Addiscombe gallery once again shows off its art with a heart

You don’t need to go far to discover genuine art, says KEN TOWL after visiting the latest exhibition at the Croydon Art Space

Animated: the Anima! arts collective at the opening of the latest exhibition featuring their works

Aurelia Duplouich found herself stranded during the first covid lockdown, an artist without artist’s materials.

She was telling me about how the pandemic shaped her practice and that of Anima!, the artists’ collective of nine women to which she belongs.

“I had no paints, none of the materials I work with. So I looked in the kitchen drawer…”

At this point I expected her to find a knife, perhaps, to carve potatoes, something along those lines.

“… and I found a roll of clingfilm and I wrapped myself up in it.”

It turns out that wrapping yourself up in clingfilm is somewhat easier than unwrapping yourself.

All nine members of Anima! have a piece or two on display in Room 3 of Paul Hall’s bijou Croydon Art Space gallery at 41 Lower Addiscombe Road. The diversity of the pieces reflects the diversity of these north London artists. I particularly liked the sharply executed monotypes of falling or dancing female figures by Jax Hall.

Impressive: Gillian Ingham and her works

Other artists at the gallery’s Abstract World exhibition mainly come from south London, mostly from Croydon or somewhere nearby, and it is to curator Hall’s credit that he has gathered together such a variety of high quality abstract work.

Theresa Ferrier lives around the corner from the gallery and her confident geometric works add style to Room 2, the largest of the three (tiny) rooms that make up the gallery.

A wall of Room 2 is dedicated to the impressive acrylic works of Gillian Ingham. Also worth a mention is Prime, by Dorothy Solis, an intense but soothing hyper-close-up of a flower.

All these works reward concentrated viewing, a world away from the trite, sterile fibreglass giraffes that have recently taken up space on the streets of Croydon. This is art with a heart, art for grown-ups.

A couple of artists stand out in Room 1. Daisy MacMullan’s work sits comfortably between figurative and abstract. Of the three works on display, I particularly liked Verge ii, a wild painterly splash of plant life that sparks joy in the beholder.

By contrast, Rakel Wienberg’s manipulated seascape photographs evoke a dreamy, disorientating world.

On the verge: one of Daisy MacMullen’s florid works

Paul Hall has done it again. He has transformed a drab terraced unit in an unfashionable part of Croydon into a hidden gem of a playful and evocative exhibition that augments Croydon’s cultural status, yet exisiting entirely independently of the Borough of Culture.

Evidently, it helps to know what you are doing.

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