Helen Johnson
Opening

★☆☆☆☆

On until 6 January 2024

You’d never guess that Helen Johnson is an art therapist as well as a painter when her subdued hanging canvases come with titles like Late mirror stageTransfence love, and Lack. Women, whole or in body parts, are thrown around these images by chaotic lines in shifting scales and perspectives. They’d like you to know that they’re thinking of serious matters (see Constituted object) but can laugh it off, too (Das Ding Dong). A series of smaller works at the back of the gallery momentarily inspires Bataille’s Story of the Eye but Johnson dispels such risqué associations with another run of prosaic captions.

This is the work of a mind that, having needlessly spent years in analysis, became hooked on ennui. Or, just as likely, of an artist who wasted her studio time misreading Lacan to the detriment of her praxis. The unescapable result are these dull, if technically proficient, paintings of boredom made for dull eyes. Their lack, in turn, is profound.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Iris Touliatou, Outfits at PEER ★★★☆☆

Iris Touliatou

Outfits

★★★☆☆

These gestures remind the gallery that it is a social space. Unfortunately, they also inadvertently point to its sorry end.

Talar Aghabshian, Solace of the Afterimage at Marfa’ at The Approach ★★☆☆☆

Talar Aghbashian

Solace of the Afterimage

★★☆☆☆

The carpet dealer gallerist’s zeal reveals the work’s lamentable inadequacy. 

Vinca Petersen, Me, Us and Dogs at Edel Assanti ★★★☆☆

Vinca Petersen

Me, Us and Dogs

★★★☆☆

Close up, Petersen’s innocents today conjure ideas of redneck resistance. At scale, of state-marketed utopia. The middle ground is envy.

Anna Glantz, Lichens at Approach ★★★☆☆

Anna Glantz

Lichens

★★★☆☆

The clues that Glantz leaves on her surfaces are also traps. There are either too many or not quite enough to follow or fall into. 

Siobhan Liddell, Been and Gone at Hollybush Gardens ★★☆☆☆

Siobhan Liddell

Been and Gone

★★☆☆☆

A twee aesthetics native to a grandmother’s mantlepiece collection of tourist souvenirs and devotional figurines.

Ghada Amer, QR CODES REVISITED—LONDON at Goodman ★★☆☆☆

Ghada Amer

QR CODES REVISITED—LONDON

★★☆☆☆

This invites a game of proofreading, in hope that Amer maliciously inserted a greengrocer’s apostrophe into de Beauvoir’s mind.

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