London Art Exhibition Update By Paul Carey-Kent

There’s enough interesting stuff round at the moment that I found myself identifying some extra shows which run into late April. We come into colour slowly, and not very far until a late burst before the end piece, part of an end-of-analogue TV show moment which also includes the ICA and Galerie8…

Shari Hatt: ‘I just want to be taken seriously as an artist . . . etc’ @ Space Station Sixty-Five, 373 Kennington Rd – Kennington
Canadian photographer Shari Hatt takes on cliché with some panache in the first show at this decade-old gallery’s new space / station. First dogs, which she photographs rather attractively, some as black on black – only with such an attention to detail, lighting and eye contact as to lampoon the pretensions of portrait photography by applying them to canine subjects. Second, clowns: other artists dress up to enact an uncomfortably direct parody of a critic’s visit to her studio; and Hatt has a striking range of professional clowns and burlesque performers (Red Bastard is especially good) tell art-referencing jokes so dreadful they may have to be taken seriously…

  Elisabeth Scherffig: Vitrea @ Faggionato Fine Arts, 49 Albemarle St – Central
To 27 April (not weekends):
An ideal match of space and art ranges Elisabeth Scherffig’s intensely intricate drawings of industrial glass in front of one of London’s finest gallery windows. Scherffig (born in Düsseldorf, home of the Museum of Glass, in 1949) derives impressive variety from combinations of pattern, opacity and light, together with an occasional hint of what might lie beyond. There are plenty of analogies to pursue in that, or you can just admire the dark sepia pastel  technique, especially in the bigger works and in the huge drawing of a construction site (from an earlier series) in the office.
Kelly Barrie & Sherin Guirguis: Slow Dance (Enta Omry)


Sweethearts @ Pippy Houldsworth, 6 Heddon St – Central

As you’d expect, some things work better than others in this show featuring seven artist couples who work separately yet agreed to collaborate – but it’s all interesting. Hume-Hopton and Rauch-Loy are good, but the stand-out piece is by the least-known couple. Egyptian artist Sherin Guirguis works with Islamic patterns, her husband Kelly Barrie is a process-based photographer. They made a patterned ‘rug’ from photo-luminescent powder on back paper, then danced across it to form the basis for a photographic print. Thus a romantic creative action led to a joint creation which disrupted the grid as it merged their cultures and approaches…

Large Dark Line Vertical Grid

Winston Roeth @ Bartha Contemporary, 25 Margaret St – Fitzrovia

Beacon-based New Yorker Winston Roeth has been honing the monochrome and the grid for three decades, out of which experience he demonstrates three ways of undermining our perceptual habits at the newly central Bartha Contemporary: diptychal plays on window or landscape, sea or sky; sparkle-infected grids, in which accidental but manipulated irregularities produce a shimmer effect which comes and goes at the junctions; and the use of untraditional materials – notably commercial slate tiles, ready to be hung on pre-driven nail holes – as a colour-ground with its own anti-flat character.

The Ideal is Unattainable

Margo Trushina: Sublime and Instruction @ Salon Vert, 21 Park Square East – Regent’s Park

Young Russsian Margo Trushina has three floors and a yard to explore our post-romantic perception of the sublime through photo-lightworks paying tribute to the mythic romance of the road; an installation which gives the sunset a political edge; and an artificially produced ‘Personal Rainbow’ (best seen at dusk). The highlight, though, is the room combining video, industrial materials, mirrors, lighting, sound and a trembling curtain of thread to create a version of the Iguazu Falls in Brazil which sets up a compelling dialogue between the platonic and the ramshackle.

Pascual Sisto: still from 28 Years in the Implicate Order’
  Graham Dolphin: What is the word & Pascual Sisto: Fill_In_The_Blanks @ Seventeen, 17 Kingsland Rd – Hoxton

It’s double time at Seventeen: at ground level Graham Dolphin continues to mine last documents and memorials with the passion of a fan in a high octane graphite-based mural taken from tributes to Ian Curtis and versions of such items as the last note written by Aldous Huxley to his wife (‘Try LSD…’) and the last of the concluding blizzard of angel images made by Paul Klee. In the basement you can see why Spanish American artist Pascual Sisto has made an internet impact – which he’s now trying to translate to the object world – with his hypnotising animations of a chair possessed and of a cityscape in which 28 independent red balls eerily bounce in and out of synchrony.


Michael Samuels: Tragedy of the Commons @ Rokeby, 5-9 Hatton Wall – Farringdon

Michael Samuels repurposes furniture to make sculptures. They bring constructivist and deconstructivist modes into alliance to form abstractions in which the historic utility of the items involved still pulls the viewer in. Neat touches include the provisional attachment of parts with G-clamps and ratchet straps, and the use of desk lights to differentially illuminate found colours. Here there’s just one elegantly integrated barrier across the gallery like a wall, a giant picture or even a window into some perverse reorganization of an office and, by impaction, its life and many of ours’. ..

George Young @ Hilary Crisp Gallery,2nd Floor, 33 White Church Lane – Whitechapel

Hilary Crisp has moved east – a stone’s throw from the Whitechapel (though she herself has moved south for a few months, accompanying husband Graham Hudson to an artist’s residence in Italy). This is a more extensive selection of George Young’s fluently typically fluent yet poster-like paintings of stock images than could readily be show in the space. How so? There are heaps and boxes full of them, which visitors are unpreciously encouraged to leaf through – all at one with Young’s ongoing subversion of standard display modes in favour of apparent disposability, which has included separating painting and frame, leaning paintings into odd curvatures and attacking his own images in various ways.

Stuart Brisley: Next Door (the missing subject) @ Peer, 97 & 99 Hoxton St – Hoxton

To 28 April (talk 24 April):

The punchiest political statement to be seen just now is this highly edited half hour record of ten days during which the veteran provocateur Stuart Brisley made symbolic sculptural statements on the state of the nation by piling up the items abandoned in the closed-down shop which is now the extension to Peer’s space and where the film is being shown. Sound dull? Oddly, it isn’t: there’s shambolic comedy, atmospheric sounds, voyeuristic passers by, Brisley’s punchy explanatory diary text, and the way its sequence of morphing abstractions build their own aesthetic.

Gilbert & George: London Pictures @ White Cube – Mason’s Yard, Hoxton Square and Bermondsey

To 14 April (Hoxton) / 12 May (Mason’s Yard & Bermondsey):

The London Pictures, well-timed to deflate Olympic puffery, strike me as Gilbert & George’s best set this century. Why so? First, there’s logic to the multiplicity: the number (292!) is driven by the categorisation of key words in news vendor posters, and rams home the everyday banality of disturbing events. Second, the directness of focus – emphasised by a restricted palette of black, white, red and flesh – suits the subject. Third, the apparently straightforward, rule-driven images, are actually quite complicated layerings of four elements: the headlines; the background made from eccentric views of the East End, mainly its brickwork, reflections in cars windows, and houses wearing lace curtains ‘like burkas’; the ghostly figures of G&G haunting their territory; and the Queen, differently worn down and damaged in each coin-sourced profile, appearing to give her imprimatur.

Josephine King: I told him I was an artist. He said, “Can you cook?” @ Riflemaker, 79 Beak St – Soho

There’s no holding back in Josephine King’s work: a helter skelter of influences – Egypt, Art Nouveau, Klimt, Malevich, Jawlensky, Emin, the many countries she’s lived in; savage, headlong, self-absorbed border texts out of bipolarity and a sense of injustice; full blast colours in her favourite inks, including harlequin patchworks all over the skin of her full-length nude self-portraits… In a way it sounds terrible, and in a way it is – but compulsively so, and I found myself convinced that King is something of a Queen in her mode.

David Hall: End Piece @ Ambica P3, 35 Marylebone Rd – Baker St

David Hall’s is the name which comes to mind in the category ‘70’s British TV artist’ – his snippets of film used to interrupt broadcasts are seminal. They’re shown here (interrupting each other) along with a Naumanesque chance to see yourself from odd angles in several screens (is that a bald spot?) and a floorscape made from analogue TV Sets. That has both a fickeringly cacophonous aesthetic impact and a narrative logic, as the screens go blank in turn as the switch to digital TV occurs in April: by the end of its run, there will be no pictures.

Images courtesy of the relevant artists and galleries + Maya Balcioglu (Brisley)

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