Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
County Hall, London
11-14 October 2007
Reviewed by: Christopher Steel »
Year 07 was 58 galleries in a corner of the old GLC building. These are the ones I liked.
In the downstairs room, from New York's Caren Golden Fine Art, is Devorah Sperber's After da Vinci: 400+ reels of coloured thread hanging in a grid pattern, which, viewed through a small acrylic sphere on a stand in front resolves into a blurry version of Da Vinci's self portrait. Across from this constructive use of low tech materials is Curtis Mitchell's meltdown series, from the same gallery. Household chemicals run down pre-exposed photographic paper, create visions of bubbling lava. The artist has a history of making art works in a destructive fashion, having torched rugs and sofas and reconstructing them in an awkward fashion.
More cameraless photography was to be found upstairs at Schroeder Romero. In Wendy Small's photogram, Morning Glory, butterflies and dragonflies flit above a layers of french tickler condoms arranged like a bed of sea anemones reaching up to filter the currents.
The dark wood-panelled corridor linking the upstairs rooms gives you a kind of breathing space as you dip in and out of the art, while the triumphal music wafting up from the Star Wars exhibition only adds to the sense of occasion.
I was drawn to Chris Gentile's Tide of Regret St John at the Jeff Bailey stand. Thousands of pieces of black cassette tape, individually fixed to a studio wall form the back a dense head of hair that decays over a series of photos into a black heart almost dripping down the wall into a final ball, creepy and unavoidable.
At Margaret Thatcher Projects, Robert Sagerman builds up thousands of globs of oil paint into layered meshes of intuitive colour.
For each piece he records the number of times a particular colour is used, the total number of strokes giving the name of each work. This record keeping is informed by his studying for a doctorate in Jewish studies and kaballic practice.
Adam Fowler, again shown by MTP, makes small automatic pencil drawings, cuts out the area between the lines and layers these together evoking lace or a freeze frame from a candy floss machine.
Heike Weber also uses negative space. Shown by Galerie Martina Detterer, she cut out the walls from Becher postcards of houses. The gallery wall shows through a mock tudor framework left by triangles removed and glued to the bottom of the postcard. I preferred her use of window colour in her Orient to make a treacly sketch of a persian rug.
The Nettie Horn Gallery brought the carpetry and marquetry of Debbie Lawson. I liked the fun of her carpet pot plant and table, Collar and Cuffs, and the sad loneliness of her howling ostracised wolf in the woodpanel Wild Thing. Her work has an appealing openess and tremendous spirit in her use of these background materials. Overall, it was the low-tech and labour-intensive that left a lasting impression.
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