Summer always brings the feeding frenzy that is artists open studios. Serious collectors and gallerists looking for the next big thing rub shoulders with the rest of us art hangers on and gawpers and take the opportunity to see the artists in their work environment. Artists clear their workspaces and place their most commercial wares on show, the shy ones leave out cards with their contact details and hide away drinking beer with their friends, the more confident shmooze with the players. For the uninitiated you may not immediately spot the distasteful aspects of art world commercialism but after a few visits you can spot the big time players on a buying spree from the struggling gallery owner looking for some work that just might ward off the bailiffs for another few months. Still it’s not all bitterness, sometimes you might spot a charmingly small time buyer finding the right thing for their home or an artist with unconventional or non-commercial work being encouraged to pursue their dream by a curator with a vision outside the norm.
Yesterday I visited Bow Studios to see the opening of the annual summer show at their Nunnery Gallery and the associated open studios. Bow arts is always worth a visit at this time of year because the booze is flowing and they always lay on good food in the courtyard which then becomes a great party atmosphere as the evening sets in. The artists at Bow always put on a good show and a few really pull out the stops to create a mini gallery setting in their studios, the local star of Bow arts is Gordon Cheung with his fantastical landscapes on stripped FT pages but this year I was impressed with an obsessive pyramid of plastic spoons bound together with elastic bands.
Helene Sorenson’s sculptures of wrapped and bound objects and her in-situ photos impressed me greatly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her showing in major galleries very soon.
The mastermind behind Hayvend laboratories, John Hayward, was buzzing around plugging his great art vending machines but if that didn’t keep him busy enough he also had time to unveil his new artwork planned to coincide with the world cup.
In the Nunnery Gallery my eye was caught by Alan Bond's architectural salvage planeterium and Danny Pockets' flyposters of ‘London bunting’ which was recreated outside in a neighbouring tree.