People who regularly come to the annual show of the Bow Arts Trust will note that there are two exhibitions rather than one this year. One, opening June 17th, is, as usual, at the Nunnery Gallery. The other, opening June 24th, is at the Bermondsey Project Space housed in the Crisis warehouse in S.E.1, which has a large number of Bow Arts studios on its upper floors. The exhibition also has two curators – myself and Max Presneill, a British artist who lives in L.A,, where he is curator/director of the Torrance Art Museum.
The title ‘Connection Point London’ is thus appropriate in more than one way. Max and I did our ‘connecting’ using the web, and it was the Web that allowed us to share the images submitted by the Bow Arts Trust artists who wanted to take part. However, the title has a deeper significance as well. What struck us, when we looked at the large number of submissions that came in, was the broad geographical spread of the artists’ backgrounds. They have studio space at the Bow Arts Trust in London, but they originate from all over the world – not only from Britain, but also from Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea. This reflects the fact that London is now one of the most fully international cities in the world, particularly so in terms of contemporary art. In this sense it has now outstripped both Paris and New York. Its nearest rival is now probably Berlin.
It is not the business of an exhibition of this kind to promote any particular artistic tendency, and the aim here has been to offer the widest possible range of stylistic and technical possibilities. In particular, the bigger spaces available at the Bermondsey space have allowed us to offer artists who work with installation more room to spread their wings. At the same time, however, visitors will also notice the increasing self-confidence of the young figurative painters who occupy studios offered to them by the Trust. This seems to us to reflect an important tendency. Painting has revived to challenge, and perhaps to haunt, the other means of expression that, till very recently, were supposed to be killing it off.
Rather than trying to force issues of this kind, however, our chief aim has been to emphasize the rich multiplicity of the visual arts here in London, and the role played by the Trust in making this possible.
Edward Lucie-Smith, 2011
Edward Lucie-Smith was born in 1933 at Kingston, Jamaica. He moved to Britain in 1946. He is now an internationally known art critic and historian, who is also a published poet, an anthologist and a practicing photographer, who has exhibited his work in Britain, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Russia, Greece, Macedonia, Slovenia, Serbia, Israel, Malaysia, Brazil, Canada. Jamaica and the United States,
He has published more than a hundred books in all, chiefly but not exclusively about contemporary art. He is generally regarded as the most prolific and the most widely published writer on art. A number of his art books, among them Movements in Art since 1945 , Visual Arts of the 20th Century, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Art Today are used as standard texts throughout the world.
Max Presneill is the Director / Curator of the Torrance Art Museum, a small contemporary art museum in Los Angeles, as well as Founder and Director of Raid Projects and was Director of the Mark Moore Gallery in Bergamot Station, Santa Monica (2005-8). He has extensive experience internationally as a curator having organized exhibitions for museums, institutes and galleries in London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Mexico City, Sydney, Istanbul, Paris, and other international cities as well as numerous projects in New York and the rest of the US in addition to over 100 exhibitions for Raid Projects (www.raidprojects.com). He has worked as an art critic and was previously Professor of Fine Art at several universities in the UK and the US, He is also an active artist showing internationally. He has lived in Downtown Los Angeles since 2001.