Tamara Henderson
Green in the Grooves

★★★★☆

On until 30 December 2023

Having spent years tending to her garden in Australia, Henderson built a utopian version of it in Camden. There are imaginary plants and imaginary creatures everywhere. Some, like a sound installation of earthworms, may be real and alive. An army of scarecrow gardeners watches over this plot.

All is tranquil and whimsical until even the gallery gives way to decay. Things fall apart, elegantly. In three ornately framed paintings, a quartet of frogs become consumed by abstraction. Bronze and clay creatures emerge from dirt heaps to be absorbed by them again. In a sure sign of the end times, the plants have eyes. But to bring solace, a blissfully plotless film tracks the growth and decline of Henderson’s backyard, revealing that these cycles are one.

Dust to dust, joy to joy. The whole thing feels like a remake of Wind in the Willows directed by a garden gnome. But this gnome is one of Henderson’s accomplices, too. The show only falters when it brings the ‘creative process’ wholesale into the gallery. Ironically, this is the exhibition’s stated aim. One room hosts a quirky greenhouse studio filled with doodles and trinkets. This structure unduly protects the artist from nature’s graceful cruelty.


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

Oh, the Storm at Rodeo ★☆☆☆☆

Oh, the Storm

★☆☆☆☆

This exhibitions is trying to explain the concept of ‘crazy paving’ to a blind man. It’s impossible to tell where a work ends and the wall begins.

Dominique Fung, (Up)Rooted, at Massimo de Carlo ★★☆☆☆

Dominique Fung

(Up)Rooted

★★☆☆☆

All this tries to be macabre and surreal like in Bosch or Miyazaki but is instead laughably twee.

Women in Revolt! at Tate ★★★☆☆

Women in Revolt!

★★★☆☆

There’s a room for female labour, a corner for childbirth, one for black women, and a section for lesbians. This is as close to nuance as Tate gets today.

RM, A Story Backwards at Auto Italia ★★☆☆☆

RM

A Story Backwards

★★☆☆☆

Having forgotten what the ‘dramatic’ in art stands for, visual artists today too often mistake hacked theory for stage directions.

Justin Fitzpatrick, Ballotta at Seventeen ★★★★★

Justin Fitzpatrick

Ballotta

★★★★★

The reward for taking part in this experiment of life is ascension to the holy orders. 

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. 

×