Say what you like about its ill health, I reckon about half the gallery exhibitions in London are largely or entirely of paintings. That means I must have visited 5,000 painting-based shows this century. Yet there are approaches in the gesturally-themed group show ‘Control to Collapse’ which I can’t recall seeing in any of them (Blyth Gallery, Level 5 Sherfield Building, Imperial College, Kensington to 3 Jan – not a space you’d come across in passing, but handily close to the Serpentine Gallery). Clare Price shows one of her body-actioned full-reach-scaled abstractions ‘s.b.l.f.’ along with a photograph of herself – ‘# painter # painting 1’ – in front of it in the studio (and just the photos of her posed with two more paintings). And Liz Elton shows both ‘Seilebost 1’, a photograph of a ragged sail-like oil composition on compostable material horizontally posed in the landscape, and ‘Exposure 1, Seilebost’ – the material in question hung in portrait format. That’s two fresh ways of enacting the dialogue between painting and its documentation, preparation and finished work, art and action. Come to that, Rebecca Byrne (painting on canvas set on painted wallpaper to which it relates) and Alex Roberts (backlit painting on silk) also adopt rare techniques. Not that I object to more orthodox means, in which mode Tamsin Relly has the most works in this lively show…
Edward Munch, very much a painter, is easily Norway’s most famous artist, and a new 13-floor building – ‘Munch’ as it is styled – was recently opened in his honour. Walking around Oslo, though, it would be easy to think that sculpture is the national preference: statues dot the streets and I visited four sculpture parks. For example:
The first post-pandemic edition of the London Art Fair is set in April (20th-24th) rather than the usual January, the mix is as before: plenty of bad or predictable material mixed in with enough good stuff to make for an interesting visit.
Lubaina Himid: from ‘Swallow Hard: The Lancaster Dinner Service’, 2007 Two current shows mine parallel strategies with effect to foreground […]
Perhaps, then, the studio is slipping towards historic status. Not that there’s anything wrong with a historic survey (‘A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920 – 2020’ to 5 June)