Galleries - February 2016

Place; founded as an independent poetry publisher in the late 60s, this has been directed by Stephen Stuart-Smith since 1987, his particular passion being to publishcollaborations between distinguished poets and contemporary artists. His latest is a series of images commissioned from Peter Blake to illustrate a special edition of Dylan Thomas's ‘Under Milk Wood’ – these tender and witty prints should still be on show through February, along withmany other infinitely tempting publications. Last stop in this particularly rich and absorbing neighbourhood is just up on Great Russell Street, opposite the entrance to the BritishMuseum; something completely different yet again, the Contemporary Ceramics Centre . This is a large, beautifully designed space showing, for the most part, wonderfully wide ranging selections of some of the best names in the field – the astonishing, hand built and intensely sculptural pieces by the distinguished Paul Philp for example – though February will also feature a substantial group of delicate, geometrically decorated porcelain vases by the distinguished Scottish ceramicist Lara Scobie. Before we head over to Fitzrovia however I must just draw your attention to the already briefly mentioned October Gallery, for what will undoubtedly prove one of the great contemporary shows of the winter, the extraordinary West African artist, El Anatsui. The gallery has consistently championed his intensely poetic work – great shimmering abstract screens made up of bottle tops – over the last two decades and, at last, the Western world seems to be catching up, with his work being awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at last year's Venice Biennale. If you are in the area it is not to be missed. . . . fitzrovia revived Cross Tottenham Court Road and everything changes again: designer shops and advertising agencies and a still remarkably resilient sense of the human scale despite a number of large and glitzy new developments. The galleries here reflect that too, for the most part remaining still on a comparatively intimate and user friendly scale. Australian born dealer Rebecca Hossack was quick to move here two decades back when there were surprisingly few galleries in the area, and still retains two very different Fitzrovia spaces – a three storey building in Conway Street just off Fitzroy Square, and another smaller space further down Charlotte Street. The first is running mixed shows of gallery artists on the first two levels, the third being permanently dedicated to displays of the Aboriginal art that she has always been so well known for. from left: A ndy Warhol ‘Birth of Venus’, Joseph Fine Art Chris Orr ‘From Walkie Scorchie to Tower Bridge’ Jill George Gallery Sheila Clarkson ‘Waters’ Edge 3’ Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery Philip Dark ‘Marlag O, Germany, POW Camp’ Abbott and Holder Ewan David Eason ‘Mappa Mundi London’ Store Street Gallery FEBRUARY 2016 GALLERIES 11