Gallery run 7th February

Stan Douglas at Victoria Miro Gallery. Split-screen film with two narratives.
A returning astronaut occupies two realities simultaneously. One is hostile one is friendly.

Kings Cross cranes.

Li Qing at Almine Rech with double-paintings (amongst other works) which suggest “this” or “that” of various experiences.

Melvin Edwards at Stephen Friedman. Metal chains, locks , and here barbed wire symbolise imprisonment and containment, pertinent especially to slavery.

Hedda Sterne at Victoria Miro Gallery with horizontally divided paintings suggestive of seascapes with added layers to complete the composition.

Isa Genzken at Hauser And Wirth with an in-flight experience.

Alina Szapocznikow at Hauser And Wirth with resin sculptures depicting human forms and states.

An My Le at Marian Goodman Gallery with photos that evolved from Vietnamese photo- journalism, focussing on politics.

Massimo Bartolini at Frith Street Gallery with a sound organ artwork. The rotating drum yanks at pull-chords for loud blasts and catches hanging metal strips for delicate chimes.

Gallery run 29th November

Richard Deacon at Lisson Gallery with strained, stressed and, here, undulating forms.

Tony Cragg at Lisson Gallery with stacked forms with highly worked and intricate surfaces.

Bright oil pattern on a sunny day.

Hilary Lloyd at Sadie Coles with images and sounds from her adopted Thamesmead.

Erik Lindman at Almine Rech with attractive, shard-like paintings with glimmers of light and colour set in plain backgrounds.

Merlin Carpenter at Simon Lee Gallery with bright well-worked paintings offering some surreal twists.

Ged Quinn at Stephen Friedman Gallery with images that carry interesting surface markings that work with and against the 3d landscapes depicted.

Mark Bradford at Hauser and Wirth with amazingly intricate paintings that have underlying stacked paper structures.

Fiona Banner at Frith Street Gallery with sea-like images and objects plus a marvellous text detachable from a giant pile at the gallery entrance.

Gallery run 20th June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gallery run 23rd August

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Tracy Emin of White Cube with a delicate bird on pole sculpture. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Simon Periton of Sadie Coles HQ with a delicate cut-out made from painted metal sheet. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Conrad Shawcross of Victoria Miro Gallery with a labyrinth. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Rachel Feinstein of Gagosian Gallery with a florid sculpture set in Regent’s Park at the Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Virginia Overton of White Cube with fab artwork reminiscent of blue collar fabrication. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Bharti Kher of Hauser And Wirth at Frieze Sculpture Park.

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John Baldessari of Marian Goodman Gallery with a 6’7” penguin. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Kiki Smith has created a figure out of a fairy tale. At Frieze Sculpture Park.

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Elmgreen And Dragset of Galerie Perrotin at Frieze Sculpture Park.

Gallery run 10th July

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Angela De La Cruz of Lisson Gallery with paintings and metal shutters pulled off their frames.

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Christopher Le Brun at Lisson Gallery with abstract paintings. Some have the paint applied straight from the tube which leaves pleading scratch marks from the nozzles.

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Edward Keinholz at Blain Southern with sculptures from found objects.

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Alex Hartley of Victoria Miro with two-layer paintings combining foliage and architecture.

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Pipilotti Rist at Hauser and Wirth. Trust me!

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Fischli and Weiss at Hauser Wirth with a giant vase.

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Alexander Calder at Ordovas with a black flower mobile.

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Cindy Sherman of Sprueth Magers with film star style self portraits. A hint of cleverly contrived faded glamour too.

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Lydia Okumura at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac with a retrospective. Made with painted wire mesh.

Gallery run 16th March

The day starts with a jog to Matt’s Gallery. The gallery is doing a sequence of short one week shows and with this fast turnover has quite an itinerary lined up. This week it is Mandy Ure, who I remember well from Goldsmiths. She had a great way of mixing random marks, from paint pouring and dripping, into purposeful compositions through subsequent blowing up and careful finishing with a paint brush. Her work today is reminiscent of the shapes under a microscope and her own purposeful action has become here a metaphor for the careful order maintained in the blob-like structures of cells.

A few hours later after seeing the works shown below I come to the last gallery of the day, Victoria Miro and see Jules de Balincourt. His paintings are from the imagination and a rather sublime one at that. Figures are dwarfed by a spectacular multi-coloured boulder. Though the image is physically small, it extends into the abyss of the viewer’s own imagination and stirs up a host of resident memories!

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Mandy Ure at Matt’s Gallery with small abstracts.

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Laura Gannon at Kate MacGarry with cut canvases painted with metallic pigments.

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Michael Dean of Herald Street.

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Amalia Pica of Herald Street showing a small cluster of castings of shell-like objects.

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Francesco Arena of Sprovieri Gallery with a performance stool. It can only be sat on by someone whose age is 33, the difference in age between artist and father. A death will cause this interval to change and that will impede on the required age for the stool-performer.

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Matthew Day Jackson of Hauser and Wirth with recreations of Dutch still life paintings made with DIY materials.

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Leon Kossoff at Ordovas.

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Lorna Simpson at Hauser and Wirth with delicate washes on screenprinted and newspaper images.

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Jules de Balincourt of Victoria Miro with vividly coloured landscapes populated by crowds of small figures.

Gallery run 1st December

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Sprovieri and BlainSouthern are amongst the latest venues to be checked out on this week’s run. The first on this list, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, is showing work by Arnulf Rainer, Lee Bul and Medardo Rosso, whose displays are in the various ornate rooms and hallway spaces that fill a classically styled building. Due to the precious nature of Medardo Rosso’s sculptures, a specially sealed room has been created. It has curtains on both its doorways and a heater that raises the temperature to considerably higher than the freezing day outside. Apart from this unexpected warmth, the sculptures themselves offer a real pleasure for the viewer. They actually appear to have emerged from chunks of matter bringing with them a strange life-force to the blocks of inanimate material from which they are cast.

At Sprovieri, the artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, who are enjoying a current major retrospective at the Tate, have three paintings on display. Each of these paintings explores the relations between the surface plane of a painting and its picture plane, in other words the physical surface of an image and the illusory perspectival space that lies just beneath it. This dual space of a painting was truly liberated 100 years ago with Russian Suprematism, we are told in the press release. To use an extended metaphor of my own, the angular forms of the new avant-guard movements managed to haul themselves out of the illusionistic world of landscape and still-life, to sit on the paintings’ surfaces, rather as the first amphibians, in fact, had found themselves liberated from water and free to roam land! In this particular show the artists have employed angular forms that are reminiscent of Suprematism but painted in muted pastel hues and beneath these shapes are various rural landscapes. This duality not only adds narrative interest, but also demonstrates as a fate accomplis, the simultaneous existence of the two different painterly spaces the artists were keen to depict.

At Blain Southern, a gallery my friend has recommended to visit, James White is displaying paintings of glasses and associated objects. Catching a glimpse of them through the window last week, they looked like black and white photographs but this week they are revealed as highly realistic monochrome paintings. Every cut in the crystal of various glasses unleashes a new cascade of white paint executed in small brushstrokes. Close up their materiality is clearly discernible but from afar they dissolve into an overall impression of light.

The rest of the run is dictated by the cold weather, since a dead phone (and need for mince pies) necessitates a jog to Hampstead, albeit through some lovely parkland, and then back again in search of Apple HQ and a new battery. The process of queuing for the item actually provides the necessary warmth to bring the phone back to life and to photograph some remaining artworks. At Hauser and Wirth, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski is displaying some vivid paintings, whilst at Raven Row, and with the battery still surviving, Gianfranco Barruchello has produced drawings that resemble mind maps. A container is made with a few pen strokes and encloses several pinkish spheres. From here a cartoonish figure starts to come to life, as though the imagination has bestowed upon these spheres the power to regenerate into a network of vital organs. Perhaps the artist has tapped into yet another type of space then, a third type in addition to the picture surface and illusionistic spaces previously described, a space where the artwork is a trigger of images without needing to provide all the details itself.

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Arnulf Rainer at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac with abstract works from the 50s and 60s.

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Medardo Rosso with early 20th century works at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac.

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Kehinde Wiley of Stephen Friedman Gallery with paintings of brave boat steerers adopting heroic poses from famous western paintings.

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Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at Sprovieri with compositions experimenting with relations between the image and picture planes.

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James White of Blain Southern with intricate painted monochromes featuring transparent materials in close-up often invoking narratives.

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Jakub Julian Ziolkowski of Hauser and Wirth with images by his invented alter-ego, who depicts nature as it is sensed rather than seen.

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Monika Sosnowska of Hauser and Wirth with sculptures from industrial materials, including steel reinforcement bars here.

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Luciano Fabro showing iconic works from the 60s at Simon Lee Gallery.

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Gianfranco Baruchello of Massimo De Carlo showing at RavenRow. Detailed drawings resemble mind maps.