ORGAN: Five recommended art things – Mark Nader at IMT, Mother’s Ruin at The House Mill Gallery, Ilana Savdie at White Cube Bermondsey, Crouch End Tiger Hidden Banana at Hornsey Original Gallery, Christian Azolan at The Fitzrovia Chapel and…

David Watkins, Sensing Precarity, Stone Space, Leytonstone, July 2022

Five more art things. five art things, five more art things happening somewhere around right now or any moment now. Five art shows to check out in the coming days. An (almost) weekly round up of recommended art events. Five shows, exhibitions or things we rather think might be worth checking out. Mostly London things for that is where we currently operate and explore, and like we said last time, these five recommendations come with no claims that they are “the best five” or the “Top Five”, we’re not one of those annoying art websites that ignore most things whilst claiming to be covering everything and proclaiming this or that to be the “top seven things” or the “best things this weekend”, no, this is simply a regular list of five or so recommended art things happening now or coming up very soon that we think you might find as interesting as we do.

And while we’re here, working out which galleries to go to this week, galleries in Ukraine are still being destroyed, artists have been carrying guns to defend themselves for over a hundred days now, lives are being destroyed, and like we said last time, it still seems wrong to be thinking of going to an art gallery, then again it feels more important than ever. Five art things happening now and coming up in the next few days in no particular order, just five art things happening around about now

Mother’s Ruin

1: Mother’s Ruin at The House Mill Gallery, London E3 – Now this looks interesting, is it Cold Gin time again? Mother’s Ruin is happening at the rather good looking House Mill Gallery, we’re told to expect a “multi-disciplinary group show exploring the difficult and many layered topic of Mother’s Ruin, from Hogarth’s Gin Lane to Lockdown poverty, in an eighteenth century tidal mill”

“…perhaps women secrete their own despair in the process of being mothers. Perhaps they lose their rightful kingdom in the despair of every day.”  Marguerite Duras, from Practicalities

The group show features art from Alice Herrick, Carol Wyss, Caroline Gregory, Caroline Halliday, Gilli Salvat, Guinevere Clark, Julia Maddison, Kate Kotcheff, Lito Apostolakou, Mandy Prowse, Maria Teresa Gavazzi, Mary Spence, Natalia Zagorska-Thomas, Rachel Pearcey, Rebekah Dean, Sooz Belnavis and Sripey Kemfor. The show is curated by Rebekah Dean & Julia Maddison. 

Mill House Gallery is at Three Mill Lane, Bromley-by-Bow, London, E3 3DU The exhibition opens of Thursday evening, July 7th, 6pm until 8pm and then continues until 17th July. The space open Thursday to  Sunday, 12-4pm with an artists’ Talk on Saturday 16th July, 2-4pm. The opening night is sponsored by Butler’s Gin, that could be dangerous!

Mark Nader – Oast Party  – Oil on Canvas,135x120cm

2: Mark NaderCrystalline Candy Clouds at IMT – 8th July until 14th August 2022 – “In front of Mark Nader’s work, you find yourself in a busy maypole dance cum picnic, propagated with familiar, yet unusual artefacts. You have been transported into an alternate present, one in which past and present cultures are interwoven.

“Earthy forest aromas call to me, perhaps because they are piney and pungent like smoked chilli. Following the direction of the spicy scent, I spot a building with circular turrets, could it be an Oast house drying hops… hop, step, hop. Given a ribbon and we start dancing – step-hop-step-hop- step-hop-step-hop. Strong beats bellow through the air, I hear hornpipes and my feet are automatically stomping out the rhythm. Panic edges up my throbbing body, as I cannot stop the movement. Stuck in a merry-go-round, while yearning to reach the palms, tree ferns and meadow of sunflowers in the distance. Fast and getting faster, spiralling and spinning; my body is being woven in amidst the ribbons. Trapped, I tumble to the floor…

Nauseous and through blurred vision, I glance up towards a series of cake heads looking down at me – I cannot tell whether with concern or menace? I push myself up from a soft carpeted floor, reaching towards the Pink Wafer. Arm outstretched aimlessly, as the crowd withdraws at the sight of my hand coated in cyan paint. Pearly Queens thrust napkins and paper plates towards me, and usher me to a picnic table. Opposite is a Mr Kipling Apple Pie, which seems to have taken a fancy. Brazenly leaning in, our faces meld together… pulling away I take some of the Kipling with me. Sweet pastry still in my mouth, I blurt out with chunks of apple, ‘that was an exceedingly good kiss’.

While digesting my new lover, I am pulled out of the revelry by an inebriated Cactus. He is stumbling about and pricking lots of people, whose crumbs rub off on him. A flustered Scone, with cream dripping off them due to the heat of the day, turns around abruptly and is knocked by the unsuspecting and uncoordinated Cactus. Strawberries escape from the Scone and topple to the ground, which the Cactus clumsily falls on and squashes. Heckling from the sidelines, Iced Party Ring shouts, ‘Food fight!’ while all eyes/icing are on the Scone. Who turns scarlet, lunging towards a cowering Cactus that is backing away but still manages to spit out, “This is not costing me a house you numpty, it’s the only bit of hope I have.”

IMT is at Unit 2, 210 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9NQ. The show runs from 8th July until 14th August 2022. The space is open Thursdays through to Sundays, Midday until 6pm. There’s an opening night event on Thursday July 7th, 7pm until 10pm

Ilana Savdie

3: Ilana Savdie, In Jest at White Cube Bermondsey – 8th July until 11th September 2022 – “​White Cube is pleased to present ‘In jest’, an exhibition by Ilana Savdie. Her first solo show in London, it features new large-scale paintings and drawings which explore performance and excess as modes of dissent and resistance”.

“Expanding on the carnival tradition of her native Colombia, a subject she has worked with in the past, in this group of paintings Savdie introduces theatrical themes relating to the circus through the repeating motifs of a curtain, a hoof, a ball, a hoop (sometimes becoming a hole or portal), and in the suggestion of stretching, hanging and reaching bodies.  Savdie’s fascination with performance is focused on destabilising agents and excessive modes of behaviour, and her visceral, dream-scape paintings celebrate the jester, the trickster, the parasite, the witch and the clown. As Savdie describes it: ‘They are always protesting, always resisting, always questioning power, and they are doing it through a grotesque exaggeration of themselves, their bodies, their failure to be legible, their needs and desires, their oppression, their social norms, their language, it is a mockery of all of it. They mock binaries, especially the idea of good and evil.’

Using fluid, layered, and discursive forms that dance across the canvas, her compositional arrangements are a riot of parasitic, disassembled bodies, ungrounded and endlessly evolving. A display of superabundance and enumeration, entrails, orifices, tissue, muscles, ribs, bones and joints are fused with less decipherable forms that might be some kind of basic organic matter. Worms, slugs, parasites or amoeba are shape shifting entities that destabilise the pictorial status quo, creating disarray and dissolution. Proportions and relative sizes do not adhere to their norms, so that everything appears equal in importance, heightening this structural undoing of the composition.

Drawing on the idea of the genuine or any fundamental authenticity at the heart of performance, Savdie sees role-play as a powerful force that opens a space of belonging for those at the margins of society, and equally, as a mechanism for self-discovery. Themes of perversion, inversion and contamination are celebrated through hybrid, physical matter that amalgamates forms, colours and textures in a single, horizontal plane. From the realistic to the cartoon-like, Savdie’s painterly language fuses into a kind of biomorphic caricature through procedures that range from thin pale washes to passages of thick impasto, from expressive brushwork to smooth, machine-like areas of paint.

A frenzy of incidence, of jostling, intersecting forms, is contrasted with large blank sections of paint and beeswax that create viscous pools of colour with a skin-like surface, pitted and rippled and defined by ridges. Savdie’s palette is distinctive, dominated by hues of searing hot pink, sun yellow, lime green, red, green and deep purple. Describing their effect as both euphoric and grotesque, Savdie uses colour to seduce and repel, and directly associates them with modes of dressing up, including drag and ‘queer’ space. ‘I respond to colour, spaces of ambiguity, the uncanny’, Savdie has said. ‘I’m using language that permeates queer conversation.’

In works such as Feast of Fools (2022) Savdie refers to the clown’s garish, ritualised performance of failure and humiliation. A figure who unpicks modes of authority with humorous abnegation of the self, the clown’s subjective power– like other carnival performers– taps into the social unconscious, gathering ‘disparate strands of culture, science, historical epoch, technology and philosophy in a way that helps expose an underlying ontology.’ Linked to a wider understanding of society, failure for Savdie is celebratory, a way to reject a pragmatic utopia and refuse social norms. In her paintings, failure to succeed is beneficial, and the frustrations of the body a delight. ‘I like to think about performance as a focus on the transformative potential, rather than the fact, of something’, she says. ‘I think of the body and the spaces we inhabit as stages. I think of the things we consume as performances. If we engage with the world as a series of performances, it gives us a way to dismantle anything that feels too binary or too extreme.’

White Cube Bermondsey is at144 – 152 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3TQ. The gallery is open Tuesday through to Sunday, 10am until 6pm. The exhbition runs from 8th July until 11th September 2022

Crouch End Tiger Hidden Banana

4: Crouch End Tiger Hidden Banana at Hornsey Original Gallery – 8th July until 17th July – “Crouch End Tiger Hidden Banana is Crouch End Festival’s 2022 art exhibition offering presented by North London Art Dialogue, featuring a group of eleven artists playfully exploring paint in divergent, humorous and unsettling ways”. It wasn’t just the title that caught an eye, the Turps Banana artists are always worth checking out.

“The title – part-obvious/part-absurd – comes from a pun on Ang Lee’s film title Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The ‘banana’ of the title represents the fact that all members of the North London Art Dialogue are, or have been, members of Turps Banana’s correspondence course.

A proportion of this group have exhibited before, recently at Thames-Side Studios Gallery with In formation and In response at The Nunnery in 2021.  The opportunity to be part of the Crouch End festival came suddenly and out of the blue one month ago. The group has hit the ground running to get this Tiger climbing up the clock tower. If there is a sense of DIY to this project, that is because that is exactly what it is.

The Crouch End Festival is a blend of music, theatre, magic, comedy, lectures, exhibitions and markets, reflecting the exciting span of styles the artists of North London Art Dialogue bring to this celebration of creativity. To sum up the work of the artists in a word is impossible, even a sentence would be tricky.  Approaches vary; however, it is the passionate endeavour of each artist’s practice that binds this group together. Dreamscape-landscapes spar with images of animalistic-spiritualism and portraits – represented in the form of cluttered desks – engage with sensual portrayals of Indian Gods. Figurative story-telling interplays with energised abstractions whilst edgelander canvas-weave converses with urban landscapes.

What at first appears to be a disparate collection of works belies underlying themes of place, geography, soul and spirit that tie and connect them together. The exhibition purposefully and exuberantly jumps and bumps from painting to painting allowing unique narratives to emerge as each visitor negotiates their individual trajectory around the Original Gallery space.  Artists exhibiting – Nicky Amin, Bone-Waller, Linda Breeds, Maddy Buttling, Gabrielle Eber, Leslie Farago, Andy Metcalf, Helen Pavli, Helen Scalway, Matthew Swift and Emma Withers“.

Hornsey Original Gallery is at Hornsey Library, Haringey Park, London, N8 9JA. The show runs from 8th July until 17th July, there’s an opening night on the 8th (6pm until 9pm), the gallery is open every day, as with almost all the things we list on this page, entry is free

Christian Azolan, Little Black Girls at The Fitzrovia Chapel

5: Christian Azolan, Little Black Girls at The Fitzrovia Chapel – 8th/9th July 2022 –  “Christian Azolan’s first solo art exhibition ‘Little Black Girls’ symbolises, ethnicity, womanhood, power, love, royalty and religion”.

‘Little Black Girls’ is Christian Azolan’s first solo art exhibition, this gilded photography, paint and mixed media series is a statement of empowerment and an open letter to better representation of black girls in art.
‘Black women face insecurity, low pay, underemployment, unfair treatment, discrimination and racism. Black girls need to see positive images of themselves, they need to feel empowered, they need to be treated fairly, if they are not seen and continue to be under-represented and not celebrated in all art forms in society, these girls will enter adulthood lacking self-identity, historical reference and self-worth’.

‘These girls should not have to grow up in a world where the odds are stacked against them based purely on their skin colour.’

Little Black Girls is about the importance of ethnicity, entering womanhood, the balance of power and love, being Queens, angels and religious symbolism in everyday life.  All 21 artworks will be on display at the beautiful Fitzrovia Chapel for only two days, be sure to attend as tickets are very limited as the chapel space is compact.

Friday 8th: Private view from 7pm – 10pm, Saturday 9th: General Public view + artist talk open times 11am – 7pm. Meet the artist talks + Open Q&A will take place on Sat at 12 noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm

About the meet the artist talks: Take your opportunity to meet Christian Azolan as he delves into his artistic process, discover his inspirations and learn why he wanted to take on this subject matter and learn about the importance of influencing the next generation of children and why representation matters more today than ever before.  ‘I look forward to meeting you at the chapel for this special art exhibition which has been 2 years in the making’ Christian Azolan.  Exhibition programmes will be available for you to purchase at the gallery.

The Fitzrovia Chapel is at Fitzroy Place, 2 Pearson Square, London, W1T3BF

And while we’re here, the Leytonstone Arts Trail and especially the Freedom group show in the grounds of the Wanstead Quaker’s Meeting House and the David Watkins exhibition at the Stone Space both go on until Sunday 10th July

ORGAN THING: David Watkins, Sensing Precarity at Stone Space Gallery, Leytonstone, East London, the spikes of life…

ORGAN THING: It is all rather uncomplicated, Freedom, installation and sculpture out in the trees and the birdsong of Leytonstone…

David Watkins, Sensing Precarity, Stone Space, Leytonstone, July 2022

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