Londonart Pop up Dulwich Village
91 Dulwich Village
, London until end December
Pop-up shops may suggest transient, cobbled-together incursions in down-at-heel, depressed high streets, but Londonart’s temporary residence is nothing of the sort. Not only is leafy Dulwich Village one of London’s most charismatic neighbourhoods, the only sign of impermanence at the online gallery’s pop-up shop is a table with laptop that serves as office space.
Its clean, white interior is reflected outside by a plain exterior and stark signage that hints at Londonart’s digital background without imposing a house style upon the art held within. Nor should it. For 15 years, the gallery has welcomed artists of differing generations, styles and interests, so its south London exhibition is necessarily going to be wide-ranging.
Harriet Porter’s austere, monochrome still-lives are the first sign that this is no parochial art fair. She takes everyday objects – a ladle here, a hotel teapot there – and instils simple pieces of technology with nobility and uncanny significance. Just as intriguing in more dynamic fashion are examples of Lizzie Watson’s ‘dribble painting’. It is a fluid, yet also a pleasingly flexible, technique, with contrasting results in the abstracted buzz of ‘Terminal 5’ and the delicate filigree surrounding ‘Portrait of a Man’.
There are brave touches of melancholy, both in Nicky Wassall’s conceptual works, namely photographs of gagged statues, and Susan Mulley Bennett’s exquisite ceramic figures that provide a stern contrast to Kathy Prest’s celebratory, more sinuous casts. This may feel remote from the area’s bijou boutiques and cafes, though the gallery is intimately connected to the surrounding area, with the elegant vistas of Dulwich Park represented in rich, subtly patterned landscapes by Louis Blondiau. His drips and painting effects create odd parallels with the veins of Claire Burke’s refined abstract ‘Magenta Silver Leaf on Panel’.
You may get mildly disorientated and wonder if an object is for sale that turns out to be an item of furniture, or Joanne’s bike or part of Paul’s collection that is here to bamboozle you (there is currently an anonymous Yoko Ono piece on show that he promises to replace with a work by Richard Prince soon). Londonart is not only selling art works, they are selling art with all the sleek glamour, sex appeal and fun that entails.