Fat Hands

she used to sit in this cafe, and just face the wall. And it wasn’t coffee she was drinking

14 Galleries in 3 hours

Posted by Alix on 26 November 2007

We (me and Elly) went on an art jaunt on Saturday, round East London. Our itinerary started as 8 galleries, but expanded to 14 as the journey progressed. I’m very impressed that we fitted all this and noodles at Viet Hoa into such a short space of time. Here’s what we saw:
1. Los Loss – Trevor Appleson at Hales Gallery: some beautiful photographs here, of everyday objects and people in Mexico, taken at dawn or dusk, in front of a black screen = lovely lighting, and isolation of the subject matter from it’s background, which worked really well. Above is one of some broken eggs on the ground which looked like it was taken on the moon. Thumbs up!
2. Will Taylar – Between the Lines/ Keld Helmer-Petersen – Winter Graphics at the Rocket Gallery: Not terribly excited by either of these – the former were supremely pointless computer generated grid images, the latter photos of partially melted snow on a pavement. Thumbs neutral!

3. It’s the end of the show! by Daniel Johnston at the Vegas Gallery: I giggled at a lot of this, but more in a laughing at, rather than laughing with, way. Faux naif felt-tip doodlings are not really my cup of tea. Thumbs down!

4. Ana Prada installation at Seventeen: Three pieces – one boring photo, and two sculptures fixed to the wall – one a series of mop heads glued together in a line (Elly’s verdict – “it smells…of……glue”), and the nicest of the lot – hundreds of pencil sharpeners in primary blue and red, and green melted together and arranged into tesselating hexagons, each sharpener joined with a thin slice of cross section of colouring pencils. Lovely moment of ‘oh, that’s what it is!’ on getting close enough to make out the sharpeners. In fact, this moment of realisation is the main part of this piece’s appeal, rather than it’s overall appearance. Thumbs up!

5. David Hepher – Recent Painting at Flowers East: Quite nice photo/ paint pieces featuring the Durrington Tower high rise on the Wandsworth Road Estate. Captured the grey, graffiti mess of council estates quite nicely, but a bit too realistically – I can experience this walking round Hackney, I don’t need to go to a gallery for it. Thumbs neutral!

6. Various Artists – British Abstract Prints at Flowers Graphics: Most of this was straighforward, ungripping stuff, but there were 2 rooms with perhaps 70-100 postcard sized abstract watercolours. They looked like the kind of thing I used to do instead of actually painting at school, on the rough paper, only much better and studied. They were really really good – gorgeous tones and understanding of colour, and I have no idea who they’re by! No clues in the gallery, and nothing on their website either. I would totally buy one of these, so if anyone knows who they’re by please let me know! Thumbs up!

7. Martin Kobe – Behind True Symmetry/ Ellen Altfest – Paintings at White Cube: The Kobe stuff was clearly the work of a man who has been impressed by futuristic utopian science fiction at some point in his past – nice enough to look at but lacking in substance. It was like high end corporate art; it was very suitable for a big echoey lobby. The Altfest stuff was among the worst of all the things we saw – the website describes her approach to painting these very boring nudes and still lives as ‘meticulous and labour-intensive’. The effect of this is paintings with much too much painting going on. Thumbs down!
8. Various Artists – Hope and Despair at the Cell Project Space: Nothing much exciting here, the whole space reminded me of a squat, it even had a tent in it. One nice installation which was a load of tea towels hanging from the ceiling, although I think I liked this more because they were interesting old tea towels. Thumbs neutral!
9. Various Artists – My Still Life as a Personal Object at Alma Enterprises: This was ok, but very much seemed to be a range of disparate artists who happened to have stuff in the same room. There was a pile of shiny buttons in the middle of the floor. Thumbs neutral!

10. Various Artists – Signs and Messages from Modern Life at Kate MacGarry: Some lovely typographical influenced pieces here, including a lovely Tauba Auerbach painting, and a good Stephen Willats piece. Thumbs up!
11. Linder at Stuart Shave/ Modern Art: Hilarious though Linder’s collages are, the sense of one trick pony-ness starts to seep in about halfway through. Thumbs neutral!
12. Various Artists – Move at Goldfish: To be honest we wandered in here without knowing much, and wandered back out much the same. If I recall right it was various pieces by Cornish artists, using driftwood and string, that sort of deal. Thumbs neutral!

13. Paint Assemblages by Piers Secunda at Nettie Horn: Dude has used paint to layer and layer until it’s solid and make sculptures with it, none of which were interesting, and colourwise were bland and uncompelling. This is a much better use of paint. Thumbs down!
14. Bonus gallery on Vyner Street: I don’t remember the name or the artists involved in our final gallery. I suspect I was all full of art at this point. It was up a load of stairs, and was a bit sixth formy. Thumbs neutral!

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