The Camden Arts Centre is on Finchley Road, just across the road from Finchley Road and Frognal overground station. It is housed in an old library, one of those Victorian/Edwardian brick libraries that north London does so well.
It is free to enter and they had obviously just repainted as there was a smell of fresh paint, newly applied, to the place. Because it was quite early on an early Saturday morning I was the only person in the actual galleries. As such I was shadowed around each gallery by an attendant, like some kind of suspicious ghost, who tried to make it look like they weren’t watching me but they were. That was quite unnerving and had the effect that I didn’t stay for as long as I would have liked. So that’s a lesson.
What did you see? I hear you murmur with slight indifference? Well two people, Daniel Richter and Jennifer Tee. Why did I go? Well I very much like Peter Doig. There is a big painting of his currently on display in the Tate Modern (which I recommend you see if you are there). Hugh Mendes therefore recommended Daniel Richter as being a similar style. The last day of both these shows is 17th September so you either need to scamper or you have already missed it depending on when you read this.
And he is, although Doig is better in my view. They both have the runny streaks, the mottled backgrounds and the sort of dreamy aspects. Doig’s are calmer and softer whereas Ricther’s are more violent both in terms of subject and in the colours used.
So for example there is a picture of some men round a tree. It is has the feeling of threatened violence about it, their faces obscured with colour (above left, the picture in the right). The same with the picture of Amsterdam (above right, the picture in the left of the photo).
Richter is more political in his work too, produces pieces about refugees and border posts. Occasionally he wanders into complete abstraction but I prefer his more figurative works, although he does seem to have a thing for starving looking dogs.
Outside the main galleries in the excellently warm and light reading room are a couple of graphicy prints of his. They are less good in my view.
As I was there and it seemed rude not to and one of the suspicious ghosts had just told me about it I went into the other gallery to see Jennifer Tee. Installation stuff. Weaved things on the floor, what looked like a weightlifting bar with the weights made of lights, and various hemispheres stuck on the wall. It was ok but didn’t particularly move me. Apparently there is a performance every so often using the art. I hurried away on hearing this.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.