Art and Architecture
Simon Oldfield gallery has been a firm favourite at GT for a while, with a consistent stream of intelligent and well-received contemporary shows.
So it was very exciting to hear that a move to a Mayfair townhouse was imminent – with all the potential that a bigger and more varied space would bring.
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The gallery may be young but has gained respect quickly due to its solid stable of artists and the opening show at 6 Carlos Place brings them out to play together.
Ben Ashton sometimes paints those flash-bleached, drunken cameraphone images we've all taken but treats them with all the painterly-polish of an old master. He deals in more classic compositions too but it's the technically beautiful depictions of raw, honest moments that really capture our attention. And these hit you just after walking in the door.
Elsewhere, the work is all solid, well placed and holds together as a whole while giving the individual artists room to breathe.
Standouts for us were the graphite drawings by Ryan Leigh who excites our sense of order by producing his detailed work on graph paper.
Kay Harwood's work appears on a couple of floors and is becoming a GT favourite with her portraits of handsome men – sometimes bearded – but always thoughtful and finely painted.
These contrast beautifully with the painting by iconic DJ Princess Julia. We've lost count of how many sets of hers we have danced to and her painting is just as compelling. Simple and naive but with a curious charm that gives it an edge.
It shares a floor with great classic-with-a-twist sculpture from Sam Knowles and paintings by Clare Price that we want on our wall. Now.
With a space that includes kinetic sculpture in the basement, a project space for readings and a screening room, it's difficult to do justice to such a strong range of artists with just a sentence each.
The historic Mayfair corner of Mount Street and Carlos Place is emerging as an exciting cultural area thanks to the support of Grosvenor Estates. Simon Oldfield may occupy a renovated townhouse but it feels like a true gallery space rather than adapted architecture. Each artist occupies a space that feels tailor-made to show them.
The elegant building – and all that it holds – confirms what we expected when we first heard of the gallery's move to four floors in Mayfair from a single floor in Covent Garden. Oldfield to the power of four. GT
Simon Oldfield at 6 Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 3AP.
For more information see simonoldfield.com.
Words Mark King
Image Courtesy of Simon Oldfield