Someone stopped me at an art gallery the other day, one of those opening night affairs, she stopped me and said, the problem with you is you like everything you ever go and see. I have no idea who she was, she had bright pink hair, she didn’t introduce herself, just kind of launched herself at me in a semi-polite semi confrontational kind of way, she was gone before I could reply. I probably wanted to tell her we go to lots of shows, lots of exhibitions, lots of openings that we don’t bother writing about, uninspiring exhibitions that I don’t see the point in covering, we went to three or four last week that evoked little in terms of positive reaction. Saw a rather poorly hung group show down Redchurch Street a couple of days ago, the last of the galleries hanging on there, their hangs are always the same, uninspired and half-hearted, no conversations between the pieces encouraged, no real curation and disappointing to see that bright red door now painted a drab green, that red door was a beacon of hope on the gentrified street but you see, there’s no time for any of this or for several shows we saw around the Cork Street areas last week, or the heavily Arts Council funded East London gallery that likes to hide and never engage, a gallery that bores the hell out of me. Lots of exhibitions visited go unmentioned on these fractured plages, just as many pieces of music listened to are never covered here, we see little point in filling our pages with negative coverage of uninspiring boring art, with tired words about dull paintings, bad dancing around bland architecture, and I tell you all this before I tell of another rather good art exhibition.
The Split Gallery is on the Hackney Road, a new space, a new gallery,”We’re very excited to be announcing the opening and first show at The Split gallery, Split Open” they said, and surely a new gallery is always a good thing (we’ve lost enough of them on this side of town), up the Hackney Road on the way to Shoreditch, up, if like me you’re coming from Hackney.
This first show is a rather painterly group show, six artists, six painters who may well practice different styles and techniques but this instantly strikes as a well considered well curated well balanced show. The six may well encompass different takes in terms of the discipline of painting but someone has taken the time to put together a strong considered exhibition, Split Open is a well hung show featuring six rather strong painters who really work well together in the gallery. Each piece has space to breath, nothing is too cluttered, no one is dominating the room or imposing themselves on the other pieces, this feels good, this feels hopeful…
“The show is a kick-off to what we will be challenging and supporting, artist and art wise over our journey as a new emerging gallery”.
…and I told you all that at the top of the page because now I’m going to tell you I like everything here in this cleverly understated first show at The Split Gallery. The space itself in a moderately sized space, the feel is just the right balance of formal and welcoming artist DIY, the gallery set back off the road in what is pretty much the front couple of rooms of a big house. The artists taking part are Ed Oaks, Joana Galego, Johannes Bosisio, Lucy Evetts. Ranald Macdonald and Sophie Knight. There are good conversations in here, I could pick out favourites but that’s not really what’s required here is it? I do really think the whole show is strong, okay, I do especially like those two Johannes Bosisio paintings and that Sophie Knight piece is particularly strong, but hey, to pick pieces out is a little naughty in this case, the whole show is a positive, we look forward to more (sw)
The Split Gallery is at 237 Hackney Rd, London, E2 8NA. The gallery is open Tuesday through to Sunday, Midday until 4pm by appointment (I”m guessing that means you need to actually make an appointment rather than just turn up, I do hate the commitment of an appointment) . The show goes on until September 7th.
As always, please do click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show…