Galleries - February 2016

Meanwhile the Charlotte Street space is also showing a mixed group of work including the delicate monochrome pastels of new gallery artist, Sheila Clarkson. Between these two spaces there are a couple of comparatively new arrivals on Charlotte Street itself, Woolff Gallery and MD Gallery. The former, which started life further east around City Road, places its emphasis very much on younger artists, often with a Pop-ish or Abstract sensibility. Their February show of Clay Sinclair's brash, often politically oriented work is a good example, with Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns in the mix of influences. (See also Thumbnail on page 21). Just a few doors down from here meanwhile is a very new and different space –the MD Gallery – situated in a huge (and rather glamorous) former light industrial building and, with the Polish owner also running galleries in Paris and Shanghai, showing super contemporary work. Does this perhaps portend a shift in the area's leaning, particularly when taken with the equally large and beautiful Rosenfield & Porcini space further down in Rathbone Place, with its strong European contemporary bias? Just round the corner from Woolff meanwhile there is one of the best appointed and stylish of 'for hire' galleries in the area - Début Art & The Coningsby Gallery –and a regular space these days for long established gallerist Jill George who, this month, is mounting a substantial solo show by the distinguished RA printmaker Chris Orr –his rich and atmospheric new prints and drawings of London. A short walk down Charlotte Street and a left into Windmill Street, brings us to probably the oldest established gallery in the area – Curwen Gallery . Jill Hutchings, with her late husband John, established the gallery here in 1987 –originally known as the New Academy Gallery, it combined forces with the street's other space, Curwen, around the same time. Showing this month two well established semi- abstract painters Ken Blackburn and Mark Goodwin, this is a stimulating mix of younger and more established British artists. This is a lovely and immensely friendly gallery, always with a real family feel to it somehow. When you leave take a look at The Framers Gallery next door who often have excellent exhibitions on the walls of their upmarket framing space. The next road down from here, Percy Street, has got an equally eclectic mix of artisanal shops and cafés –and now a gallery too – Gallery Different . Temporarily closed for a photoshoot as I was passing, their February show is of the critically well respected figurative artist Chris Gollon – religiously inflected in the past, Gollon's pieces here reflect a collaboration with musician Eleanor McEvoy's new album Naked Music. Now for our last stop, just back across Tottenham Court Road into Store Street; once a rather dull place of furniture showrooms and the like, the local landlords – Bedford Estates have recently taken it in hand, leasing out the shop spaces only to independent enterprises –enticing looking cafés and a splendid Russell & Chapple artists' materials shop among them. Next to them is the Store Street Gallery , an attractive, substantial space on two floors, dedicated to showing work by new-ish, young artists –their early February show (to13) entitled 'You Are Here', encompasses a group of artists who are all concerned, one way or another, with maps in their artistic practice. YankoTinov, for example celebrates London's cultural diversity with a map of London made up of foreign nationals' passport designs. In Store Street, Fitzrovia appears to be expanding interestingly towards Bloomsbury. Soon to join up properly perhaps? Nicholas Usherwood from left: C hris Gollon ‘Naked’, Gallery Different Lara Scobie ceramics, Contemporary Ceramics Centre Mark Godwin ‘Hometown’, Curwen Gallery 12 GALLERIES FEBRUARY 2016