Summer In This City // Art and Exhibitions

London; full, vibrant, stimulating, exhausting sometimes.  But never ever boring. 
London explodes with things to see and we have a packed Must-See-Do list this summer.  
So it is with the considerable help of gallery companion Wendy Osgerby, that we have indulged upon a tiny slice of London’s significant cultural offering and ‘taken in a little art’.  

Going Up. Tate Modern, London

Going Up. Tate Modern, London

Inside Tate Modern, looking outside to St Paul's Cathedral.

Inside Tate Modern, looking outside to St Paul's Cathedral.


Tate Britain’s major retrospective on British sculptor Barbara Hepworth stands down river from the Canadian born artist Agnes Martin exhibition at Tate Modern; which sits just across the corridor from the Russian-born, Paris-residing artist/designer Sonia Delaunay.

Tate Modern’s curators have been clever in timing the last two together. One show emphasises line, the other an explosion of colour and dynamic movement. Both are concerned with repetition for different ends. Martin’s pared down grids are still and meditative, while Delaunay’s patches and circles reflect the frenetic modernity of twentieth-century Paris.

Agnes Martin... taking her place in the 'pantheon of Western abstraction'.

Agnes Martin... taking her place in the 'pantheon of Western abstraction'.

Sonia Delaunay... 'a pioneering female artist and a pioneer of abstraction'. 

Sonia Delaunay... 'a pioneering female artist and a pioneer of abstraction'. 


There is a genuine honesty and an integrity that connects all three artist’s work.  In each case their work is concerned with authenticity - this is art that searches for expression through form.  No ‘send-up’, no self-aware, self-referential post-modernism has taken hold.  The work feels so incredibly, grippingly, ‘real’.  There is a truth to the materials; graphite lines and paint on canvas. Shaped wood and stone and bronze.  Vivid gouaches and tapestry in abstract shapes.

various Agnes Martin postcards

various Agnes Martin postcards

ordered Agnes Martin postcards

ordered Agnes Martin postcards


But there was something in the experience of ‘the hang’, perhaps the scale of the work (formulaically large and then unexpectedly small), possibly the adherence to her own rigid and inflexible methodology, maybe the reduction of colour, the simplicity of the composition, the pursuit of perfection, that made the Agnes Martin exhibition the stand out, for us.  

Influenced significantly by her 'knock-out' male contemporaries, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Barnett Newman, Martin carved a quiet path in the modern world of abstract painting and this exhibition tilts the light and throws her out of the shadows and into the historical visual canon.

Go and see it if you possibly can.  
With thanks to Wendy Osgerby, art historian (and brilliant gallery companion).

Grids and lines...suddenly evident at every turn.

Grids and lines...suddenly evident at every turn.

Changing the way we see. Grids & Lines, inside and out.

Changing the way we see. Grids & Lines, inside and out.


There are others too, of course….

The Carsten Höller Decision exhibition at The Hayward Gallery will play with your mind.  It’s not simple in any way at all, it quite literally turns your eyes in your head.

Also on our Must-See-Do list is the Joseph Cornell Wanderlust exhibition at the RA. If you’re interested in collecting this is pretty much compulsory viewing (note to self, book now).

And of course The Jerwood Makers Open 2015 is on until 30th August - and needs to be seen.

Isomeric Slide Carsten Höller, The Hayward Gallery

Isomeric Slide
Carsten Höller, The Hayward Gallery

Pill Clock  Carsten Höller, The Hayward Gallery

Pill Clock 
Carsten Höller, The Hayward Gallery