Philomena Epps

  • Sophie Barber, Justin loves gardeners world and monty don, 2021, oil on canvas, 116 1/8 x 83 1/2''.
    picks September 20, 2021

    Sophie Barber

    All is full of love, as Björk once sang (on a track she likened to “birds coming out after a thunderstorm”). At Alison Jacques, Sophie Barber has populated the gallery with lovebirds, both literal and metaphorical. Her bright, bucolic presentation—accented by the tongue-twister title “How Much Love Can a Love Bird Love, Can a Love Bird Love a Love Bird” (a riff on the old faithful, “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck…”)—plays with scale, mixing canvases great and small. Barber’s thickly impastoed output has ranged from paintings the size and heft of a ship’s sail, hung taut with raw edges,

  • View of “Hairy on the Inside,” 2021.
    picks May 07, 2021

    Lindsey Mendick

    Lindsey Mendick’s exhibition “Hairy on the Inside” prompted me to revisit Angela Carter’s so-called wolf trilogy: the final stories in The Bloody Chamber (1979), the British author’s collection of transgressive, feminist revisionist fairy tales. On rereading them, I discovered the genesis of this show’s title in the line “the worst wolves are hairy on the inside,” which appears in Carter’s “The Company of Wolves.” Mendick, who has a similar dexterity in inhabiting the uncanny, uses the werewolf as a cipher for living with polycystic ovary syndrome, which can also cause hirsutism and infertility,

  • Ron Nagle, Signature Scent, 2017, wood, catalyzed polyurethane, epoxy resin, 6 × 4 1/2 × 4 3/4".
    picks November 12, 2020

    Ron Nagle

    This exhibition’s eponymous Lincolnshire Squire, 2018, is not a noble medieval courtier, as one might speculate, but rather a pint-sized sculpture. As is typical with Ron Nagle’s practice, some titles are red herrings, while others playfully experiment with alliteration and punning. This is perhaps best epitomised by Mail Impotence, 2018, which takes the form of an engorged arrow, its point buried, with cartoonish, phallic fletching.

    Nagle fabricated the “squire” itself in his hallmark idiosyncratic combination of ceramic, epoxy resin, and catalysed polyurethane. The work is comprised of three

  • Lauren Gault, C I T H R A, 2020, Lycra, wood, steel, Jesmonite, bolus gun, rice bone, glass, dimensions variable.
    picks February 19, 2020

    Lauren Gault

    In 1907, the Irish-born inventor and scientist Martha Craig published an esoteric science-fiction novel titled The Men of Mars under the pseudonym Mithra, a name that invoked the ancient Roman deity and cult of Mithras. Over a century later, her book has become a point of departure for a distant relative, the artist Lauren Gault, who here integrates Craig’s transcendent alias into her sculptures, which envelop the gallery in an obscure caul of mythology and industrial menace.

    The speculative blankness of an awkward, tentlike centerpiece of stretched white Lycra (all works C I T H R A, 2020) brings

  • View of “Car Park,” 2019.
    picks December 06, 2019

    Hilary Lloyd

    Sited within the manicured, mawkish snow globe that is Mayfair during Christmastime, Hilary Lloyd’s exhibition proves a welcome antithesis to the surrounding ostentation. The show opens with Moscow, all works 2019, a saw-edged assortment of three abstract paintings, metal stud partitions, and multiple flat-screens, some connected to meandering equipment cables plugged into crumbling holes smashed in the walls.

    The footage in Moscow, in addition to that of four other videos—Buddleia, Pigeon, Water Rat, and Afghan Hound Archies Nightclub—is captured at close range. With the exception of the latter,

  • View of “Claude Mirrors: Victor Man, Jill Mulleady, Issy Wood,” 2019.
    picks October 10, 2019

    “Claude Mirrors: Victor Man, Jill Mulleady, Issy Wood”

    This group show is named after the tinted, convex pocket mirrors favored by British landscape painters from the eighteenth century: Claude mirrors. Reflected through the black glass, a surrounding scene would appear in distilled color with a softened focus and a framed perspective. The tool was popular with travelers and artists, notably the originator of the picturesque genre, Reverend William Gilpin, who advocated for its results, which he called akin to “the visions of the imagination” and “the brilliant landscapes of a dream.”

    Gilpin’s praise could be repurposed to describe the visions

  • Deborah Roberts, Red, White and Blue, 2018, mixed media and collage on canvas, 72 x 60".
    picks June 24, 2019

    Deborah Roberts

    “Manipulation of the photograph is as old as photography itself,” opens Dawn Adès’s introduction to Photomontage (1976). The term photomontage was popularized by the Berlin Dadaists—Hannah Höch, George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, und so weiter—as a means to define their “anti-art,” the splicing and collaging of photographs with newspaper and magazine clippings, as genre. Their avant-garde dismembering of reality was rooted in political provocation, and the desire to reconfigure the world by reconfiguring images has endured throughout history.

    Deborah Roberts’s practice has followed this sociopolitical

  • View of “Lion Hunt,” 2019.
    picks April 12, 2019

    Reena Spaulings

    The weekend preceding the opening of Reena Spaulings’s latest presentation was marked by “Act XVIII,” the eighteenth Saturday of mass jacquerie instigated throughout France by the gilets jaunes. Akin to the cipher of Spaulings, a fictional persona orchestrated by an anonymous group of artists, the movement resists monolithic structures or signaled leadership. The reflective yellow hazard vest—originally associated with the working class and recent motoring laws but now inextricable from the insurrection—unifies the protesters, despite their heterogeneous demands.

    The semiotic potential of the

  • *View of “The Scar,” 2018.
    picks October 08, 2018

    Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler

    Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler’s five-screen narrative installation, The Scar, 2018, unfolds in three filmic chapters: “The State of the State,” “The Mouth of the Shark,” and “The Gossip”—the latter being a three-channel presentation. The artists began an early iteration of the project in 2015 during their residency here as part of a program titled “The Public Domain.” After the initial premiere of The Scar at HOME in Manchester earlier this year, the artists have brought the work back to where it first began, a homecoming of sorts which will involve an extended schedule of talks,

  • Alice Channer, Mechanoreceptor, Icicles (red, red) (double spring, single strip), 2018, cast and PVC-dipped aluminium, titanium, electropolished stainless steel, stainless steel, PVC coated steel cables, fixings, dimensions variable.
    picks July 21, 2018

    “The shape left by the body”

    It seemed appropriate that I visited “The shape left by the body”—a group exhibition rich with the weight of succumbing bodies; bodies on the brink of collapse; and waxy, mutating, or mummified bodies—while partially delirious, suffering from a fever occasioned by the unrelenting London heatwave. The vertiginous staging of the show across two floors provided the option to view work from above and below, and in the case of Alice Channer’s Mechanoreceptor, Icicles (red, red) (double spring, single strip), 2018, even venture under the cage-like elevated structure. Alina Szapocznikow’s black-and-white

  • Anne Hardy, Area  of  Overlap, 2018, video, color, sound, 7 minutes 21 seconds.
    picks April 27, 2018

    Anne Hardy

    Anne Hardy’s works are richly sensorial: soft, comforting structures that envelop you, holding you close as they almost paradoxically streamline your senses. In the artist’s own special lexicon, these all-encompassing environments are “FIELD works.” The artist characterizes a FIELD as “a landscape; an area of interest; a site that contains you; a physical manifestation of a psychological space.”

    The gallery’s immersive cinema, built to house the debut of Hardy’s new film Area of Overlap, 2018—made on hazy, haptic 16-mm film and transferred to a digital projection—is a plush, magenta room with

  • Ian Giles, After BUTT, 2018, video, color, sound, 34 minutes.
    picks February 26, 2018

    Ian Giles

    Ian Giles’s current exhibition considers the legacy of the influential, pink pages of BUTT magazine, which started in 2001 and ended as a print object in 2011 (BUTT still maintains a website). Issues appear in a small library and vitrine display at the gallery’s entrance, where copies of other gay periodicals such as the 1970s zine Straight to Hell—a journal of anonymous sex stories that was a formative inspiration for BUTT—and recent issues of Attitude, Fantastic Man, and Hello Mr. are also laid out.

    Giles solicited firsthand material through interviews in order to build a narrative for After