ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Ant Carver at Copeland, Wolfgang Laib at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Mark Melvin’s Urban Hymns at Ben Oakley Gallery, Alo at BSMT Space, Kate MacGarry is Twenty, The Sky is Moving Sideways and…

Right then, time to get going again, well we said that last week, the start of a so called new art season, never quite got that way of thinking myself, for some of us art doesn’t stop. True, the establishment shuts down and goes on holiday for a couple of months at the end of Summer but the rest of us have just been getting on with it. There is little difference between August and September, indeed last week, actually the first Thursday of September and the rest of it, it all felt rather underwhelming, looks a little more exciting this week though…

Five more art things then. 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”. 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 think we will.

Five art things happening now and coming up in the next few days in no particular order then, just five art things happening around about now. Entry to these events, unless otherwise stated, is generally free.

Wolfgang Laib, City of Silence

1: Wolfgang Laib, City of Silence at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac – 8 Sept – 3 Oct 2022 – The first solo exhibition in the UK in over two decades of internationally acclaimed artist Wolfgang Laib will present a new group of installations reprising recurring motifs from the German artist’s poetic and highly symbolic oeuvre.

“Beeswax sculptures in the shape of houses, towers and ziggurats reminiscent of Mesopotamian religious step pyramids and Christian reliquary shrines will occupy the floors of the gallery, while brass boats will run along the walls, connecting the space and guiding visitors through the exhibition he has named City of Silence. Alongside them, a series of works on paper created in response to the sculptures will provide a more intimate insight into the artist’s meditative and conceptual approach.

Laib employs simple, organic materials in his work that are often linked to sustenance, such as pollen, milk, beeswax and rice. Each component is imbued with aesthetic power but also carries a wealth of associations connecting past and present, ephemeral and eternal. In City of Silence, the artist mobilises three distinct architectural taxonomies, variously referencing places of dwelling and worship that are connected to his own experiences of the Middle East, as well as in India and Southeast Asia, which he visited throughout his youth. Alongside his towers, whose names recall the ancient, circular burial sites in India and ancient Persia known as the Towers of Silence, the ziggurat structures embody, in the artist’s own terms, ‘the bond of the sky with the earth’. The houses, in turn, have been described by poet and art critic Donald Kuspit as representing ‘the enlightenment, transcendence, and selflessness the monk pursues through meditation – the inner solitude necessary for higher consciousness.’ Coming together in the exhibition, the beeswax sculptures form poetic landscapes, imbued with spirituality, inviting visitors to become, as Kuspit continues, ‘participating observers in search of our own sacred significance’.

Mirroring Laib’s way of working, centred on ritual and repetition, the sequence of brass boats lining the walls, titled Passageway. Inside – Downside (2011–12), will act as a kind of ‘spiritual precinct’, accompanying viewers in a meditation on transformation and the concurrence of the permanent and the transient. Rather than a creator or innovator, Laib considers himself a vehicle for ideas of universality and timelessness already present in nature. ‘The pollen, the milk, the beeswax,’ he explains, ‘they have a beauty that is incredible, that is beyond imagination, something which you cannot believe is a reality – and it is the most real. I could not make it myself, I could not create it myself, but I can participate in it.’ It is this philosophy that fuels the artist’s ties to the aesthetics of Minimalism, which seeks to attain a form of truth through visual purity and geometric harmony. Following a similarly rigorous formal process of conception and installation, Laib distinguishes himself through his use of materials, reminding us that there is still art being made in defiance of this profane world – an intimate art that can afford spiritual sustenance”.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac‘s London branch is at 37 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NJ. The gallery is open Tuesday through to Saturday, 10am until 6pm

2: Twenty at No.9 Cork Street – 8th until 24th September – Kate MacGarry Gallery opened on Redchurch Street in East London in 2002, we’ve watched the gallery move all over East London over the past twenty years, Vyner Street and such, the space, wherever it has been has always been rewarding. “In celebration of the gallery’s anniversary we are pleased to present ‘TWENTY’, a pop-up exhibition at No. 9 Cork Street. This group exhibition brings together new and historical works by artists represented by Kate MacGarry. Expect work from Rana Begum, J Stoner Blackwell, The Estate of JB Blunk, Matt Bryans, Helen Cammock, Marcus Coates, Dr. Lakra, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Laura Gannon, Samson Kambalu, Peter Liversidge, Goshka Macuga, Peter McDonald, Florian Meisenberg, Bernard Piffaretti, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Ben Rivers, Luke Rudolf, John Smith, Renee So, Patricia Treib, Francis Upritchard, B. Wurtz.

No9 Cork Street is, as you might have guessed, at 9 Cork Street, London. W1S.  As is always the way with No.9, there’s a number of shows on at the same time in the space that is run by Frieze and hosts exhibitions from an ever evolving list of guest galleries. The Gallery is open Tuesday until Sunday, 10am until 6pm. The show runs 8th until 24th September. Check out Kate MacGarry Gallery to see what else they have coming up at their regular East London home, there’s a good looking Chou Yu-Cheng opening on 16th September.

A rather powerful Ant Carver painting, one of many…

3: Ant Carver, All Alone in A Crowded Room at Copeland Gallery –  All Alone in A Crowded Room is a moving contemporary portrait exhibition by one of London’s leading (street) artists Ant Carver. “Combining street art techniques and nuanced, psychological portraiture, the talented 30 year-old artist brings a fresh perspective to the universal theme of loss through 22 stunning portraits of young Londoners. Incorporating urban art and contemporary styles with rich references from art history and European portrait traditions, Ant juxtaposes beautiful symbolic and allegorical elements inspired by the Dutch still life tradition with his distinctive, vibrant style. Oil paintings on aluminium”

Copeland Gallery is at 133 Copeland Road, London, SE15 3SN. The gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am until 8pm. For those who know, the gallery is part of the Bussey Building over in Peckham. Explore more via Ant’s own website – www.antcarver.com

Ant Carver’s studio.

4: The Sky is Moving Sideways at Stephens House, London N3 – 13th to 18th September with an opening night is on Tuesday September 13th (6.30pm until 8pm)

The Sky is Moving Sideways is the name of a sculpture trail, a set of ephemeral sculptures, installation and an element of performance, curated by artist Rebekah Dean and set in the grounds of the rather rewarding Stephens House. a large Victorian mansion (Grade II listed) situated on East End Road in Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet. Built in 1859 on land formerly known as Temple Croft Field, it was acquired in 1874 by ink magnate and philanthropist Henry Charles Stephens (“Inky”) who later enlarged and improved the house and grounds with advice from well-known landscape gardener Robert Marnock.

The artists taking part are Helen Billinghurst, Laura Moreton-Griffiths, Sean Worrall, Mary T Spence, Caroline Halliday, Emma Harvey, Lito Apostolakou, Jenny Klein, Teresa Paiva, Monika Tobel and Rebekah Dean, the private view (I never quite know why these things are called private views, it makes it sound like you can’t come, private views are generally open to everyone), the private view and opening night is on Tuesday September 13th (6.30pm until 8pm), with a live performance from Monika Tobel, Getting to know you, at 7pm at the middle green spinney of fir trees and a second live performance, from Teresa Paiva, Offering to Watramama at 7.15pm over on the pond jetty. 

The trail builds on the previous one, Briefly In-Transit, at the same venue back in 2020, where once again artists were invited to present transient and ephemeral artworks, that ingeniously stood up to the elements, and pushed the boundaries of impermanence. The aim of a sculpture trail is for viewers to walk a distance in-between the artworks. “Unlike a gallery space which presents a confined interior setting and shorter walking distances between the works, a trail offers the experience of being outdoors, and an opportunity to connect with nature, art and the open air”.

Enter the gardens through the Main House entrance of Stephens House on East End Road, to pick up trail map & drinks. The nearest tube Finchley Central, take the Station Road exit. The trail takes place between September 13th and September 18th. The gardens are open from 8pm until 6pm. The Cafe is open 9am until 4pm (10am on weekends). Stephens House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, London N3 3QE

5: Alo is back at BSMT Space in September with his new solo exhibition, Eleven. The show runs from Sept 9th until Sept 18th with an opening on Thursday September 8th. I guess it has been something like eleven years since he first started showing his work in gallery spaces. Indeed some of his first moves on gallery walls rather than street walls were with us at Cultivate during the Vyner Street days, something he conveniently forgets now. Good to see him thriving, some might say he’s got a little stuck in a slightly safe rut and that urban art tendency to repeat the same thing we’ve already seen and that he’s maybe lost a little of the edge his early work had? I guess we’ll see with this latest show. Here’s what the gallery have to say…

“Alo (Aristide Loria), often called the Urban Expressionist, has brought Fine Art into an urban context in a deliberate move to make it accessible to a wider audience. His portraits are subtle, delicate and speak of the human condition through a series of patterns and visual clues. There is a marked sense of past and present in his pieces through the essence of his characters who are captured in a moment frozen in time, much like the transitory nature of a city and its inhabitants.

Primarily a studio-based painter, Alo has a highly recognisable style employing the use of traditional painting techniques using brushes and paint for both his indoor and outdoor creations. He avoids the use of spray cans at all costs, focusing rather on an aesthetic that is quite unrelated to Urban Art. Very few of Alo’s Street pieces are painted with permission and he is not paid for his creations, maintaining his philosophy that public art should be free and accessible to all.  Based on his ongoing research into mankind through portraiture, this new body of work will also feature larger scale canvases and paper works as well as a new exploration into urban landscapes”.

BSMT Space is at 529 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London, E8 4AR. The gallery is open Wednesday until Sunday, 10am until 5pm (6pm on Saturdays)

Alo 2022

6: And we did mention this last time, it opens this week though… Jenny Brosinski, Monkey Mind at Almine Rech, London – Now this promises to be good, “Almine Rech is pleased to present German artist Jenny Brosinski’s first solo exhibition in London”.

“The exhibition shows both two and three-dimensional works, emphasising the alternation between painting and sculpture. At first glance, Brosinski’s world conveys a close kinship between the opposite poles of abstract and figurative art. Her work can be understood as ‘dirty minimalism’ or ‘cool expressionism’. ‘Riotous conceptual painting’ also fits. They are abstract worlds that reflect each painterly gesture and decision in an honest way, undisguised. The animals and monsters have sacrificed themselves; they step out of the painting and become sculptures. Something happens when the characters are extracted from the frame: the red sled heading toward an unknown destination the black imposes on the baby blue”.

Almine Rech is at Grosvenor Hill, Broadbent House, London, W1K 3JH. The gallery is open 10am until 6pm Tuesday through to Saturday. The show runs from 7th Sept until 1st Oct 2022 with an opening night on Wednesday 7th Sept 6pm until 8pm.

Jenny Brosinski, Monkey Mind at Almine Rech, London

7: Mark Melvin, Urban Hymns, Ben Oakley Gallery – 9th until 25th September with an opening on the 9th, 7 until 9.30pm – Towers of raw concrete, Brutalism and Modernist urban buildings, visionaries which have divided opinion, influential architectural style, fascinating beautiful and inspiring, a utopian fantasy of art, definition of hard angles & a culture of London’s City Scape.

“Melvin walks the streets of London until there are holes in his shoes, sketchbook & pencil in hand there is a commitment to passionately document Brutalist Architecture across his hometown. His recognisable chosen palette & viewpoint concentrate on the sharp concrete angles & shadows. Knowing what to eliminate brings the buildings to the forefront in his compassionate & precise urban paintings”.

The Ben Oakley Gallery is at 9 Turnpin Lane, Greenwich, London, SE 10 9JA. The Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am until 6pm

And while we’re here, if there is such of thing, there here a little details about two of three on-line shows we have lined up here for the new season (you do know that Cultivate and Organ are brought to you by the same team don’t you?)

One thought on “ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Ant Carver at Copeland, Wolfgang Laib at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Mark Melvin’s Urban Hymns at Ben Oakley Gallery, Alo at BSMT Space, Kate MacGarry is Twenty, The Sky is Moving Sideways and…

  1. Pingback: ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Babak Ganjei’s Vibe Dump at Atom Gallery, Ra Tack at IMT, Pigeon Park 2, Ken Currie at Flowers, Chou Yu-Cheng at Kate MacGarry Gallery, Carolee Schneemann at Hales and… | THE ORGAN

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