ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Shows – Anna Hymas at Everyday Sunshine, Edwin at BSMT Space, Hugh Mendes at James Freeman Gallery, Erin O’Keefe at Seventeen, Bedwyr Williams at Phillida Reid and…

MARK BURRELL – Postcards From A Forgotten Place – Postcards and oil stick in mounting board, 25x19cm (March 2023) – Currently part of Mark’s solo show hosted on these Organ pages

Never mind that, that was then, this, once again is about this week and next and cake and yes, 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…

Anna Hymas at Everyday Sunshine


1: Anna Hymas at Everyday Sunshine – 20th until 30th April, with an opening on Thursday 20th – Now this looks like it might be rather exciting  – “The brilliant Anna Hymas is having an exhibition of her big, bold oil paintings at Everyday Sunshine. Anna’s large expressive oil pieces have an abstract collage feel and feature mini collections such as London river scenes and still life works. The collection ranges from A3 oil on paper up to large format canvas’s all painted in Anna’s signature colour palette”.

Everyday Sunshine is at 49, Barbauld Rd, London, N16 0RT and is open Tuesday until Sunday, 8.30am until 1pm, 9.30am opening at the weekend. Can’t find a gallery link, here’s Anna’s website

2: Hugh Mendes – Mendes & Co. (Deceased) at James Freeman Gallery –  20th April until 13th May 2023 – “A collection of new artist obituary paintings by the London-based artist Hugh Mendes, exhibited alongside artworks created by his subjects: Bram Bogart, Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Frink, Alan Davie, Albert Irvine, Auguste Rodin and Mario Schifano.  The exhibition is presented in collaboration with Blond Contemporary and Charlie Smith London”. Those Hugh Mendes obituary paintings are always worth your time.

“Hugh Mendes is an artist renowned for his distinctive obituary paintings. They present portraits of famous figures as if they were press clippings from the obituary pages of The Guardian, realistically executed in the manner of still life or trompe l’oeil paintings from the 17th century. The focus on famous figures and the tradition of the portrait speak of our celebrity-focused culture, whilst imitation of the press clipping references the repetitive media imagery through which fame and celebrity are constructed and disseminated. The macabre undercurrents of the obituary also tie into the historical tradition of the memento mori, whereby his paintings become reminders of the transience of life. Through his unique approach Hugh finds something timeless and transcendental in the rapid succession of images that bombard our everyday lives.

The presentation of Hugh’s paintings alongside original works by the subjects of his obituaries amplifies the many conceptual threads in his practice. Thematically, Elizabeth Frink’s ‘Soldier’s Head’ and Rodin’s ‘Martyr’ extend the intimations of mortality in the memento mori tradition. Bram Bogart’s work highlights the materiality of Hugh’s paintings, that despite their figurative content they are nonetheless paint manipulated on a surface. This painterliness finds further echoes in the expressive works of Albert Irvine and the intuitive compositions of Alan Davie. The work of Mario Schifano emphasises the conceit of the figurative painting, and of how nothing should be taken on face value even in a repetitively and serially reproduced culture. This is continued in the work of Andy Warhol, which also highlights the cultural fascination with fame that underpins both the portrait and the obituary.

In his source imagery Hugh further twists the conceptual knots in his practice. Some paintings work with the kind of photographic portraits traditionally found in news media, such as that of Albert Irvine. Others are of self portraits, as in the case of Alan Davie, Elizabeth Frink and Andy Warhol. But in others the artist is represented not by their image but by their art, as in the case of Mario Schifano, who is represented by an image of his portrait of Picasso. Through subtleties such as these and juxtaposition with original pieces, the exhibition draws out the questions that underpin Hugh’s practice. Of the relationship between an artist, their works, and their imagery. Of where artistic legacy lies: in the intertextual media fabric of fame, or in the talismanic object that is the artwork. Of the role of the artwork as a memento mori that outlasts and memorialises its maker. And the importance of the mortal hand in its creation, even in a world of infinitely reproduced likenesses”.

James Freeman Gallery is at 354 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0PD – the show runs from 20th April until 13th May 2023 . The gallery is open Tuesday t oSaturday, 11am until 6.30pm. The opening evening view is on April 20th, 6.30pm until 8.30pm 


3: Edwin, Shithouse to Penthouse at BSMT Space – 21st April until May 7th 2023, with an opening night on Thursday 20th April, 6pm until who knows when? probably officially 9pm –  There is no love between us any more and yeah, I know, this is no time to be quoting Pop Will Eat Itself lyrics, the love for us is no more in terms of the basement space, but hey, we can’t let that stop us mentioning a good show when we see a good show coming up, might even sneak in te back door while they’re not looking.  Do like Edin’s attitude, do like the  cynical smile of it all – “Having spent hours walking the streets of East London trying to make sense of the space he inhabits, Edwin’s angsty, politically charged and raw text pieces observe the mild discontent of a society that is comfortably ignorant and unwilling to challenge the status quo”

Sometimes my work can be an intimate conversation with myself that just happens to be highly relatable” – Edwin

“For Shithouse to Penthouse, his debut solo show at BSMT in Dalston seeks, aims, for the very first time, to connect the viewer to the multi-dimensional and relatable aspects of Edwin’s work. From his emotive text-based street pieces, themselves a nod to the lineage of King Mob or Heathcote Williams to his protest poster series reminiscent of Steve Powers and Christopher Wool, Edwin recognises that art and protest are inseparable.  Common threads of banality, humour, psychogeography and political commentary weave through his practice. The exhibition will reveal a decade’s worth of artistic growth and the obvious tension between Edwin’s love for and opposition to the space in which he lives.

“Like a haircut in the height of lockdown or a man lost in his phone at the pub, these are the throwaway moments I have chosen to explore and process by rendering them in paint and laying down those connections in my memory of that time and place” – Edwin

BSMT Space is at 529 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London, E8 4AR. Shithouse to Penthouse will open with a private view at 6pm on April 20th and then run until May 7th. tHE gallery is open Tuesday through to Sunday (they don’t like Mondays), 10am until 6pm

Erin O’Keefe, Just Enough, 2023. Unique archival pigment print on Hanhnemuhle Photo Rag on Dibond, 28×21″

4: Erin O’KeefeNonfiction at Seventeen – 20th April until 27th May, with an opening night on Thursday April 20th opening at 6pm – “Nonfiction is the second solo exhibition by American artist Erin O’Keefe at Seventeen, encompassing a new series of unique photographs that are displayed in groupings across the gallery. The exhibition title references the essentially documentary and representational nature of these images, at the same time as alluding to the illusionary effect they evoke in relation to the viewer”.

“Expanding on the themes and techniques from her previous solo show in 2020, O’Keefe takes carefully lit photographs of painted wooden objects against a matte, coloured backdrop and foreground.  These temporary arrangements are set up in the artist’s studio in New York, photographed then dismantled. The raking shadows grounding the vertical elements is perhaps the most prominent clue that the viewer is looking at objects arranged in space instead of a flat, painted surface, which might be an initial reading. The columns overlap in a way that makes the positioning of each item ambiguous; shadows disappear unexpectedly, while the coloured horizon line continues improbably across an object in the foreground. The same painted object may recur across multiple photographs, signalling the temporary nature of the arrangements. The kit of painted parts can be disassembled, and recombined with the same pieces in different spatial configurations and lighting, creating new proportions, colours and compositions. Paint is deployed roughly and efficiently, the camera capturing the economy of the brushstrokes and showing layers of colour beneath from previous setups. Creating a stage of uncertain proportions, O’Keefe plays a number of games with perspective and space, depth and flatness – encouraging multiple and contradictory readings of each work.

O’Keefe is interested in producing work with a wide range of possible interpretations and readings from a limited set of possibilities with wood, paint, a light source and a camera. In the work HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME (2023), a red film appears to float over the image, two triangular portals form an hour-glass shaped window through which the viewer can see a curved wooden object, painted black and textured, dirty white. This window hovers in space, caught between the image surface and the viewer. This is the same ‘space’ implied by Jan Dibbets in his studio wall drawings. This fictional space conjured into existence by both Dibbets’ Perspective Correction works (1967-69) and O’Keefe in these photographs, creates a constructive uncertainty in the viewer, relying on their reading and misreading of space to create a new thing. O’Keefe’s window is initiated through painting white next to red, the final and essential component being the viewer and their crucial misapprehension.

To accompany the exhibition a new hardback book will be published by Distanz. The publication features essays by Emily LaBarge, Richard Paul and Wayne Koestenbaum and has been designed by Hanzer Lincini. The book will be available at the gallery and from your favourite bookshop. Two limited edition works accompany the book, available in editions of 17″.

Seventeen is at 270-276 Kingsland Road (Entrance on Acton Mews to rear of the building), London, E8 4DG. The exhibition runs from 20th April until 27th May, with an opening night on Thursday April 20th opening at 6pm (no end time info). The gallery is open Wednesday until Saturday, 11am until 6pm.


5: Bedwyr WilliamsOlder Artist at Phillida Reid –  22nd April until 27th May 2023 –  “Older Artist is an exhibition of new work by Bedwyr Williams. Taking forms and narratives developed over the past several years, including new sculptural lightboxes and paintings, Williams sketches interior and exterior lives, internal dialogues and interpersonal exchanges with a precision both caustic and poignant”.

Older Artist anchors its attention on long-standing art world inhabitants, drawn or painted as they occupy the bright white rooms in which they have worked, talked, socialised and received acclaim; where they have held power and influence. Williams hones in on particularities of self-presentation, both lived and captured through social media platforms: the pale flesh of a bare ankle between shoe and trouser hem; the specific silhouette of a carefully chosen outfit; the glinting nose ring and pointed stare of an artist who, you sense, doesn’t like you. 

Williams’ lightboxes materialise his popular Instagram drawings, pinpointing the social norms, uniforms and character tropes of the creative industry and beyond, into a broader socio-political sphere. Special attention is paid to those who move to the Welsh countryside in search of an idyllic escape, whilst remaining obstinately ignorant of the local language. ‘This machine kills minority languages’, reads one of the works, picturing the worn-in boat shoes of a new settler. Drawing on a new, multi-panel narrative format, one work consists of three individual boxes, arranged in a row to be viewed as if scrolling through an image carousel. In the downstairs screening room is a slideshow of Instagram works from the past six months, revolving at a leisurely pace, soundtracked by ambient garden noise of distant motors, birdsong and planes passing overhead

Williams’ paintings are here arrayed across a single wall like family portraits in a stately home. The subjects of these works veer between vividly familiar and strangely unplaceable, from nebulous, translucent faces with sharp, lucid eyes, to sock-less feet in black Oxford shoes or Birkenstock Boston clogs, and even the winding form of a Renaissance serpent horn (a snake-like ancestor of the modern-day tuba). Some paintings approach moments of body horror, whether in the reptilian twist of a back-turned neck or the rash of blister-like growths which gather at the centre of a loosely sketched face. The faint tracery of lines and veins become visible beneath the gauzy skin of Williams’ subjects, signs of ageing and vulnerability markedly apparent under glaring gallery lights”.

Phillida Reid is at 10 – 16 Grape Street, London, WC2H 8DY. The show runs from 22nd April until 27th May 2023. wirth an opening night on Friday 21st April , 6pm until 8pm. The gallery is open Tuesday until Saturday, 11am until 6pm

And while we’re here, the Cultivate Spring Season of online exhibitions goes on. The season of seven shows that started in February, ends with the open of Tuesday’s group show Mixtape No.5. All shows are hosted here on the Organ website, there are no plans to close any of them, Mark Burrell‘s solo show opened last Tuesday, all the shows can be found here

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