Gallery run 22nd June

1191
Lesley Vance of Herald Street with beautiful formal compositions that use a range of styles including a nice gestural brushstroke stylie.

1192
Oscar Tuazon at Maureen Paley with work that references major projects in the US. These involve live-in spaces as well as political agitation for communities to keep access to dwindling water resources as it gets syphoned off by industry. We are presented with the basic elements in the gallery of fire, water and earth, or in this case rust.

1193
Anwar Jalal Shemza at Hales Gallery exploring the vast possibilities of composition using just circles, squares and, of course, colour.

1194
The star-crossed lovers are featured in a great mural near Hoxton.

1195
Kathryn MacNaughton at Beers London with carefully rendered re-workings of computer and mouse-generated images.

1196
Sarah Sze of Victoria Miro with great photo and paint collages. They are shown alongside lots of torn images attached to the gallery’s walls with blue tape. It is as though the artist has recreated the laboratory of visual associations from which the formally mounted works derived, as an installation in the gallery.

1197
Katharina Grosse of Gagosian with giant spray paint and stencil works, executed as high art abstraction.

1198
Eline McGeorge of Hollybush Gardens who creates pixilated images by weaving emergency foil blankets into natural imagery. The juxtaposition of the two materials creates an extra pathos suggesting that nature maybe in the position of the injured patient.

1199
Footie-England flags casting their red-crossed shadow onto a pavement somewhere near the end of today’s run in Peckham.

Advertisements

Gallery run 4th March

This has been the week of the big freeze. Whilst it’s been possible to run in the snow, the prospect of having to then shake off the snowflakes upon ringing a gallery buzzer, has been enough for me to delay these visits to this Sunday. First stop is Tate Modern where a stack of materials including red buckets and wooden pallets occupies an almost perfect cube of gallery space. This work is by Tony Cragg and represents the early development of an artist who would go on to create his familiar idiomatic style of layered figures with beautifully smooth machine-worked surfaces.

The Barbican lies due north, over the Millennium footbridge, past St Paul’s Cathedral and across the raised walkway that takes one from the old city walls near the Museum of London to the unassuming doorway on level 2. The banality of the Barbican’s entranceway offers a sort of parallel to the concrete facades outside, confirming the utopian ideal that culture itself should provide the colour and nuances that these physical surfaces lack. This is not an unreasonable or untenable position to take. Frequent visits are nearly always rewarded by the work on show and today is no exception. Yto Barrada, an artist represented internationally by Pace Gallery, has echoed some of the utopian concerns of the hosting site, by depicting another ambitious building project in Agadir, where the greatest architects of the 50’s laid down their smooth lines against the backdrop of a city ruined by civil war. To capture this unique moment in history, the artist has juxtaposed simple wall drawings of the various radical buildings against items of furniture made from more traditional North African weaving techniques.

Maureen Paley is the only commercial gallery I would go on to visit today, since it offers the gracious distinction of being open on a Sunday whilst also exhibiting one of my favourite artists, Kaye Donachie. The paintings are primarily of women and this indeed is one of the show’s themes, to recreate the lost history of which these women were an important part, and in this sense the paintings offer an alternative view of reality. The dissolving forms that loosely depict these figures offer a kind of critique of this failed history, a history that has not managed to grow or take root, by showing instead not a photographic likeness but rather a likeness that seems to have been fashioned from chance events. A nose with distinct outline takes on the additional burden of sporting a giant brush mark, one that has obliterated its curved form, yet somehow this addition works and the facial feature seems strengthened rather than undermined by it.

Finally at Chisenhale Gallery we have dentistry raised to the level of art. This is not because the golden tooth that would be inserted into the artist’s mouth is particularly beautiful nor is it anything to do with recent developments of artworks taking on the narratives of prosthetics or plastic surgery. No, this dental procedure comes as a rather beautiful gesture by the artist, Lydia Ourahmane, who had the tooth inserted as a delicate and empathetic response to her own grandfather. He had in fact extracted all his own teeth in a decisive gesture against the then ruling French government. As a native to north Africa, he was at odds with their presence in his country. Then faced with the impossible position of being required to fight for them, he decided to render himself unfit for service by taking the drastic action described. This story is revealed in the gallery through the body of the artist, his grand daughter. An X ray depicts her own mouth before having the tooth inserted, whilst next to it mounted on the wall is a little nugget of gold, a second identical gold tooth in fact, since the artist had actually had two made, which offer a sort of tableaux vivant of these various events of fifty years ago.

1031
During the big freeze, on the day of the hoped-for gallery run. It was too cold.

1032
Tony Cragg at Tate Modern.

1033
Wheat objects woven together by Ana Lupas. This was based on a traditional Romanian practice.

1034
Yto Barrada of Pace Gallery showing at the Barbican Curve with drawings of the modernist buildings in Agadir set against traditional woven chairs and lampshades.

1035
Kaye Donachie of Maureen Paley.

1036
Lydia Ourahmane at Chisenhale Gallery has produced a historical artwork. The gold tooth is a copy of the one the artist had inserted in remembrance of her grandfather who had extracted his own as part of his resistance to French rule.

1037
Regent’s Canal after the big freeze.

1038
Flavie Audi and Samantha Lee with large projections of iPad screens and an accompanying dancer at Specisl Projects on Decima Street.

1039
Adam Linder choreographed dance at South London Gallery.

Gallery run 1st February

This is Condo season where many London galleries participate in an exchange scheme with galleries from around the world, offering a platform for their artists and a diversity of artistic themes that the London viewing public can experience and enjoy. The day begins with a jog along the Regent’s Canal to Hackney and a first stop at Maureen Paley Gallery. Downstairs, Eduardo Sarabia has exhibited paintings and ceramic vases. The vases contain icons from his Mexican home and though they are rendered beautifully in slick drawing further enhanced by the glazing from a subsequent firing, the viewer quickly realises these are not intended for decorative effect since they depict weapons and the paraphernalia of drug taking.

On the way to the next gallery a stunning house catches the eye. It is large, white and clearly a grand design, but the dissonance that makes it stand out is the large amount of black paint that has been expertly brushed, thrown and sprayed all over its walls in an act of sublime disdain for the modernist ideal of a white cube. These days street art, which is what is on display here, is increasingly engaging with mainstream architecture and it turns out from further internet browsing that this property is by the architect David Adjaye R.A. and proudly bears the name “Dirty House”, whilst its occupants were and may still be the artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster.

At Mother’s Tankstation, a gallery further west in Holborn Viaduct, there is another helping of Condo. Mairead O’hEocha catches the eye with a vivid painting of flowers which is exhibited amongst a group show that combines resident artists with those from the visiting guest gallery. The flowers themselves have distinct patterning and the eye moves from one bloom to another like a hungry bee, no less!, enjoying the sensations of light and colour that the artist has imbued in them.

Finally, back south of the River there is an emerging hub of galleries near Lambeth Bridge. Though the most well known of these is Damien Hirst’s Newport Street gallery, a smaller very interesting space can be found on Lambeth Walk which runs parallel. Here Rob Tufnell has moved into an old shop and located his London gallery. Do not underestimate the importance of this space by its humble context. This is an outfit with a second gallery in Cologne and frequent participations at the international art fairs including Frieze. Amongst a selection of exhibitors, the art collective Inventory has a great sculpture on display consisting of a ladder-like arrangement of computer keyboards. The keyboards are attached like the horizontal bars of the ladder to a vertical hanging structure, but at the base of this display entropy appears to have taken over in the only way possible with such keyboards, namely that their various letters seem to have FAL_EN O_T, causing them to scatter and roll like dice across the gallery floor. LJ.BL..T……K……X..C………L…………….F!


Eduardo Sarabia at Maureen Paley hosted as part of Condo London 2018.


Michaela Eichwald at Maureen Paley hosted as part of Condo London 2018.


Tom Burr of Maureen Paley who are hosting Condo London 2018.


On Chance Street and Whitby Street near Brick Lane.


Andrea Geyer at Hales Gallery with socially charged logos from 60’s women’s publications.


Great Eastern Street art intervention billboard, by Sr.X


Mairead O’hEocha of Mothers Tankstation who are hosting Condo London 2018.


Sam Anderson at Mothers Tankstation as part of Condo London 2018.


Inventory at Rob Tufnell hosting Condo London 2018.

Gallery run 15th December

Trinity Buoy Wharf lies in the crook of land between The Thames and the River Lee. Because of the two converging rivers, this area feels fairly isolated from nearby Canary Wharf and the Millenium Dome across the water to the south. It accommodates an artist community, as evidenced by the strange and beautiful sculptures that are scattered around, but it also enjoys a strong connection to the surrounding waters. A lightship is moored at one end of an open yard whilst opposite stands an assembly of crisscrossing shipping crates, populated by creative types who can observe their environment through circular porthole windows. After a bacon roll in Fatboy Diner the time has come to make an arching detour round the loops of the River Lee and across the top right of London’s map into Hackney.

The Approach gallery has drawings and paintings by Bill Lynch, who as we understand from the press release led a free-living existence, taking on decorating jobs to make ends meet, all the while exploring the intricacies of fluid mark-making, prevalent in the tradition of Japanese landscape drawing and calligraphy. A tree appears in one of the artist’s paintings and it is opening up its foliage with the energy of small coiled springs, a state of affairs depicted with tight, circular brush marks amongst the living network of dark twigs and branches.

At Maureen Paley, a neighbouring gallery in this East London cluster, Andrew Grassie has made paintings that rival even Vermeer in their precision and use of colour. They are barely bigger than postcards yet carry a wealth of detail. The white beams of an open roof space recede towards a vanishing point, whilst objects associated with a functioning studio, since this is the chosen subject matter of the series of seven paintings, appear as if by magic with minute flecks of coloured paint, all the while being contained within a flawless, photographic-like surface. A few doors away in Herald Street Gallery, a dinner plate sits on a plinth. Oliver Payne seems more interested in the various distractions that might divert us away from art rather than the many objects catalogued in the previous show that are intended to make us think of art-making itself. Indeed, it is a testament to the left-field nature of the present show that none of its objects conform to the canon outlined in the previous show, neither the plate of cold chicken and pasta sitting on the plinth nor the array of eight I-pads that, despite all their powerful processing capacity, have been requisitioned purely for the purpose of displaying a single image, something of course, which could have been done with a piece of back-lit cellophane, were the artist not interested in turning his critical eye on digital technology itself.

Finally, back south of the river, Gilbert and George have been having a giggle thinking up how the F-word can be inserted into short pithy slogans. As the eye scans across the alternate red and black fonts of F-word wallpaper a kind of rhythm emerges. The two artists switch between being the randy agents of various described acts outlined in block capitals on the one hand, to being puppeteers of the English language on the other. Familiar slogans become wilfully distorted as the artists introduce the necessary four letter insert. A game is being played, for which we know the rules, and which all the while is being powered by the free-flowing imaginations of G and G, revealing in the process a sort of inner portrait of the two artists.

941
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at Tate Modern with layered images.

942
Trinity Buoy Wharf.

943
Bill Lynch of The Approach Gallery with paintings on wood that appear to be inspired by the Japanese tradition of prints and calligraphy.

944
Jack Lavender of Approach Gallery with assembled rocks and taxi cards.

945
David Noonan of Stuart Shave Modern Art. The artist was there talking to friends about his work and it was great being able to eavesdrop!

946
Andrew Grassie of Maureen Paley with photorealistic paintings.

947
Oliver Payne of Herald Street with a new display format of wall-mounted iPads carrying a single image.

948
Florian Meisenberg of Kate MacGarry.

949
Gilbert and George at White Cube with rude words wall paper.

Gallery run 27th October

The main feature of today’s run is the exceptionally long and attractive stretch between Camden Arts Centre in the west and The Approach Gallery in the east of London. Over half of this journey is off-road.

Rewind two hours and I am in Newport Street Gallery at Damien Hirst’s fifth show since opening the showcase space for his own collection. Like Jeff Koons from an earlier show Dan Colen, along with Hirst himself, are all on the books of Gagosian. Without really following the logic of an argument, this simple association suggests maybe there is some swapping of priceless art pieces between these giants of the contemporary scene. Colen is included in this accolade because he is a rising star and his limited edition of glass bottle and glass cig butts on sale at the entrance for £1600 looks good value on this account. Colen’s works are summarised as essentially self-portraits, by the blurb, and that seems right. For as well as the photo-realist self portrait with its cartoon-like addition, featured, the sculptural works all involve an activity by the artist, be it sticking chewing gum to a canvas or collecting rubbish from New York’s streets and then turning it into improvised paint brushes.

The run north is a long one and features the Zabludowicz collection and the elegant pub-style carpet by Rebecca Ackroyd, before arriving at Camden Arts Centre. Language is a feature of Christian Nyampeta’s show. Some words, he argues, such as philosophy cannot be translated easily into his native tongue of Rwanda. Far from being a deficiency of his country’s languages it is almost the opposite. Western thought has ignored an important concept, which he refers to as “Being”, or more specifically “good will to fellow humans”. In contrast, words from his own culture, he argues, carry these additional connotations as part of their overall meanings. In the other gallery Nathelie Du Pasquier continues her foray into the London consciousness after having recently shown at Pace, and in this gallery she has made a brightly coloured installation suggestive of industrialisation through the tripling of her motifs which is reminiscent of the three phase power supply that remains segregated from generator to power line to factory.

The intermission referred to at the beginning, the long run between west and east, begins with Hampstead Heath. The hard-won altitude gained at Hampstead is quickly surrendered as one approaches the three ponds and with Highgate church now looming above, it is this ascent that will then provide the fantastic views across London before one enters the trees and scrubland of Parkland walk. As mentioned in previous runs, Parkland Walk is a disused railway line and thankfully today it is on a downwards gradient and, with its array of bridges over low roads and ornate arches under the higher ones, one that is remarkably constant in its gradual descent.

In the east, three artists are showing at The Approach gallery, whilst outside the downstairs pub police-style tape causes momentary alarm as it surrounds the railings of the outer seating space, before revealing its joke on closer inspection, as a Halloween prop and not the site of major incident. Artworks feature motorways and smoke from three of the gallery’s strong list of regulars.

Nearby, the building formally inhabited by Wilkinson gallery has been taken over by Stuart Shave. Josh Kline has cast familiar objects in concrete and then smashed them up slightly, whilst other objects have been cut in half with some extremely effective cutting tool. Having achieved the precision of a smooth cut through the variety of materials making up consumer objects, the plastic of a knob and the steel of a fascia, the artist has then taped together two incongruous halves. A twin of different shape but similar function ensures that this part of the process looks impromptu and scruffy like some final ironic comment about the objects and perhaps also about the process of making art.

871
Dan Colen represented by Gagosian showing at Newport Street Gallery. Beautifully painted and a witty dialogue between cherub and a rather austere looking silver medallion.

872
Rebecca Ackroyd at Zabludowicz Collection with a carpet design that explores Britishness referencing, in particular, the pub carpet.

873
Christian Nyampeta at Camden Arts Centre with an installation and video work that explores the problem of translating western concepts such as philosophy into the language of the Rwandan people.

874
Nathalie Du Pasquier at Camden Arts Centre with bold images using isometric drawing, a graphic technique that doesn’t rely on perspective.

875
Sam Windett of The Approach with paintings incorporating collage based around the themes of roads and driving.

876
John Stezaker of The Approach with pictures of smoke without its cause, in other words heavily cropped chimneys.

877
Lisa Oppenheim of The Approach with solarised smoke photographs.

878
Josh Kline at Stuart Shave Modern Art with cut up and reassembled objects.

879
Tim Rollins and KOS of Maureen Paley with drawn-on texts.

Gallery run 14th July

The annual Goldsmiths MA show is the first stop on today’s run. Spread across the old swimming baths and the stunning Ben Pimlott building with views across London, the show has a variety of interesting architectural back drops. These are matched in no small part by a great painting from Daniel Arcand displayed on the top floor of the Ben Pimlott building. The artwork has a Manga-like quality to it with excellent mark-making and a great economy of design.

From here, the quickest route to Victoria Park is through the Greenwich foot tunnel and then north along the Regent’s canal. The Approach Gallery is showing a retrospective of its artists as well as previous exhibitions spanning twenty years. Works by Rezi Van Lankveld and Gary Webb stand out in the group show, whilst in a side room there is a film of speeded-up highlights from the previous shows here from which I recognise in their younger years some of my former Goldsmiths colleagues.

Then after a stop at Wilkinson Gallery with some evocative work by the late Derek Jarman, Herald Street plays host to the next three shows. At Maureen Paley there are abstract sculptures depicting cubic volumes of mainly empty space, adorned with a few intriguing objects including books and carpet tiles. Tom Burr is a thought provoking artist and writer who is new to this gallery having transferred from Stuart Shave Modern Art. A few doors down at Laura Bartlett, a group show has lovely small pieces by Koak who depicts female figures in slightly unusual ways. The images seem to fulfil their remit of challenging the viewer’s gaze by showing the figures engaging only with each other and without any additional acknowledgement of the viewer.

At Herald Street Gallery there is a great installation by Klaus Weber. The gallery assistant warns me of the hazards of a temporary rickety floor and protruding cactuses. The planks spring up slightly across the joists, whilst the cactuses penetrate these planks through round holes. Meanwhile a policeman-figure is kneeling down, with head below floor level accessed through yet another circular hole. There is also a stack of coloured glass spheres raised up on a plinth that, we are told, represent a type of humanoid figure. This perhaps needs more explanation and comes from a story told in Plato’s symposium. Essentially these figures were described by the Greek philosopher as mythological beings that Zeus callously cut into two halves, bisecting them from top to bottom. As these half-beings entered into ancient history they then matched up to the anthropomorphic form we currently reside in. The truth of this myth seems to lie in its ability to articulate our constant psychological need to find our other missing halves.

After a quick lunch at Bagel bake, which seems to have had a cash injection as there is now a new air conditioning system and workmen replacing tiles, I stroll down to Kate MacGarry Gallery finishing off a last few bits of apple strudel. Inside there are works by four artists including Francis Uprichard. She has presented two gothic figures that resemble harlequins. They are smaller than life size, but have a powerful presence due partly to their positioning on plinths but also because of their excellently rendered faces imparting, not for the first time today, a challenge to the gaze of the viewer. With that now recorded and the Hackney galleries fully explored, there just remains a return back South to complete this week’s run.

731
Daniel Arcand at Goldsmiths MA Degree Show with a great fluent painting with drawn outlines.

732
Rezi Van Lankveld of The Approach with a lovely loosely rendered painting.

733
Gary Webb of The Approach with a colourful resin-based wall sculpture.

734
Derek Jarman of Wilkinson Gallery with a series of black paintings incorporating objects.

735
Gretchen Bender at Wilkinson Gallery with works that explore how images are propagated through our media.

736
Tom Burr of Maureen Paley.

737
Koak at Laura Bartlett Gallery with figurative paintings that have a strong drawing quality to them.

738
Klaus Weber of Herald Street with sculptures that depict a mythical human form made from globes that Plato had written about.

739
Francis Upritchard of Kate Macgarry Gallery with gothic figures.

Gallery run 19th May

Today I would be zigzagging along the Regent’s Canal, catching the early openers such as Victoria Miro Gallery before doubling back to visit the later opening Hackney galleries. Soon the hump of the canal appears on Dalston High Street just behind a mosque. The run to Victoria Miro requires an exit at Wharf Road, about 5 or 6 bridges along. I am greeted warmly by a tall chap near the door. Alice Neel’s paintings are of friends and neighbours in Spanish Harlem, where she settled with her husband. The women all have strikingly graceful hands. Upstairs Isaac Julien displays atmospheric stills from a film. From here the route to Beers, the next gallery on the run, takes me across a main road coming down from Islington. Strong, colourful, geometric forms based on architecture fill the gallery. The shapes cast artificial shadows upon themselves whilst the surfaces are pleasingly distressed as though to upset the geometric perfection and allow the eye to feast upon the rich colours. Then a return up Wharf Road and onto the canal makes for quick progress to Wilkinson Gallery near Victoria Park. The current show comprises beautiful, intricate paintings of trees and landscapes by Elizabeth Magill. Branches divide the landscapes into gridded mosaics and in a few places where it suits the composition, the artist has not been afraid to overpaint the branches with background pushing their knotted forms deeper into the composition. There would be two more gallery stops nearby on Herald Street. First I see a powerful sound-based installation by Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Mobile phone footage flashes up on monitors accompanied by shouts and shrieks. But when the sound quietens the monitors appear to switch off. These intermittent images on about 10 different screens powerfully depict an incursion by a crowd across a barbed-wire frontier into Israel. Meanwhile in Herald Street Christina Mackie has displayed beautifully coloured objects in a way that highlights their surfaces and basic forms. Any sense of what the objects may have been used for in the past is lost in the form of the artwork. I jog back to Brick Land through a lovely park and church yard and then weave through a small warren of walkways. Then on towards The City. Raven Row near Shoreditch is an old Huguenot house and the curator and co-director of the gallery has brought together female artists who have added an edgy twist to domestic objects. Lucy Orta has made fantastic live-in objects including a tent with attached hoodie which peers out of the top like a strange periscope. Finally I return west along the River Thames and arrive at Photo-London in Somerset House. Tatsuo Miyagima, an artist I am familiar with from Lisson Gallery, has photographed a fantastic digitalised number 5 created with orange paint on the toned stomach of an athlete.

662
Alice Neel at Victoria Miro with portraits of her neighbours in Spanish Harlem New York, though she would later move to Upper West Side.

666
Isaac Julien of Victoria Miro with stills from his film Looking For Langston.

667
Genti Korini at Beers London with paintings inspired by fantastical architecture.

663
On the Regents Canal today.

661
Elizabeth Magill of Wilkinson Gallery with paintings of landscapes comprising tree branches in the foreground. Excellent rendering of the broken planes of colour between the branches.

665
Christina Mackie of Herald Street with an installation of colourful objects in unusual arrangements.

668
Lucy Orta at Raven Row.

669
Tatsuo Miyajima at Photo London.

664
A tank parked up off the Old Kent Road near Peckham.