ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Rod Harman at Campbell Works, Tanoa Sasraku at Peer, Short-term pleasure at Public Gallery, Recursion at The Split Gallery, Gallery No 32’s Winter Sculpture Park and…

Milly Aburrow and her cake can currently be explored via Cultivate’s latest Three x Three show

Never mind that, that was then, this, once again is about this week and next and cake and yes, the annoying frustration of or with so much of it so far this year, getting past that art school bs floating in the river right now, a lot of hype, some rather aloof attitudes, galleries and curators seemingly afraid to actually engage, seemingly wanting to play everything by a rather flawed art school book, the annoyance of the new gatekeepers far more aloof and unfriendly than the old ones.

For what things are worth, here we go with five more art things. 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 Five Things thing 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…

These exhibitions are free to enter unless otherwise stated…

Rod Harman. Fish Don’t Climb Trees Frogs Go Plop at Campbell Works

1: Rod Harman, Fish Don’t Climb Trees Frogs Go Plop at Campbell Works – From 17th Feb until 5th March  2023 –  “Campbell Works is delighted to present a new survey of works by Rod Harman. This exhibition spans his long career stretching back six decades, including paintings made while studying at the Royal College of Art. It will be an opportunity to explore some of the recurring themes and interests that vociferously resurface in Harman’s work.

Rod Harman was born in Chang-Chow, south east China in the early 1940’s only returning to the UK aged 8. His lifelong fascination with philosophy, poetry and painting starts with this early experience immersed in local Chinese culture where he was taught kindness and the local language, a language with similar structural possibilities as the poetics of painting itself.  By his own account Rod is ‘a man of God’, but many know him as a friend, tutor and mentor, having taught at Hastings College of Art for several decades. Rod is above all a ‘spiritual’ man, for whom the daily act of painting begins with the first rays of daylight through the studio glass. “We enter the Kingdom of Looking. Creation takes place in FRONT of our eyes.  I want to praise and highlight all those who have helped me towards art. Two minds are better than one. This is Civilization. ‘Let there be light’ is creation” Rod Harman

Anyone that knows Rod, or has had the pleasure of his company is struck by his un-bridled passion and enthusiasm for art that he so viscerally exudes, exuding as a scent does from petals, or the suns heat from solid rock. Rod’s paintings, (mostly large water colours straight from the tube) are a celebration and affirmation of the force of life, waymarkers on a shamanic journey, an enquiry that has taken him around the globe in the company of ‘his guides’ Michelangelo, Cezanne, Constable, Wittgenstein, Basho and Baudelaire, to name but a few”.

Campbell Works is at 27 Belfast Road, London, N16 6UN. The space is open Tuesday through to Sunday, 10am until 6pm. The show runs from 17th Feb until 5th March  2023

Justine Neuberger – From Inside a World (2023) – Oil on canvas, 58x74cm currenty part of Short-trterm pleasure at Public Gallery…

2: Short-term pleasure, Long-term pain at Public Gallery – On now and running until 11th March, a group show featuring work by Emmanuel Awuni, Daniel Tyree Gaitor‑Lomack, Cathrin Hoffmann, Steph Huang, Alexei Izmaylov, Justine Neuberger and Yan Xinyue, ‘Short-term pleasure, Long-term pain’ explores the effects of instant gratification upon the human will and our capacity for agency.

“Grab another glass of wine. It soothes the nerves. Takes the edge off. It’s amazing how much choice we have these days. How much freedom. Just add to cart. You can be anything you imagine. Power is knowing what you want.

Short-term pleasure, Long-term pain is a group exhibition featuring seven artists exploring the effects of instant gratification upon the human will and our capacity for agency. Here big philosophical questions of self-determination, the management of life, the exercise of freedom, are articulated through aspects of ordinary lived experience, small daily decisions alongside the poetic and extraordinary. It is a question of whether you have that glass of wine to briefly escape from reality, whether you buy that treat you can’t afford, or how dependent your self-image is upon that online filter and how estranged this has made you from your own and others’ bodies. Does the possibility of short-term pleasure erode our capacity for self-control? Have we become merely reactive creatures, conditioned by stimulus, or so numbed that we are no longer aware of the conditions under which we live?

And what of the other side – the promise that long-term toil will reap rewards? Delayed gratification has become the mark of elite discernment as Pierre Bourdieu observed, while easy or ‘facile’ pleasures were seen as common – a set of classist values that are essentially built on self-denial. For Theodore Adorno, there were illusory and genuine pleasures, the former often quick and easy, serving to dull social awareness. For Lauren Berlant, contemporary society depends on forms of ‘cruel optimism’, where what you desire might be the thing preventing you from flourishing, such as the artist working hard for a big break, or those hoping for social mobility in a rigged system. To follow your desire can be the cause of much suffering.

This exhibition reveals how seemingly trivial matters of pleasure and leisure are closely bound to systems of labour and economics, psychological and ecological disaster. Beyond the individual are the global effects of extracting and exporting goods, the rise of sharing economies where community and industry are one and the same, or equating freedom with choice predetermined by society or the marketplace. Life is all about choices. Or is it?”

Public Gallery is at 91 Middlesex St, London, E1 7DA. The gallery is open Tuesday through t oSaturday, 11am until 6p, (5pm on Saturdays)

Tanoa Sasraku

3: Tanoa Sasraku, Liths at Peer – 7th Feb until 20th May 2023 –  “Peer presents the first major solo exhibition in a London institution by Hackney-based artist Tanoa Sasraku. “Merging digital and handmade processes, Sasraku works with sculpture, tapestry, print and analogue film to explore place and memory in relation to British, Black, Ghanaian and queer cultural histories. Influenced by affinities towards places that both capture and exclude human bodies, her exhibition at PEER builds on an ongoing series of works that comprise sculpture and print to examine latent memories, energies and mythologies embedded in rural landscapes.

In this series of work Sasraku quite literally grounds her process within a given place. Influenced by landscapes that are home to standing stones and pinnacles of rock, as well as textile traditions such as Scottish Tartan cloth and Ghanaian Fante Asafo flags, the starting point for her most recent works is foraging for earth pigment – a process that extracts colour pigment from clay, ground-soil, rocks and plants.

For her exhibition at Peer, Sasraku presents a series of large, freestanding sculptures titled Liths (2022). Each sculpture acts as a framing device for details taken from her Terratypes (2022) series, which comprise layers of newsprint stained with ink and earth pigment that has been foraged from Dartmoor, Devon and Ise of Skye, Scotland, before being submerged in sea, river or bog water.  Each Lith hosts two scanned and enlarged reproduced images from her Terratypes series, merging print and sculpture together in one work. Displayed in large wooden black boxes that line the gallery floor, the encased prints depict images of the layered, stitched and frayed edges of her Terratypes, focusing on the construction and texture of these works as if now seen under a microscope.

In combining monochrome imagery and the use of formulaic wooden cases, Sasraku’s sculptures, when viewed from a distance appear to project light from their centre, referencing both museum vitrine and Neolithic standing stone in one form. Each sculpture acts as a host structure for reproduced images taken from previous works, and in doing so invites a slightly removed experience from the works material origin embedded in earth pigment foraging in sites across rural Britain. Through this act of removal and reproduction, Sasraku’s sculptural works question how we inscribe meaning to land and nature, and in doing so, questions how cultures, places and histories are experienced and owned.  

A series of talks, events and workshops will take place throughout Tanoa’s exhibition. The events will be developed for young people, local communities and the general public, and explore themes of memory, place and tradition”.

Peer is at 99 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6QL. The gallery is open Wednesday through to Saturday, midday until 6pm, the show runs from 7th Feb until 20th May 2023 with an opening evening on February 17th 6.30pm until 8.30pm


4: Recursion at The Split Gallery – ‘Recursion’ part one of two shows. Showcasing artists Ellie Antoniou, Marco Bizzarri, Sonya Derviz, Tim H H Lee, and Xiaochi Dong.  The show’s opening  already happened February 15th, 18:00 -21:00. The first iteration of the show will run from the 15th – 22nd and will resurrect on March 8th – 22nd.

“Recursion is an exhibition exploring the journey of self-realisation, a view into the re-discovery of a bygone state and a search for higher reasoning through the exploration of a ‘lost room’. We will delve into the uniquely human experience of losing sight of this search for illumination: only to later realise the urge to recover this space in our absence of meaning. This space, this room, is hidden away and forgotten, collecting dust but remaining dormant in the background. The room simultaneously serves as a symbol for the passage of time and for the ongoing search, the reach towards something more. Recursion is an introduction into this first half; the unearthing of this space, once hidden, now found. The space will have a physical morphing, a movement of installation, a sense of journey that is revealed once viewed again.  The works that will be on display reflect a universal struggle to find one’s place and the search for a higher knowledge. The use of material, form and imagery are built around memories and stories told through each artist’s practice, revealing an overarching aesthetic and thereby conceptual relationship.  Through visiting and revisiting both stages of the show, we invite the viewer to embark on this journey of rediscovery”.

The Split Gallery has now, after rather a lot of drama, relocated to Roman Road, Bethnal Green, they say they are “no longer interested” in our coverage , but hey, their first two shows on the Hackney Road were decent enough and we do believe it worth supporting these things even if the new breed of East London gatekeeper galleries are rather aloof and seemingly even more unfriendly that the old gatekeepers were. The Split Gallery is now found at 62 Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 0PG, Open tines and vital information like is as vague as ever, the previous shows were by appointment only, there are no opening times on the gallery website. their Instagram feed tells us not a lot more that the mnimalist gallery website does, social media it is where you usually get a repsonse though, if they are interested that is. Let’s hope it works out for them at their new space. However unfriendly they are, we need to support our galleries, really not sure why you’d run a gallery and not want to engage though, what is the point? Actually, why am I bothering?      

Previously on these pages

ORGAN THING: Second Expression at The Split Gallery, a second painterly mark made along the Hackney Road…

ORGAN THING: A strong start along the Hackney Road, The Split Gallery opens with a rather painterly group show…


5: Gallery No 32, Winter Sculpture Park – I don’t know, I’m all ready for Spring now, I;m done with Winter! Gallery 32 present their “annual outdoor exhibition of contemporary sculpture and public art”, it kicks off with an “opening party” on Saturday 18th February, from 12-5pm,  and runs untl April 29th 2023 – “Explore the work of over 40 UK & international artists as we transform four acres of disused farmland into London’s largest FREE Sculpture Park” so the 32 team say. The artists include Suzanne Anthony, Butch Attai, Alexander Brain, Rebecca Buckley, Tere Chad, Nathalie Coste, Paddy Docherty, Emmely Elgersma, Lucy Faherty, Darcey Fleming, Charlie Franklin, Anta Germane, Mia-Jane Harris, Mark Houghton, William Michael Hudson, Simon Kennedy, Sing A Song on the Ground Collective (Junchao Ren, Zhoabo Yang, Patrick Jones), Dion Kitson, Lady Kitt, Alex Lidagovsky, Olana Light, LUAP, John Matheson, Ben Oakley, Sara Osman, John Pedder, Gabriele Risso, Catriona Robertson, Chloé Rochefort, Mike Sprout, Laura Such, Jamie Temple, Chris Thompson, Erika Trotzig, Nicola Turner, Fredrix Vermin, Evil Genius, Tabitha Weddell, Alex Young, and Danny Young.

“Gallery No.32 is an outdoor exhibition and project space providing accessible opportunities for artists at any stage of their career. Free to show and free to view, artists can explore the broadest possibilities of their practice, while offering art to new audiences directly in the public realm. By taking artists out of the institution and placing them in the natural landscape, Gallery No.32 is altering how art is seen, and who art is for, upturning the typical white-wall model and digging the tracks for an alternative art-world. Exhibiting innovative and ambitious artworks directly in the public realm, Gallery No.32 is bringing art to unexpected places, expanding the reach of culture through discovery & exploration”.

Find it all at Gallery No.32, Manor Way, Bexley, DA5 3QG


Oh and Beyond The Streets opens at Saatchi Gallery this Friday, we did already preview the show back in January, we’re not really about vast tickets mainstream art shows here but this one is worth a mention – ORGAN PREVIEW: Saatchi Gallery have revealed the artist line-up for their much trumpeted Graffiti and Street Art exhibition, Beyond The Streets of London, a line up that has you thinking straight away well… Find more, including ticket details, yeah, you gotta pay, unless you break in via the train yard around the back, from the Saatch website..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s