Category Archives: Art

Artist James Gemmill brings Contemplative Spaces to the Old Brompton Gallery

© James Gemmill

© James Gemmill

Coming to the Old Brompton Gallery this May for a short run is a new exhibition from acclaimed American artist James Gemmill. It’s likely you’ve already seen his work in some of Hollywood’s most stunning films, including recent releases Dumbo and Mary Poppins Returns. Throughout his career, Gemmill has worked as a scenic artist on The Da Vinci Code, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!, Beauty And The Beast, Skyfall, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and many more.

Gemmill started training in his native US, receiving a Master’s in Fine Art at Boston University. Landing a scholarship at the Royal College of Art took him to the UK, with the artist and sculptor now based in Oxfordshire. As well as painting and film work, he has also utilised his artist’s eye in interior design, as well as with calligraphy and metalworks.

© James Gemmill

© James Gemmill

His new exhibition, ‘Contemplative Spaces’, features a collection of 14 images, which are all available for sale. Opening on 1 May, the display runs for six days at the Kensington space. Explaining his artistic approach to his paintings in the exhibition, Gemmill said: “I do not start with a canvas or stretcher size, this would put a constraint on the creative process. A large piece of canvas is fixed to my studio wall, I then walk up to it, start painting. The image and the process determine the boundaries not the other way around. The pieces either grow or shrink and sometimes I get it wrong and the piece needs to expand again with extra canvas. These canvases represent a process of creativity as much as a view of the world.”

  • James Gemmill’s Contemplative Spaces exhibition runs from 1 – 6 May 2019. At Old Brompton Gallery, 238 Old Brompton Road, Kensington, SW5 0DE. Nearest station: Earl’s Court or West Brompton. Open 11am-7pm or by appointment. For more information, visit James Gemmill’s website.

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Explore the rock ‘n’ roll photograhy of Gerard McNamara at the Unclosed Eye exhibition

Blondie © Gerard McNamara

Blondie © Gerard McNamara

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but we like it! Coming to Carnaby this month is a new exhibition of some of music’s most iconic stars. Photography legend Gerard McNamara will be displaying some of his classic music images. Among the artists featured in the exhibition are Kate Bush, Blondie, Clash, The Police and The Pretenders. The showcase will celebrate the 40th anniversary of McNamara’s photography career and contribution to music.

For 10 days, a free exhibition will be hosted in the Newburgh Quarter on behalf of The Museum of Soho. Rarely seen and previously unseen images from McNamara’s archives will be on show at 3 Newburgh Street from 12 – 21 April 2019. On show will be McNamara’s first ever published photograph, of Kate Buss on her Tour Of Life concert in 1979, which appeared in Smash Hits magazine.

Other artists captured on McNamara’s Olympus OM-1 camera include Adam & The Ants, Gary Numan, The Selecter, Iggy Pop, U2, and Toyah. The photographer’s work has appeared in a host of books and publications, including Mojo, The Face, NME and Record Mirror.

Meanwhile, on Record Store Day on 13 April (3pm onwards), visitors to the exhibition will be invited to enjoy performances from Parisian jazz singer Florence Joelle, rising singer/songwriter Emily Capell and ska and reggae favourite Nick Welsh aka King Hammond.

  • The Unclosed Eye exhibition runs from 12-21 April 2019. Open daily 11am-7pm. Free entry. At 3 Newburgh Street, Soho, W1F 7RE. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby website.

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Romeo & Juliet mural marks the site of original Shakespearean theatre (before the Globe)

Shoreditch street art commemorates where the tragic love story was first performed back in the 16th century.

New Inn Broadway © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Romeo and Juliet mural on New Inn Broadway in Shoreditch

When it comes to checking out street art in Shoreditch, you’ll be spoiled for choice. However, one of the district’s most striking murals has a special historic significance. One particular building on New Inn Broadway features a mural depicting Romeo and Juliet… on the very spot where the play was first performed.

Long before The Globe was built on Bankside, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) used to tread the boards in the East End. In 1572, the Mayor of London cracked down on plays being performed within the City of London in an attempt to prevent the spread of the Plague. As a result, theatre companies started performing just outside the jurisdictions of the City. The Theatre was built in 1576 on the site of the Holywell Priory, which has been demolished following the dissolution of the monasteries a few decades earlier. It was started by actor and theatre manager James Burbage (1530/5-1597) and his brother-in-law John Brayne (1541-1586). At the time, Shoreditch was notoriously rough and was surrounded by brothels, gambling dens and rowdy taverns. The Theatre was built in a polygonal shape, included three galleries and a yard and was said to have cost £700 to build.

The Theatre owner Burbage was a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men theatre company, with a certain actor and playwright from Stratford-upon-Avon as one of his colleagues. The LCM was formed in 1594, when Shakespeare had already been making waves in the theatre scene for at least two years. The troupe started performing Shakespeare’s plays exclusively. Shakespeare’s tragic love story Romeo and Juliet was performed for the first time at The Theatre, estimated to have been written around 1591-1595.

New Inn Broadway © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Juliet is seen leaning over her balcony looking for her Romeo

After 22 years of entertaining Londoners, The Theatre came to an end following a dispute between the late Burbage’s son Richard (1567-1619) and the site’s landowner Giles Allen. In a desperate bid to protect their playhouse, Richard and his brother Cuthbert enlisted the help of some associates to dismantle The Theatre in December 1598. The timbers were believed to have been hidden nearby in Bridewell, before being taken over London Bridge to Bankside when the weather improved. Timbers from The Theatre were used to build The Globe in 1599.

For centuries, the site of The Theatre was lost until it was rediscovered by Museum of London archaeologists in 2008. They found remains of brick and stone polygonal footings of the gallery, along with seeds and fruit pips and broken beer vessels from the Elizabethan period. Just north of the Romeo and Juliet mural we see today, a building is being erected to house offices and a permanent exhibition about The Theatre.

Today, a Romeo and Juliet mural adorns a modern three-storey office building on the site of The Theatre. The top of the piece features the heroine Juliet in a blue gown, looking down from her balcony for her Romeo, who gazes up adoringly at her from two storeys down. One of Juliet’s passages from Act 2, Scene 2 of the play is featured: ‘My bounty is as boundless as the sea’; ‘My love as deep the more I give to thee’; and ‘The more I have for both are infinite’. Fans of the play will recognise it from Romeo and Juliet’s post-Capulet ball discussion when they make plans to marry after meeting that evening. The mural was commissioned through the Global Street Art Agency in June 2018.

  • New Inn Broadway, Shoreditch, EC2A 3PZ. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street.

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Find out about Middle Temple Hall, location of the first performance of Twelfth Night.

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Agatha Christie artwork celebrates 90th anniversary of the Seven Dials Mystery

Agatha Christie art Iona Rowland © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Iona Rowland’s art honouring Agatha Christie is on show until spring 2019

On show in Seven Dials for a limited time only is a celebration of one of the country’s most successful authors. Artist Iona Rowland has created an artwork marking the 90th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s novel The Seven Dials Mystery. The detective story was one of Christie’s early works and was published in January 1929. Among the characters included Lady Eileen (Bundle) Brent, who also appeared in the author’s 1925 tale The Secret Of Chimneys.

Rowland’s artwork features silk screen prints of a 1926 photograph of Christie. The piece, which was unveiled in January 2019, is on show until spring 2019 on Shorts Gardens – leading to the Seven Dials district of the West End. Once the art comes down, it will be auctioned for charity.

  • The Evolution of Agatha Christie is on show until spring 2019. At the junction of Shorts Gardens and Neal Street. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.

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Roy’s People Art Fair returns this April with affordable and accessible art

The Roy’s People Art Fair

The Roy’s People Art Fair will take place at OXO Tower Wharf in April

Calling all art lovers – the Roy’s People Art Fair is returning to London this spring and is set to be the biggest yet.  This bi-annual show provides an alternative platform for artists to show and sell their work. The spring edition of the fair will be taking place at Bargehouse in the Oxo Tower Wharf from 4-7 April 2019.

Roy’s People Art Fair differs from other art fairs as it aims to provide accessibility and community within the art world. The event is artist-led and affordable so artists aren’t seeing their sales dented by rental fees and big corporations taking a cut. Visitors will be able to meet and buy art direct from the 85 artists taking part in a relaxed ‘non gallery’ atmosphere.

During the fair, there will also be live painting, creative workshops, live music, and interactive installations, including a unique installation in the entrance hall by urban artist My Dog Sighs and goody bags worth over £100.

Roy’s People Art Fair was created by artists Roy Tyson and Samuel Peacock. Roy originally started the fair after his own experiences applying and exhibiting at art fairs. He teamed up with Sam to unite their knowledge to bring the fairs to the next level. They aim to work closely with the artists in the run-up to the fair to make sure the event is a successful experience for all participating.

  • The Roy’s People Art Fair is running from 4-7 April 2019. Open Thur 5pm–8.30pm, Fri 2pm-8pm, Sat 12pm–6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm. Tickets: Free on the website. At Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Waterloo, Blackfriars or Southwark. For more information and to register for a ticket, visit the Roy’s People Art Fair website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in April, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in March 2019

Find out what’s on in London in March 2019, including festivals, St Patrick’s Day celebrations and more.

tulips spring

Spring is on its way

Spring is apparently here… although we know there’s always a strong chance of changeable weather. With the days getting longer and warmer, Londoners can expect to see more festivals and events taking place across the capital in March. This month sees a selection of big events, including International Women’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day.

  • 28 February – 3 March : The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show

Haberdashery festival featuring hundreds of workshops, demonstrations, interactive features and 200 exhibitors selling specialist craft supplies. Open Thu-Sat: 10am-5.30pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £14, Children £6. Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Knitting & Stitching Show website.

  • 2 – 3 March : London Film And Comic Con Spring

A Spring edition of the hugely popular London Film and Comic Con. The chance to meet your favourite stars including George Lazenby, Robert Englund, John Simm, Joseph Marcell, Sylvester McCoy, Karyn Parsons, Colin Baker, Charles Dance, Lucy Davis, Peter Mayhew and many more. Tickets: Adults £18 (Sat), £16 (Sun); Children £12 (Sat), £10 (Sun). Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the London Film & Comic Con website.

  • 4 – 10 March : International Women’s Day @ Seven Dials

A week of events, offers and promotions celebrating women at the stores and businesses of Seven Dials supporting this year’s theme of #balanceforbetter. Highlights include a live podcast, hub featuring activities and events, film club, pop-up shops, panel discussions and more. At venues and stores around Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.

  • 4 – 15 March : Russian Maslenitsa

The Russian sun festival, featuring a host of events including Maslenitsa doll making workshops, Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs exhibition, culinary extravaganza, Shrovetide celebration for families with music, dancing and games and the Maslenitsa Celebration Concert. Venues include Concert Hall St John Smith Square, Russian Culture Centre, The Queen’s Gallery, Zima restaurant and Pushkin House. For more information, visit the Maslenitsa website.

  • 7 March : International Women’s Day takeover @ Nine Lives

Neighbourhood cocktail bar Nine Lives hosts a female takeover on the eve of International Women’s Day. Artist Trinity Tristan will be creating a breast print artwork, Jenna Ba from Bulleit Bourbon and Kate Jackson from Ketel One will be mixing special cocktails, while DJ Vanille will be spinning on the decks. Nine Lives, 8 Holyrood Street, London Bridge, SE1 2EL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Nine Lives website. For Metro Girl’s review of Nine Lives, click here.

  • 7 – 10 March : Affordable Art Fair @ Battersea Park

A chance for people to buy a unique piece of art or photography for their homes at an affordable price. There are over 100 galleries, with pieces for sale ranging from £100 to £6,000. Tickets: £8-£25 in advance, more on the door. Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park or short bus ride from Sloane Square tube. For more information, visit the Affordable Art Fair website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Affordable Art Fair returns to Battersea

  • 7 – 30 March : Crystal Palace International Film Festival

Tenth anniversary of the CPIFF, featuring shorts and feature-length screenings, animation night, premieres, horror/sci-fi night, and documentary night. Tickets: £8-£22. At various venues including Everyman Crystal Palace, PictureHouse West Norwood, Stanley Halls & Anerley Town Hall. Nearest stations: Crystal Palace, Norwood Junction and West Norwood. For more information, visit the CPIFF website.

  • 8 – 9 March : Women Of The World Festival

A festival of talks, debates, music, film and comedy celebrating women. Angela Davis, Naomi Klein, Lady Sanity, Jo Brand, Chidera Eggerue and Catherine Mayer among the featured names. Events range from free to £25, while or many included with day pass £30, two-day pass £55, three-day pass £80. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • 8 – 10 March : Move It

The world’s biggest dance event featuring performances, classes, workshops, shopping, and talks by experts from all genres, including Aston Merrygold with BASE Studios, Italia Conti, Khronos Agoria – The Brit School, English National Ballet, Neil & Katya Jones and more. Tickets: Adults from £19, Children from £15 (multiple day passes available). ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For more information, visit the Move It website.

  • 8 – 10 March : Glamour Beauty Festival

Glamour magazine hosts a three-day celebration of beauty, including big beauty brands, treatments, talks, goodie bags and more. Celebrity guests include Maisie Williams, Maya Jama, Laura Whitmore, Mollie King, Rylan Clark-Neal, Katherine Ryan, Pixiwoo, Megan Barton Hanson, Georgia Toffolo and more. Open Fri 5pm-9pm, Sat & Sun 9.30am-6.30pm. Tickets: £49-£80. Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4RY. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For tickets, visit Eventbrite.

  • 9 – 10 March : Vegan Life Live

Two day festival celebrating and exploring the vegan lifestyle, featuring clothing, cosmetics and food stands, talks, live music, cookery demonstrations, workshops and Q&A sessions. Open Sat 9 10am-6pm, Open Sun 10 10am-5pm. Tickets start from £12 (under 16s free). The West Hall, Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest station: Alexandra Palace. For more information, visit the Vegan Life Live website.

  • Now until 9 March : Qu Leilei – Echoes

A solo exhibition from Qu Leilei at the newest branch of the international 3812 Gallery. The show features pieces in water and ink, the ancient medium for painting and calligraphy in Chinese culture. Mon–Sat 10am-6.30pm. 3812 Gallery, 21 Ryder Street, St James’s, SW1Y 6PX. Nearest station: Green Park. For more information, visit the 3812 gallery website.

  • 10 – 15 March : London Design Week

Interior design festival featuring over 100 events, including talks, demonstrations, showrooms, installations, food and drink. Open 9.30am-5.30pm. Free entry, but register in advance. Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, SW10 0XE. Nearest station: Imperial Wharf. For more information, visit the London Design Week website. Read the rest of this entry

Winter Lights festival 2019: Ghost whales, mazes and trees as Canary Wharf is lit up in neon

Did you know there’s a piece of the Berlin Wall in London?

Berlin Wall London © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

A piece of the Berlin Wall stands in Lambeth

This year marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. From 1961 to 1989, a guarded concrete barrier divided West and East Berlin. During its 28 year life span, over 80 people died trying to cross the wall. Finally, on 9 November 1989 the wall started to come down and was destroyed by Berliners, uniting the city once again. I was at primary school when the wall fell and remember my impassioned teacher telling us about this historic moment during assembly, which I was a bit too young to understand.

Various pieces of the Berlin Wall survive today. In the gardens of the Imperial War Museum in London, there is a piece of the wall complete with original street art. It features the words ‘Change Your Life’ in a giant mouth by graffiti artist Indiana (Jurgen Grosse). The 3.64 metre high section comes from near the Leuschnerdamm in the Kreuzberg district and was acquired by the Imperial War Museum in 1991. It is believed the slogan ‘Change Your Life’ may be from the German poem Archaischer Torso Apollos (Torso of an Archaic Apollo).

  • Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, Lambeth, SE1 6HZ. Nearest station: Lambeth North.

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PsychoBarn at the Royal Academy: A slice of Hollywood horror on Piccadilly

PsychoBarn © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

PsychoBarn in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts

Standing in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts this winter is a piece of Hollywood horror. Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is an architectural installation by English artist Cornelia Parker. The 30ft high structure is inspired by the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho. The house in the movie, where Norman Bates lived with his mother Norma, was modelled on Edward Hopper’s 1925 painting, the House By The Railroad.

Parker’s scaled-down structure was first exhibited on the roof of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2016. It was erected in London in September 2018 and will remain in situ until March 2019. Transitional Object is not a real building, but a façade. While it looks like a traditional, all-American red barn, the dark windows, distressed paintwork and little signs of ‘life’ give it a creepy vibe – much like the house in the film.

  • Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), The Annenberg Courtyard, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, 49-50 Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 9ER. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. Will remain in place until March 2019. Open Sat-Thu 10am–6pm, Fri 10am–10pm. Free to view. For more information, visit the Royal Academy Of Arts website.
PsychoBarn © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The piece was first exhibited in New York

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There’s an egg-cellent art installation at Gloucester Road tube station!

Gloucester Road © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

‘My name is lettie eggysrub’ by Heather Phillipson

When commuting in the capital, it’s easy to ignore our surroundings and focus on the task at hand – getting from A to B with your sanity intact. However, next time you find yourself waiting a few minutes for your next tube, why not look around you. Art on the Underground, funded by Transport for London, has been bringing art to the tube for over 15 years. As 2018 is the centenary of women’s suffrage, this year’s programme will feature exclusively female artists.

In June 2018, a new art installation was unveiled at Gloucester Road station. Situated on the disused platform by the Circle and District lines is ‘My Name is Lettie Eggysrub’ by London artist Heather Phillipson. One of her pieces, entitled ‘The End’, has been chosen for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, which will be unveiled in 2020.

The 80-metre long platform features two 4-metre high 3D fried egg sculptures, a giant automated whisk, a dozen 65-inch screens and oversized prints. The surreal piece explores the dual role of the egg as food and part of the biological process. Among the imagery includes custard tarts, tomato ketchup, egg sandwiches and diagrams of chicken foetuses.

  • ‘My name is lettie eggysrub’ by Heather Phillipson is on at Gloucester Road tube station until June 2019. Nearest station: Gloucester Road. For more information, visit the Art on the Underground website.
Gloucester Road © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The installation features imagery of eggs as a food stuff and in the biological process

Gloucester Road lettie eggysrub © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The installation will remain on the disused platform until mid 2019

For a guide to what’s on in London in March, click here.

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