Gallery run 23rd June

Today’s run is about 30 miles taking a large loop out to Chiswick, where my friend Suzanne from our ACME studios is showing. After looking at her works, which are studies of Brixton market, I head north to Acton and then east along the Grand Union Canal. As there are no galleries here I visit some places I have worked in, though of no relevance to Gallery Runner.

Eventually I arrive at Hyde Park and see the beautiful new pavilion by Diebedo Francis Kere. It looks like a chieftain’s palace with slatted roof and stained block-wood sides whilst being structured around an immaculate white metal frame that gives it further credentials as a piece of cutting edge architecture. Then I head on to the Royal Academy. After having photographed a couple of great works by Danny Rolph and Frank Stella, that I remember from my previous visit last week, I note the number of my painting and check the front sales desk to see if it has a red dot next to it yet. No, is the answer to that one.

Round the back of the RA on Old Burlington Street is Stephen Friedman Gallery. It has been influential in this year’s RA Summer Exhibition because of the contributions from its own artist, Yinka Shonibare, both by his curating and from his artworks there. In Stephen Friedman Gallery itself there is an unlikely but fascinating exhibition of material-based artworks that explore stretched canvas through a multitude of distortions and interventions that have been enacted upon it by sixteen artists.

Finally today I check out the RA School’s degree show. Work by Josephine Baker-Heaslip catches my eye due to great patterns she has created with stacked bricks whilst containing them in their entirety within wooden cut-out structures that hold the various brick forms in place. The bricks themselves have been painted on some of their faces with earthy but bright colours and make lovely artworks. After a quick half pint and the time now seven and a half hours past my departure time this morning, a marathon already achieved, there is a last hour remaining for the return home.

709
Suzanne Baker exhibiting images made on location in Brixton Market.

702
Diebedo Francis Kere Serpentine Pavillion with a beautiful mix of materials.

704
Danny Rolph at RA Summer Show 2017 using a classic building material to great aesthetic effect.

707
Frank Stella of Spruth Magers Gallery exhibiting at RA Summer Show 2017.

706
Channing Hansen at Stephen Friedman Gallery using knitting to create coloured forms stretched across frames.

701
Gunther Uecker at Stephen Friedman Gallery using nails to great effect.

708
Zilia Sanchez at Stephen Friedman Gallery using canvas stretched across simple objects to create a beautiful simple piece.

705
Zsofi Margit at RA Schools Show 2017 using painted MDF to create the illusion of reflecting glass.

703
Josephine Baker Heaslip at RA Schools Show 2017 using painted bricks to great effect.

Advertisements

Opening RA Summer Show 5th June

Royal Academy Summer Show 2017 Varnishing Day

Varnishing day was traditionally an occasion when exhibiting artists could make last minute changes to their artworks before the show formally opened to the public. Now in the 21st century there is absolutely no touching of the artworks and instead it is a celebratory occasion. We can look around the crowded hall and see colleagues that we have encountered along artistic careers, perhaps often entirely different from the steep gradients to success that characterise the more illustrious exhibitors. I meet up with a friend from our studios in Peckham as she accompanies an older chap who she says seems to know almost everyone. He is one of the Academicians and greets me with a handshake before sharing some of the back story of the hanging. Of course it is fascinating and also a thrill to imagine my own piece woven into this narrative.

First impressions of each of the exhibition rooms is familiarity, thanks to some of the works on display. I see Yinka Shonibare’s beautiful sculpture with recognisable use of a globe for a head. And later I see the artist himself. With a sense of gratitude for being picked, I thank him for a tutorial he once gave me at Goldsmiths 20 years ago and he graciously acknowledges this. In another room are artworks by international megastars from the art world curated by Fiona Rae. George Condo’s and Anselm Keifer’s stand out. By these works is a lifting platform, though soon to be put away, highlighting the sense of fluidity of the hang and, indeed, a few pictures are still going up elsewhere.

I spend the next hour seeking out artworks to photograph with a phone camera and there is a sense of excitement each time I encounter a new piece familiar from previous trips to the commercial galleries featured in this blog. I see Tomoaki Suzuki’s beautifully hewn wood figures, shown previously around the floor of Corvi Mora gallery and elsewhere artworks by Gilbert and George and Conrad Shawcross are instantly recognisable. The accompanying artworks by the anonymous public are enhanced by these staples, though in turn they offer something precious and individual in exchange.

It is this reciprocal relationship that adds charm to the show, since any visitor knows that every anonymous artwork, including my own, is not only a physical product of an artist’s enduring spirit but also, perhaps, a rare moment for that artist to find a public audience as they follow their individual and unpredictable journey.

IMG_4639
Julian Sharples, me, at Summer Exhibition 2017 Royal Academy of Arts Varnishing Day. Psychic Space.

IMG_4638
Sean Scully of Timothy Taylor at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 Varnishing Day.

IMG_4635
Fiona Rae of Timothy Taylor at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 in the room she created.

IMG_4619
Anselm Keifer of White Cube at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 Varnishing Day.

IMG_4636
George Condo at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017.

IMG_4640
Gilbert and George of White Cube at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 Varnishing Day.

IMG_4637
Rose Wiley at Summer Exhibition 2017 Royal Academy of Arts Varnishing Day.

IMG_4614
Mark Wallinger of Hauser and Wirth at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017 Varnishing Day.

IMG_4634
Ana Mendieta of Alison Jacques Gallery used gunpowder in her small landscape artwork. From a trip earlier in the week, but stunning and wanted to post it.