o It has been well over a decade since Eric Fischl last had a solo show in London, and since then his work has gone through several phases: the paintings generated by a trip to India in the late 80s, the dark, moody Rome series inspired by an extended stay in Italy in 1995, and the brighter, more recognisable portraits of his friends that emerged a few years later. The five new paintings and eight watercolours currently on show at Gagosian have all been made over the past year and, in the case of the oils, are based on digitally composed photographs of interiors peopled both by anonymous models and recognisable figures from Fischl’s life. Although these show Fischl’s increasingly formal concerns, they still come freighted with narrative possibilities and psychological unease.
o Right now, the Cabinet Gallery looks as if some serious hedonism has been taking place in a dark silver-painted chamber, scattered with such debris as bunches of roses, piles of underwear, drifts of glitter, strings of fairy lights and a disco ball—with a sound system providing a backdrop of Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. Although it fits very comfortably into the current artistic climate of scattered detritus and orchestrated debris, this installation by Marc C. Chaimowicz is, in fact, nearly three decades old, having had its first airing in 1972 in the now-defunct House Gallery in Knightsbridge.
o There is another veteran of dispersal over at Corvi-Mora where Barry Le Va, who pioneered process-based art when he made his first “Scatterpiece” in 1966, is showing works on paper dating from the 60s to 2000. Le Va originally trained as an architect and these drawings in blue ink and pencil on paper present a precise plan-like, axonometric view of pieces that, in their final state, may appear to be completely random.
o Alan Brooks also presents a dichotomy between the random and the considered with paintings which, from a distance, look as if they were random gestural marks, but, at close quarters, reveal a painstakingly obsessive and intricate process of mark-making. In his new paintings at Percy Miller, random doodles on post-it notes have been meticulously transferred onto canvases, whose grounds have been colour-matched with the original bits of sticky paper.
o Overall, painting seems to be in the ascendent this summer with a rare exhibition of recent oils and works on paper by Leon Kossoff, veteran painter of London’s urban landscape and its inhabitants at Annely Juda. This features the first works to leave the artist’s studio since he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale and confirms that the human figure continues to be a major preoccupation, by the inclusion of two of the largest double figure nude paintings Kossoff has produced.
o The figures and scenes of young painter Geraint Evans, who is showing new work at Anthony Wilkinson this month, are conjured up from photographs, books and catalogues to form imagined portraits of suburban characters pursuing their hobbies and interests. However, all is not as straightforward as it seems, and their crisply illustrative style is at odds with an air of bleakness, uncertainty and sometimes outright despair. Yet again proof that normality is a highly relative state.
o Sadie Coles is presenting Raymond Pettibon’s playful latest drawings and, following his successful solo show at Milton Keynes earlier this year, new paintings by Mark Francis at Maureen Paley show him looping his suggestive skeins, lines and dots or pods across a more gestural and painterly picture plane.
o Turner short-listed artist Glenn Brown is not the only aficionado of appropriation as One in the Other’s show of Simon Linke, who made his name in the mid 80s with his painted representations of Artforum advertisements, confirms. Linke continues to scour Artforum’s ad pages for source material for works, such as his acrylic rendition of a reproduction of a Brice Marden from a Matthew Marks’ ad which reveals Lincke to be whipping up a bit more empasto for the twenty-first century.
o With building work now in progress on their new East End premises, Victoria Miro is presenting a solo show of photographer Francesca Goodman, who, although she committed suicide at the age of twenty-two, is now esteemed for her unconventional methods of imaging the female body, by putting her own body to the fore in a way that presaged the work of artists such as Sarah Lucas, Nan Goldin and Karen Finley.
o July-August are traditionally the months that galleries can let their hair down and put on more provocative shows. “Mommie Dearest” at Gimpel Fils brings together work by sixteen international artists including Matthew Barney, Paul McCarthy, Pamela Golden, Melanie Manchot, Tracey Moffatt and Niki de Saint Phalle, who, in their very different ways, confront the notion of parental relationships and stereotypical images of familial behaviour.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Fischl’s phases at Gagosian'