Bermondsey is a quaint little area of London that is becoming more and more popular. One of the contributing factors is The White Cube, a gallery which opened in 2011 and the largest of all the gallery site. As it is described the form of the gallery is a cube however each room is also a cube, it is separated into north and south galleries and is the first gallery to host Theaster Gates whose exhibition I saw.
The exhibition entitled Freedom of Assembly is the work of American Artist Theaster Gates. I chose the exhibition on the venue not the artist so I did not know what to expect. Gates aims to bridge a gap between art and life through his sculptures and tar paintings. His work looks to “catalyse social and economic change through direct artistic agency. ( http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/theaster_gates_bermondsey_2015/ ) The objects that make up the sculpture are actually from disused buildings in his hometown of south side Chicago. His tar paintings are a mixture of rubber and tar spread across wood panels. This creates a monotonal effect with texture. He also works with clay creating bricks and pots by combining tar with his clay. All of his work takes on the notions of assembly in several forms, personal memory, politics and history and resonance of material objects within our culture.
The curation was very well done, each piece had its own room to breathe and the white wall added to the strength of the work whether it be a floor or wall display. The lighting was big squares on the ceiling that distributed even light. I have not seen this recently in an exhibition but it really worked in this space. It was agreeable to discover and explore and not too cramped either.
The White Cube is one of the most accessible galleries in London due to the fact it is free entry. This I feel makes it stand out from other London galleries which are notorious for being pricey. I appreciated Gates’ work especially the sculpture as standing alone some of them were very aesthetic such as Atlas which reminded me of several fork lift trucks stuck in the wall. I did not like the tar paintings as much because for me they looked sticky and unappealing to the eye, I appreciate the effort that has created the texture, that is something different that goes into his pieces. I would like to explore this artist more as I feel he has a lot of offer in terms of techniques and looking at a culture based theme.