ORGAN THING: Anywhere Inbetween, a group show and a last stand at Hackney’s artist-led space known as The Tub…

Ranald MacDonald – “Honest I Do” – August 2022, 65x31cm – pigment, gesso, chalk pastel on paper.

Anywhere Inbetween at The Tub, Broadway Market, Hackney, London E8, August 2022 – “Come and see ‘Anywhere Inbetween’ and help us toast farewell to The Tub’s Hackney site this Thursday 25th from 6pm” reads the short message on their not very informative Facebook page, The Tub team mostly do the Instagram thing, not that friendly on there either, blocked me on that platform a long time ago, their website hasn’t been updated since last summer and joining their mailing list was pretty much a waste of time – indeed the only reason I know about this show is because the back alley where the Tub gallery has been almost hiding for the last couple of years is pretty much on a direct route from the studio here to the art shop and I bother to keep an eye out for a poster hanging out on those red gates or a or a hint of activity at the end of the lane by the canal.

As unfriendly and as unwilling to engaging as they are, Damn shame to see The Tub close, there’s been some decent exhibitions in the small space, not everything has been worth covering, there has been a couple of really interesting shows in there though, the Hugh Mendes exhibition earlier this year was good to see and that Robert Baker x Kate Dunn show back in the middle of last Summer as lockdown started to ease was more than welcome. Shame to see them go, keeping an art space going is a tough thing, we know that as well as anyone and well, without a doubt it gets tougher every year. A big shame to see this is the last Show, the East London artists community, or what’s left of it now, needs every art space that is able to exist and we especially need the artist-led spaces (or course what we also need is a bit more old-school unity) rather than aloof art student attitudes)  

“Anywhere Inbetween” opened last weekend, they say it will be the last in the place, a group show of 29 “emerging and early career artists whose work navigates altered, morphed and distorted perceptions”. Group shows like this are vital, this is the second time this month we’ve encountered Ranald Macdonald, this time with his dog , group shows is where eyes are caught, names jump out (although a show like this really does need a label or two rather than having  to search through the one available list and then find the painting that really is catching the eye isn’t listed. hey, I don’t want to be down on The Hub, if you take the time to explore the show, there’s some strong work to be found here in amongst the 29 artists. Not too many familiar names on the list, the show is well curated, a healthy set of decisions made, a good selection, well worth going along if you can, I could probably put an artist name or two to an image if i could access the gallery’s Instagram   Ten years ago the Hackney area had something like five times the artist-led spaces and artist-friendly curators we have now, we artists had a lot more scope to do things ourselves (we also had a lot more unity, a touch more engagement), a lot of it was taken for granted when we maybe should have treasured it (and fought for it) a bit more, we need places like The Tub and although not everything about this show is right, not everything on the walls is cutting edge art, enough of it is more than good enough to make the show worth your time. Shame that’s it for The Tub, shame they didn’t engage a little more, a look beyond thier little bubble, shame it didn’t last a little longer…  (sw)     

The closing night/Private view happens this Thursday 25th August, 6pm until 9pm but you can catch the show during the daytime on the Wednesday and Thursday before hand.  

The Tub is at Unit 2, Broadway Market Mews, Hackney, London, E8 4TS, you find the space (for one more weekend) down the back alley just behind Broadway Market at the Canal end of the street.    

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