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…

Mark Burrell – coming up in the next Cultivate Three x Three show next Tuesday…

Right then, time to whatever again, well we said that last week (and the week before), 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 and if it is starting again well then it really hasn’t yet has it? 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 two weeks ago, actually the first Thursday of September and the rest of it, it all felt rather underwhelming, it looked a little more exciting this week, has the season kicked off yet though?

Five more art things then. five art things, a little late this week, but hey, I’m an artist, I don’t own a clock. 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.

Chou Yu-Cheng’

1: Chou Yu-Cheng at Kate MacGarry Gallery – 16th Sept until 22th Oct 2022 – while the gallery are celebrating twenty years over at No.9 Cork Street, back in their own space, Kate MacGarry Gallery are “pleased to announce Chou Yu-Cheng’s first solo exhibition at the gallery”.

“Each painting in Chou’s Origami series begins with a piece of paper. Layered with subtle gradations of colour and cut into shapes the paper evolves, very slowly, into a new form. Soft becomes strong, a flat surface becomes like a sculpture within a painting that appears so flawless it can’t truly be handmade can it?

With the application of colour, paper shapes become three-dimensional in their appearance. Chou’s colours are inspired by rivers, not only the shades found in nature but the toxic shades of river pollution. The movement of a river runs through each painting. Mineral and organic (inorganic) pigments are mixed to settle like a river’s sediment into gradients of colour. Sometimes as heavy and dense as the floor of the river bed, in other moments the pigment becomes transparent and fluid as though echoing the flow of water. The tones are kept low and quiet. For the artist, this atmosphere evokes the sadness of the recent pandemic, when the world came to a standstill with entire countries shut away behind closed doors. Shades of grey and brown become sepulchral like a mourning for so much lost.

Once coloured, the paper is carefully cut by hand into forms that are balanced and arranged to appear as a single complete structure within the finished painting: as in the ancient art of origami, when a sheet of paper evolves into an object, be it a butterfly, hat or dog. The techniques in origami are so versatile that they have become revolutionary technology: used to create NASA’s gadgets which unfurl like blooming flowers in outer space.

Chou is known for making paintings, objects and performances that question society and the place of art within it. His minimal aesthetic makes for subtle yet potent interventions. In 2010, ceiling lights placed by Chou within the Hong-Gah Museum in Taipei were sponsored by the TOA Lighting company. This installation questioned the relationship between private enterprise and contemporary culture; how these potentially Faustian relationships cannot be avoided if institutions are to get the support they need. In 2019, Chou’s Wiping, Perception,Touching, Infection, Disinfection, Education, New Habit, presciently displayed a series of lemon-scented face flannels (lemon is traditionally antiseptic) then invited the audience to take one when the air temperature reached 24 Celsius – the temperature at which infection spreads more fluidly. The work explored society’s reaction to contagious diseases and the fear around new infections – just months before the Covid-19 pandemic set in”. Chou Yu-Cheng, born in 1976, lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan.

Kate MacGarry Gallery is currently at 7 Old Nichol Street, London, E2 7HR

Ra Tack, ‘As if you were hiding’ (2022), Oil on Belgian linen, 120x90cm.

2: Ra Tack, Let Me Untangle Your Tenderness at IMT – 16th September until 30th October – This one looks rather intriguing, “Ra Tack’s work invites the viewer into a lush, timeless world that is simultaneously familiar and fantastic. Paintings that are restless and won’t settle, speaking to themes of transition, duality, longing and still life”.

Inhale. Jump with us into the sea. Spread your toes, feel its cool depths thread between your limbs as you are propelled upward. Rise to the surface and look out at the horizon through newly vaselined eyes. Exhale. Push forward, curl over yourself and become a body of water. Inhale. Dive into crisp snow, bury yourself in its crystal cloak and peer out. Exhale. Condensation clouds pool above your head, giving your location away as if you were hiding. I want you to stay. I want her to stay, spend time with me as I don’t know when to be. Breathe. Let’s lean on each other, our entities twined or twinned yet endlessly morphing. Inhale. But it was indoors when I fell, your body outlandishly out of sync with the music. Moist skins closing in together and parting, pulsing in and out, enabling glimpses of you when I saw you last night on the dance floor. Heart quickens so that I must remember to breathe. Exhale.

It’s cool, dark, dank, and musty down here, while bare soles and heels still exposed above ground are prickling as they heat up in the sun’s rays. Inhale. A taste of iron and decay enters the mouth as you breathe in the earth. What are we doing headfirst in the dirt again? Oh, that’s right – soil relations! Now these take time… they’re ongoing, as is ecological time and we want rich relations. None of this agricultural time, we want a poem for you in the soil. Exhale. After I was with you, a space was made that felt empty but also provisional, earnest, and excited. Inhale. A hole is not a void, it touches that which holds it and is necessary for something new to emerge… Like soil relations. Exhale.

We can consider these paintings as psychic-scapes that speak to Ra’s experience of transitioning. Canvases that resonate with Susan Stryker’s description of transitioning as a becoming directed toward an unknown destination. Ra’s becoming is not restricted to the binary codes of patriarchal culture but oscillates between representation and abstraction. Mutable and fluid, Ra’s practice places recognisable images into a world of autobiographical myths and visual poems.

Inhale. Juice drips downwards, streaking your chin with orange, pink and green hews, as we ate fruits in the garden. Escapee pips fall further, leaving sugary trails to crush your collar bone along with the dusk. If you see her. She is veiled, her skin is glistening with a slickness. A sickness. None of the orchard was forbidden, most were sweet. Exhale. As dawn rises, we question are we still lovers… Take a deep breath in. I loved walking together in our fields, our strides so distinct that they moved in and out of unison. Rhythms between us are complex, we are the music but of course there is light and shade. Release the breath and tension. A coming together and the inevitable times apart. We drew a line together, perhaps it was always there, but we believed that we built the tracks towards each other. Inhale. They were listening in silence. You told me everything. Ra is a Belgian born artist, currently based in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland.

IMT is at Unit 2, 210 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9NQ. The show has just opened and runs until 30th October 2022. The space is open Thursdays through to Sundays, Midday until 6pm. The gallery is next door to the Chemist, don’t let te strange numbering system on the road fool you into walking past on the other side

Previously on these pages – ORGAN THING: Mark Nader’s Crystalline Candy Clouds, his cake and E numbers and kissing apple pies at IMT Gallery, Bethnal Green, East London…

3: Babak Ganjei‘s Vibe Dump at Atom Gallery – 17th September until 8th October – “Babak’s back at Atom, with a whole new exhibition of work. No, we have no idea what to expect either!” he’s one of those artists you tend to bum into outside a post office neither of you live anywhere near, one of those text based artists but not one of those annoying ones. Most text-based artists are annoying aren’t they?  Atom Gallery is an artist-run print based urban art flavoured gallery, you find it at 127 Green Lanes, London, N16 9DA.  The gallery is open Thursday until Saturday, 11am until 5pm (6pm Friday and Saturday). Go explore Babak’s Instagram for a bit more flavour, or for that matter, Atom’s Insta feed (I hate calling it Insta, that’s what the kids do, I would not like you to think I was one of the kids, that is not alright, don’t get fooled again)

Ken Currie, Black Boat (triptych), 2020, oil on canvas (c) Ken Currie, courtesy of Flowers Gallery

4: Ken Currie, Black Boat at Flowers Gallery – 16th September until 5th November 2022 – Following on from that rather fine Sean Scully curated group show at their East London space, Flowers say they are “delighted to present an exhibition of paintings by Scottish artist Ken Currie, featuring a new body of work connecting stories through the sea”.

“In these paintings, narratives from Ancient Greece interlock with contemporary seafaring tales from the Outer Hebrides, while their vast horizons stretch to traverse the passages in between.

Large-scale paintings such as The Argonauts depict ideas of conquest, featuring scenes of brutality and a sky dramatically lit by the trails of falling missiles. Widening out across all three panels of the triptych, the painting resembles a stage set, in which each group of characters engage in symbolic actions with references to both the Argonautic voyage and the Oresteia. The narrative, however, is disrupted by shifts in the alignment of the scene where the panels meet, splicing apart the continuity of time and space as though referring to a cinematic jump cut. These glitches point us towards the dreamlike qualities of Currie’s paintings, in which the ambiguity of their storytelling leaves room for the viewer to read their own interpretation of the opposing acts of creation and destruction. The painting Black Boat refers to the poem by Scottish Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean of the same name. In this triptych, the middle panel depicts a scene of distress, in which a crew of modern-day fishermen suffer alongside their haul on rough waters. The flanking panels portray solemn shrouded female figures, recalling the Fates (from Greek mythology), who appear to signal the loss of life on the sea. The curve of the hull of the boat here is repeated in all three panels of the triptych, creating a rolling waveform that amplifies a sense of nausea; meanwhile, the rhythm of the painting is firmly anchored by the jagged path of fishing lines, their structural vectors suggesting a constellation by which to navigate. The works in Black Boat appear themselves to have been subjected to the ravages of the coastal Hebridean environment through the intricate and highly controlled manipulation of their painterly surfaces. A bloom often emerges as though the paintings have been patinated by the elements or illuminated by the spectral glow of phosphorescence. The resulting sensation of the passage of time echoes the hardships of a landscape Currie describes as “steeped in tragedy.” He says, “This contrast between beauty and tragedy is there all the time.” 

Flowers Gallery is at 82 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP. Exhibition Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm.

Previously on these fractured pages –

ORGAN THING: Just a really enjoyable, really simple, uncluttered, Sean Scully curated group show at Flowers Gallery…

ORGAN THING: Kevin Sinnott’s big big paintings at Flowers Gallery. Wow! Wasn’t expecting that…

5: Pigeon Park 2 at Manor Place Warehouse – Now this one we know very little about, more a curiosity than an out and out recommendation, curiosity never ever killed the cat and pigeons are cool and “weaving sculpture, painting, performance and moving image, Pigeon Park 2 takes place in a cavernous Grade II listed former swimming baths”.

“Created by artists for artists, Pigeon Park 2 continues to focus on collaboration and community by abiding by three non-negotiable fundamentals. To create a socially inclusive cultural hub within the heart of Southwark at a time of mass displacement and development, nurture a hierarchy-free environment which exists outside the usual paradigms of the financial pyramid, and most importantly of all, given today’s socio-political climate, hold on tight to a wry sense of humour. Because in 2022, with climate change and rising fuel prices, the divide between the pigeon and the statue has never been more significant. So we ask you to ask yourself once again, are you the pigeon, or are you the statue?” hopefully not just for artists though, artists do have a tendency not to want to reach out beyond their on bubble, hopefully they meant created by artists for everyone?

“Welcome to Pigeon Park 2.  Artists : Abigail Hampsey, Carolina Aguirre, Christopher Stead, Eva Rothschild, Georg Wilson, Holly Hendry, Jeremy Deller, Jo Dennis, Jonny Banger, Melania Toma, Olivia Bax, Richie Culver, Stephen Burke, Theresa Weber and William Cobbing

Opening Day Ceremony: Sat 17 Sept 2022, 12−7pm. Performances on the day:  3pm : William Cobbing invites you to take a seat and partake in his weird and wonderful interpretation of the modern portrait, rendered in clay.  4:30pm : Paris-based choreographer and dancer Maëva Berthelot, composer Maxwell Sterling and improvisational wizard Kenichi Iwasa, collaborate on a performance which moves around the work, responding to the site, location and occasion.

Exhibition continues Sunday 18th until Sunday 25th Sept – 12−6pm (Mon 19 / Tues 20 Sept by appointment only). Manor Place Warehouse is at 33 Manor Place, London, SE17 3BH (nearest station – Kennington Underground)


xxxx

Carolee Schneemann, Untitled, 1957

6: Carolee Schneemann: 1955 – 1959 at Hales Gallery – 17th September until 29th October 2022 – Now we’ll just add this one as an extra, we’re not really about retrospectives of now departed artists in the more establishment galleries as much as we’re about exciting current artists and artist-led shows. We do make exceptions though and we’re rather looking forward to seeing this one, a show that’s running alongside the bigger retrospective that’s at The Barbican Centre right now.

“Hales is proud to announce Carolee Schneemann: 1955–1959, the gallery’s third solo exhibition with the late artist. This exhibition of early work runs alongside Body Politics — the first major survey of Schneemann’s work in the UK, organized by and on view at The Barbican Centre now and until 8th January 2023.
 
Schneemann (b. 1939, Fox Chase, PA – d. 2019, New Paltz, NY, USA) was a seminal, trailblazing artist with a far-reaching oeuvre spanning sixty years. Rooted in painting, her experimental practice extended to assemblage, performance and film. Schneemann received a BA from Bard College, NY, and an MFA from the University of Illinois. She held an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts and Maine College of Art. In 2017, Schneemann was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 57th Venice Biennale.

Carolee Schneemann: 1955–1959 brings together significant nude figurative paintings and an early body of drawings, on view together for the first time. Made at a critical period of intellectual and artistic growth, the works demonstrate the importance of the act of drawing—of drawing as action—that would remain constant.

Schneemann drew from an early age; as she put it, ‘I began to draw before I could speak and never stopped drawing.’[1] This exhibition showcases her first mature drawings and paintings from the final years of her education at Bard and Columbia and the beginnings of her identity as an artist. Her time at Bard was tumultuous, in large part due to the great deal of sexism she experienced. Schneemann painted several nude self-portraits in response to the lack of access to professional models and was consequently expelled (temporarily) for ‘moral turpitude.’ In 1954 she transferred to Columbia University’s School of Painting and Sculpture and the New School for Social Research; she graduated from Bard in 1956.

During these years in New York, and then in Bennington, Vermont, Schneemann’s creative milieu was deeply influential to her thinking; her companions and collaborators included composer James Tenney and filmmaker Stan Brakhage. The impact of Abstract Expressionism can be seen in her gestural mark-making — as evidenced by visual parallels between Willem de Kooning’s Woman series of the early 1950s and Schneemann’s Green Figure (1959). A longstanding appreciation for Cezanne’s compositional tools, use of colour and painterly textures is evident in her confident brushstrokes. In N.L. Reading M.P. (1955), Schneemann connects the reclining nude to the landscape, in both palette and the curvature of the body’s undulations. The painting is a study of her close friend, Naomi Levinson reading Proust. The intimate portrait is indicative of their friendship and intellectual discussions around this time, and of the freedom with which she moved between genres and conventions. As Schneemann remembered of reading Proust: “He gave me permission to bring in what I was obsessed with—Jim’s underpants, cats, shards of a pot—which were not permitted in the culture, things that had holding power.”[2]

While connections can be made to her contemporaries, the lines that Schneemann developed over these five years were distinctly her own: In a letter to Levinson in 1957, Schneemann wrote of a visit by Leo Steinberg, art historian and critic who said that her paintings were ‘“vital, valuable…” and perhaps something else with V. And he said to work with landscape and figure as long as I could – that the world rarely offers itself as richness.’[3]

Schneemann’s formalist and aesthetic concerns are rooted in painting and drawing. These works are the crucial precursor to the work’s extension off the page and canvas, to encompass assemblage and performance. ‘Action Drawings’ depict a connection to the physical body and a kinetic movement. Here in the early stages of her life, she is finding ‘action,’ palette, and the body as subjective experience, which would all come to be synonymous with the artist. Indicative of this future, in 1957 she wrote, ‘Every time I work well from the figure I “break” with the figure; for I don’t want “it.” I want its limitless possibilities for forms and spatial expressiveness.’[4]
 
[1] Martin, R., 2017. Painting for pleasure: an interview with Carolee Schneemann. [online] Available at:https://www.apollo-magazine.com/painting-for-pleasure-an-interview-with-carolee-schneemann/ [Accessed 14 July 2022]
[2] Stiles, K. (ed) (2010) Correspondence Course: An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann and Her Circle, Durham and London, Duke University Press, p. 17. Quote from footnote 49, pp. 18–19
[3] Ibid, p. 17
[4] Ibid, CS to Stan Brakhage, 4 April 1957, p. 9 What to expect?

Hales Gallery is in the The Tea Building, 7 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London, E1 6LA. Hales is only open Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, 11am until 6pm, the entry is on the main street rather than in the Tea Building itself, over the street from that awful Boxpark hellspace of a place.

And while we’re here, this Tuesday and then next month….

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