Galleries - April 2010

SURVIVAL INSTINCT Having recently moved round the corner to new premises in W11, I am delighted to report that David and Jill Solomon of the East West Gallery are currently celebrating 20 years in business. Given that they are, as far as I can see, just about the only survivors of that original ‘Portobello’ gallery explo- sion of the late 80s, that is some achievement in itself, an excellent example of the virtues of sticking tenaciously with the kind of art in which you believe – they have now survived two recessions in the process. Good luck for the next decade! CRYSTAL CLEAR One of the few galleries in Central London dedicated to contempo- rary glass, the Cochrane Gallery is, this month, host to a spectacu- lar exhibition by 8 former alumni of Central St Martins – just next door. Calling themselves Teepee Glass (it’s too long a story!), ‘Era’, their third show together, also includes work by three of their former tutors. This is glass as you don’t often see it – spectacularly beaut- iful and hugely innovative. Vitrophiles should also take in ‘Deep Surface’, at Zest, that other contemporary specialist’s show on the Secret Art of the glass engraver . . . PRINT FEST The next month or so sees an astonishing explosion of print shows, fairs and related gallery exhibitions, starting with the Mall Galleries’ well-established fav- ourite ‘Originals 10’ open show late in March – you’ll have to be quick here though, as it only runs for 10 days and finishes on 3rd April. Galleries as ever, is present- ing a student prize, the winner to be announced here in May. Mean- while, late in the month, there is the venerable (at 25now the longest-running in the world) Lon- don Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy (29 April to 3 May). It can also claim to be the largest of its kind in Europe and, with 60 ex- hibitors, bigger than ever. At much the same time (23 April to 3 May) there’s another newcomer, org- anised by Somerset House, entitled Pick Me Up. Billed as a ‘Contem- porary Graphic Art Fair’, it is not simply prints, but illustration, paper cutting, graphic design et al. Inter- national in scope it promises to become a lively addition to the range. Of the many gallery shows running alongside this fest , per- haps the strongest is Eagle Gall- ery ’s ‘Printworks’, a group show of four major artists, Tony Bevan, Zara Matthews, Terry Smith and Paul Coldwell, whose book Print- making: A Contemporary Perspec- tive (Black Dog) is being launched on the back of it. Exploring themes of location and dis-location, it ranges from large-scale etchings (Bevan), monoprints (Matthews), photographs (Terry Smith) and prints and small bronzes (Coldwell). ANTENNAE 8. GALLERIES APRIL 10 FAIR START While the recession has undoubt- edly been very tough for most galleries, there is no obvious sign of its having had any effect on the health of the fairs’ market. Not one, to my knowledge, has failed, with most of them continuing to report more or less full comple- ments of galleries/artists and now, to cap it all, comes news of yet two more new ones – Reading Contemporary Art Fair (24 to 25 April) and the Animal Art Fair (15 to 18 April). The promise of putting yourself in front of a largely new audience has much to do with it, I suspect, though in the cases of both these events, the preponder- ance of individual artists’ stands – the Animal Art Fair is entirely artist based – prompts the thought also that many of them may perhaps be finding galleries currently unwilling to take on new or untried artists and are, consequently, engaging in a bit of enterprising self-help. Organised by the same team that started the hugely successful and over-subscribed Windsor Art Fair four years ago, the Reading event is following the same model and, with 80 painters, printmakers, sculptors and pho- tographers signed up, seems set to achieve a similar success. The Animal Art Fair, meanwhile, by focusing on a subject area rather than a particular medium or region, represents a rather less well-tested approach, though the venue, Fulham Palace, placing it in the epicentre of London’s ‘county’ set, could not perhaps be better chosen! Zara Matthews ‘Curtain III’ 2009, Eagle Gallery Brett Manley ‘Fragments’. Cochrane Gallery