Gallery run 10th May

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Beatriz Milhazes at White Cube with a 15m long tapestry in her characteristic style.

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JeffKeen at Kate MacGarry with an early example of spliced 8mm film intercut with animation.

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Birgit Jurgenssen of Alison Jacques Gallery with delicately presented photographs using gauze fabrics to give a soft focus and welded metal frames which she made herself.

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Wilhelm Sasnal at Sadie Coles HQ with paintings in his distinctive style.

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Christian Boltanski at Marian Goodman with films of interventions and installations in deserted landscapes.

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Juan Usle of Frith Street Gallery with delicate brushwork.

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Rose Wylie at David Zwirner with evocative paintings made from the artist’s memory and images she finds in her studio.

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Alvaro Barrington at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac with paintings and sketches.

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Joseph Beuys at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac with a big retrospective and here a transformer and felt installation.

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Gallery run 20th December

Rose Wiley has a show at the Serpentine Gallery and the jog out west from Peckham proceeds over Lambeth Bridge, along the Embankment to Chelsea before finally reaching the damp Autumn grass of Hyde Park. In the show, a great painting made of several panels, has been installed where two walls meet at right angles. A sort of half panorama is the result. Several figures float around the space, sporting tabs like the kind that were used in children’s cut-out kits for adding outfits and interspersed amongst these figures are various symbols such as ovals and bits of text, each deeply evocative. The overall effect is a painting that feels like a powerful memory since, in addition to the aforementioned symbols, there is also an extensive network of completely untouched canvas. The artist hasn’t tried to fill this space, as would be the case in a normal panorama functioning as a window on the world, but rather has left the raw canvas as a conduit allowing the eye to move smoothly from one symbol to the next.

To the north of Hyde Park lies the little cul-de-sac of canal called the Paddington Basin, and it is via this little stretch of waterway that one then arrives at Lisson Gallery, spared in the meantime from hearing the thunderous A40 traffic, by a sort of emotional bubble that this charming stretch of canal has put in place. Carmen Herera paints jagged forms that jump across the canvas like lightening bolts and it is in the first of Lisson’s two galleries that the viewer encounters them. In addition there is a surprise. The artist has installed a three-dimensional structure, about the size of two back to back wardrobes and with its shiny blue paint, it seems to encourage various dialogues with the other brightly coloured paintings in the show.

In the second gallery are artworks by Roy Colmer from the 1970’s. Think back to the tech prevalent then and we have bulky old TV sets with horizontal band patterns, flickering away due to the limits of their technology. These are exactly what the artist has evoked in his paintings with their uniformly wide bands of colour. The unique quality of these bands is that they change colour during a single pass and this is what makes them hard to pin down as simply a band of coloured paint, a feat achieved, we are told, by the artist having rigged the spray gun to switch colour whilst still applying the paint in a continuous stream.

Lastly, in Brewer Street, Amanda Wilkinson has set up a new gallery after the restructuring of what was previously Wilkinson gallery. She has taken approximately half of the original artist list and of these artists, Jewyo Rhii, is showing a great installation of make-shift printing devices. Reversed lettering and some strange pivoted arms along with black lettering marks on the gallery wall accompanied by various drips and splats, provides the evidence that these machines actually work, up to a fashion. A lump of rock has been placed in a makeshift tray and this seems to function quite literally as a power supply in the manner of the swinging motion of a pendulum in a clock. With this low tech set-up the artist has enabled the viewer to turn away from the immediate function of a printing device and, rather as Roy Colmer had done, in fact, with his depictions of the TV raster pattern, offer instead a profound meditation on the general nature of the reproduced image without the burdensome presence of the duplication devices themselves.

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The Gingerbread City in Museum of Architecture with different companies of architects offering various cameos that have fitted together in this carefully designed edible city.

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Rose Wylie at Serpentine Gallery with a panoramic artwork that uses a novel method to portray the human figure.

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Carmen Herrera of Lisson Gallery with evocative hard edge paintings.

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Roy Colmer at Lisson Gallery with subject matter based on old flickering 70’s TV sets, but using a cleverly rigged spray gun that can change colour on a single pass.

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Susan Hiller of Lisson Gallery with painted over wallpaper allowing bits of cartoon and word-caption to show through.

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Bex Simon has designed this great public participation artwork on Westminster Magistrates Court.

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Gower Street birthplace of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood.

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Polly Apfelbaum of Frith Street Gallery with a show themed around a foot drawing by Dubuffet.

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Jewyo Rhii at Amanda Wilkinson Gallery with an imaginative design for a printing press. The rocks help the hidden upper sections swing against the gallery wall, imparting black ink from the various word moulds in the process.

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.

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

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

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

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

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George Condo at Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017.

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

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

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

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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.

Gallery run 1st December

Finsbury Pk, Parkland walk, Hampstead then South.

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Rose Wylie at David Zwirner.

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Donna Huanca at Zabludowicz Collection with performance and great props including a rumbling base sound generator.

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Sean Scully at Timothy Taylor with a series of work called Horizon.

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John Currin at Sadie Coles HQ.

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Thomas Ruff at David Zwirner with press images from his archive but photographed front and back to capture the editor’s comments. The reflected lights, however, are not from the artist’s layering of images.

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Willem Weismann at Zabludowicz Collection with images built up from the imagination.

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Mai Thu Perret at Simon Lee Gallery with work inspired by Monique Wittig.

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A blue plaque honouring nature has appeared just feet away from the show by Gavin Turk at Newport Street Gallery.

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Bonnie Camplin of Cabinet Gallery showing here at the Camden Arts Centre. Images based on the artist’s mind expanding theories.