ORGAN THING: On The Brink, nineteen exciting artists, sculptures, installations and some old rope and leaves..

On The Brink opened yesterday, a gathering of twenty invited artists and a collection of sculpture and installation in the expansive grounds and the glorious summer-green lushness the Quaker Meeting House in Leytonstone, East London. Yes it was sunny yesterday! For once this year the frustration gave way and sun was out, the grasshoppers were chirping, the songbirds were celebrating and under the shadows, in the shafts of sunlight, art was happening

ON THE BRINK - Mary knight

ON THE BRINK – Mary knight

“Twenty artists will be exhibiting installations and sculptures as part of this exhibition. Their skills have been applied to the topic of On the Brink. The results are wide-ranging, vital and topical. Ecology, life in the office, housing, witches, insects, organic sculpture, refugees, a bed that has been made so someone must lie in it … Just a few of the stunning pieces in the woods. Go to the indoor exhibition, Art in the Making, by Quaker artists and Friends, then come down to find the sinister and fun”.

ON THE BRINK - the [dis]tinct project by children of Jenny Hammond Primary School

ON THE BRINK – the [dis]tinct project by children of Jenny Hammond Primary School

A show, part of the annual Leytonstone Arts Trail, a show that opened in glorious sunshine, a show almost lost and hiding around the back in the grounds of the Quaker House, and once the grounds were discovered, art almost hiding beneath the trees and in the long grass. Where is the art? There’s a piece, is that a piece? Some of the works are easier to spot than others, some really are lost in the leaves, the foxgloves and the yellow of the buttercups, pieces of art almost positively lost until you are almost upon them, this is excellent, this is exciting (the good weather and the sounds of summer are certainly helping, this has been a slightly depressing year of wind and heavy rain).



There’s some really fine work hiding in the trees, Mark Knight’s bright orange sphere hanging high above heads, bronze creatures lurking at ground level, occasionally a piece of art on a plinth, art in there in the undergrowth the summer flowers, the birdsong and the ivy-covered old walls. The insects that form the piece called the [dis]tinct project by children of Jenny Hammond Primary School  are a delight, the land art is at times very formal (in a good way, nothing wrong with formality), at other times rather relaxed and energetic, the installations are purposeful,sometimes humourous, sometimes questioning – environmental concerns – Silvia Krupinska’s reactions to the things thrown away, the things she picks up before the birds are tangled up in the inconsideration and thoughtlessness of others.  There’s work reacting to the local space, to the North East London wetlands, work sometimes celebrating the actual space we are in, the ecology, the escapism of a tree.  There are precise engineered pieces, clever angles, shapes.  Elsewhere abstract pieces, slightly tongue-in-cheek pieces, Julia Maddison’s own grave under the shadows of the trees can be read in a number of ways.  There’s a giant praying mantis over there, and whoever ‘planted’ the seeds of land art that that are sprouting really was rather inspired – glorious piece/.

ON THE BRINK -inspired (artist unknown)

ON THE BRINK -inspired (artist unknown)

I guess the pieces I’ve hung are a little more instantly punk rock, throwaway pieces constructed using the three chords I learnt and “made” of things thrown away on the East London streets, that and a leaf growing on a weathered blue pallet found in the the grounds of the meeting house on the morning of the show.  A young tree trying to escape from an unwanted hanging basket, more painted growth on unwanted pieces of thrown away wood, bits of red and blue rope picked up off the street, a load of old rubbish


And yes, I’m writing about another show I’m taking part in, some don’t like that I do so.  I make no apology, taking part in these shows excites me, my fellow artists (on the whole) excite me, sharing their space excites me, sometimes breaking their rules excites me (and once again we have an impressive art show than non of the self-appointed London art press are going cover, or preview or acknowledge in kind of way anyway – unless, in some cases, you pay their cynical fees to get them do so that is – have I mentioned that website that claims to be run by London artists and clams to be about covering everything that’s going on – taking the mystery out of art or something like that – but not your event unless you’ve paid their £25 a month membership fee that lets you view their website? When they list their “five most exciting art events happening in London this week, what they actually mean is the five events involving people who paid the fee)   I make absolutely no apologies for this review or for honestly openly writing about the shows and events I’m taking part it, for sharing my thoughts on yet another show I’m excited about, I make no apologies for sharing the information ahead of this show last week of for this reaction to what we found on the excellent opening day.  We make no apologies for sharing the excitement that comes with the exploring of ever evolving London art scene, for the sharing of the excitement of being an artist taking part, witnessing the ever evolving thrill of it all. Art in London is exciting, if you don’t like the way we cover it here then don’t bother reading these pages, better still go do it yourself.

On The Brink is an exciting show, there’s nineteen exciting artists (or groups – love those insects, loved finding another group hiding on a bit of fallen tree), A show alive with nineteen other artists, a show alive with mostly impressive work from people we (mostly) didn’t know about before the show came together.  Some excellent work in here, extremely high standards, exciting, inspired, reactionary, sympathetic, cutting,  challenging, beautiful. Do go see it for yourself, it really is a treat, especially in the sunshine – go explore, go escape, go question, go enjoy.  Go interact with art, ignore the bit with the blue and red rope or the piece of pink leaf-covered wood in the ivy, and go enjoy and explore the other art and artists, explore the art  that so excites us…  excellent show, brilliant space, beautiful opening day, can’t wait to go back next weekend, shame about Ms Maddison, an untimely death? She will be missed (it was a grave wasn’t it, or a drunken bed? A bed in a graveyard? “Never mind”. –

A peaceful show in the grounds of a simple Quaker meeting house and graveyard, beautiful place,.  Exciting show, Well curated, exciting times, no apologies, on the brink… loved it. (sw)

ON THE BRINK - Julia Maddison

ON THE BRINK – Julia Maddison

On The Brink runs over two weekends, the show is part of the 2016 Laytonstone Arts Trail, will be open on Saturday 2nd and Saturday 9th July from 12 noon to 5pm. and Sunday 3rd and Sunday 10th July from 1pm. – 5pm.Entry is free. On The Brink happens at Wanstead Quaker Meeting House, Bush Rd, London E11 3AU   .

Participating Artists:  Martin Adams / Brett Banks / James Blackburn / Kath Cottee / Siobhan Davies / [dis]tinct project by children of Jenny Hammond Primary School / Jo Goddard / Kevin Hope / Sira Cornejo Sz Ibarra / Joanna Jagiello / John King / Mary Knight / Silvia Krupinska / Julia Maddison / Klaus Pinter / Helen Porter / Neba Sere / Sandie Sutton / Tracy Ward / Sean Worrall

Click on an image to enlarge or run the slide show

6 thoughts on “ORGAN THING: On The Brink, nineteen exciting artists, sculptures, installations and some old rope and leaves..

  1. it would appear the “artist unknown” is Sobhian Davies, find her at – it is rather difficult to document these things when names or information aren’t readily available (actually part of the delight of this show is that there are no names and formal labels and the art is just there). Oh and the piece interpreted as a grave (it was in the grounds that are partly a graveyard) might well have been an unmade bed. I guess everything is there to be read, people keep telling me I paint hearts, I think I might have painted one for a record sleeve back in the last century, but if that’s what people see then that is fine, no one is right or wrong when it comes to reading it…

  2. But then again Ms Maddison did say “Come and dance on my grave tomorrow”, Never mind. It is partly the ambiguity that makes her work so special (and why her art has enjoyed so much positive coverage on these pages)

  3. Pingback: ORGAN THING: The Top Ten Art Things of 2016? Kembra? Aida? Rocco? Here then is the London art things that excited us most in a busy 2016… | THE ORGAN

  4. Pingback: ORGAN PREVIEW: Out There Wild, a wood full of sculpture and installation, opens this weekend over in Leytonstone, London E11, as part of this year’s extensive Leytonstone Arts Trail… | THE ORGAN

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