London Art Fair: 'Talk! Talk! Talk!" Curated by Alistair Hicks

22 - 26 January 2020

Not all of Aleph Gallery’s artists are talkative. The theme of Dialogues this year is Talkative painting. The work of Katie Pratt, Mircea Teleaga and Joe Packer reaches out to communicate with an audience, but in very individual ways. Visiting the stand at the fair should be similar to walking into a party and finding three very different people to talk to.


In the middle of last century when the American critics such as Clement Greenberg were instructing artists how to paint and sculpt, there was a belief that writing and painting could produce (or reproduce) an abstract idea. Pratt’s work may be deemed abstract but, if so, it is a parody of that old arrogance of thought. In an artist statement Pratt writes that her ‘paintings reflect how humans organise, socially and politically.  The use of rules reflects the dilemmas of societal regulation and the limits in implementation of the law: there is inevitable friction between regulation and freedom as well as limits to jurisdiction. Complex systems proliferate …’ but somehow her paintings make these conflicting, contradictory codes of life less daunting.


Abstraction and figuration blur in Untitled 03, 2017 by the Anglo-Romanian painter Mircea Teleaga. The figurative elements in the painting  (a shoreline or a puddle, an apparent tree, a pipe) only make sense to those who wish to contemplate and let their minds wander in the world where there is only an outline of roof, no actual ceiling to the process of thinking. He is not a preacher. He is interested in a quiet two-way conversation. It is as if he is picking you out from those passing his paintings: he wants to involve YOU in “an immersive experience where the only person present is the viewer, and this makes it a more powerful and personal event when confronted with the image.”


 Joe Packer paintings are quiet too. He is the strong silent type. His landscapes are not one specific place. They are not so fixed in geography. They do not come with grid references. Rather the artist is giving you landscapes and mindscapes. They come out of his memory and in his hard-won effort to retrieve these memories, he hopes he will help you contemplate some of yours.