Wednesday night? It has to be Bermondsey doesn’t it? Well no, it doesn’t have to be, but there were a couple of late night openings at the Art Bermondsey Project Space that really needed to be seen in the flesh and we did chance on a rather fine show at Eames (and a quick glance at the Satanic goings on at Underdog, they were busy setting up some kind of film show in there though so checking out the art wasn’t easy), Wednesday night and we’re overseas, gone abroad, south of the river…
The sun is out, the bottom of the Shard is looking frighteningly futuristic, the whole place looks and feels like we’ve fallen through a timehole in to the over-polished future (and what is that dastardly evil looking yacht moored up next to HMS Belfast on the Thames?)
Julie Umerle’s current solo show Rewind at the Art Bermondsey Project Space is the main reason for being on the other side of the river tonight. It looked powerful on line, it looked bold, Julie Umerle “focuses on the balance between precision and chance, exploring the materiality of paint and the processes of abstract painting. Pressure of the brush, viscosity of paint and speed of application are just some of the variables that play a part in their making” Pieces alive with thought, with precise energy, precise yet free, one appearing to lead to the next, a flowing on-going series, exploring, minimal and at the same time anything but, pieces alive in their boldness in the stark white of the very white uncluttered almost naked rawness of the gallery. There’s a serene sense to the drips, nothing feels random, the process is intriguing, she’s over there chatting away and as tempting as it is to go and quiz her I really don’t want to know about the actual process that resulted in this strong set of paintings, sometimes knowing less is more.
Julie Umerle is an abstract painter currently living and working in London, he current work focuses on an open evolving set of works where one leads to the next (we did have an interesting quote from the official gallery biography/statement for the show pasted here that explained it rather well, you can read it via the link…). I could rewrite the piece without the small quote, I could write about the rewinding process, where one painting leads to a question potentially addressed in the next, leading to another question and another painting, the process, the questions, the moment has kind of gone now though… read it all on the artist’s own website, the statement is on there
Sometimes it is just enjoyable to stand in a white-walled room and soak up the results of an artist’s time, this a rewarding show, a strong show, intriguing pieces, thoughtful, graceful, powerful, bold, beautiful, a celebration of paint and the art of the mark and the artist;s energy, her need to explore, to engage, to take it all on, the result is a beautifully minimal show, uncluttered works, refreshingly honest, slightly flawed in the most human of ways, an ongoing process a painter must go through again and again (and again).
Meanwhile upstairs there’s another gallery, still part of the Art Bermondsey Project Space, very much unrelated to anything downstairs. Upstairs Iain McKell has an opening and a show called Dark Side of Pink: Re-Psycho Re-Punk
“Photographic artist Iain Mckell shows 16 colour monographs of an all women neo-native performance tribe living in Tottenham – The RePsychos. Alongside this is an installation of 34 Black and white monographs titled Re-Punk which is a series of unseen monographs from Weymouth and London during the late 70s and early 80s”.-
A stylised ID magazine take on punk? A Dazed and confused coffee table affair, a stylised warping of The Mutoid Waste Company or maybe the crazed frence punk-performance group than took aprt in those 2000DS scrap metal things back in the anarchic days of proper free festivals?. The RePsychos are apparently a “neo-native tribe of Tottenham. The concept and costumes were conceived and created by Ellie Walker and brought to physical life by her fierce team of women, with props by Camilla Maison, co-ordinated by Lily Colfox“, it isn’t clear if they exist outside of this photoshoot? Nothing wrong with fiction. . The night is apparently a “celebration of the underground, the past and the present of punk and the aesthetic creations of youth, both past and present” Don’t know about the Repsychos or the fire juggler guy who’s hanging around over there (he doesn’t really want to talk). There’s one or two nice enough black and white shots from back in the day but mostly this feels like a bunch of middle class people who’ve dyed their hair pink for the night standing around drinking wine and selling glossy coffee table books to each other. There’s a group of “beautiful” people (in the Marilyn Manson sense) over there, they claim to be a band but haven’t come up with a name yet, I guess their clothes look good though…. The black and white social documentary aspect is interesting, the “vivid colours of the RePyscho creatures” less so (that one over there looks like Martin Degville, in his Kensington Market glory days). Nice enough show I guess, we’ll politely leave them to their wine and chat and be on our way….
Back up along the road and past the White Cube there an opening of glorious Norman Ackroyd work at the Eames Fine Art gallery, “A wonderful selection of etchings and paintings from Norman’s visits to the Hebrides and North West coast of Scotland. While half of the exhibition features new works from Norman’s latest trip to the area this year, we also have an important collection of older works from previous visits”.
“He will take ink, plate and acid into the field in order to, as he puts it, get to the root of ‘the things that stirred me’. The plate can be worked on directly, the acid painted on as if a watercolour, and the ‘bite’ stopped by a quick rinse in a stream or a wipe on the wet grass, giving a freedom and immediacy which produces truly captivating images”
Radiant pieces of etched or sketched landscape, gloriously so, light alive in black and white, monochrome beauty, light on the water, the sea, light above the Scottish islands, is there anything better than an artists really communing with landscape, with space, with the weather, the light, is there anything better than an artist in touch with the land? These etchings are beautifully alive, the sunlight on the water, the paint is wonderful but the black and white is where this becomes especially emotional. This may be a very traditional old school take on art and the artist, but this is a show to delight in, this is art alive and glorious, this is wonderful, this is painting, this is the glory of art, love it, a privilege, do go and enjoy it… (sw)
Click on an image to enlarge or run the fractured shaky phone-camera slideshow….