Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Love is Enough: Warhol and Morris

The subjects of this exhibition are an odd couple by any definition. Cathy Lomax's verdict: less chalk and cheese, more green and pleasant consumerism.

Separated by time, country and ideology, Warhol and Morris are seemingly a very disparate pair. But what is interesting about this show at Modern Art Oxford, which was thoughtfully curated by Jeremy Deller, is how many similarities they actually have. 

Key to this is the all-encompassing ideologies that both men were driven by. Morris and his group of collaborators, which included pre Raphaelite painters Burne-Jones and Rossetti, shared a vision of a pre industrial-revolution society built on craftsmanship and an appreciation of the beauty of natural forms. Morris was a socialist who wanted to create rewarding environments for his workers and famously said, ‘you should have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’ – he created all manner of decorative objects including paintings and tapestries. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Suspicion: narrative painting at the Jerwood Space

Mary Mercer wanted to be ‘spellbound’ by the painting at Suspicion. Instead she found some ‘rich and strange’ work which was let down by a boringly conventional hang.

Kate Lyddon, Man Vs Wheel Vs Woman Vs Beast, 2014, 
oil, acrylic and collage on canvas, 150x120cm (x2)

The Suspicion show at the Jerwood Space was something that I wanted to see. The title which could have come from the Elvis song but just as satisfyingly comes from the Hitchcock film, had been trailed by some tempting images – shiny marble heads by Damien Meade and weeping Victorian ladies by Simon Linke. It was probably always going to be hard to live up to this expectation.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Schizo-Culture: Cracks in the Street at Space

Excavated for your viewing pleasure – works from the seminal semiotext(e) event. Presented alongside contemporary responses to the thematics of societal control, penal discipline and anti-psychiatry. Alicia Rodriguez investigates.

In 1975, an early incarnation of the Semiotext(e) group organised an event that brought together counter-cultural icons and philosophers to engage in discussion surrounding anti-psychiatry, societal control and penal discipline.

Schizo-Culture: On Prisons and Madness included contributions from Michel Foucault, John Cage, R.D. Laing and William S. Burroughs. Addressing a number of socio-political issues, the event itself has achieved near mythical status in Semiotext(e)’s archive and has informed generations of creative, critical thinking.

This archive is excavated for a new project titled Schizo-Culture: Cracks in the Street, which takes place at SPACE in Hackney, alongside a selection of new works commissioned as a response to the original, seminal event.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Too Much

Alicia Rodriguez visits Leicester's Two Queens where their show Too Much combines kitchen-sink drama, social media, dance music and an eminently decipherable Rorschach blot test.

Rósza Farkas

Too Much deals with excess and overflow. The joined-up nature of internet browsing and the digestion of technology provide a starting point for the gushy, the viscous and the emotional throughout Two Queens’ most recent output.

The group show is in part a response to the re-launch of the city’s collection of German Expressionist paintings alongside a Georg Baselitz exhibition at the New Walk Museum; the show satisfies a hunger for work laden with feelings, informed by critical theory and contemporary political culture.

Rósza Farkas’s handwritten text appears, in fact, to have been scrawled on the back of a used Georg Baselitz poster, and quotes his now infamous, if somewhat delusional, claim that 'women don’t paint very well.'

Friday, 24 October 2014


I am not convinced of the ability of any painting to communicate the complex intent of the maker/artist. I think any system of communication suffers an inherent loss of meaning when transmitted from the emitter (the one speaking/painting) to the receiver (the one listening/viewing). 

These losses are minimal in a language like mathematics and can be controlled in philosophy. When you come to poetry the gulf is growing, but I think that that next step to the language or languages of art creates untenable losses. When so much is unclear, it loses its ability to function as more than a sign, like the hand gestures used between drivers trying to communicate, which can so easily be misunderstood.

There are often miscommunications in everyday speech when trying to communicate about something very ordinary that might have happened that day. This becomes commonplace when we are trying to discuss more abstract ideas. You see it when there is a debate between two opposing parties on the news. They are arguing and accusing each other, but it seems that have completely missed the intent of their opponent and are, in a sense, talking past each other. Saying this, if we ask questions and are supplied with answers, we can generally work our way through to an understanding of the other person's view, if not an acceptance of it.

In the diagram that follows I have laid out the process by which I think that an artist's original idea/intent finds its new form in the mind of the viewer. This is not an attempt to analyse the whole viewing experience, but focuses only on the ability of a painting to communicate the particular intent of the artist. It therefore does not touch upon the pleasure that can be found in aesthetics or the purposeful empty spaces that can be included in art for the viewer to ‘occupy’. 

It is also worth noting that many of the stages I include are not necessarily experienced consciously. It can even be the case that the stages are missed out completely or repeated. My main focus for this study is painting, and if I refer to an object or art, it is within this context.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014

Alli Sharma attends this year's Bloomberg New Contemporaries Exhibition at the The World Museum, Liverpool and provides an insight into four of this year's 55 chosen artists. Expect video journals, social media references and (of course) Marxism.

The selection of 55 artists by Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Enrico David and Goshka Macuga reflects diverse media, processes, themes and approaches. Abundant video works are neatly presented on identical screens, creating repetition throughout the exhibition whilst allowing each its own space. Printmaking, painting and sculpture are also in evidence in an insightful and polished exhibition.

A sense of self-discovery and unpicking of history permeates some of the works by younger artists, and exploring how individuals fit into the global picture could be seen as a natural thing to do in our increasingly fast paced, changing and uncertain world.

On the face of it Xin Shen documents her artist father in his search for authentic images of Tibetan people to use in his own practice. We find that his ‘romantic’ realist paintings feed into the Chinese market and this seemingly simple video journal unfolds to reveal deeper complexities between cultures, art making and global economics. Examining the elaborate systems in which she finds herself operating as an artist, Shen also follows in her father’s footsteps with a parallel practice that supports her studies in the Western world. Globalisation, domestic Chinese politics, economics and art making are all bound together within the story of a touching father/daughter relationship.

Xin Shen, Counting Blessings, 2014, still from video.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A World of Interiors

This year's Liverpool Biennial is themed on the domestic. Not content, however, with the properly house-trained Tate Liverpool contribution, Cathy Lomax goes to the Old Blind School in search of something altogether less obedient.

The Old Blind School

There are two big group shows at the 2014 Liverpool Biennial, which has the banal biennial name of ‘A Needle Walks into a Haystack’, and an overarching theme of the domestic. Tate Liverpool has plucked work willy-nilly from its collection to put together a bunch of things that in some way refer to the domestic, but don’t really do much more. The group show at the Old Blind School is a very different proposition. It manages, by thoughtfully combining an eclectic group of artists whose works when placed together makes something that is bigger than the collection of its parts, to create an cohesive, atmospheric but also difficult show.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Space-Time: The Future at Wysing Arts Centre

Garageland reviewer Alicia Rodriguez visits the future (which turns out to be in rural Cambridge) and is satisfied to find that the world has been overrun by experimental female pop/rock bands.

Ravioli Me Away

Space-Time: The Future is almost like a fleeting glimpse into a micro-culture where the patriarchy no longer exists. That wound, shaped by male-dominated art events and music festivals, is transcended by a cosmic line-up of powerful women, leading us into a furious celebration.

What is so exciting about this year’s incarnation of Wysing Arts Centre’s annual music festival, curated almost flawlessly by its director Donna Lynas, is its confidence not to brand itself as a gendered event or defend its decision to feature only women. The sheer intelligence and quality of the performers is at the forefront of the festival.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Painting the People

'Art is not something to, you know, superimpose over everyday life if it’s any good it has always come from everyday life.' 
Jack Smith



Melancholy, jangly-jazz music underscores moodily monochrome everyday is like Sunday tracking shots. Buses drive through the Maudlin Street backstreets of industrial Northern towns where Tom Courtney’s skinny borstal boy is long distance running through loneliness to dissent. Whilst  Bardo blonde-beehive-backcombed, mini-skirting, stiletto-cobblestone-clicking teen-girls rage against their apron-pinny-ed matriarchs. All the fragmentary mise-en-scenery of post war Kitchen Sinkery, that much Morrisey loved, lost land, when a Working Class hero was still something to be has long since faded to grey.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

New York: Art City (Part 2 - Escape from New York)

Garageland writer Debbie Ainscoe visits New York. On the second leg of her trip she investigates the confluence of artistic invigoration, gentrification and rent hikes, crossing the bridge from Manhattan to Williamsburg and then Bushwick. (Part 1 – Following the Art)

As a visitor to New York in this short time I saw a very clear view of a pervasive attitude that is being allowed to happen in cities globally. And only in New York does the creative element raise itself so sharply. 

Due to a culturally rich and vibrant past, and a historic encouragement of the arts, this has been the basis of the solid New York art market that exists today within the global one. Small wonder it is such an intense draw for so many artists now.

I took a trip to Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn via the Lower East side. Its galleries are only a hop, skip from Williamsburg’s bright, young trendy professionals over the river. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

New York: Art City (Part 1 - Follow the Art)

Garageland writer Debbie Ainscoe visits New York. On the first leg of her trip she searches for the city's creative edge, following the art through Central Manhattan to Chelsea and then North to Harlem.

From Chelsea High Line

I visited New York.

And I specifically visited New York for its art. A visit, that on reflection confirmed to me that this is indeed one hell of a place to see it. And yes, people will disagree about the relevance of some, stacked up amongst all the art business hype. Which I get too. But from where I stood, I was pretty much blown away, and not least with the attitude of the artists and gallerists I met. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Aurélien Froment's Fröbel Fröbeled at Spike Island

Garageland reviewer Travis Riley pays a visit to Bristol’s harbourside to take the benefits of the thoroughly un-English weather, and what better way to enjoy the summer sun than indoors playing with building blocks designed by a German educationalist. 

The walls of the high-ceilinged, Spike Island gallery space are dotted with photo-realistic pencil drawings in thin, white frames.

One series depicts wooden blocks in various formations; simple, cuboid children’s toys in little stacks. The images are central on the white pages, and no evidence is given of the surface upon which the wood rests or any space that it might inhabit – the blocks are isolated in the mode of a study or schematic. They are filled out in soft-pencil tone that perfectly captures the shade of the wood grain.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Holly Antrum's A Diffuse Citizen at Grand Union

At Holly Antrum's Grand Union solo exhibition Alicia Rodriguez observes an archive, not a remote memory of something past, but a moving catalogue of a collaboration still unfolding.

A pair of travelling eyeholes allow playful glimpses of floorboards, white walls and a collection of abstract paintings. The gentle and sporadic sound of a jazz saxophone accompanies little ovals of vision. Later, the same paintings can be seen in a studio. Back in the gallery, the artist thumbs through a book resting on her lap. She recites an experimental sound poem from 1964.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Voice and the Lens

Joe Turnbull reports from The Voice and the Lens festival (Whitechapel Gallery and Rich Mix) where he finds himself immersed in a Divine Comedy of tattoos, back slang and post-industrial rave/pop.

The advent of sound recording and motion pictures are two of the most beguiling developments in the last 150 years. Undoubtedly these technologies – which both came to fruition separately in the late 19th century – changed the face of the cultural and artistic landscape irrevocably. It took almost another half century for the two to be formally combined and the western cultural tradition hasn't looked back since. 

The Voice and the Lens curated by Sam Belinfante and Ed McKeon was a weekend-long festival exploring the relationship between the human voice and moving image, encompassing film screenings, live performances and talks delivered by vocalists and multimedia artists.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Human Factor at Hayward Gallery

Mary-Claire Wilson is welcomed into the Hayward Gallery by a ballerina with a pistol flanked by two fearsome warriors. And they say manners are dead.

Hayward gallery is usually ten leaps ahead of the more mainstream Tate Modern. At the Hayward, fresh, thought-provoking and superbly curated shows that use both interior and exterior spaces to dramatic effect are the norm. Don’t be put off by the weak and irrelevant Jeff Koons sculpture, Bear and Policeman (1988) that advertises the Human Factor, incidentally one of the oldest pieces here. This exhibition will deliver thrills and spills to all.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Art Crowd

Jenia Ravcova follows up on Jenny Judova's Art Map London project and considers the value of crowdfunding in the art world. For more on Art Map London see also Benjamin Bridges article 1 Day 4 Makers.

You may not have heard of ArtMap London yet, but soon you certainly will. ArtMap is an independent art events listings website dedicated to promoting the arts community and events happening in galleries and artists-run spaces around London.

Armed with enthusiasm, vigour and entrepreneurial spirit, its founder Jenny Judova is on a mission to make ArtMap London the go-to resource for seeing art in the capital. Gone are the days when the city’s art aficionados struggled to find their way into private openings, artists’ talks or screenings, ArtMap brings them what they needed – a curated, consolidated and freely accessible list of art events across town.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Valérie Kolakis & Finbar Ward at Fold Gallery

At Fold Gallery Alicia Rodriguez finds two solo shows, shown at the same time in the same place, with works complete only in their incompleteness. 

The delicate transition between the two shows simultaneously exhibiting at Fold Gallery mirrors the process through which material becomes object in each artist’s practice. With no physical demarcation or indication between the two, Valérie Kolakis’s work flows seamlessly into Finbar Ward’s, inviting the viewer to consider a dialogue where both exhibitions interact, despite existing separately. 

In fact, this layout makes it nearly impossible to study one without being informed, somewhat, by the other. The choice to have two solo shows in one space creates a sense of something ongoing, as in a conversation, and is an enticing format.

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Museum House Of Death

Garageland reviewer Corinna Spencer visits The Museum House of Death (courtesy of artist and taxidermist Charlie Tuesday Gates) and meets a black-humoured fox.

Leave from the exit near platform 1 at Waterloo station and then walk for a few minutes until you reach a set of stairs that lead down to a heavily, but brightly, graffitied tunnel (which is nowhere near as scary as it looks from street level) then turn right. You will see the A-boards for The Vaults Gallery. Getting there feels like a bit of an adventure in itself, like Harry Potter's first day at school in  a dark and twisted alternate universe. 

'One Night In Peckham' a film exhibited with 'Born Free'
by Charlie Tuesday Gates &  Mark Arrigo

Sunday, 8 June 2014

A Method in Marina

Michael Peters embarks on some Marina Abramović approved self-improvement exercises and meditates on her upcoming show, 512 Hours at Serpentine Gallery.

Marina Abramović has a new show coming up at the Serpentine. She’s going to wander around the gallery space for the duration of the show and the audience can come and look at her.

A couple of years ago, at MoMA, Abramović staged a similar work, The Artist is Present. She sat in the gallery space for the duration of the show, and the audience could come and take turns sitting opposite her. Famously, many of them cried. Wimps. Getting emotional over an art piece is as crass as finding nirvana in a yoga class. This performance brought forth a glut of hysterical media gushing. She’s been referred to as a “Yugoslavian born provocateur”, the “Queen of extreme art”, even as a “deity” (by man of a thousand talents James Franco).

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Boudica: Jessica Warboys at Norwich Outpost

A flame-engulfed, roman-slaying, chariot-riding, hula-hooping, semi-mythical queen of war. Is there anything Boudica can't do? Alicia Rodriguez investigates at Norwich OUTPOST.

Romans used wax tablets to write on, the surface of which could be scraped, smoothed and used again. This practice of writing over erased words or content, replacing them with new, is where the palimpsest originates.

The palimpsest as historical artefact and narrative tool is one of the starting points for Jessica Warboys’ Boudica, a film installation and one-off performance at Norwich OUTPOST. Boudica forms part of Invisible Fabrick, a month-long project dealing with the elusive and relevant relationships that run though landscape, geography, history and text. Warboys has executed an exhibition as powerful, epic and ambiguous as the Queen of the Iceni herself. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Catlin Art Prize 2014 at Londonewcastle Project Space

From a foreboding waxy chamber to repetitious Alpine vistas, Joe Turnbull surveys the spectacle of this year's Catlin Art Prize and finds the prospects to be tremendously pleasing.

Installation View, Neil Raitt's Catlin Prize exhibition

Now in its eighth year, the Catlin Art Prize is a showcase event for seven recent graduate and postgraduate artists, selected and curated from the Catlin Guide 2014 by Justin Hammond. The standard of work is so ferociously high that it could induce vertigo on even a seasoned veteran of multi-artist shows. The curation allows the art to speak for itself, successfully compartmentalising and arranging a series of immersive environments,  taking you on a weaving journey through each artist's own little world, and making excellent use of Londonewcastle's impressive gallery space.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Play What’s Not There

Alicia Rodriguez attends Raven Row's exhibition Play What's Not There which, despite claiming influence from the unlikeliest of bedfellows in Søren Kiekegaard and Miles Davis, manages to find coherence in a fusion of existential religiosity and noisy, neon-addled, mania. 

Katharina Wulff Tifaout ntitrit, 2014 

When Miles Davis said ‘don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there’ to his musicians, he succinctly entered a world of existential romanticism. He encapsulated a philosophical paradox where, in order to reach artistic self-knowledge, one must sacrifice aesthetic, stylistic and academic beauty. Did he mean the kind of aesthetic despair that, for example, Robert Motherwell suggests Marcel Duchamp transcends? Michael Bracewell explores this connection and more in his introduction to Raven Row’s current exhibition, which Bracewell himself has curated and named after Davis’ now iconic instruction.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Nessie Stonebridge's British Birds

A sceptical Joe Turnbull finds himself awe-inspired (and dare I say uplifted) by Nessie Stonebridge's aviary of extra-canvas paintings on display at Carslaw St Lukes.

Outside In My Comfort Zone (2014)

I have to confess that my heart sank a little when I first entered Nessie Stonebridge's latest exhibition at Carslaw St Lukes. I was greeted by a diminutive canvas underscored by two shards of wood and a black ball; adding detritus to paintings in an attempt to supply a different dimension of texture and make the work stand out is quite a tired method, and one that is often done hamfistedly.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Fertile Utopia: Kevin Sinnott at Flowers Gallery

In Kevin Sinnott's exhibition at Flowers Gallery Mary-Claire Wilson discovers a fertile utopia of oversized cockerels, gusty, tempestuous laundry hanging, flushed faces and red skirts blowing in the wind.

Running Away with the Hairdresser (1995)

Kevin Sinnott specialises in large scale, figurative paintings with rich brushstrokes which capture striking moments in ambiguous stories. These moments are always telling, often steamy and frequently feature landscapes or details from his Welsh homeland, where one of his most popular paintings Running Away with the Hairdresser (1995) hangs in the National Museum of Cardiff. 

His latest work continues in a similar vein, but, as usual with Sinnott, there is a reworking and reinvention of themes. The exhibition’s title, Domestic Species, hints at the contrast between the familiar and the exotic in this show, which interweave to create a heady new world.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Flora Parrot: Fixed Position

There is a cave nestled between a taxidermist and a nail parlour on Islington's Essex Road. Garageland Reviewer Alicia Rodriguez ventures in and suffers a slight formal crisis (in a good way).

The cave is made up of ambiguous substance. Our form is undetermined within the dark, damp spaces, although we mostly think that we are solids. Our position is hard to define by just our own edges or borders – it’s more complicated than that. Where does the earth stop and our body begin? In Fixed Position, Flora Parrott has produced a series of ‘3D diagrams’ in order to develop a study of fixity and sensation. This study takes the form of an installation that mediates information and space.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Getting the Picture

Michael Peters attempts to find the dividing line between art and interior design and proposes that more time should be given over to in-bathroom video installations.

I remember a particular episode of the television quiz show Pointless in which a pair were asked to identify artists featured in the 'notorious art exhibition Sensation.' They looked at each other quizzically, and, after an extended pause, one turned to the other and asked, 'bought any pictures recently?'

Friday, 21 March 2014

Jeremy Deller's English Magic

Mary-Claire Wilson pens a love letter to Jeremy Deller's newly emigrated Venice Biennale show, English Magic at William Morris Gallery. 

We Sit Starving Amidst Our Gold (2014)

I’m going to come clean. I’ve had an art crush on Jeremy Deller, if not since he won the Turner Prize in 2004, then at least since I saw his retrospective at the Hayward in 2012. He’s an artist with no formal training, who neither draws, paints nor sculpts, and he makes art that can’t be sold. Take that, Messrs Emin and Hirst. And his English Magic, on now at the William Morris Gallery (and then touring the UK) was commissioned by the British Council for the British Pavilion at the prestigious Venice Biennale 2013. A pied piper of popular culture, he creates what might be termed social interventions, part razor-sharp commentary, part wry and witty quip, part utopian fantasy.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Nightmare on Great Sutton Street: Jan Manski's POSSESIA

Garageland reviewer Joe Turnbull stumbles across an exhibition at BREESE Little that he finds thoroughly unattractive, and that's a good thing.

Implement I, 2013

I've lost count of the number of exhibitions I've been to at commercial galleries where the artwork is aesthetically pleasing: bold and bright colours, clean lines, easy on both the eye and the grey matter behind it. They're like a showroom, offering up their most beautiful wares for prospective buyers. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Gilda's House

Corinna Spencer's visit to Gilda's House is all going swimmingly until she realises she's being watched.

There is an intensity to the sparseness of the interior of Gilda's House. Rather than being crammed with images and memorials to a person, there are instead fleeting glances in the corner of one's eyes of lives still being lived. The artist, Sue Cohen says that these images are telling us about people on the outskirts of life. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

I Love Chris

Alicia Rodriguez visits the first SALT. Book Club, and finds a community approaching feminism through the obsessive study of contemporary art within the walls of a half-empty office building.

SALT. – edited by Fine Art graduates Saira Edwards, Hannah Regel, Thea Smith and Jala Wahid – is a publication dealing with contemporary art and feminism. Each issue features a carefully curated selection of essays, art writing and artwork. 

As I write this I have issue 4 open in front of me: it is a collection of extremely high quality submissions that reference the theme of ‘pageantry’. The magazine offers a refreshing, sleek and heavily ‘fine art’ – a faux-dumb, discerning – aesthetic with pleasingly little explanation or self-promotion. It reads like an artwork in itself, one that revels in its own research. It is exciting to find that there is a community approaching feminism through the obsessive study of contemporary art – and they are based in South-East London.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Rite of Spring

Garageland blogger Laura Olohan takes us back to May 29th 1913 in the Theatre Des Champs-Elysees, where the audience was about to riot. 

The performance was not a popular success. Boos, catcalls and anything available to hand was thrown at the stage. Little did this audience know that The Rite of Spring was to become one of the most influential musical pieces of the 20th century, ushering in a new period of art.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

1 Day, 4 Makers

Artist Benjamin Bridges takes a trip across London to visit some burgeoning creators. On the way he visits a bank, takes a trip to the sci-fi future, reads a map and finds out where paints are born.

There is so little time. There is so much I want to do each day. Recently I met up with four people involved in some interesting projects – artists and curators not satisfied with what they have already achieved, and not waiting around to be discovered. It’s hard not to look for some heroic or romantic pattern in their struggles.
Caroline Kha and the Encounters project space in High Barnet

First I headed North. I can’t think of a venue on the high street that makes me feel more uncomfortable and anxious than a bank. Even a lingerie shop or bookies would be preferable, and yet in a gutted former Santander in High Barnet, a quiet and contemplative space had been crafted.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Is the avant-garde over?

Still trying his best to forget twerkogeddon, Michael Peters contemplates hipsters, high rent and the digital revolution in his search to find the ragged remains of the avant-garde.

Writing for the Guardian, Suzanne Moore argues that postmodernism killed the avant-garde (Postmodernism killed the avant-garde, October 2013).  This may seem a rash statement, hysterical in the light of Lou Reed’s death and the 2013 phenomenon that was twerkogeddon. But there’s definitely a note of truth in there: art, in perfect increments, is sliding into dangerous territory, more style than substance, a cynical joyride over the edge of pop culture. And that’s where hipsters come in.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Martin Creed: What's the point of it?

Following a perilous incident with some rotating neon letters, Garageland reviewer Mary-Claire Wilson explores Martin Creed's decisively indecisive oeuvre at Hayward Gallery.

Work No. 1092 MOTHERS, 2011

Martin Creed is infamous for winning the 2001 Turner Prize with his Work No. 227 the lights going on and off, the deadpan title of which, as ever with Creed, says it all. 

What’s the point of it? is the first major survey of his art and spans his most minimal moments as well as his extravagant room-sized installations. Creed’s slanted and playful take on what can be placed in a gallery and called art will always be challenging. This is because Creed refuses to make decisions. From this radical stance, nothing can be ruled out, which makes anything possible. His material might be Blu-tack or broccoli. He might paint without looking, or make a sculpture out of toilet paper. He embraces duality and ambiguity. This is the inspiration for his work, its challenge and its reward.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Robert Welch's Viewing Form at Bath Contemporary

Resplendent on Bath’s ever-so-quaint Gay Street, Bath Contemporary is showing an exhibition of Robert Welch’s paintings. Travis Riley potters along to the gallery at tourist pace to find out more.


The gallery spaces of Bath Contemporary, two quirkily shaped, narrow rooms, one with dado rail and ceiling cornice and the other with skylight, very much fit in with the Bath aesthetic. The paintings hung on the walls provide immediate contrast, firmly rooted in a more urban environment, the predominant tone is grey and they are filled with simple, hard-edged forms.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Public Desire For Public Art

On the mean art-littered streets of Chicago, Victoria Yates finds herself questioning the state of public art closer to home. 

It all started with a sculpture; a bright red bird in the heart of Chicago’s granite business core. The unknowing pedestrian gazing up at a thick thigh girder could be forgiven for seeing the shadow of a War of the Worlds Martian looming at 53 feet. The alien is in fact 50 tons of Alexander Calder’s Flamingo. The blunt, burning red, nicknamed ‘Calder red,’ was chosen to offset the black and steel surrounds of federal buildings. And it succeeds. In a starkly slushy Chicago winter, the square feels like that old punch line, what’s black, white and red all over?

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

London Art Fair: Garageland Highlights (Part 2)

Magnifying glasses in hand, Garageland gumshoes extraordinaire Corinna Spencer and Travis Riley have inspected London Art Fair top-to-bottom to track down this year’s must see artworks.

Art Catlin (Stand P25) are showing works by very recently graduated artists, every year I am impressed and full of anticipation to see the varied pieces chosen. I was not disappointed, but I do have a favourite – Chloe Rosser's photograph is beautiful and still amongst the noise and crush of the art fair.

London Art Fair: Garageland Highlights (Part 1)

Magnifying glasses in hand, Garageland gumshoes extraordinaire Corinna Spencer and Travis Riley have inspected London Art Fair top-to-bottom to track down this year’s must see artworks.

Not ten steps through the front door of the fair, Union Gallery is showing four pleasingly ramshackle Rose Wylie portraits. The paintings combine simple-lined naivety with canny (and slightly grotesque) wit, and provide a superb opening to the fair.