Paul Cary -Kent Chooses His Must See Exhibitions For September 2017

nature Morte The Guildhall

Up Now in London – Paul Carey-Kent chooses the best of the Autumn season’s start.  

Stano Filko: Reality of Cosmos @ The Mayor Gallery, 21 Cork St

To 27 Oct:

Map of the World (Rockets), 1967 – monotype on map, 95 x 180cm

Lucia Gregorova Stach, of Slovakia’s national gallery, has curated this show of 1960’s work by the second most famous Slovakian conceptualist after Julius Koller. She pitches him as somewhere between Beuys (Filko has a foundation myth of becoming an artist following a near-death experience in a munitions factory) and Kabakov (he’s an oblique satirist of the communist state). Thus Filko (1937-2015) displays proposals for buildings, cobbled together anti-monumentally from found metal, so that they dominate an image of the Braislava skyline’s socialist utopia. He pitches red blood against blue cosmos, male rockets against cavorting women in a pop-style assertion of erotic over political against the collage background of a world map – which his work, unlike his small country but consistent with what was apparently a big personality, threatens to usurp.

Models of Observation Towers, 1966-67 – mixed media installation, 12 x 300 x 85cm


Henri Fantin-Latour: Gladioli and Roses, 1880

Nature Morte @ Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard – city of London

To 2 April 2018, £8:

Caroline McCarthy: Vanitas, 2007

The large but little known Guildhall Art Gallery has a significant collection of Victorian paintings, currently complemented by and integrated with over 100 contemporary still lifes. They provide new spins on flora, vanitas, food and domestic objects in a show – organised by Peckham’s MOCA – which toured the world three years before arriving in London. You’ll find, Andro Semeiko’s 1.5m square  “Very big chocolate cake”, a tribute to potential excess, more healthily topped by a 2 m high painting of cherries by Martin Gustavsson; and library of woodland books by Conrad Bakker; a Fright Wig made from household dust by Paul Hazelton; Caroline McCarthy’s image of a skull made from Ben-Day dots punched out of a binbag hung next to it, waste to waste; and two classic Fantin-Latour florals – while both Philip Pirlo and Michael Petry (also the lead curator) make striking works which equate flower and anus.

Michael Petry: Red Roses, 2009 – one of three blown glass and cut flower arrangements in which the rim of the vase is taken from online submission  of anus shapes, and  each flower choice  represents a man’s sexual preferences via the 1970’s gay hanky colour code.



Sargent: The Watercolours at Dulwich Picture Gallery

To 8 Oct:

The Fountain, Bologna, c. 1906

80 works show John Singer Sargent relaxing into watercolour during 1900-18, largely for his own pleasure and often linked to travel tied into his more lucrative work, with Venice, Southern Europe and the Middle East prominent. The best (which is to say, most) have unexpected subjects or viewpoints allied to a tight structure with contrastingly loose and often surprising application of colour. And there’s magic in, for example, the way he can transmit a sense of hot or cool temperature; depict rocks under water with convincing economy of means; suggest his own movement as he paints from a gondala; or blend figures into the pattern of a landscape.

Turkish Woman by a Stream, c 1907


Claire Partington: A Cautionary Tale @ James Freeman Gallery, 354 Upper Street – Angel, Islington

To 30 Sep:

Tatiana’s Dream, 2017 – earthenware, glaze, enamel, lustre and mixed media, height 66cm

It’s good to see that James Freeman is up and running again after severe flooding last December, and with a striking display of Claire Partington’s ceramics. They combine the skill you would expect from an ex-V&A technician with a slightly sardonic – and assertively female – take on fairy tales and classical art. Transformation stories are presented via works with swappable heads, ancient figures are infected with modern vices, and a gathering of 30-odd lovers’ eyes from various masterpieces make for an attractive yet disturbing presentation.

From Lovers’ Eyes, 2017



Lucas Arruda @ David Zwirner, 21 Grafton Street – central

To 23 Sept:

Sem título da série Deserto-Modelo, 2017 Oil on canvas – 24 x 30 cm

Young São Paulo-based painter Lucas Arruda has made quite an impact with his small and systematic oil paintings  which conjure atmospheric – indeed, romantic and panoramic – landscapes from the very verge of abstraction. Turner meets Albers, perhaps, close to monochrome, but with impressive micro-painterly effects, including a lyrical line in scratching. His first London show also includes a room in which very much smaller paintings, made on 81 acetate slides, are projected on a scale far longer than the works on canvas in a 13.30 minute loop. The scale is reversed  yet the effect is comparable.

Slide from Sem título da série Deserto-Modelo, 2017

Projection, paint on 81 acetate slides


Paul Cole: Dirty Linen @ Sluice Project Space, Arch 11, 12 Bohemia Place – Hackney

To 17 Sept:

Installation view

The railway arches near Hackney Central Station look set to act as a useful art resource until more commercial developments take over, and the biennial Sluice fair will use four of them at the end of September.  They are already worth visiting for Paul Cole’s literal exposure of his dirty linen: abstract-tending self portraits of sorts utilise his family’s old bedsheets as low value grounds which  encourage guilt-free spontaneity and enable paint applied on both sides to contribute to the face shown. Some sheets are wall hung, six others take on a more sculptural presence by being draped over pairs of the artist’s old shoes. Moreover, Amy Green’s subtle graphite drawings are well worth a look in the neighbouring Arch.


Bad Hand, 2017 – oil on cotton, 275 x 174 cm


Playground Structure @ Blain | Southern, 4 Hanover Square – Mayfair

To 16 Sept:

Installation view with Jeff Wall Playground Structure, 2008, Amy FeldmanNaked Baked, 2016 and Jeremy Moon Ice Palace, 1970 – Photo: Peter Mallet

Had this show been called ‘Deconstructing the Grid’, it might not have seemed a likely summer offering – yet that would equally describe the contents of ‘Playground Structure’, the title actually deriving from a Jeff Wall photograph which makes a climbing frame look like a sculptural grid.  That’s the cue to read the other works as frolickful fun: Daniel Sturgis contributes several eye-popping fizzers, Rachel Howard undermines a wallpaper pattern with psycho colours and what could be smears of blood, Mary Heilmann and Amy Sillman go in soft directions, and the grand cool of Ice Palace is one of two large Jeremy Moons – chosen, perhaps, for what August is meant to be like rather than how it’s actually panning out this year.  If jollity’s not your thing, by the way, head to the Lisson Gallery, where Santiago Serra’s 3-D gridded Impenetrable Structure fills the space with razor wire…


Daniel Sturgis: Care for Yourself, 2017


Wild Flowers (wildness is contextual!) @ narrative projects, 110 New Cavendish St – Fitzrovia

To 16 Sept (closed 14-27 Aug):

Lynn Chadwick: Girl VII, 1975 in front of Georgy Litichevsky’s flowers with saws, saber-teeth and a hairy face (2010)

This nifty and impressively sourced curation by Carlos Noronha Feio includes a one-off wallpaper of his own, in which nuclear explosions make the flower pattern too dangerous, I suppose, for reproduction. That sets the tone for a summer flower show with a wild edge. Among the 18 artists, Marte Eknæs’ uses 3D military modelling software to design a rose, Mustafa Hulusi’s brings in the economy and intoxication, Lynn Chadwick and Georgy Litichevsky athropmorphise their flora with a certain sharpness and Harm van den Dorpel gives us thistles. Yet it’s all rather beautiful…

Alice Ronchi’s Indoor Flora, perhaps the inside equivalent of a concrete garden, in front of Carlos Noronha Feio’s wallpaper


Transient Space @ Parafin, 18 Woodstock Street – Bond Street

To 16 Sept:

Tim Head, Fugitive Space 1, 1982. Hand tinted photographic collage. 33 × 48 cm

This sparkling conjunction unites six artists of disparate form who share an interest in the nature of urban space and how we engage with it: Tim Head renders corporate spaces uncanny through reflection and tinting; Abigail Reynolds opens windows onto time and cultural history by collaging book illustrations, their scenes  cut through to reveal the same place in an earlier year; Nathan Coley proposes that distressed sculptural housing blocks be used for political protest; Mike Ballard appropriates hoardings and derives paintings from wall textures; Melanie Manchot films parkour traceurs navigating Newcastle; and there’s an arrow-heavy ‘ontological painting’ by Keith Coventry in case none of that tells us where we are…


Abigail Reynolds: Battersea Power Station 1957 / 1956, 2016. Found book pages. 31.5 × 21.5 cm.


Ruairiadh O’Connell: Profiles in Custody @ Josh Lilley, 44 – 46 Riding House Street – Fitzrovia

To 22 Sept:

Profiles in Custody: Bio-foam I, 2017, Foam impression box, rubber, steel, 147 ×37 × 37 cm

 Flash back to 2013 and star American footballer Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder on the evidence of the unique wear on the chevrons of his Air Jordan shoes. Ru O’Connell has form with investigating the influence of patterning on life (airplane seat covers, m’ lord, casino carpets and firefighters’ uniforms): his actions, too, have accrued a recognisable profile over time. Here he shows foam impressions of his own trainers, putting himself in the frame as the maker of plaster reliefs cast from their chevron patterns and shaped linen wallworks  printed over with same to constitute a rather soleful self-portrait as a moralist of decoration.


Profiles in Custody: White Marble, 2017, Hessian, plaster, carbon fibre shards, 76 × 48 cm
Profiles in Custody: Lime, Black and Berry, 2017, Hessian, silicone mould rubber, plaster, carbon fibre, ink



Images courtesy / copyright the relevant artists and galleries 


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