Friday night, East London, of course you’re going to go check out a gallery or two, if you can find the damn things that is. Get some signs up Transition, no one knows you’re hiding up there on that second floor of a that gloriously brutal Sixties looking tower block right by Regents Canal. You find the gallery hidden in a tower block just off Broadway, there’s people down in the street searching for the place, a piece of paper taped to the front door with just a clue would have been good. The tower block is home to Regent Studios, a tower block that’s been full of workshops, studios and other such things for a good few years now, a gallery here and there, all kinds of creativity, you find it off Andrew’s Road, Transition is up on the second floor, the only real clue is the sound of voices, the chatter of an art crowd that guides you in to the building and on up to the sign-less gallery, a chatter that guides you to the opening of a show of paintings and painters called Writhe & Jerk.
Writhe & Jerk is actually the name of the show (not the names of the painters), an intimate show featuring five artists, “five artists who each enjoy small battles with painting and why it continues to fascinate. These skirmishes occur between image, subject matter, materials, and a mental and physical battle to make the painting suddenly become foreign, alien, something from somewhere else. These paintings put up quite a fight. Wrestling something out of the materials, their battered beauty is hard fought for, writhing and jerking on the canvas”. Artists in question are Sarah McNulty, Rachel Busby, Gordon Dalton, Brendan Lancaster and Terry Greene. Actually quite a few people have found the hidden gallery, rather busy in here, almost impossible to see the art without the polite use of elbows, why do people insist in standing in front of paintings bottles in hand talk to each other and blocking the work from everyone else? Are opening nights ever about the art? Get out the damn way and have your chats in the middle of the room. Do like this gallery though, a basic white room, nothing fancy, good feeling in here, and tonight will do as a reconnaissance mission, certainly a show worthy of a visit when things aren’t so crowded. There’s some exquisite exploring of paint here, some real painting, the relationship of colour, texture, subtle battles, a real exploring of materials, a peeling back of things, layers, there is indeed a collective battered beauty hard fought for, canvas pieces alive with the process, pieces that demand your time, pieces that demand we go back for more, a painting show more that worthy of your time
Quick check on #365ArtDrop number sixteen, today’s small piece is hanging outside a bar in Broadway waiting to be found, and with that we’re off on a brisk walk to The Residence Gallery. The Residence is down in the ghetto, just off Victoria Park and a new show called Loophole is opening tonight. “Loophole commences The Residence Gallery’s 10th year anniversary, featuring a curated selection of solo exhibits by artists who have stood out in the gallery’s first decade of growth and establishment”.
“Loophole, Daryl Brown’s third solo show at The Residence Gallery, accelerates into a new realm of possibility exploring space, gravity, materiality and process. Spanning from a sophisticated technique Brown explored in his spatially entwined wooden works, this exhibition reveals a multi-dimensional mapping of media. Brown’s process oscillates between order and entropy. He combines traditional materials and a formal approach with environmental excess and cultural debris. On this occasion, VHS and Perspex constitute the materials of choice, constructed to dominate the gallery window and intersect the space.
No issue with signs or finding the gallery here, Residence always looks good from the outside and with Daryl Brown’s very colourful perspex piece taking up the boldly lit front window (and the added atmosphere of blue light from the building next door picking out the fruity colours of the perspex piece). Your mind is immediately messed with by the installation waiting for you and dominating the small interior space, the dimensions of the piece don’t immediately register, neither does the material, is it rigid?is it curving? Made of metal? When asked what Daryl Brown thinks of his upcoming exhibition, his response was “roller-coasters”. VHS video tape is actually what the piece consists of strips of metallic looking reflective black tape, and yes the tape does intersect the gallery, your sight lines and your idea of space. The piece probably needs a bigger space to breath in, nothing but white walls around it, not sure if it is a roller coasters as much as a, well no, I’m not going to say, I’m just going to enjoy looking up at it, crouching underneath it, walking around it, catching reflections, enjoying the tricks the piece plays. The piece in the window is a joy, the pieces inside are just as stimulating, another good show at the intimate space that is Residence.
Friday night in East London then, strange night for a couple of art show openings, good, let’s get this year going…. (SW)
THE ARTISTS involved in Writhe & Jerk
Sarah McNulty’s recent shows include Form/Function at Piccadilly Place, Manchester; National Open, Motorcade, Bristol; Hey! Narcissus, Studio 1.1, London; Changing Spaces, Cambridge and Painted Thought, Arcade, Cardiff.
Rachel Busby returned to exhibiting in 2013 after a lengthy period working ‘virtually’ in the art world, co-directing re-title.com. Recent and upcoming shows include a solo show at Lubomirov-Easton, London; The Studio, Llandudno; winner of the Exeter Contemporary Open and two person show with David Webb at Exeter Phoenix.
Recent solo shows by Gordon Dalton include Chapter, Cardiff; Motorcade Flash Parade, Bristol and Bay Art, Cardiff in 2014. Recent group shows include Uncle Vern’s Dog, Gallery North, Newcastle; With a middle there is no edge, Pluspace, Coventry; Like a Monkey, Aid & Abet, Cambridge and Painted Thought, Arcade, Cardiff.
Brendan Lancaster’s recent shows include John Moores Painting Prize, Crash Open 2012; Bucca Gallery, Newlyn; Like a Monkey, Aid & Abet, Cambridge and the solo show Open Country, Motorcade FlashParade, Bristol.
Terry Greene’s shows include Painted Thought, Arcade, Cardiff; Form/Function, Piccadily Place, Manchester and Without a edge there is no middle, Pluspace, Coventry.
Writhe & Jerk is on at Transition right now, it runs until February 15th.
Loophole is on at The Residence Gallery until February 8th