic images made in a 1940 project to document rural American life during The Great Depression. The display itself is striking with about 50 images hung in a perfect grid on the gallery wall. After visiting this hub of three closely placed galleries the next stop is Grosvenor Hill where Almine Rech and Gagosian have created a new hub comprising two expansive white spaces. The former gallery is showing Ernst Wilhelm Nay. The abstract paintings are reminiscent of seeds and foliage yet they are not restricted to this interpretation. This ambiguity lends them an additional magic which also complements their perfect balance of colour.

The word is out that Almine Rech and Gagosian have teamed up with the estate of Tom Wesselmann. Both galleries have produced identical press releases describing the artist’s shaped canvases that predominate in his series of bedroom paintings. Various bedside objects such as clocks and designer lamps interweave the limbs, feet and hands that the artist has sketched and then blown up into full size paintings. In the Gagosian on Davies Street a subtle black and white maquette of two painted boards placed in front of one another simulate the two ends of a bed. A large pair of elegant feet obscure the rest of a body whilst the lamp peers out from further behind. This completes the Mayfair region for today and now it is time to embark on the old favourite route along the Regent’s canal whereupon one arrives at the gas storage frameworks that offer a familiar landmark for Hackney.

Two of the new galleries exhibiting at Frieze this year are Campoli Presti and Hales gallery, whilst a new artist has been taken on at Herald Street, called Jessi Reaves. These additions offer the chance to see three new artists in this region of the city which is really the birthing place for new talent and with its exceptionally high rate of Turner Prize nominations is also sustainable in its own right with no need to interact with or be fostered by the Mayfair galleries to the west. Jessi Reaves is an American artist and hence of international importance, who makes sculptures from old furniture. The assistant in the gallery invites me to sit down on the rebuilt comfy chairs and this highlights the critical space that the work operates in, being utilitarian in some respects but stripped of any designer chic. Concluding this exploration after a quick stop at Beigal Bake is a visit to Hales gallery. Since its early days on Deptford High Street as a well respected gallery cafe, it has now become important internationally. Frank Bowling is one of seventeen artists on their books and he is showing colourful abstract paintings incorporating small objects offered up by friends, as well as cutting and sewing, which all contribute to a complex and interesting surface.

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Rivane Neuenschwander of Stephen Friedman Gallery with an installation based on the board game risk. Each flag represents a risk territory. On the back is written “war”. This would be “risk” in the Uk version.

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This paving slab on Grafton Street appears to be made up of two parts?

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The gallery is open again! Gary Hume of Sprueth Magers uses his trademark gloss to produce a mottled finish on paper in his new works.

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Sherrie Levine has rephotographed and appropriated American Depression photos of farmers by Russell Lee. What was once an attempt to boost morale when they were made in 1940 has now become historical document. Shown at David Zwirner gallery.

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Ernst Wilhelm Nay at Almine Rech Gallery. Beautiful images with natural motifs but in bright colours.

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Brice Marden of Gagosian using terre verte, green earth pigment, from several well known paint suppliers, has produced 9 canvases of varying greenness.

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Tom Wesselmann at Gagosian with Bedroom Paintings.

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Jessi Reaves of Herald Street with sculpted furniture, cut up and reassembled.

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Frank Bowling of Hales Gallery with abstract compositions on stitched canvases.

Gallery run 8th September

Today is wet and with the forecast suggesting continuous rain all day apart from a two hour window in the late morning, it is fortunate that all the galleries lie close together in the West End. The Photographer’s Museum is free before 12 and this morning slot also fits well with the gap in clouds overhead. Gregory Crewdson is showing photographs in which a small town and surrounding forrest have played host to several tableaux created by the artist and his team of assistants. Human figures are captured in the images perfectly lit behind windows or amongst landscapes. The effect is to reveal simultaneously both the details of a facial feature and those of a receding landscape. Technically this probably means an astonishingly deep depth of field and what the blurb described as a film crew whose size is normally associated with a movie.

Having marvelled at these works the next destination is Pilar Corrias Gallery. Tshcabalala Self has themed her first show here around the Bodega, the US equivalent of the corner shop. Lots of bottles of pop line the shelves. They seem to stand as a sort of cypher for the artist’s own memories of these shops. In addition to paint, the images use collage and stitched fabric. Even the gallery itself plays a role in the artwork. Three neon signs hang in the window and anti-theft mirrors are installed in each corner of the gallery, like the type the shop keeper glances up at from behind the till.

The rain has now started and after arriving at David Zwirner Gallery it is necessary to dry off in a porch opposite for a few minutes to remove any obvious signs of a soaking. Downstairs Lucas Arruda has displayed delicate landscapes and upstairs Suzan Frecon is displaying the studies for large abstract paintings she would go on to produce, though they themselves are not on display here.

Finally there are two further excursions from under the rain protection of overhanging facades. First at Simon Lee Gallery, Jeff Elrod has exhibited paintings composed chiefly of spray paint. The effect is to create an abstract surface and is exemplified by a fantastic large scale work upstairs that resists any attempt for the eyes to focus upon it. In that sense the painting offers an experience to the viewer that is almost physical. The last excursion, which is to Thomas Dane Gallery reveals an interesting twist to the standard summer group show format. Here the works are given 9 hours of individual air time in the empty gallery before returning to the packing cases, which themselves are all on display. Eventually, though, a sort of climax is scheduled to take place wherein all the individually displayed works will go up in the gallery at the same time. As the curator explains, this should have an interesting effect as each piece re-appropriates its piece of wall in a packed display, perhaps displacing others sideways in the process.

Now with the weather unexpectedly clearing up and only a short distance covered up to this point, I head west to build up the miles and attempt to convert these fragmented visits to the galleries into something more resembling an actual gallery run.

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Spot the loo roll!
Gregory Crewdson at The Photographers Gallery with a body of work depicting life in an American town and surrounding forrest. The photos are carefully staged tableaux.

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Tschabalala Self of Pilar Corrias with paintings of a type of corner shop called a #Bodega. Spot the anti theft mirror you would find in the corner shop.

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Hernan Bas at Victoria Miro Gallery with paintings of revellers and rebels in Cambridge.

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Mark Hagen uses a gloss white surface on a canvas-like support in this composition shown at Sotheby’s St George St.

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Aaron Young at Sotheby’s.

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Lucas Arruda at David Zwirner with delicate landscape. They have immaculate matt surfaces, revealed by the complete lack of glare when photographed.

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Suzan Frecon at David Zwirner with delicate studies for larger abstract pieces on show in New York.

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Jeff Elrod of Simon Lee Gallery with paintings using spray paint.

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Lari Pittman at Thomas Dane Gallery waiting to be displayed. The gallery displays each work for just 9 hours in this group show. Later on in September all the works go on display together.

Gallery run 14th June

Today is scheduled to be hot at 27 degrees and suncream and a sports cap are necessary to protect against about 4 hours of direct sun. I head north west towards the Lisson Gallery using the most picturesque route available out of Peckham through a succession of small parks and across Lambeth Bridge. In gallery 1 Jorinde Voigt has beautiful drawings on display and the blurb explains that they are time based depictions of objects changing their appearances over time. We learn the artist was a cellist and of the possible connections between these drawings and musical scores. Meanwhile on close inspection the application of spray paint is immaculate and stands in contrast to the urgently scrawled text made as though by the hand of an experimental scientist. In gallery 2 Joyce Pensato has produced large paintings based on cartoon imagery ranging from Mickey Mouse to Batman’s mask. The application of paint is frantic and disorientating with hundreds of drips, scourings and a loose style more reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism than of Pop.

Then there is a short journey south to Michael Werner Gallery. The receptionist who always welcomes me is talking on the phone in Spanish, but still breaks off to give me a nod, and I make my way upstairs into the gallery. Marcus Lupertz is a geologist, we discover, and immediately the loosely rendered images take on a new dimension as though depicting living rock. A volcano bubbles away in one picture, at least to my imagination, but looks small and evokes no sublime terror but rather appears more domestic like a hot cauldron. Perhaps this is the effect of the artist’s own familiarity with his subject matter. David Zwirner is next a few streets away and here Lisa Yuskavage has painted large scale nudes, men and women in pairs, which can be linked to small jewel like studies shown upstairs. I admire her ability to work from studies in this way without losing any of the vitality of the original. Nearby at Victoria Miro, Milton Avery has produced beautifully rendered landscapes and portraits. We are told in the press release that he was influential to Rothko. A buyer asks for a quote and I overhear a figure in excess of £100,000 for one of the works on paper. This is A list.

In the art colleges the student shows are continuing this week and it is the turn of the Slade MFA and PHD students to exhibit. A striking painting by Georgina Lowbridge depicts a man lying down amongst a pile of beautifully painted clutter. A young woman comes up and asks what I think of the paintings, and knowing they are hers I dutifully reply they are great, which is easy to say, in fact, because they are. After a great discussion about life at the Slade I mention that I had tried to see Florian Roithmayer’s work of cast clay on show in the observatory, a small circular building in the quad, to find out more about the PHD programme. In fact the building had been locked for lunchtime, though I didn’t mention this, but nevertheless had peered through the windows into the darkened space to his three mysterious sculptures. The most striking was a slab of clay, pinched and squeezed in a way, now quite familiar to abstract sculpture, but somehow there is excess here as though the slab has had a real going over.

Back south the monthly visit to the Greengrassi, Corvi Mora complex in Kennington offers ample rewards with Anne Ryan displaying cutouts in the larger of the two spaces whilst upstairs a bed with bright orange sheets lies tucked in the corner. Its placement next to the concrete floor slab of a defunct fireplace merged now into the smooth white wall of the gallery, reminds me of nights spent by the fire in a small squat nearby. But the bed has rich memories of its own as a press release depicts an old photo from the 70’s showing the sculpture in its original exhibition at New York’s 303 gallery.

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Jorinde Voigt of Lisson Gallery with intricate drawings using a style that’s almost scientific.

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Joyce Pensato of Lisson Gallery with great cartoon imagery.

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Markus Lupertz of Michael Werner Gallery with striking free brushwork in highly charged landscapes. As he was a geology graduate also, I fancy this to be a volcano but with unusual vantage point.

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Lisa Yuskavage at David Zwirner London with powerful figurative paintings.

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Milton Avery at Victoria Miro Gallery. This landscape has a beautiful use of colour including the delicately painted pale blue trees.

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Dominic Dispirito at Slade School of Fine Art with great spray painted artworks.

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Georgina Lowbridge completing her MFA at Slade School of Fine Art with three great paintings including this one. She told me she had sussed out using this clean and carefully limited palette of colours during the course and it certainly seems to work.

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Anne Ryan of Greengrassi with a new move away from her narrative paintings. The installation is made up of over 100 cut-out images.

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Rirkrit Tiravanija of Pilar Corrias exhibiting in a group show at Corvi Mora.
The artwork uses the space well and reminds me of a mis-spent gap year living in squats.