Aleph Contemporary: current exhibition at The Bindery, 53 Hatton Garden, London EC1 8HN
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In something of a contrast to last week’s David Zwirner, Aleph – founded in 2019 – has the simplest of gallery models: show lots of paintings by UK-based artists, both online and while guesting in somewhat offbeat premises. The last show to close was at the Naval and Military Club, known informally as The In & Out, a private members’ club in St James’s Square. The main location, including for the current exhibition, is the ground floor of a handsome conversion to offices of a former book-binding business that is, appropriately enough, the new HQ of Faber & Faber. The gallery name is literary, too: in Jorge Luis Borges’s 1945 story, the Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points, and anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe. Neither location gives much scope for installation beyond hanging works on the wall, so the programme is a logical fit: the emphasis is on representational painters who take a particular interest in the material and technique of production, so balancing the figurative and abstract.
Consistent with that, Rachel Mercer, Dan Coombs, Alastair Gordon and Miroslav Pomichal have shown to advantage, as have the odd exceptions tending more towards pure abstraction (Rebecca Meanley), construction (Laurence Noga) or collage (Anna Van Oosterom). I’m keen on all three artists in the current exhibition – not surprisingly as I co-curated it with Aleph’s director, Vivienne Roberts! My text sees their work as cohering into ‘One World’ between them: ‘Joe Packer deals with the earth – abstracting from the natural landscape while retaining a strong sense of its subterranean substance; Fiona Roberts gives us the people who inhabit Earth and collectively determine, if not its fate, then their species’ fate; and Hannah Luxton finds her subjects in remote observations – mountain tops are as close as she gets – in work which reminds us that there is more to our world, materially and spiritually than the Earth.’
London’s gallery scene is varied, from small artist-run spaces to major institutions and everything in between. Each week, art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent gives a personal view of a space worth visiting.