Gallery run 28th June

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Roger Hiorns of Corvi Mora with works based on the human figure.

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Pae White of Greengrassi with, yes, Doritos embedded into a block and cast in nylon.

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Rae Hicks at RCA MA show.

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Tom Kaniok at RCA MA show with great, bold forms.

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Lydia Boehm at RCA MA show with vivid gestural paintings that address the viewer almost like signs.

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Alvin Ong at RCA MA show.

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Christo and Jeanne Claude at The Serpentine with an exhibition of their barrel projects to accompany their giant Mastaba which is floating on the water near by.

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Josh Pye at Royal Academy School’s show.

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Thomas Langley at Royal Academy school’s show. Let’s get straight to the point!

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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 7th February

The Regent’s Canal highway describes a sort of subjective experience of running on the towpath between Hackney and Regent’s Park. Though not particularly fast in the physical sense the towpath seems quick in a kind of existential sense, namely that with several galleries dotted along its route a sensation of speed is produced by the sheer lack of things that need to be done or thought about during the journey. A few glances at boats, the occasional meandering daydream is all that separates one gallery on the canal from the next. Suddenly the finger is on the buzzer awaiting entry to Victoria Miro Gallery. Jorge Pardo, who is of Cuban American extraction and now living in Mexico, is showing wall-mounted structures that resemble beautifully coloured screens. They are painted, but not in a traditional sense, for the colour emerges from an interaction of minute speckles of paint which have either been created from abrasions into a surface of many layers or, and this seems the case here, have in fact been created completely intentionally by a programmed computer and application device. A thin hair’s-breadth groove around each speckle provides the clue that the speckles themselves have been applied with deliberate intent. On a larger scale, that is on the scale of the entire objects, we see rhythmic patterns running right across their surfaces. Waves and flow lines appear as the eye scans the intricately cut plastic and fibrous sheets. For the lamps this experience is enhanced further by the presence of the interior light source which provides a strong contrast between material and void. In addition this light source promotes a change of geometry in the object. Rather than being planar, as was the case with the wall mounted works, these lamp-like objects are radial. Intricately cut sheets of coloured plexi-glass fan out from the centre, like an elaborate array of coloured cooling fins, conveying their subtle glows to the object’s fragmented surface.

Back on the canal highway, Regent’s Park soon offers a route south to the West End. At Simon Lee Gallery, there is a display of the late works by Hans Hartung. Accompanying this display is a film that shows the artist in a wheel chair, since he is an old man, spraying and flicking paint across large expanses of canvas. Known for his gestural abstraction, the artist is now using a prosthetic device comprising a stick wand and spray nozzle. In the gallery we see the result and how the artist succeeds in his express intention of mimicking the forces of nature. Partly these forces reside within the paint itself causing the drops to cling to one another or else suddenly break free as though they were a shower of ejecting particles, but there is a deeper connection to nature too, manifest most clearly when the work has taken on more complex forms such as a spiral motif in one outstanding example. Here it is as though the artist has attuned himself to the various rhythms that define the universe itself allowing him to represent the more complex forces that create the various spinning and oscillating systems around us.

With Corvi Mora and Greengrassi galleries pairing up this month, several artists are on display in the main viewing space and it requires careful checking of the paperwork to determine which gallery is associated with which artist. Tatsuo Ikeda who as it turns out is with Greengrassi, though in previous years has also exhibited with the blue-chip giant Gagosian, has produced surreal drawings of figures sporting various limbs for locomotion, as well as prosthetic cones. The artwork is very proficient, which allows us not only to enjoy the images, but also to engage with the various distortions of nature without rejecting them on the grounds of incredulity. The images are therefore accepted on account of their near photographic-like appearance. As a passing observation it seems that the two dominant features of these works, namely their Surrealism and their Realism of execution, turn out to be unlikely bedfellows, despite the apparent contradiction of these two terms.

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Jorge Pardo at Victoria Miro with laser cut plastic in exotic lamps that nevertheless look very traditional.

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Pablo Bronstein of Herald Street Gallery showing drawings at RIBA of pseudo-Georgian architecture.

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Matt Saunders of Marian Goodman Gallery.

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Hans Hartung at Simon Lee Gallery with paintings from late in his career made using spray nozzles and paint-covered olive branches that he could manipulate from his wheelchair.

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Estate near Greengrassi and Corv iMora galleries looking resplendent against a blue sky this afternoon.

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Tatsuo Ikeda at Greengrassi group show for Condo 2018.

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Kye Christensen Knowles at Corvi Mora and Greengrassi group show as part of Condo 2018.

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John Lindell at Corvi Mora for Condo 2018.

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Sable E Smith at Greengrassi and Corvi Mora group show as part of Condo 2018.

Gallery run 15th November

With a lap round The Serpentine in Hyde Park taking the time up to ten o’clock, the first gallery of today’s run should now be open. But alas, my check of opening times on the internet last night was not done accurately enough and it turns out the gallery is in fact closed today for refurbishments. Fortunately one of their artists, Sanford Biggers, is showing just a few hundred metres away at Phillips auction house. The good fortune of spotting the gallery artist in this alternative venue is further enhanced by the quality of the work. It comprises a delicately stitched, embroidered quilt cover with a back story that it was donated to the artist along with many others from families whose ancestors were effected by slavery. This has become part of the rich historical narrative of the artwork itself.

A few blocks along in Victoria Miro, Stan Douglas is displaying photographic-based work. Although primarily the show focuses on high-resolution photographic reconstructions of the London riots of 2011, there are also two abstract works. These additional abstract works are fascinating because they are actually based on simple jpeg images of geometric shapes but where the information of the original digital files has been altered in a systematic way. The resulting rhythmic patterns, we are told, reveal the wave patterns that make up the structure of all jpeg files.

Nearby in the hub of galleries close to the Royal Academy, Pace Gallery is showing some of the American Abstract Expressionists. The dominant figure in this group, at least from an historic perspective, is Kenneth Noland, and the show builds on this popularity by also including works from other important artists from that movement including Frank Bowling and Sam Gilliam. The former has poured paint down the canvas and despite the absence of a brush, has created an elegant and ordered painted surface, evidenced by the clean boarders on either side of a main channel that comprises a complex multi-layered surface of paint. Meanwhile, the latter artist has removed his canvases from their stretchers altogether. They have been bunched up into a few hanging points and suspended from the gallery walls.

The London art scene is buzzing right now with the Basquiet show at the Barbican. Today’s run actually takes in a concurrent show in the building’s second gallery, known as The Curve. John Akomfrah has collected a multitude of chemical containers with their coloured residues still visible in white plastic grooves. He has then suspended them from the ceiling where they mingle with the lighting to create a stunning spectacle of glowing white plastic. The artwork actually references the anthropocene, an emerging name for Earth’s most recent age, and one that is characterised by human influence rather than geological change. On this account, the artwork draws more attention, in fact, to the pollution of these chemical containers than to their sublime beauty. Perhaps also on this solemn note, it is where today’s blog comes to a close, though the run itself would take in David Blandy at Seventeen, Omar Ba at Hales Gallery, Alan Belcher at Greengrassi and Abel Auer at Corvi Mora, all offering great exhibitions over the rest of the day.

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Sanford Biggers of Massimo De Carlo on show, and for auction, at Phillips.

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Stan Douglas at Victoria Miro with a manipulation of a jpeg file. These familiar digital files, used for storing images, use clever techniques to compress them and the artist has intervened in some way to produce an image that reveals this underlying technique as an image of its own.

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Frank Bowling often represented in London by Hales Gallery on show here at Pace Gallery.

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Sam Gilliam at Pace Gallery with a detached canvas.

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John Akomfrah represented by Lisson Gallery showing at Barbican. These are chemical containers that the artist has used to represent, with some beauty, the Anthropocene, our current geological time period by some accounts.

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David Blandy of Seventeen Gallery with a digital reconstruction of the solar system.

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Omar Ba of Hales Gallery draws on the experiences of his native Senegal to develop his rich symbolic language in paintings.

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Alan Belcher at Greengrassi with paintings of geometric objects that accompany, in his show, paintings of ducks, fish and shellfish each having a surreal quality.

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Abel Auer of Corvi Mora.

Gallery run 28th September

Having been invited to the lunchtime press opening at Ordovas gallery, the first stop today is at a sports shop for new trainers. A couple of invites came through in the last week and it would be nice to look smart. At the gallery an installation of cacti by luxury Italian furniture company Gufram has been set up. Around the walls is situated pop art and an Andy Warhol piece seems to fit very well into the cartoon-like space created by the cacti.

Across the street, which is Savile Row, stands the two Hauser and Wirth galleries. To the left is an installation by Marcel Broodthaers. Palms, a luxury product back in the 70’s, stand alongside some intentionally tired-looking museum display cases. This creates a pastiche of the traditional museum.

In the right hand gallery are paintings by Jack Whitten who has applied a variety of meshes and raking tools to create highly complex and varied painted surfaces. Then it is south to White Cube where America’s pop art tradition has been brought into a critical discourse by the varied artworks on display. Christoher Wool’s Riot slogan and David Hammon’s fly zippers trapped in two jars have a delightful lightness of touch. Meanwhile in this show Bruce Nauman has a neon piece depicting two people poking the other in the eye.

Further down Duke Street St. James’, Thomas Dane Gallery is playing host to Kelley Walker. This influential artist has taken branded objects, such as those by Calvin Klein, and turned them into exotic artworks. This is the first day of the show and a small group including possibly the owner are discussing the works in the gallery.

Then it is time to head south and the arrival in Kennington at Greengrassi and Corvi Mora allows me to visit the two artists being shown by these twinned galleries. The assistants at the front desk greet me and check the gallery lights are on. Juha Pekka Matias Laakkonen has developed interesting narratives from seemingly mundane objects. A tree stump has had a set of processes applied to it as though the artist were following an algorithm, but the effect is beautifully poetic and though his objects on display are small, they seem to fill the gallery with their presence. Upstairs it is the turn of Greengrassi to exhibit in the smaller space. Stefano Arienti appears to be motivated by the giants of art history spawning a set of drawings and photocopies that reference the works of Bosch and El Greco.

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Andy Warhol presented in an imaginative installation, using fabricated cacti designed in the early 70’s by Gufram. On display at Ordovas.

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Marcel Broodthaers at Hauser and Wirth with an installation based deliberately on an old-fashioned museum style.

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Jack Whitten at Hauser and Wirth with abstract paintings.

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Christopher Wool at White Cube.

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David Hammons of White Cube in a witty piece with fly zippers trapped in jars.

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Bruce Nauman at White Cube.

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Kelley Walker of Thomas Dane Gallery has turned advertising images into artworks.

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Juha Pekka Matias Laakkonen of Corvi Mora with processed objects. This tree stump was left after the tree collapsed. Then it was dug up, the roots burned and finally the stump was filled in with the resulting ashes.

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Stefano Arienti of Greengrassi with delicate drawings and a few photocopies.

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.

Gallery run 5th May

This week’s run is the big one up to Highgate which I do when a new show is on at the Camden Arts Centre near Hampstead. There is just enough time to get round the 6+ hour circuit and with the sun shining, I set off. First stop is Brick Lane to pick up an apple strudel from Bagel Bake and build up the carbs. Then north to the Regent’s Canal…Islington….Finsbury Park….Parkland Walk. This is a stunning disused railway line with trees and graffiti. A mother panics briefly as her child has lagged behind, but quickly reappears thankfully and jogs on past me. A bicycle bell then rings behind me and as I step to one side a child thanks me as she shoots past catching up with her mum. Then onwards to ….Highgate….Hampstead Heath….two ponds and Louie’s and more carbs. Then the steep decline of Arkwright Road before arriving at the Camden Arts Centre. As I read the blurb on the hallway wall before going into the gallery, the assistant sneezes. “Bless you” seems a good thing to say. Going into the gallery, the name Paul Johnson seems familiar to me from the list of artists I have memorised from the galleries on my running circuits. Bruce Haines gallery possibly. This is confirmed by the BH gallery’s homepage, news splash. Sculptural shapes dominate the space, some carefully manufactured and others made from stacked detritus. Together they create a strong unified installation. In the gallery next door Greta Bratescu, who is still making work in her nineties, has a retrospective with some beautiful little drawings accompanying photographs and stitched fabric. Then it is south to Lisson Gallery. Anish Kapoor is showing new work including a concave mirror with the top half edited out using an unreflective layer. The effect is striking as the reflected objects move in relation to this stationary surface responding to the viewer’s own movements. Further down Bell Street at the other gallery, Djurberg and Berg are showing cartoon-like characters that have submitted to base desires and appear to be having a great time in their rectangular tableaux world. At Gagosian Gallery further south I enter the darkened setting of a Picasso show featuring bulls and minotaurs. An attendant shakes his head as I point to the phone and therefore no photo but a great show and some beautiful paintings. In Simon Lee Gallery there is the smell of fresh paint. The paintings have been covered in a silver surface which has then been raked off to reveal colourful underpainting. Then the final leg south to the building that jointly houses Greengrassi and Corvi-Mora. Downstairs Brian Calvin has made pop-art style portraits that are very expressive but beautifully simplified. Upstairs Giuseppe Gabellone has made a carefully crafted crate from bamboo and carved supporting units into which some organic shapes gently nestle. That is the ninth and last photo of the day.

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Parkland Walk is a disused railway route turned into a nature reserve.

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Hampstead Heath pond which I passed on the way back south from Highgate.

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Paul Johnson of Bruce Haines Mayfair showing at Camden Arts Centre with sculptures mingled with consumer detritus.

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Greta Bratescu at Camden Arts Centre. Drawings and thought provoking objects from the nonagenarian artist.

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Anish Kapoor of Lisson Gallery with beautifully crafted concave mirrors and other objects.

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Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg of Lisson Gallery with objects and cartoon-like figures doing whatever they want with no inhibitions.

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Garth Weisler at Simon Lee Gallery with layered paintings all presenting a pleasing silver grid line surface.

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Brian Calvin showing at Corvi Mora with simplified but expressive faces.

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Giuseppe Gabellone at Greengrassi with what looks like a flat-pack object, but presented on a crate that follows the organic outlines with some of its wooden structure.