Went to Al Quoz yesterday to check out the galleries there. The three I saw were all on the same street and very close to each other making life very easy! The location is very, very different from the Bastakia…. definitely more of an industrial ambience in Al Quoz. All three galleries here have been up and running for about two to three years.
The Courtyard Gallery and Café
This is large space and featured a lot of different work. There were about 10 different 2D artists and 2 or 3 sculptors represented each with 2 or 3 pieces of work. Most of the artists were western but not all of the work was labelled so I can’t say for sure that they all were. The 2D work was a mix of both classic and enhanced photography or large oil or acrylic work on canvas.
The overall effect of the work in this space was impressive but the 2D work itself was not particularly exciting. A couple of digital images and one large oil were interesting but the most striking thing was the sculpture. There were two or three very tall abstracted silver figures that really enhanced the sense of height in the room and made this more of a kinaesthetic than aesthetic experience. There were also other sculptures which arrested much more time that the 2D works and another section containing a colourful distraction of ceramics.
The space itself is great and it’s a shame there aren’t some pics on the website of the whole interior.
There is more in the Courtyard including Total Arts which features sculpture and paintings as well so I definitely need to pay another visit.
The Thrdline Gallery
This was a bit of a treat actually because it was so atmospheric. This was a combination of the unexpectedly icy monochrome blast that hit as you walked in from the hot street and the light effects from two large screen video works projected onto the walls.
There’s a lot of info about the two exhibited artists on the excellent gallery website which shows work from represented artists (all regional) as well as current and past exhibitions. For me, exhibiting random holes in paper made by firework residue accompanied by a video of the firework display was truly inspired and staring mindlessly at a garage in the dark made me feel surprisingly secure although the friend I was with found the garage work really creepy!
There is a library shop here which stocks some excellent magazines related to art and arts development in the region. It also has a book study club, which meets at the gallery on the first Monday of every month to discuss a novel by a regional author, which seems a very special and unique feature of the life of this gallery. It also has film and documentary screenings.
B21 Progressive Art Gallery
This gallery also features regional artists and the last exhibition here was an Iranian artist who uses historical, sexual and religious themes. It had just finished so I could only see the pictures on the floor through bubble wrap. Given their content it seemed almost appropriate that I should have to view them through a layer of concealment but thanks to another excellent gallery website these pictures can still be seen online.
Unfortunately, the images online have had the frames removed which is a shame because the frames were painted gold in the style of Italian iconography which added considerably to their impact.
Asked someone at the gallery about this artist and the exhibition in general and was told that all of the work had been sold. Almost the entire collection had been bought by Emiratis with one particularly risqué piece acquired by a Sheikh.
Sorry no pics of any of them …. I actually forget to get my camera out!