Gallery run 13th April

Like last week, this Gallery-Run-write-up has been reduced to the individual photo captions, shown further down the page, in order to make room for a temporary project called Plus 1 that now follows. Guests join me, hopefully, on a gallery run and will share ideas. Alas there are still no takers, though admittedly I still haven’t really asked anyone else yet, beyond the hopeful invitations shown last week. This week’s article features something entirely different, though still comprising a sort of plus 1, whilst also verging on the confessional! For two months I learnt the names of artists associated with London-Frieze-exhibiting galleries, from lists of paper whilst out jogging being careful not to run into lampposts or pedestrians. Each list could be hand-held and studied. Some even show the effects of rain or of being stuffed into a pocket. Along with a two word summary of something that each artist did, the process helped to create a stack of memory boxes that follows the sequence of the numbered lists shown in the photograph below. The memory boxes automatically bring forth the next in the stack, provided they are cycled through in recall about once every fortnight. The boxes also bring with them an essence of each artist, since they have gradually filled up with experiences of gallery visits. Memory is a strange thing and this sequential recall is probably born through the need to piece together consecutive events in time, something the philosopher David Hume considered to be the rather unphilosophical survival function that shapes the human brain.

listsThe Lists Cycle. Gallery Runner lists in the foreground.

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Pablo Bronstein of Herald Street Gallery with a film that crosses the glam game show format with some of the grand narratives of Greek mythology.

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Bernard Cohen at Flowers Gallery.

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Elizabeth Murray of Pace Gallery showing at Victoria Miro with what looks like biological imagery on the shaped canvas.

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Joan Mitchell at Victoria Miro in a group show.

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Carlos Garaicoa at Parasol Unit with reconstructions of tiled Cuban adverts, albeit with a few alterations.

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Fab boat in Camden.

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Ryan Gander of Lisson Gallery with carved shapes from an important mathematical blueprint. Meanwhile the black pile of sand steadily grows during the show from a thin stream of sand falling out of a hole in the ceiling.

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Pedro Reyes of Lisson Gallery with a room full of sculpture and wall tableaux forming a complete system of ideas, some executed and some pending.

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Ian Cheng of Pilar Corrias showing at Serpentine Galleries. We see what appears to be a simple animation but gradually learn that the creature is living in real time and using a sort of AI to try things out and get used to its rather unusual body.

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Gallery run 23rd March

This week’s run accesses Hollybush Gardens, via Brick Lane and The Regent’s Canal. From here it progresses west to the hub of galleries near St James’ Park and Regent’s Street. The first stretch, like last week, is too far to walk though well worth the journey. The remaining hub is very accessible to the pedestrian and offers a nice selection of current work.

A classic stop-off point on Brick Lane is Beigel Bake where apple strudel costs just 80p. With a refuelling stop of choice items the longer-range London traveller can weave up some backstreets past Hoxton Overground station whilst maintaining a course parallel to Kingsland Road before they reach The Regent’s Canal. Go west for a few miles until the various gas frames at Kings Cross come into view and then switch south heading down Gray’s Inn Road. Hollybush Gardens is situated in a low-lying segment of Farringdon and on show is Turner Prize winner, Lubaina Himid. The viewer will see a room full of painting extending onto additional objects propped upright on the floor, objects whose original utility is immediately recognisable.

A good place for the more sedate traveller to join the trek is at Duke Street St James, where Thomas Dane and White Cube are both located. They are presenting respectively, art formerly linked to Brazilian Street art, in the case of Jose Damescano, and art using refrigeration units to produce a glistening white frost, in the case of Pier Paola Calzolari. A lovely little show further on at Mazzoleni Gallery on Albemarle Street is also well worth a visit.

David Zwirner on Grafton Street has the pick of the day in my opinion, 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. Down Hay Hill lies Berkeley Street and Simon Lee Gallery. Two great shows are on here featuring Roy Newell’s tiny abstracts and Micelangelo Pistoletto’s mirror images. Finally, though this show is no longer on, 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 18th January

With an invite to the Foundling Museum this morning it is necessary to divide the day into two halves. The first half will be in the East and the second half in the West. Parasol Gallery, the first stop of the day, is hosting Lisa Milroy, an artist who rose to prominence in the 1990’s. Her distinctive style is a grid pattern of objects standing out against canvas backgrounds and onto which there appear to have been cast drop-shadows. The pairs of black shiny shoes make a particularly strong impression in one of the older works, actually borrowed from Tate’s collection, since they go beyond the literal representation of an object and evoke additional associations notably of mussel shells. Such metaphorical readings of paintings often come from powerful childhood memories and whilst these certainly reside within myself, it is impossible to know if such associations are also shared by the artist. A small biographical detail recently provided by a friend, that the artist frequented a stunning beach close to Liverpool inhabited by razor mussels in their thousands, adds support to this further association but ultimately just confirms our own love of resemblances.

The theme of childhood memory is one that also underpins the new show at the Foundling Museum, a show aimed for children who may have lost a vital connection to their environment. Poet and writer Robert Macfarlane has turned away from our mediated worlds of digital technology and taken us on a stroll through nature while artist Jackie Morris has produced accompanying illustrations of the poet’s main themes to depict a world populated by birds, some resting on twigs, another with a pebble held delicately in its beak. What we see is a sort of hybrid world that never really leaves culture behind, for the gold-leaf backgrounds in many of the artist’s images are often more pleasing to the eye than those in which the complex structures of trees and vegetation have been presented. Perhaps nature is only digestible in small quantities. Following this theme, we find the most lucid and beautiful quote in the press release to be one that is actually set against the cultural reality of Pokamon characters. A child may be able to name over a hundred of these cultural brands, the artists inform us, but when it comes to naming the species and genera of our own natural habitats this number falls dramatically.

What does the window panel of an envelope mean? This is one of the questions that arises at Sadie Coles HQ where Darren Bader presents a room with a few highly collectable art sculptures mixed with tat, but where the buyer is not informed as to which is the art since this is precisely the nature of the game. In one sense then, all the work is art including the tat, since just as in a landscape the figure can only be picked out in contrast to a less busy background, here the artworks would only take their full meaning when viewed in relation to the much weaker objects that surround them. But this would be to miss the point which is that the viewer or potential buyer is expected to put their own judgement on the line, and this brings us back to the envelope windows. Are they art or simply the incidental and spontaneous product of HQ’s recycling activity? That they are reminiscent of any activity at all is why they get the thumbs up from me as accomplished artwork but this is an easy thing to say, whereas it is for the dedicated punter to make the real decision on this through a purchase.

Finally, at Thomas Dane Gallery Phillip King is presenting a fabulous multi-coloured installation using painted objects that appear to have been constructed out of wooden sheet. Large circular holes punctuate a central piece that makes it appear like a giant block of cheese. Though the yellow is provided not by the object itself, which is actually a bright lime green, but by the painted wall behind, the association of colour is nevertheless strong enough to impart the idea of food to it. In all there are several of these objects propped up against each other and the overall effect is to create a space reminiscent of a stage set where the viewer can move around and observe the curiosities of colour juxtapositions and perspectival lines.

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Lisa Milroy at Parasol Unit. Shoes, distinctive flat style, fab painting in general, but also a passing resemblance don’t you think to hinged mussel shells?

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Oli Epp at Beers London.

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Jackie Morris at Foundling Museum has produced images to accompany poetry by Robert Macfarlane.

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Christina Quarles at Pilar Corrias as part of Condo.

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Gerasimos Floratis at Pilar Corrias as part of the #Condo project where artists from different galleries do a temporary exchange.

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Koppe Astner at Sadie Coles HQ part of Condo.

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? at Sadie Coles HQ. There is a room full of conceptual sculptures including this one made up of envelope windows. Four are by A-lister Darren Bader and a few others are by guests, the rest is intended to be tat! The catch is none of the sculptures are labelled and prospective buyers are invited to take a punt. I fancy this one to be a quality piece.

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Phillip King at Thomas Dane Gallery with an installation of bold forms.

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Martin Kippenberger at Christie’s.

Gallery run 6th December

My phone is being sorted out this morning leaving me temporarily camera-less. Nevertheless this hiatus is a chance to build up the jogging miles before my retrieving of the device and doing the gallery visits in quick succession. At Alison Jacques Gallery, Juergen Teller is displaying a series of photographs called Go-Sees. The title used here refers to the term in the fashion industry of an informal introduction between photographer and aspiring model. In this exhibition the models have crossed over from the fashion industry into art. They are shown posing in a frequently used doorway or against a familiar backdrop revealing, all the while, different levels of engagement with the camera. Some models are at the artist’s front door waiting to be let in and have been caught unexpectedly from above, whilst others have adopted contorted gymnastic poses thereby taking control of the photograph and demonstrating a power of their own.

A few streets away at Pilar Corrias Gallery, Mary Ramsden has exhibited abstract paintings with dynamic motifs. A swoosh of paint arcs over the canvas and at its apex, where the droplets can no longer hold together due to the force of the brush swerving in a new direction, a secondary ejection occurs. The droplets have broken free and splay out across the canvas. This arching swoosh is a gesture but also a symbol, since the artist appears to have reproduced it at will, not only in its general shape, but also in its dynamism, harnessing the forces of nature to eject the paint spray at the chosen point. Other details stand out too, though with less dynamism, such as a bright pink strip of paint up the outside of the stretcher frame. It is normally a dead space that carries only the residues and traces of the main action on the painting’s front surface, but here on this side strip the artist appears to have intervened amongst the various accidents.

Sadie Coles HQ provides two further spaces for today’s run. At Kingly Street, Kati Heck has produced a central hexagon structure in the centre of the main gallery. Six paintings are displayed on its inner walls forming a sort of panorama of images. The images themselves are very strong, comprising figures and various objects of symbolic importance, all boosted in their immediacy by the economy and panache of the brushstrokes. Some of the background colour actually appears to have been applied with decorating brushes, evidenced by the width of their strokes, whilst other areas are omitted altogether, suggesting a confidence and good judgement on the part of the artist. Arms are detached from hands, a piece of sky missing, but each such intervention is done with a plausible logic thereby keeping alive the interest for the viewer.

With the day rapidly passing, there is a chance to see some work at Phillips. Jonathan Meese has a large image that oozes German Expressionistic appeal. The tell-tale fragments of German vocabulary along with roughly rendered figures populating the picture space, create a distinct style and attractive image. Finally in Peckham a climbing frame with art aspirations of its own catches the eye. The steel with flaking blue paint looks great and its image on Instagram sits in the middle of the other eight like a sort of carousel.

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Juergen Teller at Alison Jacques Gallery who photographed aspiring models in informal settings called Go-Sees.

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Mary Ramsden of Pilar Corrias.

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Adriano Costa of Sadie Coles HQ.

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Urs Fischer at Sadie Coles HQ with prints and photos.

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John Armleder at Phillips.

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Mel Bochner at Phillips.

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Jonathan Meese at Phillips.

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Kati Heck at Sadie Coles HQ with very good figurative painting that isn’t too finished in places.

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Old frame in Peckham.

Gallery run 3rd November

Bright sunshine is taking the chill out of the air this morning. The sun is behind me making the jog out west along the River Thames towards Wandsworth particularly radiant. Several bridges intersect this stretch of river before one arrives at the Wandsworth recycling centre, a first base on this run and site of an excellent bacon sandwich van. The owner has been trading since before dawn, she says, despite the hour gained from changing clocks. The recycling centre itself seemingly provides much of the business as visibility tops file down the narrow pavement before placing their breakfast orders. With bacon sandwich in hand the first photo opportunity of the day presents itself, a beautifully packed wall of recycled plastic, with the sun’s rays making the different colours sparkle like jewels.

Across the river, the Serpentine Galleries are showing an upcoming American artist called Wade Guyton. He specialises in digital imaging and printing processes but adds a painterly twist by incorporating drips and dislocations into their forms with a joyful array of “mistakes”. These are either accidental or intentionally orchestrated, but either way are very effective in upsetting the order of the original image. In the other gallery Torbjorn Rodland has produced uncanny photographs that incorporate familiar objects such as shoes, food and figures. All of these compositions have been disturbed in some way. A man appears to have thrust his legs in front of his head, with the consensus being that he has performed some extreme yoga pose. But then there is the realisation that what seemed like legs are actually arms, since the performer has had shoes placed on his hands, and his head merely nestles slightly uncomfortably behind one of his arms.

The short run through Hyde Park then leads to Upper Brook Street where Michael Werner is showing Enrico David, a sculptor who was at St Martin’s College at the same time as myself. On this account there is added interest for me. The white sculpted figures with their strange and ornate metal attachments, provide a powerful spectacle to the viewer but also remind me of the artist’s distinctive style clearly evident as a student at college. At Timothy Taylor gallery, a few streets away in Carlos Place, Alex Katz is showing paintings of woodland alongside sculpted portraits and drawings. The woodland paintings, in particular, reveal the artist’s vitality as paint streaks across the canvas in broad strokes. Whole tree trunks are rendered in single swipes while additional twigs are depicted with the same economy as the trunks and appear to twitch like the whiskers of a living animal.

As the sun comes round to the south in the early afternoon there are just three remaining stops to complete, but surprises will await at each of these. At Sadie Coles HQ there is a group show of Eastern, non-European artists. Of this interesting selection, Xu Qu, who is normally represented by Almine Rech gallery, has produced a striking garland of video cameras, which are all threaded onto a thick steel cable. Then round the corner at Pilar Corrias, Rirkrit Tiravanija has filmed the making of a feast cooked in ritual fashion on a giant, cast iron stove. Though traditional in its design, the welding and cast iron of the stove reveal that this object was in fact specially made for the occasion and furthermore that the utilitarian knobs and handles are all scaled up from a smaller original design. They are now barely practical in their new setting and as such take on the mantle of art object. Lastly, and as our finale for the day, Alison Jacques gallery is showing Sheila Hicks’ fantastic, woven, wool pieces. Some of these intricate structures have been mounted on a canvas support, further challenging the viewer’s preconceptions that a difference exists between craft object and artwork.

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Wandsworth Recycling Centre.

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Wade Guyton at Serpentine Gallery with ink jet accidents and images that have a painting quality to them including this illusory effect of depth.

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Torbjorn Rodland at Serpentine Gallery. The shoes create the illusion of a strange contorting posture at first.

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Enrico David of Michael Werner.

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Alex Katz of Timothy Taylor with intense images applied in thin washes of paint.

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Xu Qu at Sadie Coles HQ with a giant video camera garland on metal cable.

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Rirkrit Tiravanija of Pilar Corrias with a cast over-sized stove and enlarged saucepans which were used to prepare a feast.

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Sheila Hicks of Alison Jacques Gallery with fabric structures attached to a standard canvas.

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Katharina Grosse at South London Gallery with spray paint that looks like draped fabrics.

Frieze week 5th October

It is Frieze week and the galleries are all together under the Regent’s Park awning. Consequently there is little opportunity for a run. However, earlier this week I am given the opportunity to run up to Alan Cristea Gallery and review the new Michael Craig Martin exhibition of prints. Prints are the speciality of this gallery. To one side of the gallery, the newest work uses an altogether new method of duplication using a laser cutting process to remove a thin black surface and reveal portions of the white under-layer. The bonus of this process is the durability of the surface and these works look striking without even needing a sheet of protecting glass.

Two days later it is my chance to visit Frieze. The stand out works include some great ones by Ivan Seal, Mary Reid Kelley, Djordje Ozbolt, Patricia Treib, Sheila Hicks and Daniel Richter. A recent addition to Michael Werner Gallery called Peter Saul catches my eye in particular. It seems popular too on the Instagram feed with the most likes and as I look at the image it leaves this intense desire to produce a work of my own in a similar style. This of course will never happen. The work is great though, being a sort of dismantled figure with recognisable foot and hand emerging from some central tank-like container.

Lastly, a neon piece by Andrea Bowers is flashing away at Andrew Kreps Gallery, and since this is Frieze week, New York lies only a few seconds from London. The concourse between the neighbouring cubicles replaces the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. A cardboard cowling surrounds the neon letters and frames their pithy slogan, but also lends to their slick form an impromptu feeling, due in part to bits of random image left on the cardboard surface. This is almost the end of Frieze experience for me, but the same evening there is a bonus of seeing a talk by the Slade professor Andrew Stahl. A mutual friend has invited us to a rather exotic venue in Mayfair, home of the Woman’s University Club, and the evening assumes a slower and more relaxed rhythm.

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Michael Craig Martin at Alan Cristea Gallery with laser cut plastic as a medium for his new drawings.

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Sheila Hicks of Alison Jacques Gallery at Frieze 2017.

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Mary Reid Kelley of Pilar Corrias at Frieze 2017. Images and props from a recent film are artworks in themselves.

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Ivan Seal of Carl Freedman Gallery at Frieze 2017.

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Djordje Ozbolt with Herald Street at Frieze 2017.

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Patricia Treib of Kate Macgarry at Frieze 2017.

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Peter Saul of Michael Werner at Frieze 2017.

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Daniel Richter with Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac at Frieze 2017.

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Andrea Bowers at Andrew Kreps Gallery.

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.