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The Brick Lane Gallery

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by Karys McEwen (subscribe)
Freelance writer and wanderer always on the lookout for quirky activities that take you off the beaten track.
Published April 11th 2011

The Brick Lane Gallery is one of London's many hidden gems. It can be found at the top end of Brick Lane, close to Liverpool Street and on Sundays it is in the midst of the wonderful commotion of the vintage and second hand markets. The location serves only to add to the gallery's unrelenting energy and creative vibe. It houses an attention-grabbing eclectic mix of contemporary art by British and international artists that has a frequent turn over and consequently numerous opening events.

At the gallery you will find a mixture of group and solo shows in the mediums of painting, sculpture, photography, performance, video and works on paper. It sounds like a lot to tackle in one space, but the main focus seems to be on street and contemporary art from fresh and up and coming artists.

Shutters 2 by Y-NOT

The way that the gallery functions is via a programme called Art in Mind, where the space is available to hire for solo or group exhibitions as well as events. Artists may hire out spaces of 3, 6 or 9 metres and exhibit any type of work as a part of an ongoing group exhibition. The idea is to offer emerging and mid-career artists a platform to showcase their work to a diverse London audience. The gallery staff organise everything for the exhibition and their expert curation is always of a high standard.

The venue is very small and cozy and one of those places that you may easily saunter on by inadvertently, but the staff are nonetheless friendly and walk-ins are always welcome. Its intimacy means that you can consider the work from the comfort of the street before deciding if you'd like to move in for a closer look. Nine times out of ten I guarantee you'll be tempted to venture within.

Toy Story by Bortusk Leer

It may not be a gallery to particularly seek out, but if you're in the area it is usually worth at least a quick peek. Or why not use the gallery as a base to explore the rest of Brick Lane? It is situated right in the heart of this creative hub and so is the perfect beginning point for more artistic escapades, market hopping or a famous Brick Lane curry ingestion.

In February a new space was opened on Sclater Street which runs in conjunction with the existing Brick Lane Gallery. Known by its subtitle "The Annex" this second gallery is used to continue the Art in Mind programme and in line with its sister venue it offers an approachable atmosphere and entrance from a busy street.

Cleopatra IV by B-TOY
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Why? Why not? Gallery visiting is an easy weekend activity; just pop in if you feel like it.
When: Open daily 1pm - 6pm
Where: 196 Brick Lane, London E1 6SA (nearest tube: Liverpool Street, Aldgate East, Shoreditch Overground)
Cost: Free admission
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