Monday, 23 January 2017



Curated by Paul Carey-Kent

Silk Room, the House of St Barnabas, 1 Greek St, Soho Square, London

By appointment via 5 Jan - 5 July 2017 -
all works for sale

Launch evening 20 January, 6-9 pm, RSVP required

All works for sale - enquiries via HoSB as above or

We always wonder: what's happening on The Other Side?  First, perhaps, we'd better sort whether were looking in or out. The Silk Room has an attractive window of its own, but Aglaé Bassens gives us more. Are we the looker in or the subject of the gaze? And - if the former - what do we see? Martine Poppe explores our interaction with the camera from the other side of the pond. Emma Cousin, in a different avoidance of the full view, is currently concentrating on legs - and on the other side of this room's potential uses, as a place of meeting, eating and dancing. As indeed, does Jane Hayes Greenwood. Her figures seem to be the other side of flesh and blood - more objects, diagrams or images of images than people, though that doesn't seem to restrict their appetites. All in all, then, it's a puzzle to know where to look and what to make of the characters we find in this pattern-heavy room of four representational female painters, just the other side of the real, perhaps, and just the other side of the wall which divides them from nine male abstractionists tackling the Bazalgette's rich red. Which other side, you might ask, are you on?

Emma Cousin

Dinner party, 2016

Oil paint on canvas - 100 x 160cm

Emma Cousin (born Dewsbury, 1986) is currently in residence at Wimbledon College of Art and co-organises the curatorial platform Bread and Jam. Her paintings have recently moved from quirkily spinning off a variety of homespun narratives - often with a lively awareness of the body's contingencies - to concentrate on charmingly eccentric explorations of our lower limbs in particular. Cousin's work has an immediate force of personality: even without the benefit of faces, you sense the artist behind them. They have the energy and some of the moves of cartoons without looking at all like them. The conversational titles - Cousin is also a poet of some vim - cue you in to everyday phrases which, together with their pictorial retelling, make up a freshly minted 'language of legs' (in which 'business' is spelt 'beesknees'.).

Cutting a Rug, 2016

Oil on canvas - 120 x 100cm


Beesknees, 2016

Oil on canvas - 120 x 100cm

Aglaé Bassens

Scaling Up, 2016

Oil on canvas - 170 x 130 cm

Franco-Belgian Aglaé Bassens (born Mons, 1986) has a way of making something out of nothing by gracefully uncovering the atmospheric melancholy in such 'non-subjects' as empty fish tanks, shirts and sofas so that, in her words, the paintings 'oscillate between presence and absence, the revealed and the concealed, the available and the inaccessible'. Like Poppe, she paints much less objectively than a cursory glance suggests, as her characteristically long, swift strokes bring character to the would-be-minimal. For 'The Other Side' Bassens uses apparently viewless windows and contextless curtains to both reflect on the flatness of the pictorial canvas surface versus the depth of illusion of a painted image, and to comment on how we divide space and create boundaries both physically and socially.

Painting On The Fence, 2016

Oil on canvas - 90 x 45 cm

Exclusive Geometry, 2016

Oil on canvas - 61 x 92 cm

It's A Bit Thin, 2016

Oil on canvas - 45 x 35 cm

Jane Hayes Greenwood

Strung Out, 2016
Acrylic and oil on linen - 55 x 45 cm

Jane Hayes Greenwood (born Manchester, 1986) is the Founding Director of Block 336, an artist-led project space and studio in Brixton and a Fine Art tutor at City & Guilds of London Art School. Like Cousin, she responds directly to the presence of a dinner table in the Silk Room. That suits the recent development in her work from exploring the nature of objects and our relations to them, to feeding gastronomic and erotic imagery through a distorting lens, drawing our attention to sex and food as parallel areas of consumption.  There's something logical yet comic about the way she sets these two appetites in dialogue,  exploring them via their cultural representations -  and makes us wonder, through sly art historical references, just where our desire for aesthetic experience fits in. 

A Sweet Tooth, 2016

Acrylic and oil on linen - 120 x 90 cm

Eat Your Greens, 2016 
Acrylic and oil on linen - 120 x 90 cm

How Does Your Garden Grow, 2016

Acrylic and oil on linen - 55 x 45 cm

Standing In Position, 2016
Acrylic and oil on linen - 55 x 45 cm

Martine Poppe

A little paradoxically, Martine Poppe (born Oslo 1988) explores the impact that the new millennial ubiquity of photography has on our lives by using alluring painting techniques to negotiate between the mechanical and handmade. She has previously veiled the surface by painting opalescently on polyester restoration fabric, so turning the underlying image ghostly. Here, noticing how behaviour can change when a group of people realise that photographs are being taken, she supplies 'before' and 'after' shots she took of a voter and a protest group around the recent US presidential election. They typify individual and social engagement with both image-making and politics. In line with that more direct engagement, Blue and Brown combine photographic ink transfer and paint on the same surface, ramping up the immediacy.


Oil and ink on taffeta - 160 x 110 cm


Brown, 2016

Oil and ink on taffeta

Installation views

At the launch event 20 Jan:

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Up Now in London

Adam Hennessey: Smile @ New Art Projects, 6D Sheep Lane - Cambridge Heath

To 4 March:

Sheep Murder, 2016 - 155 x 110cm

Young painter Adam Hennessey describes his work as ‘squishing large things into small spaces’. That’s true of many of the wittily ebullient acrylics on show here – several smiley faces jostle to be sunniest, and birds struggle to fit in their framing. But there’s no squishing required to get these 25 canvases into Fred Mann's expansive new space. Indeed, there’s enough capacity to hold a room back for small works on paper to be painted ready for a closing event on 4 March. Hennessey has a particular affinity with fingers and sheep: the former appear directly several times , though the ‘Finger Alphabet’ merely points to an anagram caused by alphabetical order; a characterfully distinguished herd of the latter seem to have been shot – if only, perhaps, with paint, before they can enjoy the lushest grass you ever didn’t really see, it was just a picture in Sheep Lane.

Alphabet Finger, 2016 x 110cm


Florian Roithmayr: ir re par sur @ Bloomberg Space, 50 Finsbury Square - Moorgate (to 18 March:

Sarah Pichkostner: Kay calls me all the time in other words fly me to the moon @ Josh Lilley, 44 – 46 Riding House Street - Fitzrovia (

Installation detail: Sarah Pichkostner

Good sculpture often emerges from letting the material have its way, giving the – somewhat misleading – impression that the artist didn’t have to do much. London-based German Florian Roithmayr plays airily located, elongated U-shaped hangings (cast in plaster from card originals) against more bodily forms. Roithmayr spread clay on paper on the Bloomberg floor, waited six weeks for it to dry and, as the shrinking caused by the 30% which is water evaporated, curl up. Then he raised up his appealingly casual population of forms... Austrian sculptor Sarah Pichkostner’s first London solo show is a subtle grower. The title comes from an audio piece smuggled into a foam sculpture which whispers urgently yet tantalisingy close to inaudibly. A little like Roithmayr, she lets silver nitrate act from inside to ensilver glass tubes, and also coaxes coloured light into doing its stuff variously: in the sculptures, shone on the sculptures, glowing from behind a wall – and is used to yellow a narrow back-of-wall space at Josh Lilley, which she uses better than anyone since Analia Saban in 2009. Is this, perhaps, what sculpture would be like on the moon?

Installation detail: Florian Roithmayr

Mudhook @ Tintype - 107 Essex Road - Islington plus three shows curated by me at Union and the House of St Barnabas...

To 18 Feb (Tintype and Union) / 5 July (House of St Barnabas)

Emma Cousin: Inpatient, 2016 - 120 x 100cm

Separate entries might be a little excessive, but naturally I believe that 14 of the best artists currently on show in London are in three shows I’ve curated:  a wider view of Alice Anderson than her well-known copper wire bindings (see   for details); nine abstract painters showing how various distinctive processes enable them to play off chance and control to aesthetically transcendent effect( ; and my four favourite young figurative painters, creating a room full of character and presence (  What’s more, Emma Cousin, one of the four, also features in a lively two-hander at Tintype. She’s paired with Milly Peck, whose scribble-like sculptural versions of everyday forms enter into a lively to-and-from with Cousin’s leg play.
Alice Anderson: Cut Out Pieces from Repetitive Gestures,2016
                                                          ___________________________    .

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva: An Intimate Gaze @ Danielle Arnaud, 123 Kennington Rd – Kennington

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva  Gill’s Slits  2011 - skate bones, metal, perspex box  45 x 45 x 50 cm


Paul Nash: Flight of the Magnolia, 1944 (from Tate Britain show to 5 March)

It’s an old gambit to generate beauty from abject or repulsive material. All the same, Anglo-Macedonian artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva’s use of animal materials is striking: she’s best known for immersively delicate installations using waste products from the meat industry. Here, a domestic environment suits a transcendental drawing made from a cow’s guts, bovine intestines blown up to form vulnerable sculptures,  and four sheep testicles configured as rather attractive purses. The most radical form, though, is probably Gill’s Slits, made by simply alligator-clipping together the wing-like skeletons of several skates. This inside-to-outside move yields flyaway fish with a floral feel. I was somewhat reminded of Paul Nash’s 'Flight of the Magnolia' 1944, which you can see in the excellent survey at Tate Britain.
Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva Lady's Purse,  2011 - sheep testicle purse lined with silk, antique frame and chain, mounted in perspex box

I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper @ the Griffin Gallery, 21 Evesham St – Latimer Road *

To 24 Feb:

Stephane Graff: Untitled (Courbet / Fontana), 2015

Catherine Loewe’s exhibition is easy to enjoy: she picks nine artists who have appropriated the art of the past, and lets us explore their different methods and aims.  Diptychs by Stephane Graff wittily line up iconic works with mismatched texts from what seem to be auction catalogues, pricking the bubble of artistic identity which Gavin Turk undermines by taking on that of others, here through his British styling of Warhol as the silkscreener of white transit van crashes (there’s more of that at the Newport Street Gallery) ; Marielle Neudecker and Gordon Cheung both deconstruct the Vanitas still life in painterly non-paintings, the former as plastic, the latter as digital glitches; and Glenn Brown seems to reveal the atomic under-life of old masters in his re-imaginings on the cusp of painting and drawing. 

* worth being away also interesting shows in the Griffin's rear windows and at nearby Unit 1 Gallery

Glenn Brown: Hinckley Point, 2016 - Indian ink and acrylic on panel, diptych - Each 60 x 50 cm



    Heidi Bucher: Herrenzimmer (1977-79)

The admirable ‘Condo’ initiative, in its second year, sees 36 foreign galleries guesting in 15 London spaces, to generally lively effect. Some mix things up between host and guests, but my two favourites - Sadie Coles and Rodeo – are among those which juxtapose a separate host show with a guest solo. AT the former, Bridget Donahue presents Martine Syms, which is interesting, but the prime draw remains the outstanding group show Room, which brings together a wonderful combination of female artists reimagining domestic space. For example photographic work by Francesca Woodman, Nan Goldin, Joanna Piotrowska and Penny Slinger, and several room reconstructions in the gallery, including a smoking shed by Sarah Lucas; Heidi Bucher’s latex imprints of the walls of her father’s study; and a black room full of Klara Lidén’s teenage angst, the door into which is made harder to open by a hanging axe.

Penny Slinger: 
No Return (An Exorcism), 1977 Collage 33 x 48cm

Franziska Lantz: expanding arid zones & Haris Epaminonda: Vol. XX @ RODEO, 123 Charing Cross Road – Tottenham Court Road


Franziska Lantz: detail of  expanding arid zones 

Rodeo’s Condo share presents two installations representing found elements to transformative effect. Downstairs we can move on from the injustice of Michael Dean not winning the Turner Prize to admire an installation by his Swiss-German wife Franziska Lantz. Both are represented in Berlin by Supportico Lopez: here Lantz has trawled the Thames for detritus which she cleans with contemplative obsession, then hangs to form a shamanistic whole room installation featuring a surprisingly high proportion of camouflage wear. It’s complemented by her soundtrack – cluing us in to a wider practice which includes a regular broadcasts for Resonance FM. Upstairs are what might be termed ‘overlages’, by Berlin-based Cypriot Haris Epaminonda – collages in which the top layer (black and white images of ikebana flower arrangements) almost completely covers the lower layer (would-be-colour of Egyptian art). It’s mainly the captions, referring to pharaohs, which remain to complicate our interpretation of the bouquets. 


Irina Korina: Destined to be Happy @ GRAD, 3-4a Little Portland Street – Fitzrovia

To 28 Feb:

Russian artist Irina Korina, who trained as a set designer, is known for her theatrical installations made out of commonplace materials. Here she presents whimsical soft sculptures of black and white emoticon characters - a human meteorite, a fire-person, a teardrop smoking a cigarette. They’re set in a hostile forest environment which didn’t prove so easy to source as one might expect. When the show was put up in early December, dead Christmas trees were so rare that she had to have twenty healthy specimens torched. Now, it fits the calendar: too much drunk over the festive season, you come round and it's Trump.  So if blasted joy is your thing, you’ll like the heavily ironic ‘Destined to be Happy’ - the more so as each of the six sculptural stations comes with its own atmospheric soundtrack generated out of aural bric-a-brac by Sergey Kasich.



Mai-Thu Perret: Zone @ Simon Lee, 12 Berkeley St - Central

To 4 Feb:

Installation view with Zone, 2016

Genevan artist Mai-Thu Perret has made her name since 1999 through by mapping an imagined women-only would-be-utopian desert community through the writings and artworks attributed to them. Typically they tweak traditional crafts – ceramic, tapestry, wickerwork – towards a constructivist aesthetic which carries an incipient feminism. Zone sees things get darker: it cites a novel about a tribe of lesbian warriors; a faceless armed figure stands guard; inside is a ceramic fountain in the form of a mortuary slab, its tube more suggestive of ritual or abuse than of pleasure. But the total effect is ambiguous: the water babbles pleasantly and the wall-based works package their art historical references attractively, though not quite as perfectly as their systems seem at first to imply...  

Be fearful and alert, as if peering into an abyss, as if treading onto thin ice, 2016 - glazed ceramic



Ingeborg Lüscher: It’s 1 o’clock and the bell tolls 8 times @ White Rainbow, 47 Mortimer St – Fitzrovia

Ingeborg Lüscher at the opening

If you feel the need of some intensely spiritual abstraction, your main choices are Rothko and Newman in the RA’s Ab Ex show, or this first London solo for the German widower of Harald Szeeman, who got to know Ingeborg Lüscher through selecting her work for Documenta V in 1972. These works from 1987-91 make elemental use of sulphur dust (glowing more creamily then you might expect from admixture with acrylic) and ash. That gives her paintings body, and an offsetting darkness. The fire of inspiration and the remnants of its burning out might come to mind, but Lüscher seems sparky enough at 80.

Untitled, 1988 - sulphur, dust, plaster, cardboard


Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970's  from the Verbund Collection, Vienna @ The Photographer's Gallery

To 29 Jan:  (free  10 am -12)

Renata Eisenegger: High-rise No. 1, 1974

This may sound a narrow show until you realise how many excellent artists can be described as avant-garde 1970s feminists: Chicago, EXPORT, Ivekovic, Mendieta, Orlan, Pane, Rosler, Shneeman, Sherman, Wilke and Woodman obviously enough, but they're mostly represented by refreshingly less-often seen work: Mendiata counters her beauty and renders herself other simply by pressing up against the pane of glass, Ivekovic makes herself visibly silent by greeting her show's visitors with a taped up mouth. Moreover, there are 200 works by 48 artists, well marshalled into four themes, and almost everything is of interest. For example, Lili Dujourie makes a naked man look like a woman simply by how she has him pose; Renata Eiseneger irons the floors of her apartment block; and Brigette Lang proposes a headress which prevents intimacy by means of sharp spikes.... In spite of all of which, this is far from comprehensive: Adrian Piper, Chantal Akerman, Dara Birnbaum, Mary Kelly, Niki de Saint Phalle would all fit.

Sanja Ivekovik: from Inauguration at Tommaseo, 1977 / 2012


The Seasonal Others  

David Salle: Mingus in Mexico, 1990

There are too many good shows to review them all, and I tend to avoid the most obvious: those open over Christmas include:

Picasso at the National Portrait Gallery (to 5.2), a superbly balanced retrospective which happens to focus on known people - plus the bonus ball of Luc Tuymans’ portraits in glasses

The RA’s Abstract Expressionism (to 2.1). True, it’s a mess with an unduly tokenistic female presence, but is still full of great things, and the Still room is a triumph. Luc Tuymans bonus his curation of Ensor.

William Kentridge at the Whitechapel Gallery (to 15.1, plus various extras, none Tuymans).

Paul Nash at Tate Britain (to 5.3), bonus Rachel Maclean

Richard Serra’s third monumental occupation (to 25.2) of the Gagosian space in Britannia Street which was built to the spec of accommodating his work

Parts (30%) of Saatchi's latest show Painters' Painters (to 28.2) - David Salle (taking over from the recent Skarstedt show), Ansel Krut, Ryan Mosley.

If you like the spectacular, Anselm Kiefer at White Cube Bermondsey (to 22.1)

Rauschenberg at Tate Modern (to 2.2), not without a Salle chime at points...

The Wellcome Collection's current double, include Making Nature, a nice counterpoint to Marian Goodman's Animalia.

Robert Rauschenberg: Triathlon (Scenario), 2005

Images courtesy / copyright the relevant artists and galleries 


Subscribe to mailing list

* indicates required




    Email Format







About Me

My photo
Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
I was in my leisure time Editor at Large of Art World magazine (which ran 2007-09)and now write freelance for such as Art Monthly, The Art Newspaper and Border Crossings. I have curated five shows in London during 2013-15 with more on the way.Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.