Here is the latest in Paul Carey-Kent’s rolling top ten, together with previous choices which you can still still see…
Alex Cecchetti: the printing house of hell @ Kunstraum, 15a Cremer St – Hoxton
Alex Cecchetti showing his erotic Memoires, 2014 at the opening
Object Painting – Painting Object @ Jonathan Viner,
Charles Harlan’s Tree, 2014 and Michael Rey’s Fromes, 2015 either side of Elias Hansen’s strikingly titled glass on self work If fucking would’ve fixed this, I’d have fucked the shit out of you a long fucking time ago, 2015 Here come – how many can there be? – yet another dozen ways to deal with the language of painting without doing anything as obvious as picking up a paintbrush. Thing is, though, most of these 15 young Americans bring a zingy freshness and imagination to the trope: Charles Harlan just cuts out a section of chain link fencing with a tree entwined; Michael Rey makes industrial objects masquerading as monochrome paintings which turn out to be ceramics masquerading as both; Sam Mayer makes a painting of textural contrasts and a face of sorts by abutting canvas and marble shapes; Aaron Bobrow allow blue tarpaulin to fade and break down outside until he considers it ready. What sounds like a serious investigation into boundaries and forms turns out to be a feel-good summer show.
‘Invited’ is a pop-up in a just-renovated and surprisingly extensive Notting Hill house in which many separate spaces are turned over to a mixture of contemporary art and medieval carvings as the property is marketed. I was almost bound to like it, as Flora Fairbairn and Philly Adams’ curation could have been derived from Paul’s Art World: I’ve written on recent shows by Jodie Carey, Alastair Mackie, Liane Lang, Alejandro Ospina, Jodie Carey, Rafael Gómezbarros, Boo Saville, Dominic Beattie, Phoebe Unwin and Tim Ellis… and they all have good work here! And yet I was most struck by the new to me Alexi Williams, who has three rather baroque plaster sculptures on dollies: they look a little as if Rebecca Warren has turned to working with a cake decorating gun, but were made by filling and casting the somewhat floral complexities of cows’ stomachs.
Imi Knoebel @ White Cube, Bermondsey and Lars Wolter: Framed @ Rocket, 4-6 Sheep Lane – Cambridge Heath
Oddly, White Cube has the first solo London by the seminal German abstractionist Imi Knoebel, who has had any number of such shows elsewhere, and it’s well worth seeing. There’s also a table by Knoebel at the beautifully appointed new premises of Jonathan Stephens’ Rocket gallery, together with new work by another German minimalist with a wider crossover with furniture. Lars Wolter makes all his own superbly crafted painting-objects. Here he has four separate streams of work, much of it – like Knoebel’s – exploring colour, but I also like the more chromatically restrained series which can be read as a sleep-scape punctuated by dream events.
Thomas Eggerer: Ozone @ Maureen Paley, 21 Herald St – Bethnal Green
To 23 Aug: www.maureenpaley.com
Untitled, 2013 – collage, 63 x 50 cm Thomas Eggerer’s show isn’t called ‘Ozone’ because it has an environmental message, but because the aerially viewed characters, often glimpsed partially, seem to be in a zone of their own – the O–Zone, it’s implied – and inhabit abstract areas of areas of misty colour as if it were their world. I like them, but was especially struck by the New York based German’s less often seen collages. The first two in a group of five fold and reflect repeated images of sculptures by Anthony Caro into more quotidian scenes, the next repeats the trick with a Calder, and the other two use modernist architectural details to a parallel effect. Not only is the splicing of form and content elegantly persuasive, it’s topical ahead of this year’s major restrospectives of Caro in Yorkshire and Calder at Tate Modern.
Matthew Higgs and Clive Hodgson & ‘Figuratively’ @ Wilkinson, 50-58 Vyner St – Cambridge Heath
Francisco Vidal with one of his portrait drawings. I should add that they’re not meant to be realistic…
Emily Young: Call and Response: London @ The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond St
To 29 Aug: www.faslondon.com/fine_art_society_contemporary/exhibitions
Emily Young, though born in London was partly raised in Rome and recently returned to live in Italy, where she works with the most traditional of means– free carving in the manner of Michelangelo. Yet there’s a 60s counterculture feel to how she sees her conversation with stone as being ‘small part of mankind’s most serious, most elemental conversation, that with Earth’. So it makes some sense that in her youthful days experimenting with drugs she was the Emily in Pink Floyd’s ‘See Emily Play’. Here, in the London half of a show shared with Venice, she shows an ability to release faces from a huge variety of minerals – typically discards from defunct quarries, which she prefers for their characterful imperfections.
Verdite Forest Head, 2015Verdite 23 x 23 x 20 cm
To 12 Sep: www.carrollfletcher.com
Michaël Borremans: Black Mould @ David Zwirner, 24 Grafton St – Mayfair
To 14 Aug: www.davidzwirner.com
Black Mould / Juggling with Fiery Limbs II, 2015 – oil on wood, 34 x 28 cmJust when you thought the dead good of Guston (Timothy Taylor to 11 June) would overshadow any living painter, up steps Michaël Borremans with a tour de force of dark and sepulchrally presented ritual. Goya, Abu Ghraib, and Japanese theatre meet dance to the implied sound of Black Mold, a chunk of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s alternative rock. Downstairs Pogo is one fifteen part work isolating black-robed figures as a prelude to their full-scale interaction above, where robes are lifted, a severed hand used as a tool and the mood ambiguated by the introduction of a badger, whose song we can only imagine as his score is a blank sheet of paper. Surely it’s not from ‘The Wind in the Willows’?
See Top Photo Black Mould / The Badger’s Song, 2015 – oil on wood, 22 x 31 cm
PREVIOUS CHOICES STILL ON
To 14 Aug: www.artfirst.co.uk
Dolly Thompsett with Huddle, 2014 – oil and mixed media on printed fabric and canvas 131.5 x 95.5cm