Isla (Ecepticismo), 2015 Oil, nails and fish-hooks on linen panel on plywood, 145 x 168 x 12 cm
What may sound a rather trivial, if impressively obsessive, idea – to attach fishhooks to twelve seascapes – proves visually effective and politically resonant. The aesthetic comes from the variety of light and weathers depicted and how the hooks – 10,000 on a typical picture, fired black to make them pliable – sculpturalise the sea’s seethings and create shadows around and within the image. The resonance comes from how we in the gallery as island look out through the windows of paintings hung to make the sea’s horizon consistent, and are reminded that the Caribbean acted as Cuba’s Iron Curtain during the Cold War – during which Yoan Capote grew up in Havana.
Clem Crosby: My, my shivers / Rachel Goodyear: Fragments / Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture – Lampe VIII @ Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, 6 Heddon St – Central
To 9 Jan: www.houldsworth.co.ukRachel Goodyear: Facing the Wall, 2015
Pippy Houldsworth has three shows by artists I have previously recommended…The single work presentation in ’The Box’ is a classic from 1970: Alina Szapocznikow’s mouth-breast-neck of a lamp merger lit from within to sensually mournful effect. The Viewing Room shows Rachel Goodyear moving her witty graphic style in a more chance-driven and painterly direction. And the main space yields 11 new paintings and oilstick works by Clem Crosby, their marks shivering across aluminium, formica and balsa board as he continues his cheerfully nervous exploration of the effects of different grounds. As I suspected, it’s all good.
Clem Crosby:Untitled, 2015 – oil stick on balsa board – 34 x 50cm
Cipriano Martinez & Christine Van Der Hurd: Woven Cities @ Maddox Fine Arts, 52 Brook’s Mews – Mayfair
To19 Jan: www.maddoxarts.com
Composition in Black & Magenta
This unusual show focuses on nine large rugs hand woven in India by Christine Van Der Hurd’s team after paintings by the Venezuelan Cipriano Martinez. His work occupies a richly ambiguous space between cityscape and abstraction, architecture and networks, order and its deconstruction. That proves a good basis for handsome silk dhurries in what proves a genuine collaboration: the sizes, proportions and colours of the paintings are changed to suit weaving, and two were made by Martinez knowing they would be woven. Five representative examples of Martinez’s paintings allow comparisons to be made.
Cipriano Martinez and Christine Van Der Hurd
Mark Fairnington: Collected and Possessed @ Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Road – Forest Hill
Face Monkey, oil on panel, 10x10cm, 2012
The Horniman Museum, already a fascinating place, is currently enhanced by an extensive retrospective of Mark Fairnington’s photo-realistic yet uncanny paintings inspired by this and other museum collections: they include life sized portraits of bulls, close-up tondos of eyes, panoramic views of specimens in storage, mounted insects trade at human scale and curious heads from the Wellcome collection. Fairnington has also delved into the Horniman collection to find on exhibited material show alongside his paintings., pointing up the contructed nature of the all that we see here.
The Ambassadors, oil on canvas, 204x256cm, 2007 (detail)
Rob Pruitt: Therapy Paintings @ Massimo de Carlo, 55 South Audley St – Mayfair
Rob Pruitt’s last London show was of ‘suicide paintings’. Things seem seem to be looking up, though, as his latest set finds a generative process in therapy. Pruitt doodles on a small pad as a way of freeing himself up during each hour-long session. One wall holds 36 of these, some of which Shaw has then blown up by computer to various sizes up to 7 feet high, and overpainted in restrained colours true to the sketches’ medium of super-standard dark blue biro. Surrealist free association meets the magnification of small gestures used by such abstract painters as Kline and Hartung to produce compositions with more life than you might expect. Sculptures of cats accompany the paintings by way of extra assurance, and it all feels pleasantly odd.
The original 10 x 15cm ballpoint drawing and the 215 x 165cm acrylic, ink oil and water painting for Therapy Painting 8/31/2015
Robert Indiana: Don’t Lose Hope @ Contini Gallery, 105 Bond Street – Central
To 31 Jan: www.continiartuk.com
HOPE Wall (Red/White/Blue), 2010, Silkscreen on paper
I suspect neither the Contini Gallery nor Robert Indiana are quite cool in art world terms, but this match-up turns out well as a chance to judge the pop-text pioneer’s significance as a deflator of consumer society staples. Born Robert Clark in 1928 and rebranding to his home state in xxx, Indiana is best known for his many graphic and sculptural encouragements to ‘LOVE’, in which the ‘O’ in a pinball-machine-come-advert seems to have been kicked askew by the ‘L’. This substantial retrospective starts with early figurative works from 1946; jumps to 60’s word works with little LOVE but plenty else, including a whole room filled with a rainbow alphabet; then concludes with a series initiated for Obama’s 2008 campaign, putting HOPE through its paces with some brio. I offer TOIL as the next word, though Indiana says he’s considering PRAY.
Robert Indiana – ALPHABET (A to Z), 1994 – 2011, 26 Silkscreens and Rainbow Roll on Canvas