Thirteen at Alan Cristea Gallery
The Alan Cristea Gallery is making use of its impressive archive to show 13 of its artists’ works in a group show. While London is taken over by Frieze where all leading commercial galleries are likely to have stands, they still want to attract viewers to their permanent spaces. It’s a great time to wander around art venues in London and see treasures in combinations normally reserved for art fairs, but in a more intimate, less crowded atmosphere.
This exhibition particularly reveals the aesthetic taste of the gallery – there are always artists and styles each gallery favours, even though practice may be entirely different. Alan Cristea especially likes colourists, and shows a beauteous print by Howard Hodgkin: not his usual abstract, but flowers, A Summer Dress, which retains the emotional and evocative aspects of colour. More colour comes from Richard Wood’s crayon-like DIY pillar, and also an intriguing painting by Lisa Ruyter, No Middle Ground, which abstracts a line of trees all into negative or in-between space.
Small and intimate works by Vicken Parsons explore architectural space, while Paul Winstanley’s Art School is a marvellously sensitive and skilled painting full of light and shading. Marie Harnett’s small works, Series 28 (Populaire) – retro film stills – are almost unbelievably photorealistic drawings. Christiane Baumgartner’s large scale woodcuts are outstanding, suggesting layers of reference and imagery in subtle lines.
Not everything proves quite as popular and successful: Michael Craig-Martin’s series of LED lightboxes show everyday images almost as icons, while acrylic panels by Julien Opie outlining galloping horses in green and black are noticeably similar to the logo of a high street bank.
Thirteen is an off-season art show, and raises the intriguing thought as to what else galleries may have in their back rooms.
Photos: Alejo Garcia
Thirteen is at the Alan Cristea Gallery until 9th November 2013, for further information visit here.