Wednesday, 9 March 2011

In All Its Guises

This just in from everyone's fave art gallery curator - Will Chamberlain.....

Private View – Tomorrow - Thursday 10th March 18:00-21:00

Our environment is ever changing, never still and as such is a constant source of inspiration. Be it natural or man-made it provokes a myriad of responses. Here artists immerse themselves in their own visions and, through a range of media, create their own engaging statements interpreting the architecture that surrounds them.


Jeanette Barnes has over the past three years produced a number of large drawings of the London 2012 Olympics under construction. These along with other city drawings were showcased at Toto, London 2010 in association with Blueprint architecture magazine. She has exhibited in many shows including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and Jerwood Drawing Prizes and received a number of commissions and awards. Her drawings explore through evolutionary layers of instinctive activity the development and growth of urban environments. The balance of these works constantly shifts in search of something as yet unknown. She is represented in public, corporate and private collections.

David Downes, originally from Suffolk, moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art. He undertook a major commission for BBC Heritage from 1999-2001 and was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2004. Fascinated by the contrasts of the urban environment, he records the cityscape in mesmerising detail, often from imagined aerial perspectives. He recently completed residencies at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens and Goldman Sachs, London, and has been working on site at the Olympic Park recording the construction process since 2008; selected works were recently displayed at London's City Hall. Sought after by corporate and private clients, David’s work is in the collections of the BBC, Land Registry, Kew Gardens and Merrill Lynch.

Peter Freeth grew up in Birmingham – a lasting influence - and studied painting and etching at the Slade. He won the Rome scholarship in 1960, and was elected to the Royal Academy in 1990. He has worked almost exclusively as a printmaker for many years. Freeth’s etchings have a rich tonality and draw on an unusually wide range of subjects, both from observed, everyday life and from, memory, imagination, music and literature. He is represented in many collections including the V&A, the British Museum, the Arts Council, the Fitzwilliam and Ashmolean, the National Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Simon James is a multi-disciplinary artist who has lived and worked in Asia for more than a decade and is noted for his large-scale video installations and photography. He has received a number of awards and commissions for his work and has exhibited internationally with solo shows in Berlin, London, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. Light as an agent of perceptual change and the interplay between the man-made environment and the forces of nature has been a constant source of inspiration during his career. Through architectural imagery, he explores mankind’s desire for order, control and aggressive self-expression in a manufactured landscape.

Julian Perry (born 1960) has gained considerable media attention for his landscape based paintings. His work is characterised by an engagement with the landscape that explores issues of land use and the often strange results of human labour. A major show at the London Guildhall in 2004 was the result of a three year project working in Epping Forest, more recently Perry recorded thirty allotment sheds now demolished to make way for the London 2012 Olympics. His most recent show (at Austin Desmond Fine Art) explored the extraordinary impact of Coastal Erosion. Perry has works in several major collections and is represented by Austin Desmond Fine Art.

Nessie Stonebridge’s works convey a sense of energy, restriction and release. Highly charged frenetic mark making oozing with emotional content that races and spills across the surface of the canvas only to be pierced by structural forms that ground and anchor the seemingly untamed work. Profiled by PhillipsART expert, picked by the Saatchi Gallery as emerging artist of the week and chosen by Modern Editions as one of the UK’s leading abstract artists, Stonebridge’s work is held in many private collections both nationally and internationally.

Formans Restaurant will be open during the private view and at all times during the show.

Exhibition dates:
Thursday 10th March - Sunday 3rd April
Private View Thursday 10th March 18.00-21.00
Thu and Fri 5-9pm

Sat and Sun 12- 5pm

Venue: Formans Smokehouse Gallery, Stour Rd, Fish Island, E3 2NT

Private View Sample Menu

Forman’s Famous London Cure Smoked Salmon

Gourmet Salmon & Lobster Fishcake – Rocket Salad

Chicken, Air Dried Ham & Sage Ballotine - Buttered Spinach

Spinach & Goat’s Cheese Quiche - Tomato Salad (v)

Pot-roasted Scottish Daube of Beef – Horseradish Mash

Mushroom & Butternut Squash Risotto (v)

Any Dish - £9.50 Paddy & Scott’s Coffee & Cake Selection for 2 £9.50

(Cappuccino, Espresso, Latte or Americano with Chocolate brownies, Lemon & Pistachio Cake & Banana Bread)

For more information and for any exhibiting or sponsorship enquiries, please contact Gallery Manager William Chamberlain on 07947 175 283 or email him on

Friday, 4 March 2011

They Say All Politics Is Local

Parish the thought!

They say all politics is local, but how local? Well now, for Hackney residents (including the Wick), the way local decisions are made, on everything from house-building to park benches and licensing to Olympic planning, could be changing very soon.

London Assembly member, Andrew Boff, certainly thinks so. He came to Leabank Square Community Association’s latest meeting to tell us how he’s using a change in the law to set up a community council (a sort of urban parish council) for London Fields ( and how the same idea might apply to the Wick.

We all think of Parish councils as being something for the countryside, or small villages, like the one up North where I’m from, but few people know that residents in urban areas can set up their own ( Cities having very blurred boundaries (Where exactly is Shoreditch??), there are few places within built-up areas that can said to be a self-contained community, but if anywhere is, surely it has to be our very own Hackney Wick?

So what would we do with an Urban Parish Council, or a Community Council if we decided to set one up? Well, for a start, the community council would have the right to be consulted on planning decisions in the local area, something that’s going to be a big issue for the Wick with all the Olympic developments and Lottery regeneration coming up. Urban parish/community councils can also share in the proceeds of new developments, make arrangements to put up more litter bins, get together to run allotments, organise local festivals or improve the local land and townscapes.

Wouldn’t this just cost a lot more money and mean more politicians though? That depends. The sort of community council people want for their area is up to them. Some parish councils don’t collect money and are entirely voluntary, funding improvements using their share of planning and development fees, public subscription or donations. Others might charge a precept, usually not more than £20 a year, and some will use a combination of these options. Relations with ward councillors and the borough are all issues that have been raised by opponents in other areas and it’s clear that the model isn’t for everywhere and that there are issues to be addressed. It seems that whether the Wick gets a Community Council or not and the success of that council will be dependent on one factor: US, the residents.

As with any local enterprise, it is what people make it. The make-up and ambition of a community council is a reflection of the local population. Would this work for our area? The people of Hackney Wick (the area bound by the Eastway, Railyway line and canal) will very soon be getting a chance to have their say. If more than 10% of the local population sign a petition to set up a Community Council, we could very soon be finding out.

Further information: A google search of “Urban parish Councils” will bring up lots of articles in the local and national press. This website shows the breadth of services that might be provided:

This article was written by our most enthusiastic gardener & Conservative Party Councillor hopeful - Mathhew Woods. Some of us have been lucky to work alongside him in the gardens - and will remember just how hard he grafts. And then other will remember him canvassing locally at the last election. Whatever your politics - you have to agree that Matt has Leabank Square & the rest of the Wick's interests at heart. Thanks Matt.

See also: