‘My Reflection of You’ opens at The Perimeter in London

The personal art collections of Russell Tovey and Alexander Petalas inspire reflection in London

At The Perimeter, London, ‘My Reflection of You’, a joint exhibition by collectors Russell Tovey and Alexander Petalas captures the reflective gaze, combining the work of established and emerging artists

My Reflection of You, a new exhibition at London’s contemporary art space The Perimeter, brings together the personal art collections of owner Alexander Petalas and actor and art lawyer Russell Tovey.

The collaborative exhibit is a self-proclaimed “choose your own adventure” with no beginning or end, encouraging viewers to explore at their own pace.

Petalas and Tovey have deliberately mixed more established artists, such as Wolfgang Tillmans and Phyllida Barlow, with more up-and-coming names such as Leidy Churchman and Shawanda Corbett. They ignore traditional hierarchies in favor of bringing together works of art that can lead to reflection. The goal, Tovey explains, is to promote art through “accessibility and alliance, empowering and encouraging artists to move forward and let people enjoy art as much as possible.”

Katarina Fritz, Shell (pink)2013. Toyin Ojih Odutola, The abstraction of a continent2017-2018. Photography: Robert Glowackic

As we tour the gallery, Petalas and Tovey’s consideration and curatorial instincts are evident in the moments they provide through the delicately placed artwork and insightful themes woven throughout the show.

The show feels like a salient moment in their careers as collectors, where they show perspectives they’ve understood by hearing the stories of each piece of art.

Toyin Ojih Odutola’s The abstraction of a continent2018, sits in harmony with Katarina Frisch’s muschel (pink), 2013. Set in an intimate basement space, the two pieces are strikingly lit to aptly capture a moment of meditation. Odutola’s piece is part of a series of visualizations of a Nigerian gay utopia, where royal families are brought together by queer sons. Frisch’s emblematic sculpture complements the painting, both in color and in symbolism of ‘coming out of the world and becoming who you want to be’, explains Petalas.

Joseph Yaeger, Fear of heights2021. Karla Black, Allow Myths2012. Ana Benaroya, My reflection of you2020. Photography: Robert Glowackic

The exhibition also explores viewing works from different perspectives. A microcosm of Phyllida Barlow’s repertoire resides below the foyer, viewed from above, allowing it to contain a somewhat remote space adjacent to the show’s titular painting by Ana Benaroya, as well as a 2016 painting by Etel Adnan. Descend the spiral staircase to the basement and you’ll get a 360-degree view of Rebecca Warren’s Sachs2013, seeing the spindly metal structure from all angles.

Tovey and Petalas selected focal works to build upon for each room and naturally expanded from there, guided by their respective curative skills. The resulting series delves into art’s ability to connect us in discrete moments of communal humanity. It evokes an ‘inner reflection on yourself, reflection on other people, on how you can influence someone’, explains Petalas.

A highlight of the exhibition is the photo of Wolfgang Tillmans Sicily morning2018. The image of a hand holding an orange conveys the idea of ​​unguarded moments that inspired the curator of Tovey and Petalas.

Katy Heck, Into the dark2020. Guan Xiao, Tree’s Daughter2019. Doron Langberg, untitled, 2020. Photography: Robert Glowackic

It anchors a naturally lit first floor space, which Tovey says is “meant to feel like a spring morning.” Nearby is a sculpture by Guan Xiao, with two celestial ambiguous figures guiding you through the room, as well as paintings by Doron Langberg, Lisa Brice and Ann Craven, each capturing a blissful moment. Collectively, the artworks suggest a mix of euphoria and nostalgia.

Other spaces within The Perimeter have a more contemplative tone, including works by Joseph Yaeger, Salman Toor and Toyin Ojih Odutola, which consider snapshots of impactful moments. Sculptural works by SoiL Thornton, Rebecca Warren, Katarina Frisch and Prem Sahib aim to fuel the discussion about queer experiences, class differences and self-perception. The exhibition realizes the shared vision of Petalas and Tovey to capture the reflective gaze in its diverse forms, creating a space that encourages contemplation. I

Yngve Holen, Sensitive to detergent, collect the good stuff, 2013; Jamie Juliano Villani, Necessities, 2019; Leidy churchman, moon rabbit2020. Photography: Robert Glowackic

Doron Langberg, Edgar2019. Photography: Robert Glowackic

Gal Schindler, Fingers of a ghost2021. Lisa Brice, untitled, 2019. Photography: Robert Glowackic

Salman Toor, immigration men2019. Shawanda Corbett, Boy, did you wash your hands?2021. Photography: Robert Glowackic

Phyllida Barlow, Untitled: donors2015. Photography: Robert Glowackic

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