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.
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.
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.
Hernan Bas at Victoria Miro Gallery with paintings of revellers and rebels in Cambridge.
Mark Hagen uses a gloss white surface on a canvas-like support in this composition shown at Sotheby’s St George St.
Aaron Young at Sotheby’s.
Lucas Arruda at David Zwirner with delicate landscape. They have immaculate matt surfaces, revealed by the complete lack of glare when photographed.
Suzan Frecon at David Zwirner with delicate studies for larger abstract pieces on show in New York.
Jeff Elrod of Simon Lee Gallery with paintings using spray paint.
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.