ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Amy Beager at Kristin Hjellegjerde, Her Discontents Downstairs at The Department Store, Nick Grindrod, Anne Rothenstein and Caroline Coon at Stephen Friedman Gallery…

MELIKE – Crystal Trip 03 – mixed media on linen, 109x130cm – currently on show as part of Cultivate’s Three x Three (part five)

Right then, like we already said, time to whatever again, well we said that last week (and the week before), are we into a so called new art season now? Never did see much of difference between August and September, has the season kicked off now?

Five more art things then. five art things, almost on-time and on-point this week, but hey, I’m an artist, I don’t own a working clock, the one I had ended up in an installation, so maybe we are late? Someone will say so at an opening later tonight. 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.

Her Discontents, Downstairs at The Department Store

1: Her Discontents, Downstairs at The Department Store – Opening Thursday September  22nd (6pm until 9pm) and then running until 25th September – “A dynamic group show of four women artists with ‘destructive tendencies’ who use their work to resist, provoke and protest”, that sounds good and healthy to us, no idea what they’re protesting about, curiosity is a good thing though. The four artists are Heidi Wigmore, Jane Woollatt, Jo Gibbs and Anne Vaughan, do they need to call themselves “women artists”? Would “artists” be enough? All depends on what they’re going to be doing we guess? We’re curious.

Downstairs at The Department Store is at 248 Ferndale Road, Brixton, London, SW9 8FR. open 10am until 5pm until Sunday evening

Her Discontents, Downstairs at The Department Store

Thing is, we can’t be in Brixton and Soho at the same time. We did already preview Nick Grindrod‘s show earlier (with lot’s more imagery) but we are rather looking forward to seeing it, can we make it and then make Brixton? Today’s list is being written with the help of the new Mr.Phylzzz album, AmRep noise in the house.

2: Nick Grindrod’s much-anticipated solo exhibition, Strata, presented by Smithson Gallery, opens in Soho, London, this Friday. Well the opening night is this Thursday but unless you’re on the lsit already, we’re told that list is full now

“This Autumn, we return to London with Nick Grindrod‘s much-anticipated solo exhibition, Strata” sosay Smithson Gallery, and in this case, “much-anticipated” does feel right. There’s quite a few of us waiting to see Nick Grindrod’s work in the actual living breathing flesh. You might be familiar with him from some of our Cultivate on-line shows hosted here on the Organ website or indeed from his growing social media presence and appearances via the Art Car Boot Fair and such. Seems obvious that Smithson should have picked up on him, his work does fit in with the gallery rather well, they do have a certain style.

Strata opens on Friday 23rd and runs until the 29th September 2022, 10am until 7pm daily, there is a private view on Thursday 22nd September 6–9pm we’re told the list for that is full already though. The show is happening at Bateman Street, Soho, London W1D. That’s all the gallery give us in terms of a location, the gallery itself is mostly a nomadic on-line thing, I’m sure you;ll find the show on Bateman Street though. More on these pages when we’ve been along to have a look.

3: Caroline Coon, Love of Place at Stephen Friedman Gallery – looks like Stephen Friedman are going to come up with the goods during Frieze London again this year, the gallery did with Deborah Roberts last year – The Ten Best Things we saw during 2021’s Frieze Week, Deborah Roberts, The Pink Bear, The Factory Project, Kendall Koppe Gallery, Kate Bickmore’s must-see paintings at Annka Kultys Gallery and… – “Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Caroline Coon”

The gallery are rightly sounding excited about this one  – “Focusing on her local neighbourhood in West London, the show brings together a selection of the artist’s ‘Urban Landscapes’ made over the past twenty-five years. Scenes of everyday life depicting roadways, social housing and canals, shoppers and pram-pushing mothers, are peppered with subtle allusions to the city’s darker underbelly.

Faithful depictions of Ladbroke Grove’s bustling community and architectural landmarks are juxtaposed with fantastical images of male and female commuters stripped of their clothing. Coon’s distinctive style is characterised by crisp-edged lines, bright colours and hyperrealism redolent of Paul Cadmus and Tamara de Lempicka.

Coon writes: “This neighbourhood has been my home for nearly sixty years. As I have grown old, the avenue of plane trees on Ladbroke Grove has grown magnificently tall. Even though I think I know each inch of territory – Regent’s Canal, the parks, secret mews and dark alleys – every so often I see something familiar in a new light. The privilege of stability I have enjoyed is in stark contrast to the flux and flow of enterprising people, refugees and migrants who have moved here escaping wars and searching for work. All the world seems to gather here contributing to a street life that zings with different languages and resourceful energy which can lift the human spirit even on the saddest day. Disasters

have scarred this place. Homes were demolished to make way for the monstrous Westway motorway. Grenfell Tower tragically burned. But, with each crisis, the richly diverse multi-cultural community pulls together to do the hard work of political repair. Only the COVID-19 plague could stop Carnival! Otherwise, ever since 1966, despite establishment opposition, everyone who can put aside hardship and heartache joins in the parade, the spectacular August bank holiday bacchanalia of food, music and dancing. My enduring love of this place enables me to put LOVE into these urban landscape paintings.”

Inspired by feminism and the politics of sexual liberation, Coon’s wider practice is dedicated to contesting binary notions of gender and oppressive patriarchal values. Her work covers a variety of subjects including sex workers, beachgoers, intersex people, still lives and football players. Coons’ paintings are united in their unwavering rebellion against the status quo”.

Stephen Friedman Gallery is at 25-28 Old Burlington Street, London, W1S 3AN. The show open on Thursday 22nd September and then runs from 23rd Sept until 5th Nov 2022. Open Tuesday until Saturday, 10am until 6pm besides Saturdays when 11am until 5pm are the hours the gallery like to keep.

Caroline Coon, ‘Carnival: Sunday Morning, August 26th 2000’, 2001. Oil on canvas. Copyright Caroline Coon. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photo by Todd-White Art Photography.

And double whammy, there are two openings at Stephen’s place. Hey, we’re not on first name terms with the gallery, we can’t be calling it Stephen’s place. Anne Rothenstein also has an opening at the gallery this week.

4:Anne Rothenstein at Stephen Friedman Gallery – 23rd Sept until 5th Nov 2022 – Focusing on portraiture, interiors and landscapes, the show brings together a group of new paintings that Rothenstein has created in the last two years. It is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.

“Rothenstein’s enigmatic paintings are characterised by a dreamlike quality. Mysterious figures populate flattened landscapes and interiors. Her protagonists, often androgynous and vulnerable, provide intriguing subtle suggestions of narratives. Drawing inspiration from found imagery, personal experience and memory, Rothenstein works instinctively to communicate atmosphere and psychological tension.

The artist’s landscapes depict transient or dimly lit scenes such as final moments of sunsets and moonlit nights. They are rendered with sinuous lines and a distinctive palette built up of thin washes of oil. By painting directly on wood panel, Rothenstein allows the grain to become part of her compositions. Through her experiments with scale and distortion, and by simplifying details, the artist is visibly driven by shape and texture.

‘Moonlight’ depicts a female figure reclining on a bed, perhaps asleep or gazing out of a window at the night’s sky. Rothenstein’s palette is consistent throughout the painting: the dark scene is permeated with blue tones. Calm and contemplative, the figure is harmoniously entwined with the bed.

Speaking of her artistic process, Rothenstein says: “My reasons, or intentions, when making a particular painting are quite mysterious to me. The spark is always lit from an existing image, a photograph or another painting, and I often don’t discover why that image leaped out at me or what it is I’m exploring until the work is finished. Sometimes I never find out. It is almost entirely intuitive. Finding a rhythm, searching for balance, alert to missteps, to what is happening, to changes of direction.

I am telling myself a story much of the time and asking questions. Who is this, where is this place, what is going on? This is what I think of as the noise of a painting. And of course, what I am trying to reach is the silence. There is a wonderful Philip Guston quote: “if you’re really painting YOU walk out.” That is what I mean by reaching the silence.”

By painting using her intuition, Rothenstein invites a multitude of interpretations and conclusions from viewers”.

And as we already said up there with the Caroline Coon bit, Stephen Friedman Gallery is at 25-28 Old Burlington Street, London, W1S 3AN. The show open on Thursday 22nd September and then runs from 23rd Sept until 5th Nov 2022. Open Tuesday until Saturday, 10am until 6pm besides Saturdays when 11am until 5pm are the hours the gallery like to keep.

Anne Rothenstein

5: Amy Beager, Swan Maidens at Kristin Hjellegjerde Melior Place – 23rd Sept until 29th Oct 2022 – “Swan Maidens, is the first solo exhibition by British artist Amy Beager with Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery and centres around the story of a woman – half human, half swan – torn between the mortal and immortal worlds”.

Amy Beager, Swan Maidens

“Dreamy female forms appear amid vivid, swirling landscapes, their limbs entwined with the translucent, ghostlike silhouettes of swans. British artist Amy Beager draws on the language of fairy tale and myth to create darkly romantic scenes that blur the boundaries between abstraction and figuration, fantasy and reality. Swan Maidens, her first solo exhibition with Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, centres around the story of a woman – half human, half swan – torn between the mortal and immortal worlds. At once haunting and beautiful, the paintings envision different interpretations of the folklore reflecting on ideas around power, seduction, desire, entrapment, freedom and loss.

While Beager may plan the rough positioning of her figures, the overall composition, the colours, lines and textures, develop through the painting process, allowing her the freedom to experiment with different ways of conveying the narrative. This approach results in fluid, sweeping brushstrokes, rough pastel gestures, translucent layers of paint and soft, undulating forms that appear to melt into one another, confusing our sense of perspective and creating a powerful impression of movement. In this latest body of work, natural elements – waterways, trees, long grasses – converge with the supernatural to create a liminal space, an in-between. This is perhaps most apparent in large scale diptych Glow. On the left hand side of the canvas, there is a voluptuous female figure, rendered in rich tones of orange and pink while on the right hand side there are two barren trees with their branches reaching upwards in thin spikes. The woman is almost godlike in scale and yet her body is obscured by thick, wide brushes of paint – as if she is being engulfed by the landscape. Here, the luminous, spectral silhouette of the swan, its wings spread and neck reaching into the distance becomes a powerful symbol of longing.

Elsewhere the swan appears more abstracted, its presence hinted at through a plume of white feathers, a floating head, rough touches of white. The Sink, for example, depicts the woman’s body submerged in a green liquid-like substance. We see the outline of her face turned upwards at the bottom of the canvas, while her arms reach into the pink sky. Though the swan itself is absent, the woman’s hands appear bathed in a strange white, luminous light, perhaps indicative of a fading supernatural power as she falls into another world. In this sense, the spirit of the swan is both a curse and blessing: it is a form of entrapment but also a life source, it is what makes her unique. This is the crux of the swan maiden’s romantic tragedy but it also reflects on real world issues around gender politics and belonging. Indeed, though each painting possesses a distinct emotional narrative, they share a sense of restlessness or rather, a refusal to be still”.

Kristin Hjellegjerde’s Melior Place space (there is more than one Kristin Hjellegjerde Melior gallery space) is at 2 Melior Place, London, SE1 3SZ. The gallery is open 10am until 6pm Tuesday through to Sunday.

And while we’re here, Three x Three (part five) has just opened, the latest Cultivate on-line show featuring the work of three artists, Melike, Mark Burrell and Sofia Martins Gray. The link you jsut passed will take you t othe exhibition.

One thought on “ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Amy Beager at Kristin Hjellegjerde, Her Discontents Downstairs at The Department Store, Nick Grindrod, Anne Rothenstein and Caroline Coon at Stephen Friedman Gallery…

  1. Pingback: ORGAN THING: Anna Rothenstein and Caroline Coon both open at Stephen Friedman’s West End Galleries in a stylishly lead up to Frieze… | THE ORGAN

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