East End exhibitions – five of the best for April 2018

Mary Heilman's Idriss (2012), one of the more contemporary works in Victoria Miro's Surface Work exhibition. © Mary Heilmann. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich and 303 Gallery, New York

Mary Heilmann’s Idriss (2012), one of the more contemporary works in Victoria Miro’s Surface Work exhibition. © Mary Heilmann. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich and 303 Gallery, New York

Winnicott Wednesdays: A Void @ A-side B-side Gallery
352 Mare Street, E8 1HR

Winnicott Wednesdays are a group of former Goldsmiths Art Psychotherapy students, who banded together in 2010 “to try to make sense of psychoanalysis and art; and to attempt to reconcile the ongoing, often conflicting nature of the dual roles of artist and art therapist”. No doubt in both roles, they’ve had to tackle the detrimental influence of social media on people’s relationships, the representation of their true self, and their mental health. This is the primary theme of A Void, their new group exhibition coming to A-side B-side (just opposite Hackney Central Overground). Tracey Elizabeth Downing’s monochromatic image for the poster hints at the approach this collective has taken to portraying the problem – at times I’m sure we’ve all felt like those monolithic dark forms, full of presence but seperated from our brethren and surrounded by noise. From 12 April until 17 April


Surface Work: Abstract Women Painters @ Victoria Miro
16 Wharf Road, N1 7RW

Expressionist Joan Mitchell gave the name to this exhibition in in 1986, when asked to define her style: “Abstract is not a style. I simply want to make a surface work.” Mitchell’s maxim aside, female artists have been key contributors to the development of such unchained forms of expressionism and impressionism, and Victoria Miro’s N1 gallery will be hosting works by over fifty of them, this month and next. They range from one of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Net works – hypercomplex patterns that, appropriately, one easily gets caught up in – to abstract expressionist legends like Lee Krasner and Betty Parsons. (And indeed, Mitchell herself.) More curious pieces include the earliest work in the exhibition, a Constructivist canvas from Liubov Popova completed during the Russian Civil War, to the airy, Mondrian-via-Hockney colour blocks of Mary Heilmann’s Idriss (see image at top). From 11 April until 19 May


Shattered dreams: a collection of mosaics from St. Joseph's Hospice's new gallery's inaugural show. Images: St. Joseph's Hospice

Shattered dreams: a collection of mosaics from St. Joseph’s Hospice’s new gallery’s inaugural show. Images: St. Joseph’s Hospice

Mosaic Exhibition @ Joe’s Gallery, St. Joseph’s Hospice
Mare Street, E8 4SA

As Winnicott Wednesdays would no doubt agree, art has a growing role in patient care, both medical and pastoral. So it’s perhaps no surprise that St. Joseph’s Hospice are taking a dip in creative waters – they’ve opened Joe’s Gallery, a new space, geared, in their words, towards “proudly [displaying] art created by patients and local artists; some purely for viewing purposes, and others in a fundraising capacity”. The first exhibition on site is a collaboration with Hackney Mosaic Project, driven by award-winning mosaicist Tessa Hunkin. She has helped ameliorate patients’ addiction and mental health problems by giving them the tools and guidance to create grand pieces of art from tiny fragments. These creations range from public murals around Hackney (and at London Zoo’s lion enclosure) to these one-offs for the Hospice – which will all be available to buy for the duration of the exhibition, in aid of the Mosaic Project and the Hospice itself. Until 3 May


Rezi van Lankveld: Solutions @ The Approach Gallery
1st Floor (above The Approach pub), 47 Approach Rd, E2 9LY

Echo by Rezi van Lankveld. Image courtesy the artist / The Approach Gallery

Echo by Rezi van Lankveld. Image courtesy the artist / The Approach Gallery

In her studio in Amsterdam, Rezi van Lankveld creates what she calls “happenings”, using just paint and her canvases. She puts the canvas flat on the ground, pours out a decent-sized gob of oil paint, and stretches the work while the wet paint retains its viscosity. When random yet strangely anthropomorphic images start to appear, like figures in clouds (witness Echo, which almost looks like a pricked ear) van Lankveld helps them on their way with her brushes, but acts instinctively and minimally in order to preserve the fluidity of her pieces. She has exhibited twice at The Approach before, as well as across mainland Europe and in New York, but there’s a new element to her practice on show this time around – several sculptures that double up as fully working lamps, which have all the natural, organic presence of her two dimensional work. From 12 April until 13 May


Carlos Garaicoa @ Parasol Unit
14 Wharf Rd, N1 7RW

Many visitors to Havana, Carlos Garaicoa’s hometown, praise it for its lack of advertisements, a policy instituted by Castro after the 1959 revolution. Garaicoa looks a little deeper into the issue – while promoting products was banned, many of the buildings (both new projects and historic structures) on which they would have been displayed fell into disrepair. His latest rumination on architecture and morality looks at Havana and his other adopted city, Madrid. He takes the more explosive politics of both cities and turns them into tangible, recognisable urban forms: from manhole covers with Cuban protest language on (in the gallery’s outdoor terrace), to Cerámicas Porno-indignadas (Porn-Outraged Ceramics) and its recreated collection of typically Spanish tiled adverts from the side of a Madrid pharmacy – notated by Garaicoa with references to Spanish history. There’s even a chance, in Parasol’s ground floor gallery, to walk across carpets made from photographs of the Cuban capital (having put on your plastic foot covers, naturally.) From 13 April until 3 June