Santeri Tuori: ‘Forest 52’, 2022
If you visit Purdy Hicks you are likely to meet one of the very approachable directors, Nicola Shane or Rebecca Hicks – Jayne Purdy stays more in the background, as does Rebecca’s husband, curator and writer Alistair. The gallery was established in East London in 1995, and for much of this century was on Hopton Street, conveniently close to Tate Modern. In 2016 it moved to Thurloe Street, just as handily proximate to the V&A.
The gallery remains notably active, with a new exhibition every month when most spaces have adopted something closer to a bimonthly programme. Sometimes that is painting – I recall top shows by Ørnulf Opdahl, Ralph Fleck, Sue Arrowsmith and Leylâ Gediz – but the gallery’s primary distinction is its photography programme, which is as good as any in London and frequently focussed on the natural world. You can see evidence of that this month, whether you visit now or a little later.
Espoo-born Santeri Tuori has a solo show running to 18 July: repeated photographs taken from the same spot form multiple views of forest and water lilies, mixing black and white and colour within the same image to document time and nature and our relationship to both. The gallery’s photographers come from well beyond Finland – Susan Derges, Leila Jeffreys and Edgar Martins, for example – but Purdy Hicks is closely associated with the Helsinki School. Jorma Puranen, Eeva Karhu, Anni Leppälä and Anna Reivilä have featured regularly, and ‘The Flower Show’ (20 July – 9 September) will include another leading Finn, Sandra Kantanen. That will mix photographers with other artists: the presence of Nobuyoshi Araki, Jonathan Delafield Cook, Kathrin Linkersdorff and Gideon Rubin, for example, make it a floral celebration to look forward to.
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.