At Standpoint Gallery John Bunker has curated ‘Grit to Gold’. The exhibition presents Bunker’s work alongside that by Frank Bowling and Scott O’Rourke, and examines attitude to collage within abstraction. The exhibition opens on the 18th of January and runs until the 16th of February. There will a discussion in the gallery including Bunker and Bowling on the 9th of February at 3pm. From the exhibition’s press release: “Collage makes a direct connection to the brain’s readiness to associate, to form bridges between objects and spaces, times and places. But it also shatters patterns, disrupts control and breaks laws. Painting, from this perspective, becomes a realm in which the mind’s cognitive processes are echoed or played out. Paint itself acts as a kind of binding agent transforming anything it touches, bringing disparate elements into new relationships, by turns masking and revealing, heeding some boundaries and breaching others.”
For some ‘classic’ minimalism that might be interestingly thought about in relation to Kate Shepherd’s work, on until the 16th of February at David Zwirner is an installation of string-pieces by Fred Sandback. Here is Sandback on his work from a 1975 statement (quoted in the David Zwirner publication ‘Fred Sandback: Decades’): “My work isn’t environmental. It’s present in pedestrian space, but is not so strong or elaborate that it obscures its context. It doesn’t take over a space, but rather coexists with it. Environmental art makes a new environment and obscures the old one, and that’s as far from what I want as realistic painting is. Most paintings and environmental art are aesthetically discontinuous with ordinary space, which is a quality I don’t want in my work.”
‘Fiona Rae: New Paintings’ is on at the Timothy Taylor Gallery from the 18th of January to the 23rd of February. The press-release notes: “Running through this series of paintings is a leitmotif of cartoonish pandas. Articulated in various ways, they function as abstract compositional devices as well as having both an absurd and uncanny presence.” In a recent statement Rae says of the pandas that: “I could use them as a reason to make a painting. Sometimes itʼs hard to justify the act of painting; its expressive and gestural marks can seem unwarranted and unconnected to anything much in the so-called real world, and even worse, the nightmare of paintingʼs history haunts the studio. With these pandas as mascots, amulets, protagonists, victims, observers, or whatever their role in each painting might be, I can make a painting that has an angle or an eye on itself, while simultaneously being a full-blooded, full-on manifestation of painterly possibility.”
‘Treatment’ at PR Mirabel opens on the 19th of January and closes on the 3rd of March. It seems in line with much the current trend toward ‘modest’ or ‘provisional’ abstraction. Curated by Lisa Denyer it features work by Laura Jane Blake, Neill Clements, Terry Greene, Mark Kennard, Jack Lewis, Matthew Macaulay and Richard Ward. The press release suggests: “Treatment considers the intuitive decision making process of creating a painting, the multi-faceted characteristics of paint, and the consequential actions of painting as an activity. It also investigates contemplation of the physical world. This scrutiny might refer to an avid interest, exploration and interpretation of physical form, or it could refer to ideas of escapism and a complete stripping down of elemental components and anything recognisable.”
Though perhaps not very abstract, an exhibition at the Estorick Collection of work by Giorgio Morandi can be seen in relation to the ‘modest’ abstraction on show at PS Mirabel. From the press release: “As de Chirico noted, Morandi was a master of uncovering the ‘metaphysical dimensions of the commonest objects’, that is, of discerning the poetry within ‘those things that habit has rendered so familiar to us that we […] often look upon them with the eye of one who sees but does not understand.’” The exhibition, mainly comprised of etchings, runs until the 16th of April.