“The Best Art Exhibition in London” is what I enthusiastically wrote in the guest register at Tales From The Electric Forest in the Saint Pancras Crypt Gallery. On display only until May 31st, this is a must see exhibit for anyone within the 30 boroughs. Please check out the website as well.
I visited St. Pan’s crypt last year and quite enjoyed both the space and the art. Black Apple and Cactus Productions have teamed up with 15 artists to present an exhibition of painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, prints, etc. which embrace and embellish the special venue the crypt provides.
I knew from the first, when I saw one of Clare Palfreyman‘s pieces in a small alcove in the crypt entryway
I next encountered the works of sisters Claire Benson and Amy Nightingale:
“These winged spirits seize the jewellery of human adulteresses, and leave their prizes in the bedrooms of those who have been deceived” says a small plaque. We see several more of the sisters mythical beings trapped under glass throughout the crypt. Check out their website.
There are large grey plants growing out of the rubble in another small alcove in the crypt entry, sculpture by Lizzie Cannon which looks for all the world like it is, or recently was, a living plant.
Other pieces by her are spread about the exhibit space.
Emma Gregory offers up a selection of screen prints including Wish You Were Here
Katharine Fry produced a live performance for the opening, which I unfortunately missed, but left behind a mystery of flower petals graffiti and a birdcage in one of the inner crypt chambers. The graffiti, especially, caught my eye. On each of the three walls of the small central chamber the same phrase would be repeatedly scrawled. One wall read, “Every day I write your name on a piece of paper and eat it.” The next read, “One day I’ll be a murderess” and the last reads, “I count to a thousand but think of you again.”
Tom G Adriani presents us with paintings and small etchings accompanied by verse. I was particularly touched by this one, The Cat Hag:
The bedraggled form of the old cat hag
in her tattered dreaded locks
A blackened crumbling wedding dress
in a washed out Tiffany’s box
We see her every now and then
with flowers in her hair
A flash beside the motorway
or spiralling subway stairs
Pushing her shopping cart
gazing at the stars
Weaving slowly and gingerly
through lines of smoking cars
I wonder why cats follow her
I wonder where she sleeps
I wonder why when she smiles
it looks as though she weeps
Tom G Adriani – The Cat Hag
He has many other pieces up, including several large narrative pieces.
Lucy Harvey has made an installation in one of the inner chambers, The Backstreet Dentist and Other Stories
which is a little frightening, if you ask me, but captivating as well. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms Harvey during my visit, and purchased one of her booklets featuring her work.
Nazir Tanbouli has a wide selection of paintings up, including some large cubistic wall hangings in the final chambers of the crypt, which are quite stunning (I know, I know, I was saying some anti-cubism things just days ago).
Okay, I’ll stop. I just had to share my joy at having seen this show. I will be watching some of these young artists as their careers develop.