Category Archives: Exhibitions

Hiding in Plain Sight: Female Abstract Expressionists in 1950’s and 60’s America at Amar Gallery

Go down the stairs at Amar Gallery in Islington to encounter a gem of a show about the female Abstract Impressionist artists working at the same time as those male painters we’re already so familiar with: Pollock, Rothko, De Kooning, Newman etc. It was a very macho movement with the women producing work of equal power and interest but not promoted in the same way due to their gender.

One of the better known women was Helen Frankenthaler whose  charismatic Moon Spin  I could have sat in front of for hours.Photo by Caroline BanksOther impressive work included Warm Rain I by Ethel SchwabacherPhoto by Caroline Banksand one of her luminous colour studiesPhoto by Caroline BanksWhite by Grace Hartigan reminded me of the colouring of Jackson Pollocks’ Blue Poles – hers is dated a year before his painting.

Photo by Caroline BanksUntitled, Bull abstract by Elaine de Kooning captures the force and dynamism of the beast.
Photo by Caroline BanksI can see a direct link between the work of Mary Abbott’s Untitled – Haiti and that of Chris Ofili 50 years later.Photo by Caroline Banks

Unreal Estates curated by Amanda Lwin

Looking for a place to rent or buy with a few original features? Then why not go to Unreal Estates, an exhibition curated by my former studio-mate Amanda Lwin  in a real estate agency, Homefinders, at 146 Kingsland High Street, London.          Photo by Caroline Banks

Exploring the current housing situation, she’s brought together a group of writers and visual artists to create alternative descriptions and imagery for homes. It opens up a compelling alternative view of property , confirming what many already feel, that owning a home is a completely unrealistic fantasy for them.Photo by Caroline Banks Here are some images which ideally need to be seen with their text so I highly recommend a visit or, if you’re too late for the show and accompanying brochure then visit the website.

Here is the “double bedroom house share for the easygoing and non-judgemental”; Photo by Caroline Banks

the “25 year lease on exquisitely renovated Georgian house”;Photo by Caroline Banks“fixer-upper for seasoned renovators, mild pest control required”Photo by Caroline Banksand “attractive Victorian terrace with toxic waste”.
Photo by Caroline BanksHer plan is to make this a touring show with local artists and writers working in each specific location so sign up for updates.

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: 4 of 4

The architecture room at the RA Summer Show is full of beautifully produced models and drawings. This huge one ( coming in at 2.3 x 1.3 metres and 45cm high) however, of the Google’s View Mountain Campus in California, designed by Thomas Heatherwick and BIG, fascinated me with the amount of detail and how lovingly it had all been constructed. Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksBoth the exterior below and interiors made me wonder what it would be like to work here.Photo by Caroline Banks

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: 3 of 4

Another piece from the Blue Room was this glorious hanging by El Anatsui, aptly named Change in Fortune, made from his traditional bottle tops stitched together. The whole piece is a beautiful shimmering sweeping stroke on a grand scale.

Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksThis geometric hand folded polyester film by Tony Blackmore impressed me with its delicacy and complexity.
Photo by Caroline Banks
Photo by Caroline Banks
A more traditional piece was a portrait of the poet Hugo Williams by Humphrey Ocean. It was hung high so the photo unfortunately doesn’t do it credit.Photo by Caroline Banks On a different note is one of Rebecca Salter’s mixed media drawings, Untitled AK17. Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: 2 of 4

The Phyllida Barlow room was, as you can see, pretty busy when I visited (and no, I don’t know the smiley woman in front of Tony Cragg’s Lost in Thoughts sculptures in this shot)Photo by Caroline Banks The beautifully smooth laminated wood invited touch which practically everyone seemed to do.Photo by Caroline Banks

David Nash showed Red Holed Column, this wooden trunk with charred drilled  holes Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks as well as Blue Column, one of his prints. Both so sensual.Photo by Caroline Banks

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: 1 of 4

As the years go on I seem to know and recognise the work of an increasing number of artists exhibiting at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, several of whom have featured in previous blog posts.

Kate MccGwire is one such and I was delighted to see that she had won the Jack Goldhill Award for sculpture with Squall, pictured below.

Other pieces which caught my eye included Katie Walker’s Fragile. I’m not sure if she’s the furniture maker but the care and craftsmanship of this piece would indicate that it might be. Can anyone help here? Photo by Caroline Banks Another prize-winner, of the Charles Wollaston Award, was Mike Nelson with this unnerving piece, Untitled ( Public sculpture for a Redundant Space) a prototype for a series of sculptures made for the High Line in New York. Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksExpanded Narcissistic Envelope by Toby Ziegler was humorously displayed with most people nudging past and practically ignoring it. It moved so easily, swaying gently as it was buffeted by the crowds but is a metal structure with some very sharp angles. Photo by Caroline Banks

All Too Human: Bacon, Freud & a Century of Painting Life at Tate Britain

A recent study of oil painting techniques led me to visit Tate Britain for this exhibition of figure painting. I enjoyed the standard greats including Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud

Photo by Caroline Banks

but was more interested in examining the less-famous artists in the last room of the show; these painters were really exciting for their handling of materials.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye creates each painting in just one day according to the information at the show – quite an achievement for the scale of work she can produce. I love the looseness and confidence of her brushwork dealing with the “what” more than the “who”.Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksCelia Paul’s painting is much more heavily worked with compelling intensity.

Photo by Caroline Banks

I have long been an admirer of Paula Rego and was wowed once more by her use of pastels. Look at her treatment of fabric in this piece, particularly the veil.

Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksJenny Saville  specialises in hugely over life-sized representations of the female form in oils. The materiality of her work mesmerises. Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks

The Florence Trust’s 2018 summer show

As it says on its website, The Florence Trust provides a dynamic mentoring programme and studio residency in London for twelve international artists each year. Each residency programme lasts for 12 months and is a real lifeline for artists to develop their practice in  London.

I went along to the summer exhibition private view in the atmospheric  decommissioned church tucked away in Aberdeen Park, which also houses the studios. Not all the artists  are represented here as it was too dark for some of my photos. Visit the website for information and click on the artist’s links to learn more about their work and concerns.

Shape of Light at Tate Modern

I often enjoy going to exhibitions unprepared as that can give me a cleaner sensory experience than having read reviews; such was the case for The Shape of Light at Tate Modern.

There is something about Minimalism that resonates deeply and here are some of the pieces that stood out for me: part of  Alison Rossiter’s  expired photography paper seriesPhoto by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksBarbara Kasten’s cyanotypes Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Edward Ruscha’s parking lot photos next to Carl Andre’s Steel Zinc PlainPhoto by Caroline Banks

Black by Inge Dick  (the people and shapes are all reflections)Photo by Caroline BanksOne of Jay Defeo’s Untitled pieces Photo by Caroline BanksJohn Hilliard’s Seven Representations of White (with more reflections)Photo by Caroline Banksand, seen at the end, Thomas Ruff’s massively scaled virtual photogramsPhoto by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks


Tacita Dean – Landscape at the Royal Academy

The inaugural exhibition in the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries at the Royal Academy is LANDSCAPE, one of the three concurrent London exhibitions by Tacita Dean. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was really impressed by the scale and sensitivity of the work shown. Zooming in and out is an essential part of the experience (I use those terms deliberately).

Here’s a view through to The Montafon Letter, a huge chalk drawing on blackboard of a mountain (there’s a bit more to it than just that).  Photo by Caroline BanksMajesty, one of a series of works on paper from 2016Photo by Caroline Banks

Cloud drawings, also from 2016,  in front of her collection of round stones.Photo by Caroline BanksI really liked the contrast of jade reflected in the glass frame of this massive print Quarantania.Photo by Caroline BanksHer film Antigone is also on show – I wasn’t able to see all of it so will complete the experience on my next visit.