Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Walthamstow... new and old spaces on the E17 Art Trail
The Ruby Stables secret garden is indeed a Walthamstow secret, a rampant garden grown in containers, mixed in with junk, garden furniture and antiques for sale. It isn't new, but showing art there is. As long as the rain holds off, showing oil paintings among the greenery is very effective, the colours sparkling in the sunshine. Slightly naive but accomplished images of summertime parks by Titus Forbes Adam are offset by a psycho portrait by the artist's daughter, Olita-May.
At the Quaker Meeting Room next door, a simple white space flooded with light is bare apart from a single church pew and one chair, and four pairs of headphones. What might be mere tedious pretension is in fact an absorbing experience: relax, appreciate the simplicity and subtle features of the room, and drift off on the suggestions the work evokes.
Cutting back along Pretoria Avenue, the recent appearance of the Tokarska Gallery in unlikely surroundings at the bottom end of Forest Road (just up from the fish and chips and fried chicken takeaways) comes just in time for the Art Trail. The background to the gallery opening there is apparently complicated, with their website referring to recent art graduate Nadiya Pavliv-Tokarska, and also to an international organisation of the same name. This was the first time I've seen the pristine new white shutters open, which might explain the slightly damp smell inside. Punk Recruit steals the show with his photographs in muted colour of old mannequins crowded into a dingy warehouse. Barely human, he calls them, which is a way of saying how disturbingly human they seem. It will be interesting to see what comes next in this space.
Finally, rather a disappointment at Barbican Arts open show, where a last-minute visit before closing time really seemed like plenty of time to see what there was to see. Some great photographs, but the paintings mainly left us wondering just what the selection/elimination process might have been- but seeing just one work by an artist is seldom the best way to appreciate what they are doing. None the less, the studio opening next weekend is likely to be one of the highlights of the Trail.