April art scoop: warmer days, longer evenings and new exhibitions.

April 22, 2022

“This April has really felt like the start of summer, warmer days and longer evenings have allowed us to enjoy wandering the streets of London, visiting famous galleries and new exhibitions. I’ve felt really lucky this month to explore the culture available on London’s doorstep and look forward to exploring and learning from the art and artists we have access to.” – Rosie, Creative Land Trust.

Banner Image from Bryony Benge-Abbott.

Gordon: “I’m fascinated by works at the interface between art and the life sciences”

Ghost-Like Traces, Unit 1 Gallery.

Ghost-Like Traces at Stacie McCormick’s brilliant Unit 1 Gallery in west London presents a fascinating range of works, each of which made me curious about the stories within. The piece that stood out for me was Jack Evans’s sculpture marking the threatened extinction of the banana. He has used a traditional marble mausoleum, complete with scary skull and portentous carvings, to highlight the risk that our focus on commercial growing has left the world’s supply of bananas vulnerable to plant diseases, and right now scientists are working to protect what is an absolutely essential source of nutrition in countries like Uganda. I’m fascinated by works at the interface between art and the life sciences and recommend a trip to Latimer Road to see this and its companion pieces. 

Images by: Gordon Seabright

Gemma: “provocative and wonderfully colourful pieces” 

Lubaina Himid, Tate Modern (until 2 October 2022)

Sharing my thoughts on Lubaina Himid’s “theatrical exhibition by the Turner Prize winning arts and cultural activist” currently at Tate Modern is like providing a massive spoiler to a cult movie, and somehow doesn’t feel right. On entry, I was told that there was a purposefully limited amount of text about the artwork and I sighed relief. I have always been more the kind of person who reads a travel book after visiting a new place – then getting excited about the parts I recognised, galling at what I blatantly missed, but overall happy I had my own personal journey through it -and that’s usually how I enjoy new art too. So, I was happy to go with the flow for this exhibition without the pressure of interpretation. I overheard another visitor say, ‘You know when you expect an exhibition to be one thing and then it is totally different’, and that was a feeling that I shared experiencing these oh so provocative and wonderfully colourful pieces. So please let me know if you are going to see this exhibition, and I would love to chat about it! But in the interest of giving a taster, see this image that I really enjoyed.

Images: Gemma Dean


Yves “it all underlines how crucial these spaces are in the act of imagining, experimenting, creating and making” 

A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920 – 2020, Whitechapel Gallery

Last week I spoke at an event at Whitechapel Gallery about studio provision in London hosted by the Architecture Foundation called Making Spaces. It is part of a programme of talks running in parallel to Whitechapel Gallery’s current exhibition A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920 – 2020.

I had an hour to visit the show before the talk. It’s a jam-packed exhibit that deserves more than an hour. Paintings that intimately depict the artist in situ amongst their oeuvres, to representations of the studio or elements within it. It all underlines how crucial these spaces are in the act of imagining, experimenting, creating and making, and sometimes expressing important radical ideas in places where freedom of speech is not a given.

Particularly fascinating viewing in the Reading Room was the SPACE Studios 1970 Space Film, which follows Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley as they recount their experiences looking for and working from studios in 1970s London.

Image: Yves Blais

Rosie: “layers created a depth that drew you into the drawings” 

Bryony Benge-Abbott, Campbell’s Art Gallery  

This month, with Gordon, I visited the first solo exhibition of British Trinidadian artist Bryony Benge-Abbott. Titled Anima, Latin for life force, soul, and spirits, Bryony delights in and grapples with the sensation of losing and finding oneself in nature. To me, the exhibition encompassed nature, femininity, and movement. The mix of mediums, colours, shades and layers created a depth that drew you into the drawings and concepts behind her work. The exhibiton is on at 35 Thurloe Place until the 5th of May.

“These works ask not how to resist change but instead seek to understand that which is in us that cannot be destroyed, finding anima and grounding in nature”. – Bryony Benge-Abbott

Image: Rosie Niblock

Jess: “illusion of texture and solidity” 

The Feast, by Antwan Horfee.

On holiday in Brussels, I visited MIMA, a newish gallery installed in a former brewery. One floor featured “works not previously shown in the gallery” – primarily graffiti inspired art.

I was particularly drawn to The Feast, by Antwan Horfee, because of the illusion of texture and solidity – it looks like a 3d collage but is “simply” paint on canvas.

Image: Jess Slack