A walk through Central London in pursuit of this year’s participating Condo galleries resulted in two sweet instances of serendipity, as in the course of combing the area, I and my friend Nora very pleasurably happened upon two as yet personally undiscovered spaces, both of which yielded great artistic rewards. Fitzrovia’s Rosenfeld Porcini’s (established in 2011, a fact of which I am duly ashamed, no excuse for my ignorance could suffice) current show, Combining Materials, offers some stunning pieces, collaborations of seemingly contrary materials that combine to form bold new aesthetic paradigms. My head is still spinning in regards to the precision and concentration in whatever processes Brazilian artist Tulio Pinto undertook to create his astounding sculptures that balance, in confounding harmony, the brute and the fragile, clear blown glass tenderly, ably supporting the bearish brunt of steel girders and granite slabs, indented but not broken. That this particular series is titled Complicity speaks to associations of possible dysfunction and enablement, but the work also asserts a core strength in both participating materials, a carefully negotiated equilibrium. Keita Miyazaki’s installations consist of rusted scraps of jettisoned car engines welded together, the ends of which have quite improbably been fitted with effusive buds of colourful paper blossoms and sewn felt, a visual opposition that results in much bemusement, a guerilla-like tactic to salvage and repurpose even the most terminal matter. The striking, choked assemblages of wood, metal and paper crafted by Leonardo Drew project violently outward from the walls, weighted and fraught, not quite composed, full of thrilling turbulence, quite a world away from his serene 42A, akin to an organic cabinet of curiosities. Inkjet printed photographs, malleably manipulated onto vinyl or acrylic to stretch and drip across copper bars and concrete, reconciles seemingly antagonistic elements in Felicity Hammond’s Stone Effects series. All of the work is intensely physical, a rebuke to the traditional hierarchy of mastering one material, instead preparing the way for the possibilities and potentials of incongruence. Combining Materials continues through 10 February

Over at Victoria Miro’s lush Mayfair space (established 2013-although a frequent visitor to the Wharf Road space, this was my first experience at this second Miro London home) , the feminine spirit is in full flush in the colour-saturated, boldly imagined landscapes and environs of Jules de Balincourt’s They Cast Long Shadows. In If Trees Spoke and We Listened, majestically scaled women oversee a forest, titanically arboreal, portals of strength and endurance and history, benevolently shepherding the flocks below; Troubled Eden, despite its title, speaks of expansive worlds within its central figure, hands confidently perched on hips, direct of gaze; Moving Through Mountains again suggests the female form in the weave and curve of cliff, enshrouded, generously protective of the group in tight vertical journey up the centre of the frame. Twilight scenes of gathered collectives intimate alliance against an unease and uncertainty just outside the parameters, a bulwark against threat of apocalypse. The characters in Island People have left the mainland perhaps to establish, for even a moment, an Edenic corrective to the vexations and worries that predominate on shore. De Balincourt scratches his oils directly over untreated wood panels, unnoticeable until very close, which lends the paintings both their earthiness and their enveloping warmth, their magnanimous personality, free of doctrine and pedantry. They Cast Long Shadows continues through 24 March




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