Summer is over. It's official. And I know it's over because this week, despite the temperatures in the high 20's (what's that about?) - this week alone - there are openings at Rokeby, Rachmaninoff's, Aquarium, Camden Arts Centre, Rosy Wilde, Chisenhale, Modern Art, Madder Rose, One in the Other, i-cabin, Barlett's, Maureen Paley, Vilma Gold, Alison Jacques, David Risley, Bearspace, Matthew Bown, Lisson, Gimpel fils, Foster Art, Unit 2, Lounge...
And those are just some of the ones I know of. Everyone's back, everyone's showing and everyone's already started, strapped in, clunk click, on the downhill, hurtling, towards the almighty, rub your hands together and count the cash, unmissable meat market that is, after all, the mighty Frieze Art Fair in mid October.
What's a boy to do?
Well, here's what: I go to Chisenhale to the opening of Clare Woods show.
Yep, caught me a bit by surprise too. Not where I thought I was going to be at first. It is, after all, a two tube trip with a bus ride to follow (and, as it transpires, a little bit more walking than I had planned, jumping, as I did, on the wrong bus...) and I know Clare's work and it's good, but I'm not really a big fan and well...and well, I almost didn't go: Cathy and Alex from Transition came in to the ICA and were going to Rosy Wilde and then I think - well, maybe I should just nip in there, then I could comfortably get up to Rokeby (and you all know how much I like Rokeby) and then maybe home...
But no. I have to go to Chisenhale.
I have to go because for everything that I think about Clare's work (yes, fine, interesting, a little reserved) I can't get the image of a photo of one of her new paintings that comes through on email from Modern Art out of my head. And it's a photo of one of the paintings in the show (one of them, mind) and it's huge. It must be like 30 or 40 feet long. It's amazing. And I just have to go and see it and see where she's taking herself off to on this one. What a great leap.
And so I go. And after the tubes and the bus and the short walk made longer by the wrong bus, I'm going down the slope inside Chisenhale and pulling open the big gallery door and I feel ilke I'm walking into a washing machine, such is the noise of the chattering and talking and hello-good-to-see-you bouncing off the gallery walls and hard floor and having nowhere else to go but back into the middle of the room and then out again and back in and out and in and out like a rough, loud sea.
And boy, yes the paintings are big. Three huge paintings.
They are all done in parts, and where the joins are sometimes the paint runs across it and it joins up, and sometimes it doesn't, as though she has done the paintings all in one go and had these sheets of aluminium lined up with the spaces between them and what the heck if the paints falls through the spaces and the line is broken. That's just the way it is and the way it is.
They are great pieces.
The biggest one - which is nearly 40 feet long - is like some sort of jungle or underwater scene, or some place where nature has just been allowed to keep growing and tangling up, unchecked. It's exuberant and full of life...
And the one on the right is like a coastline. There's a definite suggestion of sea and sand, coastline, grasses, paths, waterpipes, rusted trawler chains.
I've just been for a few days in St Ives and it reminds of the glorious coastline I've just left behind. I hung out there on the beach making sculptures out of seaweed and circles out of seagull feathers.
I see Simon Wallis there who runs the exhibitons and who used to be Exhibitions Director at ICA. We have a little chat about Jens Hoffmann going to the Wattis and this and that and we talk about Clare's work and I say I really like it and I'll write about it and am thinking to say that I write a blog of London art stuff, but before I can he says, 'oh that's right - you really liked the Dryden Goodwin show we had here. I remember reading your piece on that.'
So I guess I don't need to give him a card...
'Anyway, look,' he says, 'I'm sorry, excuse me, I've got to work,' he says, raising his eyebrows, 'Work!?!' he laughs. 'You know what I mean,' and, as a woman walks through the big door to the gallery, he kisses her delightedly on both cheeks.
Summer is most defintely over.