The great thing about going to art galleries is occasionally you discover someone new. In a recent trip to the Sackler Serpentine Gallery (how did the Sackler's get to be everywhere?) I made such a discovery. Edel Adnan. She is not someone I had ever heard of before. Now I'm glad I have.
My experience with the Serpentine has been fairly poor so I didn't go with the ability to take photos so all I can show you is above image from the Serpentine Gallery website. The show will have finished by the time you read this as it only on until 11th. Keep an eye out though. If you see her name I recommend you go and see her.
She does colourful abstract stuff. Her oil paintings are pretty good. They have some very insteresting texture. The best things she does are with other media. I was hit the moment I came in by these abstract tapestries. Bright, colourful with good composition they are taken to another level by being done in wool. One of the best of these was strangely hidden in the corridor to the toilets, done in faded green with orange circles.
Round the corner were abstract ceramic tiles. These were probably the best things in show. Slightly reminiscent of Kandinsky, colourful shapes and black lines and arrows. The shape a slim rectangle and the texture of the material.
Adnan has a things for mountains and there were some very sweet little watercolours, simple washes of blues and purples marked out with ink lines. I really liked them. They had a certain Japanese quality.
She also does these brilliant Folded books. They are concertinas and depict a variety of different subject matter. Some have ink drawings of cityscapes and landscapes. The one I liked the best was an illustrated Arabic poem. The illustrations were abstract and the script Arabic script but it was very elegantly laid out without reverting to tropes of gold and turquoise. These books are very nice objects. The friend I was with liked the one with the Adnan family history hand written on both sides.
There was a video installation. Never mind, nobodies perfect.
There were also two dressing screens, the panels were made to look like marble and in thick ink lines cityscapes were drawn. I really liked these. They had a nice luminsence to them. It all came as welcome surprise especially as I'd just come from the Alex Katz exhibition at the Serpentine proper, which was utter shit.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.