Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A recent review of Best in Show, an exhibition of graduate art curated by Pearce & Ramsay in the John Jones Project Space, brought together work by 18 graduates from art colleges around the country. It sparked a heated review in a-n magazine that raises some big questions… We’re interested to hear a wider opinion.

Do today’s fine art graduates have too many opportunities? Should all graduate art be confined to Bloomberg New Contemporaries? Are fine art students ‘running high on ambition and dry on imagination’?

Matt Lippiatt thinks so. What’s your opinion?


Wednesday, 10 December 2008


Whether it’s painting, drawing, mixed media, photography, installation – Chiaroscuro, opening 11th December, has something for everyone.
Highlights include:
· Works by performance artists and spiritual healers Neil Seligman and Stephen Morallee, who engage together in spontaneous movement under cover of darkness in blacked-out studios. Their movements, traced by the paths of light emitting diodes which are attached to their fingertips, are captured on camera over sequential 3 second exposures, The resultant images range from the abstract to the startlingly rational: bewitchingly beautiful photographic prints.
· Ben Yates’ unique style of ‘photosculpture’ – an original image which he mounts on mixed media, which is subsequently chopped up into geometric forms and ‘sculpts’ according to his subject matter. Viewing his work becomes a multisensory experience: each work becomes almost an optical illusion or a 3D ‘magic eye’ painting.
· Work by Lizzie Gosling: an artist who adopts a left to right method of systematic drawing using self-built tools which allow her to manually emulate the processes of the print machine. Gosling uses this method to emulate a painting by Caravaggio, to breathtaking effect, with this contemporary twist on chiaroscuro.

This exhibition is the first show for Pharos Gallery, a grass roots movement that has its roots in the East End of London. Envisaged by the curator, Sophie Wilson, as a collaborative effort and inspired by Warhol’s Factory, the aim of Pharos is to decentralize the gallery system. Many of the artists who are being shown in the exhibition have contributed to putting the show together: open dialogue has been maintained throughout through the group’s facebook page and regular get togethers down in local boozers.

Wilson says: “It has undoubtedly been challenging to be inclusive of artists, whilst at the same time retaining the discerning eye of the Curator. I’m pretty confident, however, that the strength of the works will speak for themselves. This whole journey has been a bit of an adventure and I’m really pleased to have worked with such a talented group of people.”

Will it be a success or not? Watch this space.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Whitechapel Gallery Development

We had a tour today of the new Whitechapel Gallery – currently still under construction. The gallery has taken over its neighbour, the former Whitechapel Library (which has relocated to The Idea Store in Mile End). We saw the space a couple of years ago just after the library had moved out. It was a quite a sad and lonely place with a feeling of neglect (and an overwhelming musty smell). Not so today – the refurbishment is incredible, sympathetic to the original Victorian features and promises to be a light and airy space with generous wall space. The opening is scheduled for Spring next year.

During Frieze week the gallery was showing its new specially commissioned weather vane, designed by artist Rodney Graham. It’s amazing to think that this beautiful sculpture will perch on top of the new gallery, against all the elements, as a bronze icon on London’s ever growing East End skyline.