One of the best things about living in London is that this fabulous capital never ceases to surprise and delight. There is always something new to discover and this week I found endless delight in the art on display at the ARTHOUSE1 gallery in Bermondsey.

Only distinguishable from the terrace of Georgian houses by a large letter A above the door, this artfully refurbished house invites you into a domestic space characterised by beauty and detail. Up the staircase to the gallery space on the top floor, the current exhibition featuring work by David MacDiarmid and Kate Palmer offers up more meticulous beauty and detail, both innately in the work and in its presentation.

MacDiarmid’s sculptures weave a pathway between exacting craftsmanship and the elevation of the mundane via the use of material, colour and gilding. Kate Palmer’s breathtakingly perfect white canvases are etched by a series of lines, score marks and smudges – perhaps redolent of the tracks she leaves in the snow when snowboarding in the Alps – but suggestive of the pauses, interruptions and welcome, or otherwise, interventions in the conversation of life.

The press release for the show describes it as mutual state of collapse, but there is a sense of deliberateness, intent and care which characterises this work for me. Never more so that in the glorious juxtapositions which occur in the hanging. MacDiarmid’s perfect loop of brass seemingly held together with a knot of thread, balances on a fireplace adjacent to a wall with Palmer’s unique black and white language which is anything but monochrome in its complexity and depth.

Sluff by Kate Palmer

This is one of the most thoughtful and engaging exhibitions I’ve seen for a while; a rare occasion when you leave an exhibition feeling a little more curious about the world,

Studio composition detail by David MacDiarmid

than when you went in.

Collapse is at the ARTHOUSESE1 gallery, 45 Grange Road, London SE1 3BH with an opportunity to hear the artists in conversation on 11 March. Visit for more details.

  1. Rebecca Fairman says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful review. I feel most humble to have such talented artists collaborating so beautifully, and uniquily in a space where I thought I had maybe seen it all!! Best wishes, Rebecca Fairman.

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