Galleries - September 2015

and disconcerting installation of found and made objects, one where you weren’t quite sure where the real and the artificial began and ended (that fire hydrant?). Just looking at the wide cross- section of pieces in this current show, I can see that Plackman went on to follow an entirely consistent trajectory, his personal unease with the world of material and substance stirring up intensely memorable and resonant imagery. NU Hugh Buchanan Loving Mayfair is not a hard thing to do one would have thought, but for the art galleries in the district it has become an increasing problem as ‘fashion’ dramatically inflates the rents. John Martin Gallery has been a ground-floor contemporary gallery at 38 Albemarle Street for many years. John Martin, who really doesn’t want to move away, is going upstairs to the slightly less pricey first floor, where he is re-opening a refurbished space on 18 September with a show that nicely echoes the earlier, perhaps rather more romantic, history of the street. Entitled ‘Hugh Buchanan paints the Murray Archive’, the reference is to the astonishing store of material (over 1 million items!) that accumulated around the great 18th C. publishers, Carl Plackman One of that remarkable generation of sculpture students who emerged under Bryan Kneale’s tutelage at the Royal College in the late 60s and early 70s (Nigel Hall and Martin Naylor were others) Carl Plackman is perhaps one of the less well known. He is an ‘artists‘ artist’, who always remained something of an obscure insider. A hugely influential teacher at Goldsmiths in his own right, with Tony Cragg, Damien Hirst, Liam Gillick and Alison Wilding among his students, this major show at Pangolin London finally gives him some much deserved posthumous public recognition (he died aged 61 in 2004). With some justification, he is being labelled the godfather of British conceptual sculpture. Using a wide range of techniques and media – sculptures, drawings, installations and occasionally photography – Carl Plackman’s work is full of doubt and questionings, about how people communicate with each other, or don’t, and how objects get in the way. The objects themselves often appear real when they have, in fact been remade in a different material that then becomes a sham or a decoy. I worked with him once, in a big sculpture show at the RA in the early 70s. Given a whole room in the main galleries, he filled it with an intensely disturbing 10 GALLERIES SEPTEMBER 2015 FOURS HOWS Anna Gillespie The presentation of Anna Gillespie’s new work at Beaux Arts London , allows viewers to look at her sculptures without external distractions. But the exterior world, natural or human, pervades the forms. Gillespie came to sculpture via politics; sculpture was the medium she felt best suited to make comment on a world in crisis. As the world continues to decay, ISIS draws closer and refugees flee to Europe, her work is ever relevant. The use of leaves and acorns to cast the figures, and their clambering upon found materials, conveys the unbreakable link between humans and the outside world, natural or man made. In ‘Old Giant’ the figure wrapped around the tip of a wooden outcrop starkly expresses the longing, guilt and desperation felt for natural materials. ‘The Fallen’, depicts a figure falling through steel, evoking mining and our addiction to materials man made. Gillespie’s figures never seem to look out to the viewer. Heads down, heads up, they’re locked in inner turmoil or outer reflection. This is exemplified by the spindly figures fused together in ‘Ties that Bind’, with their expressionist modeling reminiscent of souls found on Rodin’s ‘Gates of Hell’. This is a complex body of work; not a show to be missed. E M