number of exhibitingsocieties then sprangup in support. As the inevitable gentrification followed quickly in their footsteps, the artists moved on – egto Hampstead in the ’30s – and these groups mostly faded away. All except one, the Chelsea Art Society which, founded in 1910, still remarkably enough, survives and thrives. This year's annual open show at Chelsea Old Town Hall is a few months later than its usual early summer slot due to buildingrefurbishments but is otherwise unchanged and showingits usual 5-600 art works, selected from twice that number; standards are high. Rebecca Louise Law’s show, entitled ‘Life in Death’, might be takingplace in Kew Garden's botanical art exhibition space, the Shirley Sherwood Gallery but, with its 375,000 (sic) dried flowers pieced together into 1,000 hanging garlands, this astonishing, room-filling installation, referencingthe preserved Rameses II Egyptian tomb garlands of 1300BC held in Kew's own collections (which have rarely been shown publicly before), is a million miles from the precisely scientific and often rather ladylike watercolours we associate with the genre. And yet, while Law’s work might, at first sight seem much closer to a piece of contemporary conceptual art, it is in reality, dealingwith all sorts of issues that start to move botanical art on from the 19th century passion for recordingand categorisinginto a very 21st century take on the subject, the issues here to do with time and decay. I was very shocked to hear of artist Chris Gollon’s premature death, aged just 64, in April. His exhibitions featured in Galleries on numerous occasions – I once interviewed him on his eccentric island studio at Sunbury on the Thames and found him to be a gentle, thoughtful man. His religious images were anythingbut – fierce and engaged – and the work he made in latter years inspired by musicians as various as Dylan, Chinese classical musician Yi Yao and Eleanor McEvoy, share a similarly intensely expressive quality. Now many of these musically inspired works, showingat IAP Fine Art , make for a handsome artistic tribute. Nicholas Usherwood then turned it into the local community centre – the Landmark Arts Centre , that finally opened there in 1995. Their's was some vision too, for it is even now, at first, a breathtaking sight – a full on late Victorian Gothic giant of a building, all soaring arches and flying buttresses, a good 100ft plus high and more like a proposed set for a Gormenghast film! But it has really worked and now, well into its third decade of activity, it is home to a pretty busy programme of music, film, performance, exhibitions and art fairs. The Spring and Autumn Art Fairs – artist-led rather than by galleries – have been a feature of the place since it first started, with the big interior spaces providing room for 90 plus exhibitors, and they have proved remarkably successful too, the apparent forcefulness of the architecture no match, finally, for the character and individuality of the work on show within it. If you have never been there it is an unforgettable experience – and the art always very well worth looking at. Before the First World War Chelsea was the artistic East End of its day, a still distinctly scruffy area awash with ambitious young artists looking for cheap and reasonably spacious accommodation in which to work, as a consequence of which a OCTOBER 2017 GALLERIES 9 from left C hris Gollon ‘Gimme Some Wine – Final Version’ IAP Fine Art George Boxley ‘The Truth Was Obscure, Too Profound And Obscure’ Landmark Arts Centre Egon Schiele ‘Two Friends’ Richard Nagy at Frieze Masters Luke Martineau ‘Figures On A Beach, Evening’ Chelsea Art Society Rebecca Louise Law ‘The Hated Flower’ Shirley Sherwood Gallery F lower time Chelsea set Art notes