Wednesday 20 May 2009

Art in Deptford

Most of Deptford's galleries and art spaces have got new exhibitions starting about now, so if you are looking for something to do over the long weekend and beyond, why not try an art tour of the area?

Throughout the bank holiday weekend there is the chance to get a peek inside the beautifully tiled ground floor of Gallop (198 Deptford High St) to see the exhibition 'Last Orders' by Anna Lincoln. The show is made up of a series of screenprints showing former pubs in Deptford in their new incarnations.

According to the press release; "Last Orders presents a selection of screen prints inspired by Deptford’s historic pubs and deciphers the clues embedded in the buildings that reveal their fascinating history. In doing so the exhibition also draws our attention to the future of Deptford‘s commercial landscape.
The minimal, striking style of Anna Lincoln’s illustration mimics architectural plans and draws inspiration from pub signs, many of which still remain above new shops and businesses in the area.
Supporting work also on show includes a film about local people’s opinion of the changes happening in Deptford, and a photographic installation encouraging people to take a renewed interest in their environments.
Gallop is an unconventional exhibition space, worthy of a visit in its own right: from the outside it appears to be just another shop on the High Street; inside all the walls are covered in tiles located around the UK. The effect is similar to the historic interior of ‘Manzes’ pie shop, just a few doors down, and the practical impact is that all artwork will be suspended from the ceiling."

Anna was also responsible for the 'Deptford Now!' leaflet and recent exhibition at the Albany, which followed a similar theme. The leaflet gives some history to 18 different buildings in Deptford, and urges you to 'look closer at what you know'. I was particularly intrigued to learn that the Shades Snooker & Pool Club used to be the Deptford Mechanics' Institute, and offered a library and weekly lectures to the skilled elite of the town - in 1908 it became Deptford's first cinema, the Electric Cinema.

Anna's show at Gallop runs from 21 to 26 May, every day from 10am till 5pm.

If you get a chance, I also recommend dropping in to the Albany where they have some old music posters on display in the cafe - including one for a performance of the legendary Squeeze. Of course the venue has made it even more worthwhile for you to drop by since it is hosting two free events this weekend - Unplugged at the Albany on Saturday, 12-3, and Brassroots, playing as part of the new Sunday Sessions which kicks off at 3.30pm on Sunday.

The latest cool venue to wash up on the shores of 'Scruffy Deptford' (copyright Daily Mail) is the Old Police Station, which has been taken over by Antony Gross of temporarycontemporary. Take a look at the website and see just amazing the building really is - just down the road from New Cross railway station it is exactly what the name suggests, an old police station! Complete with cells, interview room, booking office and even the former gym - many of them now kitted out to become performance/gallery space, artist studios, a private members club and party space.

As Antony says: "The building is a monolithic 1912 institutional monster laden with an archeology of drug helpline stencils, seizure warning posters, operational room door signs, all mixed with an Edwardian building design - fanlights, bay windows, caramel green tiles - with even some Arts and Craft touches. A heady mix, especially when you enter the heavy holding cells with their intense history. Then there is the process, the old fingerprint room, followed by 'the surgery', the soundproofed and heavy 'audio interview room', then 'photography' for your mug shot and the cells. What is this now used for? Well its our bar and social hang out of course with exhibition in the cells and booths for private views and a whole host of proposals (cabaret and one-on-one theatre performance kind of thing). I can't wait to do some food nights in there if we can - know any good Dim Sum chefs? - anyone want to run a café?"

Just don't get confused and go next door, which is the new police station!

On to a rather more traditional venue, with a new exhibition at the Arch Gallery (Resolution Way, the street of arches which connects Deptford High St and Deptford Church Street down the side of Tomi's Kitchen)
The show is Paul Marks: the butterfly effect
Runs 29 May - 20 June: preview evening 28 May 6 - 9pm

"The butterfly effect is a phrase used to describe changes to the initial conditions of interdependent, complex systems in Chaos Theory. Humans, economic & social structures, nervous systems and climate are all examples of such systems. This term, first made popular by Edward Lorenz in the 1960s relates to the idea that a butterfly's wings could cause small changes in the atmosphere, that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado. The flapping wing causes a small change in the initial condition, the effect of which results in a chain reacion leading to major changes in the system. Paul Marks continues to explore the notion of interdependence in his work with this new body of drawings. Each drawing is composed from hundreds of free-hand lines, drawn directly onto a painted canvas. Each line is influenced by the previous one and therefore has an effect on the next. Each line is unique with individual properties, but clearly cannot exist on its own. These drawings, that all start with a single straight line, gradually evolve into wildly exaggerated forms. Mark’s drawings are often interpreted in one of several ways. As contour maps, cell structures and bodily crevices. Some appear overtly sexual, others, like a meandering flow of air, smoke or water. There is though, an other-worldly quality about these new drawings, like alien organic forms or lunar landscapes. These ‘specimens’, collected for examination and magnified for our scrutiny, entice with a curious seductiveness that is quite compelling."
There's an interesting promo clip on You Tube here.
ARCH gallery, 15 Resolution Way, Deptford, London SE8 4NT

The APT Gallery on Creekside is showing the first exhibition in the Creekside Open 2009 (works selected by Jenni Lomax) until Sunday 24 May, Thursday to Sunday 12-5pm. The second exhibition (works selected by Mark Wallinger) will be on show 4-21 June, Thurs to Sunday 12-5pm.

Other local art and craft places to keep an eye on, of course, are:
Utrophia on Tanner's Hill, which hosts an evening of paintings and performance by Tim Spooner on Friday 22 May.
Although the Bear Cafe is closed for the summer, the Bearspace Gallery is still open and has a new show starting on 29 May, with work by Lisa Slominski and Sally Spinks.
Creekside Artists
Corblimey Arts on Creekside
Cockpit Arts (next main event is the open studios June 19-21)
Lewisham Art House on Lewisham Vale (gallery, studios and lots of workshops available). Next exhibition starts on 27 May.

Meanwhile I was lucky enough to see an old shop sign uncovered on Deptford High Street today: the shop between the dry cleaners and Iceland, which is in the process of being renovated.

Here it is, on show for one day only: (click to make it bigger)

Please feel free to add your suggestions of other arty venues I might have missed in the comments box, or if you remember the place with the 'latest pin tables', share your memories!


Barry the Wire said...

I work opposite and enjoyed watching them strip this down today, wondered if anyone else had noticed. Am so glad they are not tearing it out, so it can be uncovered on another day, sometime in the future. I also managed to save the perspex 'mercury' sign which I seemed compelled to salvage. You can see this old painted sign says "Amusements - (something)" above the line about latest pin tables. This must mean Pinblall machines which would date it to the fifties I imagine, don't you think?

CarolineLD said...

A really useful round-up; I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the Anna Lincoln exhibition.

Deptford Dame said...

Glad to hear that the Mercury sign has not been scrapped Barry! I hadn't been able to read the 'Amusements' bit but can see it now that you've pointed it out. And yes, I interpreted 'pin tables' as pinball machines and came to the same conclusion about the approximate age of the sign.

The Flying V said...

A great list. Thanks a lot - I certainly won't be short of something to do this long weekend.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Last Orders tip, wil try to get along there this weekend.

Artsydeptford said...

Hi, also don't forget about BEARSPACE, 152 Deptford High Street showing 'Etiquette of Comfort' by Lisa Slominski & Sally Spinks until 27 June

Have you seen the new article in Time Out this week, 'Art & Pirates in Deptford, it takes you on a great guided walk of all Galleries in Deptford.

We are also launching Deptford Last Fridays on Friday 26th June, where most galleries will be open for a glass of wine from 6.30-8.30pm! This is followed with an afterparty at the Old Police Station!

Deptford dame said...

Thanks Julia - Bearspace is already on the list. Very interested to hear about Deptford Last Fridays - look forward to the launch!

Unknown said...

Hello all,

Deptford Last Fridays is on again this Friday 31st July until 8.30 pm!

Galleries open include APT, ARCH, BEARSPACE, SE8, Utrophia, Lewisham Art House, Hive Design Studios and The Agency Gallery!

See a live installatin by Katelyn-Toth-Fejel at BEARSPACE for one weekend only featuring those large Deptford/African snails! See you on Friday!!

TantRant said...

Maybe include Art Hub Studios(old Framework Gallery, 5-9 Creekside) which is directly opposite APT.