Wednesday, 19 February 2014


BILL JACKLIN, Marlborough Gallery New York,,

The Modern Institute Glasgow
Founded by Will Bradley, Toby Webster and Charles Esche in 1998The Modern Institute - such a brilliant name - has gone from strength to strength & is now a gallery of international standing. Housed in a former bath house in the centre of Glasgow, the contemporary space could be in New York or Germany. Last year it took on a second useful space nearby, a sure sign it is doing well.      Toby Webster
Hard to find, (I was lucky. My taxi driver knew exactly where Airds Lane was, moreover informed me that the next lane up was Goosedubs!)- but when u get there, a great open space currently showing American artist, Kim Fisher's Dirty Kitchen exh of 17 panels - some oil on dyed black linen, others aluminium. Inspired by fragments of magazines or newspapers which have weathered California's oppressive heat, she collages and airbrushes her abstracts. Here LA's Rexall drugstores replace the UK's ubiquitous Boots chemists.  
Toby Paterson, Glasgow born & trained, now like Fisher, aged 40, is an integral part of their stable of 38 artists, which includes 7 Turner Prize nominees. 
Paterson's focus is urban space, especially marginalised or derelict locations, and the effects of post-war Modernism in architecture. In Soft Boundary he uses galvanised steel fencing to divide the space, while paintings of blocks of buildings, seen from various viewpoints, provide interpretations of some notorious city landmarks.

Paterson also undertakes major public commissions like BBC Scotalnd's ebullient Poised Array, which tames the geometric austerity of David Chipperfield's post-post-Modernist  BBC HQ with multi-coloured abstractions.  
The Institute will be in NY soon for THE INDEPENDENT Art Fair. Co-founded by gallerists Elizabeth Dee & Darren Flook  in 2010, it takes place in the Chelsea building formerly occupied by the Dia Art Foundation.  Its fifth edition, running March 6-9, with a lineup of 56 exhibitors — up from 40 last year, is concurrent with Armory week
Meanwhile BILL JACKLIN, a Brit who relocated from London to NYC in 1985, has his 23rd show with Marborough. Jacklin is also interested in urban spaces, like Washington Square, Grabd Central, Central Park, the Wollman Ice Rink & Coney Island - which is after all as he says, the edge of the city. 
 Unlike Paterson, Jacklin's focus is people and their movement, the shadows they make against ice, concrete, grass or sand. But like Paterson, the fleeting moment, a glimpse, the primacy of observation & experience, is central.
Jacklin, now RA,  is also a great printmaker & while these 20 oils of NY are captured in seductive palette, prints allow for a greater dance of light & dark, black & white, fast track silhouettes and time ever-changing. He should make some prints at GPS!


More abstracts at Glasgow Print Studio where 3 share the big beautiful upstairs gallery space. Toby Paterson is on the GPS exh committee & voted for young  Aimée Henderson, recent Dundee graduate, currently at the Slade. Her too tiny paintings, pinned up in a row, play with shape and colour. I loved Hetty Haxworth's looping joyful images, while the line drawing/mark making in pastel & pencil on Rosalind Lawless's big block prints, (surely influenced by Paterson) play a very important part. And thank god the show is NOT called Three Women Artists - as in the 1980! Ever heard of a show called 3 Men Artists? I think not! hetty haxworth 
Phillip Reeves, founder member GPS

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Christie's & Sotheby's

Christie's & Sotheby's are gobbling up the art world. Christies posted record sales of $7.1 BILLION or 4.5 BILLION pounds for 2013 with Asia 44% up & internet buying huge. They also now have galleries to sell work just like any commercial art dealers: Sothebys by "the development of the S|2 brand, the global gallery arm of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department" I quote. 
BUT the big prices are achieved by a mere handful - maybe 20 artists at most - Picasso, Koons, Warhol etc. U can count them on yr fingers. Most artists - dead or alive - still struggle. 
Sothebys have just introduced videos from their 4 new heads of Contemporary & Impressionism. They are short & surprisingly good. Helena Newman co-head world wide, speaks about her defining moment, the recent sale of Giacometti's Walking Man, a world record of any art sold at auction - $104.3 or £69 million. 
Which brings me to a personal story. 
In 1962 my husband, a co-director of New Yorks' famous Staempfli Gallery,  drove artist Louise Nevelson & legendary dealer Martha Jackson to the preview of the Carnegie International in Pittsburg. Gordon Washburn - a terrific guy I am told - was director.  (Washburn organized four Internationals, which were distinguished from larger competitors  like the Venice Biennale and São Paolo Biennial, as the only international survey curated by a single person, “one man’s view of contemporary art” in a few hundred works.
Dinner was at the Heinz house, (as in Heinz baked beans).

On show at the International  was Giacometti's 6 ft tall 'Walking Man'. New York collector & museum benefactor, Louise Smith was there. She asked my husband what he would like to buy.  "I said without any hesitation, if I could afford it, the Walking Man. It was on loan from the Pierre Matisse Gallery & was priced at $26,000. I had visited Giacometti in Paris in the 1950s." Louise Smith agreed she liked it too, & said - "I'll buy it! I'll ask for a reserve on it, till I can discuss its purchase with Mr Matisse." Subsequently it entered her collection. She died at 91 in 1995, a staunch supporter of MoMA from 1957 on. 
From $26,000 to $104.3 million is a memorable jump! 

Clare Henry