Fitzrovia has been receiving a great deal of attention recently, establishing itself as the next East London. Many of the galleries that are opening in and around the area had previously been located in the East End, near Bethnal Green, Shoreditch, and the like. Economic changes and Olympic gentrification have led many of these galleries to seek clients and buyers in a more central location.
Stuart Shave/Modern Art is a great space and is currently hosting the work of Sara Barker. Barker is a sculpture, and this show marks her first show in London. The show Woman at a Window is perfectly complimented by the space in which it is exhibited. There is a sense of wonder and desire to look into and around the razor thin sculptures that Barker has created. Upon a closer look at the constructed materials that Barker has used flashes of colour appear which are quickly lost as the strands of metal cross and twist into frames which complete the pieces. The work appears to create itself in front of the viewers eyes with a delicate sense of realization. The space and the work are complementary, giving Barker a great first show in London.
Over at Regina Gallery Andrei Monastyrski & The Collective Actions Group are showing Trips Out of Town (1980-2006). The exhibition is more of a collection of images and stock film from the groups activities. Monastyrski founded the group in 1976 and they have since been creating a series of what they call “actions”. The “actions” are performances that are occasionally even unknown to the performers until they have completed or are completing the direction outlined by the collective or Monastyrski himself. While the performances themselves were not the highlight of the exhibition the purpose was to draw attention to the groups desire to create material documentation of these events. Most of the publications that were shown described the performances through photography and hand-written journals. The documentation and subsequent exhibition on show suggest a performance in and of itself. This is a show worth seeing and certainly digesting, as the power of the work settles in.
At Alison Jacques they are displaying the charming and often laughable world of Dorothea Tanning’s Collages. Part of the show is a tribute to the artist was recently passed earlier this year at the age of 101. Tanning is best known for her Surrealist paintings yet the work on display at Alison Jacques highlights the artist’s comedic side which features a great deal of found material, from plant leaves to scraps of paper from her studio, the effect remains very childlike and slightly reminiscent of years gone by. Of the pieces on display several of them can bring outright bursts of laughter. She places photographs of floppy dogs on black and white images of children gleefully playing on swings, in what appears to be a simple and gentle look at childhood and imagination. She never strays far from her surrealistic passions leaving room for edginess and direct flashes into the unimaginable.
Rebecca Hossack has got it all. The gallery is filled with bright colours and shapes drawing passers-by in left and right. Although they specialize in aboriginal works this summer the gallery is offering a show that is all London. Alongside that show is Pardan Gond and Warli Tribe Art which is where the maddening colour parade and swirling shapes evolves from inside the gallery. It may appear overly simplistic upon first glance, though a second chance is all that is needed to fall head over heals for the characters and faces that explode from the various scene depicted. It is a fun and lively exhibition, slightly overshadowed by the pieces from other collections that are draped all around the space. Even though it is refreshing to see a space that is exhibiting a great deal of work it feels more like a small shop than a proper exhibition and may lead some people to stray away from the commercial aspect.
The world of tech meets art meets a breaking point over at Rooke & Raven. Their latest group show entitled Interface proudly displays the work of artists who are working in alternative media. Although the show expresses a nostalgia for technology that is now obsolete, the powerful portraits were lost in the galleries rather dim lighting. Everything seemed over dramatic, merging between a club atmosphere and a student showing work for the first time. The portraits worth taking a look at are created by Nick Gentry. He uses floppy disks as his basis, layering elegant portraits on top. While the use of collage is apparent, it doesn’t seem to be displayed effectively in the space. Impressive work is lost in the dark nooks and crannies of the tiny gallery.
Utopia and British fringe festivals are the topic of the day at Mummery & Schnelle. Not far from these other collections is a world straight out of fantasy. The galleries latest show A Bucolic Frolic: Distractions From the Modern takes a look at English art, design, and music from the 1960s to the present. The show emphasizes how there is a distinct inability to accept technological, and economic development which leads to the development of alternative worlds often played out through the free (or almost free) festivals which have taken over British summers. The show explores, somewhat painfully the development between these growing utopian paradises and the landscape in which they exist.
All of these galleries and shows present an opportunity to see a distinct collection of up and coming artists. It is still debatable if the area is able to transform itself into the next East London scene, or if it even wants to. Many of the curators and owners seem content to be away from the Olympic hype gearing up over the next few weeks and the inevitable drunken hipsters crashing every opening they can ironically or referentially chat their way into. Time will tell what is in store for these new spaces. For more information about any of the events see the list below with additional links.
Sara Barker’s show at Stuart Shave/Modern Art will be running until the 4 August, 2012. More information can be found at the following link: http://www.artlyst.com/events/sara-barker-woman-at-a-window-modern-art-stuart-shave.
Andrei Monastyrski & The Collective Actions Group’s show at Regina Gallery will be running until the 18 August. More information can be found at the following link: http://www.artlyst.com/events/andrei-monastyrski-the-collective-actions-group-trips-out-of-town-regina-gallery
Dorothea Tanning’s show at Alison Jacques Gallery will be showing until the 28 of July. More information can be found at the following link: http://www.artlyst.com/events/dorothea-tanning-collages-alison-jacques
The Pardan Gond and Warli Tribe Art which is showing at Rebecca Hossack Gallery will be running until the 18 of July. More information can be found at the following link: http://www.artlyst.com/events/pardan-gond-and-warli-tribe-art-rebecca-hossack
Interface the show on now at Rook & Raven will be on until the 3 of August. More information can be found at the following link: http://www.artlyst.com/events/interface-rook-raven
A Bucolic Frolic: Distractions from the Modern is on at Mummery & Schnelle until the 18 of August. More information can be found at the following link: http://www.artlyst.com/events/a-bucolic-frolic-distractions-from-the-modern-mummery-schnelle
Words and Images by Portia Pettersen copyright Artlyst 2012