Saturday, 18 June 2011

Richard Aldrich's 'Museo' at Corvi Mora, London

Richard Aldrich, 'Sophisticated Lady', 2009, Oil, wax and pencil on linen,
These are simple minimal and essentially gestural paintings, yet without either 'Minimalist' or 'Expressionist' rhetoric. Aldrich has developed an approach to abstraction that moves us beyond 20th Century ideology and, let's face it, baggage! I cut this from the Corvi Mora press release: 

'here is no grand statement, no singular concept to present, but rather a constellation of subtle gestures that, over time, space, medium and format, are coexisting and effecting one and other.  The thesis, as it were, is more global and cannot be seen in a single painting, but rather the paintings become almost a kind of subject or subject matter in an embodiment, as opposed to an illustration, of systems interacting.' words by Richard Aldrich. Sorry, the show finished today.

The painting above is large at 147.3 x 213.4 cm and reminds me of the late works of Patrick Heron or most of the paintings of Clem Crosby, they are reminiscent of Motherwell, Kline and De Kooning, even Heilman, but then again they're not, they are by Richard Aldrich, born in 1986, ..oh to shake of that old baggage...

Richard Aldrich, 'Untitled', 2005, Oil and wax on panel, 50.2 x 38.1 cm

Roger Ackling at Chelsea Space

Roger AcklingRoger Ackling: Down To Earth 
21.06.11 - 30.07.11


CHELSEA space is honoured to present recent work by Roger Ackling. For more than forty years Ackling has made his work by projecting sunlight through a magnifying glass to burn lines of tiny dots onto found and discarded materials. The wood onto which he burns his geometric patterns is often driftwood found on coastal walks but he also works on remnants of obsolete objects, unidentifiable or broken - weathered by time and the elements and often including rusted nails, holes, stains or daubs of earlier paintwork, hinting at their previous useful existence. For the exhibition at CHELSEA space Ackling will show a group of works made on discarded wooden boxes and the handles of tools.Through the slow and meticulous, solitary process of drawing with the sun, his practice is repetitive and ritualistic; simultaneously this ritual or routine of mark making could be seen to be matter of fact and ordinary. The work is also incredibly pragmatic - an entire exhibition can be made from found materials, worked on using a pre-existing and cost-free energy source, and can then be packed in a small bag and carried across continents. Ackling also poses a philosophical question: “what is the work – the artefact or the smoke?”Born in Isleworth, London in 1947, Ackling studied at St. Martin’s from 1965-1968 alongside a group of artists who challenged traditional notions of sculptural production. Since that period, Roger Ackling’s meditative art practice could also be seen as ecological and scientific in the sense that the materials are pre-existing, recycled/upcycled, and that he harnesses light from the sun through glass to transfer energy in the form of heat to create marks.Roger Ackling’s work has been included in many public collections including those at Tate, the V&A and The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. He was recently one of the invited artists working in collaboration with partical and theoretical physicists at CERN European Organisation for Nuclear Research. He lives and works in Norfolk and London and is represented by Annely Juda Fine Art London.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Old school re-mix, Gillian Ayres at 80, Arnolfini, Bristol

                               Gillian Ayres in 1988 by Geoffrey Robinson

Put the kettle on and light up another fag, here comes Gillian...Arnolfini presents a special exhibition of two works, made fifty years apart, by the influential British painter, Gillian Ayres. One of the most significant artists of her generation, Ayres exhibited several times at Arnolfini during its early days, and her painting 'Break Off' was produced the year Arnolfini was established in 1961. This important work from the Tate collection has been selected on the special occasion of our 50th anniversary by Annabel Rees, co-founder of Arnolfini. ' Break-off' is presented alongside 'Marsland', a new work painted this year. Mel Gooding is giving a talk on her work on 29th July 2011 at Arnolfini.

Gillian Ayres, 'Break Off' Oil on canvas, 1961



Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Visible Soul at PIFO gallery

The Fourth Chinese Abstract Art Exhibition at PIFO

 Liu Wentao Untitled Drawing on Paper 120×90cm 2011


 Wang Huaiqing Feather Mixed Media 200×120cm 2001

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Human Abstract


The Human Abstract

Pity would be no more
If we did not make somebody poor;
And mercy no more could be
If all were as happy as we.
And mutual fear brings peace,
Till the selfish loves increase:
Then cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.

He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the grounds with tears;
Then humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.

Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of mystery over his head;
And the caterpiller and fly
Feed on the mystery.

And it bears the fruit of deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat;
And the raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.

The gods of the earth and sea
Sought thro' nature to find this tree;
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in the human brain. 

William Blake 1794

Monday, 13 June 2011

Jack Smith, the Post-War British abstract painter, dies at 83

Jack Smith 'Shimmer' oil on canvas, 1962
The British abstract painter Jack Smith died this weekend at the age of 83. Smith was known in his early career during the 1950's, as one of the 'Kitchen Sink' artists, a British cultural movement. Alongside John Bratby, Derrick Greaves and Edward Middleditch, Smith established himself as a realist painter, exploring grim, dark interiors of the post-war era. However, in 1956 he abandoned realism and developed a more direct and abstract approach, exploring the effects of light. In addition his work reflected the influence of Constructivism on British artists at the time. Unfortunately, much like his contemporary Victor Pasmore, Smith was never forgiven by some artists for his switch from bleak realism to the brightly coloured jazz inspired abstract works.

Jack Smith, title unknown, oil on canvas, c. 1990's

He studied at St.Martin's School of Art and the Royal College of Art under John Minton, John Ruskin-Spear and Carel Weight. He taught at Bath Academy of Art at Corsham Court with the likes of William Scott, Peter Lanyon, Peter Potworowski, among many other significant abstract painters of the period. His work is represented in many collections worldwide, including the Tate Collection and is represented by Flowers East Gallery, London. Matthew Collings curated a now seminal show at Flowers East, entitled British Abstract Painting 2001 and included Smith's work among others of his generation. A retrospective of his work is well over due..

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Mel Prest at IS Projects

Mel Prest a Californian artist is visiting IS Projects in Holland. Mel has regularly shown with the Gregory Lind gallery in San Francisco. IS Projects are running an open exhibition whereby they are inviting the artists to bring along one work on Monday June 13th from 17.00 onwards.  They have little idea of what work will arrive and you can join them to see what the artists bring to install.

Center Berlin presents Sarah Szczesny

I enjoyed Sarah Szczesny's sculptural show at Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender, Berlin. particularly The Curse is Beginning to Work, Mixed Blessing and Foe A.  Here Center Berlin showing her drawings with an exhibition titled "Monad Fun". Monad has Kantian connection and was used in Greek philosophy as term for unit. Other definitions including musical, mathematical and programming definitions can be found on WIKI.  


Monday, 6 June 2011

'Zig Zag: Deliberations on construction, sequence and colour' @ Charlie Dutton Gallery, London

 Links to artists work below:


This is an innovative and diverse exhibition of new developments in abstraction. The exhibition which is opening this week at Charlie Dutton Gallery (Holborn Tube) Princeton Street, London from this Friday (Private View) 9th June-2nd July, 2011.

These artists have developed an understanding for the possibility of an ‘internal logic’ in their work; an idea which artists such as Mary and Kenneth Martin talked about in their teaching in the 1950s, as well as explore ideas of ‘colour interaction’ and ‘colour juxtaposition’. 

Isha Bohling

'In her essay, ‘The Writings of Mary Martin’ 1990, Hilary Lane discusses Mary Martin’s idea that all ‘words’ or information needed to describe the artworks should be embedded in the work itself; that written language cannot always express or explain the processes and decisions made during their construction. Mary Martin wanted the story of how her work was made to be clear to the person when looking at it. And although proportion, rhythm and measurement were key she wanted to emphasise the unexpected and a need to remain inventive. Of the process of construction itself Martin wrote that it is: ‘a thinking making process, not necessarily in three dimensions. Internal logic is the key. The success of such a process is wholly dependent on a right choice of symbols. The choice is based on intuition and experience.’

Jost Munster, similar works in 'Zig Zag'
The work in this show examines how artists are still discovering new visual ideas, through the complex and technically challenging process of applying paint and other materials onto a ‘blank canvas’. It is hoped that through the process of contrasting and comparing an opportunity is provided for debate and discussion with regard to visual language: a small critical forum for artists and audience to consider these works and the concepts, methods or systems behind their construction.'

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Abstraction from China @ Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing

Look carefully at the painting below and think Ad Reinhardt..

Zhan Rui, 'Time for sex and love of No.72 Service Provider at the Sauna'
2010, Acrylic on canvas, 180×180 cm
This is an interesting exhibition at the Boers-Li Gallery Beijing. It is exhibiting the latest show by Zhan Rui entitled “The Stock Exchange, Weather, and Sex,” until 19th June 2011. This will include twelve paintings produced by the artist, all of which generally appear as abstract grids of nine by nine squares in simple colors of varying tone. 

'Though this superficial abstraction may cause us to mistakenly relate these works to cold abstraction and color field painting, it is not, in fact, the aesthetic inclination of artist or audience that motivates their forms; they actually consist of documentation of the behaviors of people, society, and nature. In the works in this exhibition we see elements including the Chinese stock exchange, the weather in Wuhan, and the sex lives of people around the artist.

Zhan Rui uses red and green to represent the gains and losses of certain stocks, while triangles oriented in different directions represent the weather, and, different interviewees choose colors that relate to sex. After completing this foundational setup, the paintings automatically take form throughout a period of 81 days, a significant number in Chinese, for which the phrase “when all is said and done” is rendered colloquially as “nine and nine become one.”

Critic Sun Dongdong has commented that “As Zhan Rui introduces information into painting through a surface of modularity, so-called ‘painterliness’ becomes a form of useless information.” These paintings do not belong to the category of abstract painting that moves far from society and strives for pure sensation but rather stand as circumstantial recordings of information, drawing together the complexity of social information and the purity of abstract painting and perhaps ultimately reducing different social, environmental, and individual actions into colors and shapes that represent different forms of information. Through this method the elegant and orderly painting both manifests the anitya or impermanence noted in traditional cultural and makes immaterial the subjectivity and ‘painterliness’ of abstract art.'

You may also wish to check out this group exhibition entitled: 'Breaking Away-An Abstract Art exhibition.'

'Breaking Away'-An exhibition of Abstract Art' Boers-Li Gallery, Beijing


Thomas Müller at Fruehsorge | contemporary drawings, Berlin

Thomas Müller, 'Untitled' 2010, pencil chalk and ink on handmade paper, 160 x 115 cm
It's the last couple of days of Thomas Müller at Fruehsorge | contemporary drawings, Heidestrasse, Berlin, next to the contemporary art museum Hamburger Bahnhof.  This exhibition will run until 3rd June 2011. 

Muller is an artist who works in abstraction and only uses the medium of drawing, and I can't think of a better place for an exhibition than the Fruehsorge. He has shown at the New York Drawing Centre and in the exhibition “Linea, Linie, Line” at the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations extensive drawing overview in Bonn. His work is also present among numerous German and international collections such as Kunsthalle Hamburg, Pinakothek der Moderne München, the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France. In 2010 Müller was nominated for the Fondation Guerlain’s renowned “Prix de dessin contemporain”.

Müller's work explores 'the substance and nature of drawing and the drawing process itself, which materializes as a stroke or trace on the page and means the line doesn’t depict nor describe but becomes the subject matter itself.' What is also interesting is the use of such diverse materials such as chalk, ink, oils, acrylics, ballpoint pen, colour and led pencil and yet he retains a coolness to the final image in that he doesn't make that use of the materials the main thing about it. He explored the space of the picture plain with minimal markings in a rythmn of interwoven grids and wave-like structures, that have a zen like quality. Gorgeous..