Soozy Lipsey – To Be Continued at Nelly Duff, East London, December 2020 – “Join us to celebrate the opening night of artist Soozy Lipsey’s brand new exhibition To Be Continued” so said Nelly Duff, Not that Nelly is a person, not in this case, Nelly is gallery, well an art shop with a small yet somewhat delightful gallery space up above it, a gallery right there in the middle of East London’s Columbia Road. It might have been absolutely peeing down with rain all day, the studio might have been flooding here again, there’ might be tight restrictions and the need to pre-book for the opening night and well the galleries are kind of open again and rain or not, the invitation couldn’t really be resisted.
We’re in a gallery!, we’re drinking the gallery’s beer on an opening night, these occasions have been rare this year and even if the booking system and the restricted numbers and the covid rules (and the awful weather) mean there’s hardly anyone else in here, hey, a gallery! an actual opening night and whatever the circumstances, a show we really wanted to see anyway.
“Life can be pretty messy sometimes” said Nelly, “and there isn’t really a better introduction to London-based artist Soozy Lipsey’s newest exhibition ‘To Be Continued’ opening this December at Nelly Duff, and straight from the artist herself no less. If you aren’t already familiar (you will be very shortly) Lipsey’s world is a perfectly imperfect balance of calm and chaos. Wonderful, magical mess that results in truly honest, vibrant, and at times very funny artworks. ‘To Be Continued’, her second solo exhibition here at Nelly Duff, is an exploration of our own inner mess, and the work we then do to conceal, resolve and ultimately celebrate that part of ourselves”.
Well yes, ordered chaos in here tonight, beautifully ordered paintings of chaotically unwashed paint brushes and elements pulled together, some of them captured and ordered in slick white frames – I do prefer the unframed work, but then I always do and anyway I didn’t see any of her “half-frame” pieces in here or any her still life pieces “that are better than yours”, well besides the big still life quietly dominating the one wall – well almost, the wordy pieces on ether side do demand the eye of the viewer as well. Actually there’s lots and lots to see in this one relatively small room, so many pieces fighting for attention, demanding you look this way or that. The glorious brushes, the words, the signs, the splashes but it is calm more than chaos, it might be an inner mess but no out of control mess in here tonight, this is a beautiful show…
We were promised “a heady mix of original painted works, Lipsey focuses on several themes throughout the exhibition culminating in a show stopping series of twelve electrifying portraits that sit halfway between traditional marble bust and eccentric profiles of unknown characters. But that’s exactly what this exhibition is all about, the juxtaposition between what we convey to the outside world and the brilliant, chaotic imperfection that lies beneath. Join us this December to shake off the shackles of lockdown and celebrate our last exhibition of 2020!”
Perfect imperfection, as near perfect as a space allows, Nelly isn’t over egging things here. I’m pretty certain the excitement isn’t just because we haven’t set foot in a gallery for over a month, or that we’ve hardly seen a show for god knows how long, I do think this would have stood out of any “normal” night of multiple gallery trawling. I’ve liked what I’ve seen in the past but this collection feels like a step up (even if those white frames are too slick), it feels exciting in here, exciting art and yes, something to be continued, a small triumph of a show, if it is chaos, then the chaos, like the devil, is in the detail (although I imagine her studio is total chaos?) Excellent show, get there is you can. (sw)
The show runs until December 9th – The gallery say “as new regulations around safely navigating COVID are put in place by the government, we’ll be regularly updating the event information so please keep an eye on it! Please choose your preferred time slot from the list below, and remember that you can book up to six tickets in accordance with the newest regulations. Head to the gallery website to book I guess. Nelly Duff is at 156 Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG. Soozy Lipsey
Do click on an image to enlarge it and see it properly or to run the slide show…