Why we’ve started putting on exhibitions instead of just writing about them… (the state of the London art scene)…

And so the time has come for the second group show that Artsleuth has been involved in curating, organising, and in the same breath co-founding a collective of over fifty emerging artists, blah blah, yes. The opening party is tonight. Here is a few sneak preview pics below…

Its been an awesome experience, and it feels like there is so much more to this project and ways to grow this thing.

The idea came together with an artist from Finland, Nora Emilia, who paints incredible portraits and never exhibits. Why? Because she has no artistic network here in London, and she can’t afford to exhibit in an expensive show, she doesn’t know any galleries that will give her a chance, how to go about the whole thing and can’t even afford her own studio. So she just paints in her house and the cat gets all the joy.

Sod it, we thought. If we could only just find a space at minimum rent and enough artists in the same position, we might just be able to do something about it ourselves.

There is so much exciting fresh art coming out of London still, but these are not the boom days where anyone could find a half-empty butchers on Brick Lane and set up a speakeasy selling cans of red stripe. Venues are hard to come by at cheap rent. East and now South London has gone to the boring office workers and post-hipsters as we all know, and so those budding artists have retreated to their bedrooms. On top of that, although there are small pockets of artists living in one area, like Tottenham, this is a very different environment from the likes of Tracey Emin/Sarah Lucas and particularly those that followed them and eventually triggered actual galleries opening up all around Bethnal Green and the East End. In those days there was a concentrated mass of artists and art lovers living in one place, with Brick Lane, Redchurch and Vyner Street at the epicentre. People trawled around the streets every Thursday knowing they would stumble across openings without checking if anything was on. You had your audience right there in a place where you could fall over the empty cheap spaces.

But in this harsher environment. THERE IS STILL HOPE! we shout. YOU CAN STILL DO IT IF YOU WANT TO – JUST DO IT.

With the Bedroom Artists Collective we are not thinking small. For our first show we found a huge ‘meanwhile’ ex-office space taken on by the Hive Dalston for community projects who charge minimum rent for art shows (and are lovely, lovely people too). We put a call out in and lo-and-behold over 50 artists responded. All worked without studios, had day jobs or studied or both, all loved the idea. By the time we got down to the nitty-gritty we still had 36 artists and we put on an incredible show. Photos below – but read on because there is more!

The Hive event showed the huge interest out there for low level, rough and ready exhibitions. In reality they are the best type of exhibition, because not only are you enjoying the art but how a space has been used creatively for something it wasn’t meant to be used for. And if its temporary too, it makes it a unique experience.

People can’t even afford the rent on their own flats these days let alone a studio space, or the extra time, the effort, it takes to promote yourself as an artists, to get that extra level more advanced at your practice (and your passion) on top of your day job. Its a real struggle for most artists out there that are ’emerging’ or as we now like to say ‘submerged’ because some of them have been that way for years.

It all comes down to money (and lack of it).

So the Bedroom Artists Collective want to bridge the gap. We didn’t know we did but the more we work on this project the more we realise that is exactly how we fit in. We’re giving artists a leg up. Once you exhibit you get that buzz, you want to do it again, you get more ideas, you see your work up in a gallery space, it makes you think – what should I do next? Not only that you get the chance to find other artists, collaborate or help each other in some way, you get promotion through the collectives online channels, you get something on your portfolio, you get to network with other artists and you get your artwork out there to new audiences.

And what does everyone else get? To see exciting, unusual art that pushes the boundaries in weird unusual spaces. And we find that a lot of the people that come to the shows do some sort of creativity themselves in their homes, and it gets them thinking too. Possibly inspiring them.

So we think if you want to go round the establishment you still can. Its exactly the same as it always was. And the more people that do it the better.

So for anyone out there with big ideas or beautiful incredible things sitting in their home, its not that hard if you have a bunch of people to do it with you (and you can find them easily through artjobs and other sites), and you can do it on a shoe-string just like we did (our budget for the Hive show was £400 for 36 artists exhibiting and we split the bill between everyone). It just takes a bit of creative thinking and that’s what artists are good at right? There will be abandoned spaces near you, there will be spaces that owners don’t know what to do with, just sitting there, that will welcome a bit of money for an event that brings people to their place.

Anyway…it’s interesting being on the other side.

n.b: Come and check out our second show on Brick Lane. This one is a little show, with 14 artists, we got the space in a basement with the door directly onto Brick Lane itself because the owner wasn’t using the space, for an incredibly cheap rent – we found that if you just ask sometimes you get. This time we wanted to try a show curated on a theme. We’d love to see you there Artsleuth readers 🙂 see the facebook invite below:

The Carnal & The Concrete: Group Show, Bedroom Artists Collective

If you are interested in joining our collective we’d love to have you. Email us at

Next time… back to regular Artsleuth business!




You Get What You’re Given, Hoxton Arches, 17 Nov 2016




Catherine Borowski’s white banisters are lined up along the concrete floor in rows, which gives a strange illusionary quality to them and eerily evokes the rows of graves at a war memorial site. Banisters could also signify a passage of ascension or descent; stairways are somewhere you rarely stop on, they are part of a journey. Seriously, actually, when you consider ‘the banister’ in isolation there is more to them than you think. Everyone can project their own memories on these inanimate objects. The Artist said she was always jealous of friends that had stairs as a child, it signified a more comfortable living, having grown up in a flat on an estate. Also, she said, her mother was buried in a memorial graveyard in the Middle East, where Borowski was never to find her gravestone.

Another piece is a clothes rail built into a section of wall. Assorted hangers are on the rail, some with clothes on them, some with their dry-cleaning plastic covers on. A framed print of human figures lies on its side on the ground. The blurb tells the story of the day Borowski cleaned her mother’s wardrobe out after she had passed, found 45 years worth of hangers and a Henry Moore sketch never to have been hung on a wall stuffed in a plastic bag behind the clothes.

On the walls around the banister installation are the artworks of Lee Baker, whose style evolved out of a passion for Manga among other things. His most recent output is along the Japanese theme of ‘Mono’ (or transience). These are large floral pieces, which leave the canvas with an unfinished look. Most are dramatic and scaled up, bold, stylised flowers, on bleak, winter-like backgrounds. The rough surfaces mimic rust and concrete and are a perfect foil to the smooth block colours of the floral shapes on top. He has taken this approach one stage further in the installation on the back wall. An old mattress is the canvas, with the stalk of the Chrysanthemum running onto a piece of chipboard and an old ripped sheet below. There is a wooden palette and other building materials arranged around them in a disused state. Materials you might find in a squat perhaps.

On the right wall are a series of pieces by Baker from 2015. They are scaled down, framed, detailed sections of stripped wall, the kind you would find in a house halfway through renovation after the stripper has been used. A nice simile with the banisters somehow. Its always a pleasure to find sixties wallpaper which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Del Boy’s flat under the surface of the obligatory magnolia upper coat. It’s a lingering memory, a visual history of the people who lived the place. Also too, it is a micro history, here depicted in micro form. Each brick in the fresco model versions are about a fingerprint in length.

In the backroom is an installation by Olivia Hegarty. A jungle of what looks like starched paper, or white fabric, is dangling from string at all different heights. When you touch it, and you cant avoid it as they are purposefully packed into the room, the material crumbles. It’s brittle and you realise its something else, it’s filo pastry. A frivolous, beautiful idea and the shadows dance in the light.
You Get What You’re Given @The Hoxton Arches.
Thanks to Nathan Sonic for the incredible photos.




Dystopolis: The Awakening, Dogboy solo show at Stour Space






Once upon a time on an imagined weird alien planet not so dissimilar from our own, stories play out in incredibly detailed hallucinogenic landscapes.

Some scenes are about the daily grind; like commuting about town, taking your gimp for a walk, underground factory slaves toiling while the tube rattles by, scientists performing weird experiments surrounded by odd gadgets and multicoloured tentacles, and some serious space mining business on a stellar surface.

Other scenes delve into the underbelly of these Crang-like being’s debaucherous recreational pursuits.

There are bars where unanimous projectile vomiting is the thing to do, wild rock concerts, trippy raves, lavish house parties and chillaxing in the pool in some tropical space-scape while a robot-head-hoover-thing brings you cocktails.

As possibly callous as their society might be, they do know how to party, that’s for sure.

There’s something a little of the ancient Roman, Mayan or Egyptian about these folks with their odd rituals and lives. And there are odd symbols everywhere, tongues and tentacles, clouds and bums.

A section of this exhibition shows single characters, fleshing out the details of some of the more notorious figures of this world. The more you look, the more you find in this works. It’s like peeling a psychedelic onion; a sci-fi novel ‘with your eyes’ if you will.

One of the pieces (not shown in the images above) is a huge graphite sketch scene split into a tryptic. It re-imagines the beautiful madness of Hieronymus Bosch’s heaven and hell and other similar works.

You can see the bond between some of art history’s heavyweights in the macabre and the surreal (for instance Goya) in what Dogboy has produced in this collection.

Get down to Stour Space and check this out till October 2nd 2016, 9am-5pm daily

(Stour Space also has a really nice cafe where you can sit by the canal front and mull over the increasingly dire fate that has befallen Hackney Wick… but thats another blog…coming soon).


The Doodle Man, Hoxton Gallery

You can imagine what The Doodle Man did in science classes at school. Go visit him at his gallery show to see what happened next; it’s amazing. He took 8 days to cover almost every inch of wall space of the two rooms at the Hoxton Gallery, Old St, mainly with one never-ending monochrome doodle piece. He’s also done a table and chair set,canvases, a moving video doodle, and prints to buy at reasonable prices. Plus he’s there doing his doodle thing in his doodle outfit, looking wicked. We salute you Mr Doodle.




The Subway Gallery. A Subterranean Oasis


Charlie Baird 1

Charlie Baird 2

Charlie Baird 3

Subway Gallery is possibly THE coolest gallery in the world. Just because of what it is and where it is. Totally at random you could be walking through the dank, dreary streets of Edgware Road, past the maximum security police station and down into the pedestrian subway by the Bakerloo line station and there out of nowhere is a little subterranean oasis of creativity.
The guy who runs it is an artist himself, he wrote the Him Book, the book that accompanied the wax works of Charles Saatchi (shown in various exhibitions including Zoo Art Fair last year if anyone remembers) one of which has taken up semi-permanent residence in the gallery. Subway attracts a unique crowd from one visit there to an opening you can tell there are certain regulars, all rather quirky figures which form part of what seems to be little community. A completely different vibe from the white cubed space of the Lisson Gallery, the closest gallery to it, or any other mainstream gallery for that matter. And thank god for that.
This month’s exhibition is a solo show of Charlie Baird’s work. It comprises some strange paintings centring on the theme of chance and fate. Some are like rather unfashionable early 90s style murals with tarot card imagery, a sort of painted version of a Phil Collins album cover. However, other paintings have a sense of modern anxiety and purpose. Scenes of urban apocalyptic turmoil, burning cars in the sky, flyovers (very much like the Westway directly above Subway) are now playgrounds for disaster.
Subway exhibitions change each month and vary from contemporary instillation, to more conservative paintings to documentary photography and much in-between. Keep you ears peeled for the new exhibition opening around the first week of December.

Art Sleuth is part of check out the main blog site at

The Future Can Wait, Kounter Kulture and Saatchi – 4 Sensations

The Truman Breweries’ triple art fair extravaganza: Kounter Kulture, Saatchi – 4 New Sensations and The Future Can Wait, are most definitely worth a visit and more so as they are exactly zero pounds entry.

The Future Can Wait stands out as being something special due to the diversity of content and the vast warehouse setting lending the perfect space for mind-bending installations.

You are greeted by a huge statue of Bert from Sesame Street (by Christopher Davies) rotating continuously, creating what can only be described as a perpetual mono-brow. Genius.

Janak Odedra’s clever Project KA’ is an assemblage of found car-parts recreated into the shape of a car. The parts now defunct from commercial purpose are transformed into useful objects of artistic purpose.

Aisling Hedgecock is another artist who uses human debris as a material for her work. ‘Saracen’ is a group of hefty structures made up of mini polystyrene balls which now resemble a futuristic coral reef. Their appeal is their transient state, unlike Project KA their form is not fully complete, a live organism.

Licking Dogs’ by Angela Bartram is beyond the bizarre, but apparently not beyond the realms of contemporary art, as it is a video of a woman snogging a dog. Snogging; defined by full tongue on tongue action. The dog, it must be said, is now probably very confused about human interrelations.

Among other gems are Andrea Gregson’s ‘Borrower-sized’ fantasy worlds. Peep through wooden boxes taken from her Headspace and Wonderland exhibition in 2006. Also Kim Rugg’s intricate collages made from the front page of The Guardian. Each letter down to the very smallest type has been painstakingly cut and re-arranged so that they are in alphabetical order and stuck back on the page.

And Gordon Cheung’s enormous triptych, ‘Death Cuts Full 1’ with his signature background made from stock listings, draws you into a fantasy landscape of trippy perspective.

Kounter Kulture centers on themes of sub-culture; heavily concentrating on the ‘Street Art’ genre, kitsch, cartoon and pop art legacy, print and graphic design trends.

Pieces from old favourites such as Eine put up a minor appearance alongside the main body of less established artists, there also a few pieces being flogged from high ranking artists such as a David Hockey print and a spot painting print signed by Damien Hirst going for around 25k. Probably the most highly priced art work in the whole fair.

William Tuck, is exhibiting a very Koons-esq series of oil paintings, smoothly painted to the point of giving the impression of lamination. They consist of porn-star women recreating Bottichellian style scenes. Questioning how the original paintings might have been received in the Renaissance by some, along with presenting a merge of high art with newsagent top-shelf literature. Interesting, but perhaps something not particularly ground-breaking.

Snuck into a corner are Laurie Hodgekin’s Vanitas paintings of evil technicolor monkeys, intricately painted so each hair on the monkeys has a spiky realism. Although small paintings, these are significant as they push against the mainstream with their heavy gold frames, Dutch master painting style and warped Gremlin figures.

Stephen Dryden‘s, ‘Undo‘ and ‘What About My Mother‘ are rather more removed from the central theme of the fair. They are faceless figures made out of woollen threads which unravel past the shoulder into a woollen mess, as if they are melting into the floor. Very Antony Gormely in a fresh and inspiring way.

Works from Stuart Semple and Nathan James including paintings from the MASH UPS exhibition are also present (see earlier review on Art Sleuth).

And Wang Zhi Jie series ‘ Little Girls’ portraits with blown up heads and popsicle colours twist the Manga genre.

Unfortunately 4 New Sensations, an art competition in collaboration with Channel 4 was not entirely sensational, but showed the budding possibilities of fresh out of college artists. Which is the whole point.

Definitely worth a jaunt, among the four winners, Mark Davey’s moving rotary contraptions and the paintings Robert Sherwood stand out.

Photos all from The Future Can Wait in order from top to bottom:

© Aisling Hedgecock, Gordon Cheung, Kim Rugg, Angela Bartram, courtesy of The Future Can Wait


Brilliant gallery exhibitions opening this week

Is everyone gearing up for art week? Here are a couple more exhibitions that look to be the best and most out there stuff running alongside the big art fairs.
Look out for much coverage towards the end of the week, Art Sleuth is getting out the Miss Marple glasses, smoking a Columbo style cigar, wearing a Dick Van Dyke stethoscope, donning a Poirot-like moustache and pinging away on her typewriter like Jessica Fletcher after a hat trick of murders in Maine.

‘All This Time’ The Vanity Group’s second show at The Crypt – St Pancras Church:

Site-specific art in the crypt of a church. Sounds exciting!


The next week it its the turn for No Place Projects, a project group that exhibits in traditional spaces who hold an interest in drawing to sound and installation, and “are united by a common interest in responding to issues and ideas concerning place and space.”

All This Time: 11 – 19 October 2008

No Place Projects: 24-30 October 2008 12-6h

The Crypt, St Pancras Church, Euston Road, Kings Cross NW1 2BA

Julian Opie at the Lisson Gallery:

Julian Opie Antonia with evening dress, 2008 Inkjet on canvas 120 x 86.5 cm Installation view: © JULIAN OPIE. Recent Works, MAK, Vienna, 10 June – 21 September 2008 Photo: Dave Morgan Courtesy of the artist and Lisson Gallery

Major exhibition showing 40 of Julian Opie’s works from LED installation to painting. Opening is tomorrow night Tuesday the 14th Oct.

15 th October – 15 th November

Lisson Gallery
52-54 Bell Street
London, NW1 5DA

Elevator Gallery 1st Birthday Bash – this Friday 17 th October

Game for a bit of a shindig? I’d pop along to Elevator it looks like fun:

Live Art, Music, Art, Film, Installation and DJs including a live performance from HK119 AND there will be a one eyed psychic!

Check out the blurb:
Musical performance also from the French sensation Douce Angoisse, Random Connection Quest, and lots more. Meet a one eyed Psychic and receive a free art gift and reading. Artist Mark Mcgowan will breakdance before your eyes. The Singing Darlek will perform a rendition of Happy Birthday. Play traditional party games and win prizes! Fun for all. Party into the night….

A bar will be available and vegetarian canapés will be offered throughout the evening. Entrance is free



Vegas Gallery – Fake ID group show:

International group of artists. Preview on Saturday the 18th

Jemima Brown Morten Viskum Michelle Deignan Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven Risk Hazekamp Simon Willems Angie Reed Deborah Schamoni Caron Geary

Somebody needs a wax.

Another Roadside Attraction Gallery. Richard Owen – Moods for Moderns

Richard Owen’s work uses Modernism as the starting point for investigation. He uses the visual language of the 20th century ‘movement’ to produce a series of motifs, reliefs and semi-functional objects that examine our relationship to design, art and consumerism.”

18 October – 15 November 2008
Open Friday to Sunday 12 – 6 pm
Preview 17th October 6.30 –9pm

Surpine Studios – Cian O’Neil. Meat Works

Solo exhibition by the Irish painter of goulsome paintings influenced by Dutch painting school, anatomy and Michaelangelo.

Preview: 17th of October (6-9pm) open for only the Saturday and Sunday after 12-6pm.

Surpine Studios – 255 Amhurst Road, London.

ALSO ALSO ALSO!!! 1st Xmas Art Xposure 08 – Those of you who loved Hackney Wicked, word on the street is there will be a Christmas collaboration, which will be a merge between a ‘Victorian freak show and a German Christmas Market, with a touch of eccentric English jumble sale thrown in’. Fantastic!