Gallery run 29th March

Today I visit Stuart Shave’s two galleries using a route suitable for joggers and cyclists and then a further batch of galleries in the West End ideal for the urban pedestrian.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel gives access to the Isle of Dogs and by running round the perimeter of the City Farm on its raised walkway, the farm itself appearing to sit in what was once a major reservoir, the jogger quickly accesses the great docks once owned by the East India company. From here the Regent’s Canal is reached via the Limehouse Basin and this provides the cyclist or keen jogger with the route to Stuart Shave’s gallery near Victoria Park. Eva Rothschild is showing sculptures on both floors of this very large space and has organised the works to harmonise with it. Using the next stretch of the canal to access Wharf Road, the longer range gallery visitor can get to the second Stuart Shave gallery, located just off Old Street. Here, Ricky Swallow has produced intricate, coloured, bronze sculptures that occupy the entire space with their presence, despite having small physical dimensions.

Frith Street, about four streets west of Charing Cross Road, is a good place for the urban pedestrian to join the trek. Frith Street Gallery is showing a small group show that includes Jessica Warboys, who has created some great canvases using the sea as a fluid medium to move pigments around and to deposit additional silt-like particles of matter onto their surfaces. They have a delicate appearance with rhythmic patterns that makes them look as though they were actually being viewed through water. Using a road just north of Old Compton Street as a parallel access to Regent’s Street, Liberty comes into sight and marks the beginning of Kingly Street and this in turn leads to Sadie Coles HQ. Marvin Gaye Chetwynd has a deeply gothic theme that the viewer would enjoy, though they must beat the 7th April end date. Finally a dog-leg at the bottom of the street leads to Upper John Street and Golden Square. Marian Goodman has been showing some great works by Thomas Struth, Cristina Iglesias and Giuseppe Penone, but this was a last-day visit and not therefore, a show that can be visited now on this route.

Finally Frith Street’s other gallery sits alongside the square itself in the peaceful enclave just off Piccadilly. Photographs are presented of the brickwork inside tunnels where water of another kind, when taken in contrast to Warboys’ sea works, has created extensive marks, deposits and stains on the victorian architecture. Carry on down now along Lower Regent Street, or parallel to it which is what happened today, and Trafalgar Square comes into sight. Michael Rakowitz has a majestic sculpture on view on the square’s fourth plinth.

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Eva Rothschild of Stuart Shave with various sculptural objects carefully presented in the space.

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Ricky Swallow of Stuart Shave with cast bronze objects based on incidental interior features.

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Jessica Warboys at Frith Street Gallery with images made by immersing pigmented canvases in the sea.

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Marvin Gaye Chetwynd of Sadie Coles HQ with gothic imagery based on bats and theatre props presented against flat photo backdrops.

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Thomas Struth of Marian Goodman with a photo of physics objects that would make one’s hair stand on end.

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Cristina Iglesias of Marian Goodman with a hard looking cage-like structure which on closer inspection is delicate and made of a granular substance that actually smells quite nice.

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Giuseppe Penone of Marian Goodman with a characteristic adaptation of a natural object.

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John Riddy of Frith Street Gallery with photo images of stained brickworks made during a stroll through South London.

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The fourth plinth has arrived. Michael Rakowitz has built a replacement for the original stone treasure recently destroyed, out of tin cans.

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Gallery run 8th September

From the Peckham Festival through St James’ Park to Sadie Coles HQ. Along the Regent’s Canal to Stuart Shave Modern Art and finally Marian Goodman’s opening of Giuseppe Penone.

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Nicolas Deshayes at Stuart Shave Modern Art. The pipes are hot!

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Uri Anan at Sadie Coles HQ with altered objects arranged in boxes and on tables.

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Dorothea Tanning FlowerPaintings at Alison Jacques.

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Jack McConville Capital Depths at IBID London. Money as water in these paintings.

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Giuseppe Penone at Marian Goodman Gallery. Art Povera.

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Dinh Q Le The Colony in The Peckham Festival 2016. The use of drones for filming makes for stunning footage about the guano harvesters on a Peruvian island.

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Rachel Rose Lake Valley at Pilar Corrias. Animated film with childlike imagery but dealing with universal themes of rejection and loneliness!

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David Korty at Sadie Coles HQ with collages text portraits.

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Invader

Sculpture in the City 2016, 12th August

Some artworks take time for their significance to be fully absorbed and this was the case with Michael Lyons’ sculpture, Centaurus. As a consequence of this, the present gallery run, based on a trail of 20 sculptures called Sculpture in the City, is described on two separate time scales, the day itself and a few days later. On this later occasion  I looked across an expanse of water to the City from the banks of the Thames whilst on a separate run and at a greater distance. The inspiration for a double narrative of this sort was also inspired by the writer Marcel Proust who used the changing distance of a spectator to reveal different truths about a cluster of objects whether they be artworks or the steeples of rural churches.

Close up, Sculpture in the City is a trail that extends south from the building formerly known as the NatWest Tower which bares, for those who are interested, the bank’s logo in its section. It then doubles back at Leadenhall market and one soon arrives at the grand plaza of the Leadenhall Cheesegrater, and then further back, the plaza of the St Mary’s Axe Gherkin. This doubling back at Leadenhall gives the sculpture trail an overall V shape with the Cheesegrater near the tip.

It was these same three buildings I would see from afar as I jogged round the long curving banks of the Thames a few days later. They formed a slowly rotating compass which would constantly pick out due south thanks to the illumination of a rather vivid red sunset reflecting off the Cheesgrater’s long south-facing facade. Thanks also to Michael Lyons’ sculpture, this overview of the whole sculpture trail would inspire me on my return home to write the present account, mindful of the fact that some artworks give a delayed reaction to the understanding of their truths.

On the day, Michael Lyons’ sculpture appeared sited on ground level in a plaza close to these iconic buildings. It had a roughly worked steel form and stone plinth and what looked like a gestural curve applied to a horizontal steel plate as a head and this sat atop a thick tapered pole in reference to a neck. It had a presence a bit like a sentinel and its name Centaurus suggested it was referencing a point or constellation in the southern sky, despite the bright midday sun temporarily obscuring any poetic reference to the stars. Then comes the moment referred to at the beginning of this account, of realisation. The sculpture was actually in alignment with the paving slabs of the plaza and this in turn, through the vision of architects, extended to an overall south facing aspect for all the buildings in that little region of the City. Thus from afar on the Thames I was looking at London’s Compass as the three buildings of the trail formed a V shaped constellation brought to life by its glowing tip as the evening sunset shone off the slope of the foremost building, the Cheesegrater. This is a compass that any city visitor can henceforth use to pick out due south and guide them on their way.

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Centaurus by Michael Lyons. The sculpture faces due south, as do the surrounding buildings, in fact, and is the inspiration for this week’s blog, the London Compass.

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Gavin Turk in Sculpture In The City

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Huma Bhabha of Stephen Friedman in Sculpture In The City.

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William Kentridge of Marian Goodman gallery. The artist has produced a composite portrait of a poverty stricken figure selling coals.

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Sarah Lucas of Sadie Coles HQ in Sculpture In The City.

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Ugo Rondinone of Sadie Coles HQ in Sculpture In The City.

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Lukas Duwenhogger at Raven Row. Exotic symbol-laden paintings.

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Giuseppe Penone in Sculpture In The City. Bronze tree with smooth boulders.

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Brick Lane activity.

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Anthony Caro of Gagosian in Sculpture In The City. Made from additions to a sea floatation tank.