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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.

Oil paintings by Briony Anderson in Since Tomorrow. Photo: Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin.

Attilia Fattori Franchini, the guest curator of the show, sets out to explore the concept of space through the work of the different artists. Defining space as shaped by the relationships between elements, Franchini’s curatorial framework allows the work of each artist to be considered as a space of its own, to be entered, to be explored.

For me, the work of Briony Anderson, Nicholas McLeod and Neil Ayling stood out the most. Briony Anderson creates modern Turner-esque monochromatic paintings which suggest the sublime. The Scottish artist draws from historical paintings, erasing their human presence to focus on the abstract landscape behind. Taken in isolation, her paintings explore a space between the natural and the ethereal. Dylan Culhane similarly captivates with his layered C-Prints; his blurred and saturated portraits of women and his layered prints of natural phenomena are both evocative and stunning, while his superimposed structural shapes create bold geometric patterns.

Dylan Culhane, Warehouse District, 2007, metallic c-print. Photo: Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin.
Nicholas McLeod, Silent are the Echoes, 2011, acrylic and oil on canvas. Photo: Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin.

Nicholas McLeod’s very material paintings strike a tragically resonant chord. The depicted built structures overgrown by nature appear haunted and echo the tragedy of Katrina and Japan. To a lesser degree, Ross M. Brown presents the symbiosis and deterioration of architecture in nature; the paintings themselves break down, spattered with paint and dematerializing into thin washes.

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

Sculptor Neil Ayling (an artist who has worked in the studios of Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Sir Anthony Caro) presents a series of structurally complex objects in which he integrates fragments of the built environment into rich formal realities. Equally perceptually challenging are the installations of Katie Louise Surridge, amalgams of found objects re-assembled into tribal arenas of shamanistic queerness.

Katie Louise Surridge, Untitled, 2011, mixed media. Photo: Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin.

The intricate etchings of Gemma Anderson are unfortunately swallowed up by their surroundings while the duo of rooms (one containing 3 video installations, the other filled with earth and knifed string intruments) by Alessandro Librio do not inhabit the space they are meant to challenge. [Usually, Librio, a sound artist exhibiting at the 2011 Venice Biennale, uses live performance and video to create soundscapes using the built environment.] EB&Flow definitely presented an enthusiastic inaugural display, packing their two-floor gallery full of various artistic visions. Their mission to discover emerging artists, host talks, feature guest curators as well as run a series of education programs (collecting, curatorial practice and professional development) is honourable and ambitious – hopefully they take the space they need to properly articulate their vision.

This initial show is a lot to take in and perhaps amounts to a medley in too many parts. With some wonderful and fascinating talent on display, a visit to this new Shoreditch gallery is however definitely worthwhile.

Dylan Culhane, Woman in Rapeseed Field, 2009, c-print. Photo: Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin.

Since Tomorrow starts tomorrow (April 2) at EB&Flow and runs until May 26. EB&Flow is located at 77 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 4QS.