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.

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Gallery run 14th June

Today is scheduled to be hot at 27 degrees and suncream and a sports cap are necessary to protect against about 4 hours of direct sun. I head north west towards the Lisson Gallery using the most picturesque route available out of Peckham through a succession of small parks and across Lambeth Bridge. In gallery 1 Jorinde Voigt has beautiful drawings on display and the blurb explains that they are time based depictions of objects changing their appearances over time. We learn the artist was a cellist and of the possible connections between these drawings and musical scores. Meanwhile on close inspection the application of spray paint is immaculate and stands in contrast to the urgently scrawled text made as though by the hand of an experimental scientist. In gallery 2 Joyce Pensato has produced large paintings based on cartoon imagery ranging from Mickey Mouse to Batman’s mask. The application of paint is frantic and disorientating with hundreds of drips, scourings and a loose style more reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism than of Pop.

Then there is a short journey south to Michael Werner Gallery. The receptionist who always welcomes me is talking on the phone in Spanish, but still breaks off to give me a nod, and I make my way upstairs into the gallery. Marcus Lupertz is a geologist, we discover, and immediately the loosely rendered images take on a new dimension as though depicting living rock. A volcano bubbles away in one picture, at least to my imagination, but looks small and evokes no sublime terror but rather appears more domestic like a hot cauldron. Perhaps this is the effect of the artist’s own familiarity with his subject matter. David Zwirner is next a few streets away and here Lisa Yuskavage has painted large scale nudes, men and women in pairs, which can be linked to small jewel like studies shown upstairs. I admire her ability to work from studies in this way without losing any of the vitality of the original. Nearby at Victoria Miro, Milton Avery has produced beautifully rendered landscapes and portraits. We are told in the press release that he was influential to Rothko. A buyer asks for a quote and I overhear a figure in excess of £100,000 for one of the works on paper. This is A list.

In the art colleges the student shows are continuing this week and it is the turn of the Slade MFA and PHD students to exhibit. A striking painting by Georgina Lowbridge depicts a man lying down amongst a pile of beautifully painted clutter. A young woman comes up and asks what I think of the paintings, and knowing they are hers I dutifully reply they are great, which is easy to say, in fact, because they are. After a great discussion about life at the Slade I mention that I had tried to see Florian Roithmayer’s work of cast clay on show in the observatory, a small circular building in the quad, to find out more about the PHD programme. In fact the building had been locked for lunchtime, though I didn’t mention this, but nevertheless had peered through the windows into the darkened space to his three mysterious sculptures. The most striking was a slab of clay, pinched and squeezed in a way, now quite familiar to abstract sculpture, but somehow there is excess here as though the slab has had a real going over.

Back south the monthly visit to the Greengrassi, Corvi Mora complex in Kennington offers ample rewards with Anne Ryan displaying cutouts in the larger of the two spaces whilst upstairs a bed with bright orange sheets lies tucked in the corner. Its placement next to the concrete floor slab of a defunct fireplace merged now into the smooth white wall of the gallery, reminds me of nights spent by the fire in a small squat nearby. But the bed has rich memories of its own as a press release depicts an old photo from the 70’s showing the sculpture in its original exhibition at New York’s 303 gallery.

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Jorinde Voigt of Lisson Gallery with intricate drawings using a style that’s almost scientific.

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Joyce Pensato of Lisson Gallery with great cartoon imagery.

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Markus Lupertz of Michael Werner Gallery with striking free brushwork in highly charged landscapes. As he was a geology graduate also, I fancy this to be a volcano but with unusual vantage point.

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Lisa Yuskavage at David Zwirner London with powerful figurative paintings.

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Milton Avery at Victoria Miro Gallery. This landscape has a beautiful use of colour including the delicately painted pale blue trees.

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Dominic Dispirito at Slade School of Fine Art with great spray painted artworks.

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Georgina Lowbridge completing her MFA at Slade School of Fine Art with three great paintings including this one. She told me she had sussed out using this clean and carefully limited palette of colours during the course and it certainly seems to work.

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Anne Ryan of Greengrassi with a new move away from her narrative paintings. The installation is made up of over 100 cut-out images.

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Rirkrit Tiravanija of Pilar Corrias exhibiting in a group show at Corvi Mora.
The artwork uses the space well and reminds me of a mis-spent gap year living in squats.

Gallery run 11th March

James Coleman, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Lari Pittman offer their established styles in new works. Joanne Greenbaum and Polly Apfelbaum bring colour whilst Imran Qureshi, Jeff Zilm and Maria Taniguchi show great delicacy.121Lari Pittman at Thomas Dane Gallery with layered paintings.

122In Wardour Street, Chinatown, where the lanterns are up.

123Jeff Zilm at Simon Lee Gallery produced these filmic spray-painted images. He does a chemical reaction on 35mm film stock and transposes the results onto canvas.

124Polly Apfelbaum at Frith Street Gallery.

125James Coleman with a mini retrospective at Marian Goodman. This new piece is on a giant, bright, led screen that actually seems to radiate warmth.

126Maria Taniguchi at Ibid with a series of brick paintings.

127Rirkrit Tiravanija at Pilar Corrias was in discussion with Andrea Zittel shown above. She saw the rock as a symbolic place for a future commune shelter project.

128Imran Qureshi at Corvi Mora with Mughal inspired miniature watercolour paintings.

129Joanne Greenbaum at Greengrassi. Great drips, spaces and interconnections.