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View from San Bernardino

Guy Allott at Madder139 – A picture post

His first solo showing in London in the past six years, Guy Allott‘s exhibition Super States at Madder139 presents a collection of paintings that are undeniably surrealist in feeling–jarring inconsistencies à la Dali, and wood grain patterns reminiscent of Magritte. Futuristic and ruinous yet at the same time primordial, the artist’s landscapes retain a compelling unplaceability. Guy Allott’s Super States is on view at Madder 139 (137 Whitecross Street, EC1Y 8JL) until June 30.

Hans-Peter Feldmann. Installation view. © 2012 Jerry Hardman-Jones

A Hint of a Smile for Hans-Peter Feldmann at Serpentine

On a slim wall between two of the Serpentine’s galleries, a note with cutout letters, like a ransom letter, is posted: “Art must have the right to risk being bad.” The message made me smile. But it then made me think, is Hans-Peter Feldmann giving himself a way out? Or is he, instead, merely reflecting on the natural process of art making?  While the answer seems to be the latter, Feldmann’s work, showcased in survey in the current Serpentine show, repeatedly creates the space to question and explore the artist’s intentions, eliciting the raising of an eyebrow, a hint of ... More » »

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A Meticulous, Collectible Delight in London

Collectible, first and foremost, is a deftly-curated compendium of artistic talent. Having the work of 66 artists assembled in a small gallery/studio space sounds overwhelming. Yet, somehow, the scale of the art in Collectible makes for a welcome cross-disciplinary exploration. The artworks that thrive most in the current show are those pieces that are meticulously and minutely crafted.


Rites of Spring – at Somerset House! A Friday picture post

Ten thousand ceramic daffodils have sprung up in the courtyard of London’s historic Somerset House. The work of London-based Chilean artist Fernando Casasempere, Out of Sync creates a simultaneously beautiful yet jarring installation. While springing up at the same time as their sunny natural counterparts, these clay-and-iron daffodils work against nature, hardened and without movement, lithe only in form.  The lush turf laid over the courtyard  initially beckons viewers–a respite in the middle of the city–yet ultimately denies entry with its forbidding ‘Keep Off The Grass’ signs. Similarly, the flowers, industrial yet handcrafted, belie their true nature. Out of Sync ... More » »


And the band came marching in – at Hauser and Wirth! A Friday picture post

[Ed. note-This is a new Friday feature, a picture post on a day we publish the news post in the left column.  Short and visually spiffy.  A good way to begin the weekend!]  Just as I was leaving the preview for the dual shows of Michael Raedecker and Mary Heilmann at Hauser and Wirth, a band came marching in. Literally. The Royal British Legion Band, complete with drums and brass instruments and drum major, processed right into the middle of the room of Raedecker’s work. Perhaps just a festive acknowledgement of Mardi Gras, it definitely was a fun and unexpected ... More » »

David Hockney painting "Felled Trees on Woldgate", 2008, Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima © David Hockney

London Drops an H-Bomb or Two

It is difficult to commute on the Tube everyday without seeing some mention of the upcoming 2012 Olympics. In light of this increased global attention and the spirit of the world’s nations coming together, I’d like to consider this year’s museum offerings and the subsequent pressure to represent England’s national identity.  Of all the shows happening this year, Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern and David Hockney at The Royal Academy come to the forefront. Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert on the very British of the British (especially as a Canadian living in London), but intend, instead, ... More » »

Ai Weiwei, Circle of Animals/ Zodiac Heads, 2011, London Installation. Photo: Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin.

A Present Absence: Ai Weiwei in London

It was rather ominous to see, a few weeks ago, a group of twelve wrapped sculptures populate the courtyard of Somerset House (a neoclassical building in Central London that once housed The Royal Academy and now is home to The Courtauld Institute and various art events). Ominous because their creator, Ai Weiwei, had himself been under wraps, imprisoned by the Chinese police and not heard from since the beginning of April (recently, he has been allowed a a visit from his wife). Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads is both the first contemporary art installation in the historic courtyard and the first ... More » »

Yohji Yamamoto exhibition at the V&A, 2011. Photo courtesy of V&A Images.

Yohji Yamamoto All Over London

The current feature exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto spreads itself out. Not only does this first UK solo retrospective spill out of the V&A’s main exhibition display room – popping up in spaces all over the museum – the celebration of Yamamoto’s work also appears at The Wapping Project Bankside as well as The Wapping Project in Wapping. The V&A features an extensive collection of garments covering the Japanese designer’s career since his Paris debut in 1981. While the fashion photographs shown at the Bankside location are unusual and captivating, the installation at ... More » »

Rashid Rana, Desperately Seeking Paradise II, 2010-11. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. Skyscrapers are made of small images of rural homes--embedded within a slanted metal grid.

Angela de la Cruz and Rashid Rana at Lisson Gallery

In the works of Angela de la Cruz and Rashid Rana currently on display at Lisson Gallery in London, there is more than meets the eye. Both artists beckon the viewer to reconsider their works’ seemingly simple form and look across their oeuvre to the rich ideas that lie beneath.

Neil Ayling, Cut and FLoat, 2010, perspex, transparent vinyl. Photo: Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin.

New Gallery EB&Flow Opens in London

Last night, the tide of well-wishers and curious aesthetes was roaring at the new Shoreditch gallery EB&Flow. Their inaugural exhibit showcases the work of eleven young, up and coming contemporary artists. Entitled Since Tomorrow (which in itself encourages imaginative exploration and definition), the group show is a variable mélange presenting a dialogue of artworks, some brilliant and some bland, but creating an overall visual/intellectual hum, the energy of a fresh space filled with art and ideas.

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