Vyner Street is like a scruffy version of Cork Street set in the tubeless expanse of Hackney. Well, replace the expensive established artists, with the up and coming avant guard and replace the suited rich art lovers at the private views, with eccentrics, artists,
and critics (not that there isn't considerable crossover between those categories, obviously). One Thursday a month the place is abuzz with art openings, and people spilling out onto the street around the respective gallery doors.
After making our way through the crowds, and having to dip in to about 3 private views before finding the one we actually had an invitation for (avoiding calamity at the installation consisting of a floor of baseball bats, with a chair on it, and lots of signs about walking at your own risk), we finally got to the Wilkinson Gallery.
The artist? A Polish painter called Marcin Maciejowski. The artwork? Paintings. Paintings that looked like photocopies, or over exposed photographs with an almost austere aesthetic. Interestingly he comes from a Graphic Design background, rather than a Fine Art one. They seemed mostly to be (re)paintings of news journalism photographs, like a shot of Sir 'Thumbs aloft' McCartney during his recent divorce proceedings, or famous actresses on red carpets. A lot of the subjects of the paintings are painted minus facial features. This is slightly disturbing, especially in the series of faceless famous actresses on red carpets. Imagine a darker, much less pop Julian Opie.
All in all the paintings looked like mental snapshots of occasions, half remembered but still vivid scenes, some more successful than others.
We're not gushing like a broken water pipe about this show, but it was interesting, so if you are in the area, then we'd suggest popping in for a look, if only to ponder the implications of facelessness and connect with Hackney's vibrant art scene.
By Oliver Gili
Marcin Maciejowski: Not Obvious at Wilkinson Gallery. 50-58 Vyner Street, London E2 9DQ until 29 June 2008. For more information click here.
Image Marcin Maciejowski (Paul McCartney. London. 2008) Oil on canvas, 27 x 37 cm courtesy of the Wilkinson Gallery.