Shelagh Cluett show ends in an Exploding Galaxy
The final visitor to the Shelagh Cluett exhibition at CHELSEA space was the artist David Medalla who had known Shelagh since her student days at Hornsey and had taught with her at Chelsea School of Art. Medalla, resplendent in brightly clashing striped tie and scarf said that in the late 1960′s/early 1970′s, Shelagh had danced as part of the Exploding Galaxy, the multi-media arts group that Medalla had formed in 1967. The monograph on Medalla by Guy Brett is called Exploding Galaxies in reference to the group and other Medalla themes, and there is an interesting interview with Medalla in the 1998 inIVA publication A Fruitful Incoherence. Other artists in the book include Chohreh Feyzdjou and Huang Yong Ping whose work is illustrated with photographs taken by CHELSEA space’s Donald Smith. One of David Medalla’s early 1970′s projects was an evolving project called A Stitch In Time at Gallery House, London whose Co-Director was Rosetta Brooks who featured alongside Shelagh Cluett in Stephen Willats’ photographs of the West London Super Girls. Gallery House was also where Willats ran his Centre for Behavioural Art.
Other last week visitors included Cornelia Grassi of Greengrassi Gallery, Laure Genillard, John Riddy, and Roger Ackling amongst others.
John Riddy’s photographs are currently featured in Romantics at the Clore Galleries Tate Britain. This exhibition aims to explore “Romantic art in Britain, its origins, inspirations and legacies”. Drawn from Tate’s collection the show starts with work of the likes of JMW Turner, William Blake , John Constable, Henry Fuseli, and Samuel Palmer. On the introductory text panel in the first room the curators describe the rest of the show as “an imaginery Romantic exhibition”, the last two rooms deal with the “legacy” including works by Graham Sutherland, Keith Vaughan, Michael Ayrton etc and in the last room the photography of John Riddy, Jem Southern, Raymond Moore, and Keith Arnatt. These photographic works, quite desolate and almost entirely devoid of human or animal presence are described by the curators as “landscape after the picturesque”.