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Aleph Contemporary

Aleph Contemporary Ltd

Aleph Contemporary Ltd

Aleph Contemporary Ltd

Aleph Contemporary is a London contemporary art gallery specialising in influential and emerging contemporary art.


169 Piccadilly (5F)
London, W1J 9EH
United Kingdom

By appointment only.

3D exhibitions

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    The Aesthetics of Enchantment in Abstract Art

    11 Oct 2022 – 15 Jan 2023

    Nina Dolan, Gordon Dalton, Rebecca Meanley, Laurence Noga, Henry Ward, Mark Wright and introducing Charlotte Winifred Guérard. The Aesthetics of Enchantment In Abstract Art One of the things we inherit from the culture of the last century is the idea of art being either one thing or another: abstract or figurative. Strange now to think of how many careers were predicated on moving towards or away from one of those things; strange to think how much was riding on it. Strange too to think that this apparent dichotomy retains a currency even now, within much of the language around the art of our time. But it only takes a brief walk around the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing – one of the best places to see painting as an unruly, living thing – to watch this binary crumple in the face of objects that happily mingle fields of flattened geometry and the deep folds of a garment. Led by the lessons of these objects, let’s keep hold of paintings as uniquely impure and hybrid events, that sit both within the ordinary world of things and somewhere outside of it. In the realm, that is, of the figure and the abstract: both at once, all the time. The paintings here, then, although they nod towards and even borrow from a language forged at a time where men were men and abstract paintings were abstract paintings, ought really to be thought of as outside of modernist modes of thinking about works of art. Western abstract painting – and let’s be clear right from the outset: abstract art was neither invented in Europe nor in the last two hundred years, but is an ancient mode that goes right back to our deepest roots – came about in part to show the unshowable: spiritual communions, say, or political ones. But the paintings here are unmistakeably physical and of the world of sight and touch. Their metaphysics, if it’s there at all, comes through an encounter with the world as experienced bodily. In this way, they illuminate an art-historical path backwards that lights on, for instance, the body worlds of Willem de Kooning and Cecily Brown; the dream landscapes of Joan Mitchell and Grace Hartigan; the collagist geometries of Lygia Clark and Vladimir Tatlin; and even the total immersions of Georgia O’Keeffe. You can make up your own history, but the point remains: the paintings here assert something, however quietly – that painting, whatever it’s of, is always first and foremost of the world we share. By virtue of its installation and the nature of its context, this is an exhibition that invites sustained looking at individual works, rather than being read as a single, cogent entity. Nevertheless, there are certain threads that might be teased out of each artist’s practice and production. Mark Wright, Lawrence Noga and Charlotte Guérard’s works, for example, frame painting as an act of space-making. Rebecca Meanley and Nina Dolan’s works foreground the process of applying paint to surface, and the behaviour that ensues. Henry Ward and Gordon Dalton, meanwhile, play at the edges of description and by doing so embody the intransigence of painting as a medium, its ability to be many things at once. What all of these artists do is to position their paintings as points of contact between two kinds of experience, the maker’s and the viewer’s. Paintings always make space. That’s literally true, in that they occupy physical space both in their making and its reception, and reiterate in their form the shape of the wall on which they hang, but it’s figuratively true, too: the marks of the brush, thanks to the many variants in the behaviour of liquids and solids, evoke real spatial depth without having to try. Charlotte Guerard brings together a repertoire of painterly performances – dry, stubby marks, swooping liquid ones – and a close, pale palette, and in doing so generates the sensation of real space. It’s in the spatial effect of paint per se that something intrinsic to the medium comes to the surface: facture and tone stand for encountered territory. Painting is always bound up in acts of memory, especially landscape painting, so often made at a temporal and geographical distance from what it depicts, and the spaces Guérard’s work calls to mind are not so much seen as called to mind. What’s important here is the affect of place rather than its contours. Something similar transpires in paintings by Mark Wright. Using a combination of his own photographic sources and the memory of a visited location (generally, rural settings in Worcestershire, Northumberland, Norway, and Scotland), Wright’s paintings enact memory’s revivals; as in Guérard’s work, it’s the performance of paint as matter that allows the works to construct their impression of a space once inhabited by a body. (The body is remembering, not just the mind). Diverse surface effects (chalklike marks, akin to drawing; recessive pools of organic colour) play out the way landscape sits in the memory: as a series of flashes or glimpses, moments of bewilderment or wonder, acute sensations entangled with moments of indolence or absence. And always light: seen, remembered, returned. Something similar takes place in paintings by Gordon Dalton, whose paintings figure landscape as something slipping in and out of scale. His are paintings of places desired or imagined, whose perspectives bend and compress according to those desires or imaginings. In Graveyard Sun, patches of heady colour stack up to the sky, drawing the contours of a journey that might have never happened; the effect is almost, but not quite, narrative. Shapes of things, shown as though seen in peripheral vision, warp and twist when looked at closely. The mazy walk your eyes take is like the stumbling drift of a distracted mind, deliriously lost. Lawrence Noga’s constructions, on the other hand, build spatial memory out of the stuff of the present, fusing found materials with painterly surfaces to create a jolting, halting visual effect. The disparity of visual movement, between the loping and the stuttering, makes Dalton and Noga’s work mutually revealing. Pay close attention to one of Noga’s works and its staccato rhythms come to life; opaque geometries of hard colour meet tenderly handmade edges. Digging into his own family history, Noga unearths spaces of performance and employment (his mother sang in jazz clubs, his father worked in the Caprice restaurant) and evokes the charge of that encounter through a collage aesthetic that refuses to resolve itself: it’s always happening. Some sort of collagist kinship is at play in paintings by Nina Dolan. Sustained attention to their surfaces reveals a kind of internal history, whereby layered colour and cut shapes create the effect of a geological structure, some sort of deep time. Their titles – Egyptian Deities, The Nile at Night – further imply an archaic mode, with vertical elements, like totems, half-revealed through her process of addition and subtraction. Her use of encaustic paint, best known through Jasper Johns’ work of the mid-50s, but pioneered in Roman Egypt – situates them in a similarly indeterminate historical setting to Dalton’s woozy worlds. Dolan’s work reminds us that it’s in process – what painting is made to do and what it decides to do anyway – that painting’s purposes come through. This kind of temporality is made visually available in the work of Rebecca Meanley. Gestures applied in a water-based binder remain semi-transparent, tinting their neighbours and building their own spatial presence, a little like the cloudlike semi-density of a Jackson Pollock. The history of their making thereby becomes a spatial experience: time made visual. Her subsequent process of erasure and effacement is a form of what the artist calls “unpainting”, reversing the forward movement of gesture by removing paint, which reveals parts hitherto concealed. In this sense, studio practice becomes less about getting a painting done than about a process of self-reflection, correction and analysis; the time spent making is human time, after all, and it's that that pulls her paintings into the circle of our shared experience. This human time becomes generative in Henry Ward’s paintings. Ash and Sunday are reworked versions of older paintings that sat in his studio, somehow unresolved or indeterminate, for two years. Like Dolan, his process in this work is one of erasure and revelation, using the existing painting – made, of course, by an earlier version of himself – as a point of departure for new decisions made in the present. This tension between moments in time allows Ward to build into his work the effect of the studio as a place not only of action and production but of reflection and rearrangement too, of both action and its opposite. If the real subject of any of these paintings is human time – the time of making and the time of viewing – then these works enact it, imagining an artwork as the beginning of a conversation between marks on a canvas and beyond, into the mind of the person looking, and back into the world from whence they came. ~ Ben Street Ben Street is an art historian and writer living in London.

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    It aways rains in the lakes

    27 Sep 2022 – 30 Nov 2022

    Fiona G Roberts solo show From What to How and Back Again By Paul Carey Kent What is painting good at? In between the limiting cases of extreme photorealism and rigorously controlled abstraction, it excels in generating a back and forth between our awareness of paint and our awareness of subject: there’s something satisfying about how we see simultaneously both what it shows, and how it is made; about how the eye prioritises first one and then the other. That satisfaction is enhanced if we feel that the ‘how’ supports the ‘what’. In Monet, for example, the way the paint is applied suggests the fact that what we actually see when we look at a landscape is light reflected into our eyes. When we experience a van Gogh, we feel the seething passion of his engagement with the world in the energy and rhythm of his brushwork. A 1920’s Léger applies a cubist language to mechanise people as the industrialisation of society picks up pace. Fiona G Roberts’ paintings aren’t much like Monet, van Gogh or Léger, though they are historically informed and aware. You’re more likely to think of Parmigianino, Edvard Munch or Marlene Dumas. But that to and fro is very much her territory: not only do we enjoy the way her work dances between paint and what it depicts, but the manner of that depiction reinforces what she is dealing with. Her subject is straightforward: the human head - most often one, usually cropped close to maximise the sense of intimacy. That said, heads are a complicated, both inside and outside, and there is a grand and inexhaustible tradition of painting them. Roberts’ contribution to the tradition becomes a little more complicated when we ask whether they are portraits. On the one hand, they do always start from particular people, whether encountered in life or in found photographs or in other art. They are not – in the manner of, say, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye – imaginary people. On the other hand, they don’t attempt to look like the person in question, nor to capture the particular inner self beneath appearances. Nor do Roberts’ characters engage with the viewer: where a conventional portrait will often return our look, Roberts’ characters seem to be lost in their own thoughts. There may not be a snappy term for it, but she paints non-portraits of real people. Roberts’ aims in these non-portraits is to evoke the feelings associated with individual and collective experience - it isn’t too surprising to learn that her first degree was in Sociology at the LSE. Consider two paintings from 2019. At the individual level ‘Lucent’ might be seen as exploring the vulnerability and anxiety of a teenager coming into the world, the uncertainty of form reflecting the uncertainty of mind, a sense that neither the person nor the image is yet fully formed. Collectively, ‘Love Hurts (147 Women)’ combines skilful use of the bleeding qualities of ink with a wider implication of blood-letting as it shows – not as portraits, but as representations of their range of age and ethnicity – the sobering number of women killed by men in the UK in one year (most of them knew their killer, hence the title). Those individual and the collective experiences are not separate, of course, but belong on a continuum - ‘the personal is the political’. And the two come together to poignant effect in Roberts’ latest body of work. ‘It Always Rains in The Lakes’ is a series of ‘non-portraits’ of Roberts’ mother, who died recently. They have her red hair, says her daughter, but don’t otherwise resemble her. But Roberts’ mother also stands in for the conditions faced by many women of her era. As Roberts puts it: ‘my mum was an amazing person in so many ways – and very talented in painting and music. But a woman of her generation and class – raised in farming community in the Lake District, married young to a farmer – didn’t have opportunities such as going to Art College. She never had the chance to develop her talents, and that was a huge sadness for women of her class in that generation’. So there is certainly a melancholy – as well as a feminist protest - in the feeling behind this series, and that does come through. The aqueous application of paint or ink suggests the rain of the series title, or tears. But rain is also regenerative, and we can see these faces as celebrations of a life, not simply as memorialising a death or expressing regret for a life that might have been lived differently. That wateriness, then is put to ambiguous ends typical of Roberts: the ‘how’ supports the ‘what’. And there are other ways to read their painterly and somewhat spectral effects. These paintings might relate to memory, and the impossibility of recollecting in full – affectingly so if we know that Roberts’ mother suffered from dementia. They might be about how we can never be completely sure we know the interior world of another person. Moreover, some of these paintings are also patterned with surface irruptions: one might see them as stars, the celestial being very much in accordance with the themes of death, the beyond, the unknown... If that sounds rather definite, not so. Roberts’ ambiguous style extends to her meanings. There’s plenty of space for viewers to read the emotional tenor differently: what matters to Roberts is that emotional readings are available. We can see that in the other paintings in the show, which take her approach in slightly different directions. A and B have a theatrical aspect. Is that a Shakespearian ruff in the former? Does the latter feature a clown? Perhaps those characters are performing their sadness rather than feeling it. C is a smoker in sunglasses: it could be Roberts’ mother, but acting cool in the style of Warhol. ‘Helenus’ looks more thoughtful than melancholy, and the title indicates a mythical dimension: he was a prince described by Homer as the greatest augur of the Trojan War. And D has two figures, or one figure twice, their interaction open to interpretation.  Roberts’ courting of ambiguity is no accident, then, but the way she goes about it does make sophisticated use of what you might call ‘planned accidents’. When working with ink or watercolour, she explains, ‘I spray the ground with water before I start, then spray more as I go – it’s a game of assessing how wet or dry to make it. The exact effects achieved are unrepeatable, which is both exciting and frustrating, but I’ve learned to trust the process.’ Acrylic on canvas operates comparably – spraying with water, putting paint down, wiping it off, letting it dry, making it wet again, deciding which accidents to keep. She sprays oil paint with zest – a non-toxic turps equivalent. When working on Perspex, wiping fully replaces spraying, and the back can be painted to influence the front. Add the various different ground colours used in this show - yellow, orange, green, bistre, the paper’s white – as well as the choice of palette, and the available effects build up nicely. The formal and emotional range emerging from Roberts’ painting pretty much the same thing turns out to be surprisingly broad. August 2022

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Laurence Noga: Poetics of Obsolescence

    04 May 2021 – 04 Jul 2021

    'These found signs without provenance function as humble, anachronic portals to other times. Collected from the artist’s father’s garage, they are fragmented mementos revealing the constructions as stratigraphic layerings of time. Vestiges of things that may once have moved but are now arrested, of anonymous processes and operative systems no longer in use, they reveal the obsolete as registration of the cessation of time’s continuity.' Text by Kamini Vellodi https://alephcontemporary.com/exhibitions/34-the-stifled-cry-archie-franks-miroslav-text-by-sacha-craddock/overview/

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    The Just

    04 Aug 2020 – 15 Oct 2020

    Group Show curated by Dan Coombs Featuring Pat Andrea, Micheal Ajerman, Jacopo Dal Bello, Christy Burdock, Sophie Vallance Cantor, Ben Westley Clarke, Dan Coombs, Archie Franks, Holly Froy, Joana Galego, Alastair Gordon, Peter Griffin, Cristina Ruiz Guiñazú, Zebedee Jones, Lee Johnson, Phil King, Alice Macdonald, Kathryn Maple, Paul Newman, Miroslav Pomichal, Fiona G Roberts, Jaime Valtierra, Grant Watson, Tess Williams

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Rita Evans: Portable Portals

    01 Nov 2021 – 26 Jun 2022

    Exhibition concurrent to Instrument, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation PERFORMANCE SCULPTURE SOUND NOVEMBER 23, 2021Rita Evans Gropius House || Fictional November 25, 2021–June 26, 2022 Bauhaus Dessau Foundation Gropiusallee 38 06846 Dessau-Roßlau Germany Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–5pm T +49 340 6508250 service@bauhaus-dessau.de

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'Without Borders'

    01 Jul 2020 – 15 Jul 2020

    Alastair Gordon’s most recent exhibition Without Borders, curated by John Silvis, is featured on Aleph Contemporary’s online platform starting July 1, 2020. Gordon’s new paintings are informed by his ongoing investigation of the collage medium in the privacy of his studio and vast archive of sketchbooks. He states that the genesis of this new direction manifested itself in the form of a question: “What would I make if I didn’t have the pressure of an exhibition deadline or the expectations of art collectors?” Enter the reality of new normal—the Covid-19 lockdown and social distancing rules provided unprecedented time in the studio—prompted him to take fresh liberties with his work. The paintings that materialized from this exercise push the collage process front and center, making it the definitive aesthetic of these complex and raw paintings. The directness of the frenetic mark-making, applied fragments of drawings and oil paint, astutely captures the experience of shifting realities amidst a global pandemic. The images in Without Borders began two years ago during a trip to Calais, France, where he led workshops for refugee artists in the Jungle Camp. Working with rudimentary art materials and the detritus of the refugee shelter, his collages transmitted the energy of this context. By tearing up older works and re-imagining an unscripted approach to painting, his collage paintings are imbued with a poignant immediacy.

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    THE ROAD TO UTOPIA: Studio - Carnival - Utopia: Three Contemporary Painters

    15 Sep 2020 – 15 Nov 2020

    A three person show featuring new work by guest artist Alex McAdoo (USA), Lee Johnson (UK) and Jaime Valtierra (UK/Spain)

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'REFLECTIONS'

    20 Sep 2020 – 20 Dec 2020

    Ben Westley Clark, Oliver Dorrell, Joana Galego and Paul Newman

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    ENZO MARRA - 'DELUGE'

    01 Mar 2020 – 15 Mar 2020

    Enzo Marra’s practice successfully brings together a painterly interest in the haptic qualities of paint and canvas with a cartoonish and idiosyncratic vocabulary. While thoroughly contemporary, Marra’s style, subject matter, and technique recalls the tension between figuration and abstraction, heavy texture, and irreverent iconology of Phillip Guston’s postwar work. Indeed, Marra’s work has a further connection to that of Guston, much of his oeuvre functions as a critique of present-day culture and society.

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'Grip'

    13 Nov 2020 – 12 Jan 2021

    Michael Ajerman solo show

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    TESS WILLIAMS

    16 Mar 2020 – 31 Mar 2020

    'SIRENS'

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'WAVELENGTHS - ABSTRACTION ON PAPER'

    30 Nov 2020 – 15 Jan 2021

    Works On Paper Nina Dolan, Rita Evans, Barbara Nicholls

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Dan Coombs - 'Unfolding Man'

    01 Apr 2020 – 15 Apr 2020

    Dan Coombs: 'Unfolding Man' 2019

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'Circling Forces'

    05 Feb 2021 – 15 Apr 2021

    ′′ I take a remote, original point of creation, where I presume formulas for human animal plant, rock and for the elements, for all circling forces at the same time. Art is like creation, and applies on the first and last day." Paul Klee, Diary, 1916

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Helen Brough

    16 Apr 2020 – 30 Apr 2020

    LIGHTSCAPES

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    BAFFLE

    01 Jul 2021 – 30 Sep 2021

    HENRY WARD The canvas you are working on modifies the previous ones in an unending, baffling chain which never seems to finish. What sympathy is demanded of the viewer? He is asked to 'see' the future links. (Philip Guston)

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    GORDON DALTON - 'Birdhouse Blues'

    01 May 2020 – 15 May 2020

    GORDON DALTON

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'The Stifled Cry'

    05 Apr 2021 – 30 Jun 2021

    Archie Franks and Miroslav Pomichal

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'Variations on Worldmaking'

    15 Jun 2020 – 30 Jun 2020

    Jacopo Dal Bello Solo show

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    'Even Tigers Need A Rest'

    16 May 2020 – 31 May 2020

    Sophie Vallance Cantor solo exhibition

  • Aleph Contemporary Ltd

    Insider/Outsider

    04 Dec 2021 – 03 Feb 2022

    Curated by Alistair Hicks

    latest works

    • Mark Wright

      Contour, 2022
      153 x 120 cm (h x w)
      Oil on canvas
      GBP 8000
    • Mark Wright

      Compass, 2021
      153 x 107 cm (h x w)
      Oil on canvas
      GBP 7000
    • Mark Wright

      Wayfinder III, 2022
      200 x 255 cm (h x w)
      Oil on canvas
      GBP 12000
    • Mark Wright

      Panorama, 2022
      200 x 255 cm (h x w)
      Oil on canvas
      GBP 12000
    • Mark Wright

      Twilight, 2022
      76 x 56 cm (h x w)
      Acrylic on paper
      GBP 1500
    • Rebecca Meanlley

      Yellow-Ochre, 2022
      51 x 34 cm (h x w)
      Oil on hot-pressed Saunders Waterford watercolour paper
    • Rebecca Meanlley

      Red remembered stranger blue shape, 2022
      200 x 150 cm (h x w)
      Distemper on canvas is rabbit skin glue and pure pigment, on 15 ounce canvas Stretched on an aluminium and wood stretcher
      GBP 9000
    • Rebecca Meanlley

      Red remembered open palest green, 2022
      200 x 150 cm (h x w)
      Distemper on canvas is rabbit skin glue and pure pigment, on 15 ounce canvas Stretched on an aluminium and wood stretcher
      GBP 9000
    • Rebecca Meanlley

      Washed out beyond, 2022
      170 x 120 cm (h x w)
      Distemper, pigment, water-based binders and acrylic ink on canvas
      GBP 7000
    • Rebecca Meanlley

      Memories of green, 2022
      170 x 120 cm (h x w)
      Distemper, pigment, water-based binders and acrylic ink on canvas
      GBP 7000
    • Rebecca Meanlley

      Fragments, scrubbed green, 2020
      50 x 40 cm (h x w)
      Oil, wax, pigment, water-based binders on canvas
    • Gordon Dalton

      Take me somewhere nice, 2022
      100 x 150 cm (h x w)
      Acrylic on canvas
      GBP 6500
    • Gordon Dalton

      Untitled (Trees), 2022
      84 x 59.5 cm (h x w)
      Acrylic on paper
      GBP 600
    • Gordon Dalton

      Graveyard Sun, 2022
      150 x 120 cm (h x w)
      Acrylic on canvas
      GBP 7000
    • Gordon Dalton

      The Blue Garden, 2020
      150 x 120 cm (h x w)
      Acrylic on canvas
      GBP 7000
    • Laurence Noga

      Deep Black Filtered White, 2022
      19 x 25.5 cm (h x w)
      Acrylic and collage on panel
      GBP 1900
    • Laurence Noga

      Deep Brown Filtered Yellow (Inside the Caprice), 2021
      22.5 x 36 cm (h x w)
      Acrylic on wood
      GBP 3000
    • Laurence Noga

      Deep Turquoise Filtered Pink, 2019
      17 x 42 cm (h x w)
      Acrylic, wood collage
      GBP 3000
    • Laurence Noga

      Deep Blue Filtered Green, 2022
      20 x 25 cm (h x w)
      Acrylic, awood and collage on panel
      GBP 1900
    • Laurence Noga

      Soft Red Filtered Orange (The 84), 2021
      24 x 20 x 7 cm (h x w x d)
      Acrylic, perspex, collage, aluminium, plastic
      GBP 3000