Young London: 2016 Picks

We asked a few of our London-based chums for their most exciting up-and-comers, all of whom will be having their first solo exhibitions at these five galleries in 2016. Hailing from as far afield as Australia, Los Angeles and…Middlesex, these names are worth keeping an eye on. If you’re lucky enough to live in London (not merely for your wonderfully close proximity to team Elephant) look no further. 

Josh Lilley

The central London space will be showing their first solo exhibition of Kathleen Ryan’s work in May. The Californian artist graduated from UCLA in 2014–appearing in a group show, Control Lapse at Josh Lilley that year–and has had solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, as well as a nice spot at Frieze London’s sculpture park in October 2015. Her sculptural work is already incredibly distinguishable, often taking a playful look at the expectations of material; employing a limited, natural colour palette with the odd splash of colour, and materials such as concrete, marble and epoxy putty. These are commanding works that combine the gutsy nature of sculpture’s more traditional past, with a clean, contemporary aesthetic.

Showing in May 2016, full details TBA. Read more about Kathleen Ryan at

Alex Rathbone at The Sunday Painter

Home to a modest but precisely picked selection of young artists, Peckham’s The Sunday Painter had a pretty smashing 2015, topped with a well-publicised solo booth of the consistently magnificent Samara Scott at London’s Frieze. This February, Alex Rathbone returns for his first solo exhibition at the gallery (he held a studio at the space a few years back), having completed his MFA at Glasgow School of Art last year.

‘Rathbone’s willingness to embrace a vernacular distinct from the realms of the conventional languages of contemporary art is demonstrated throughout his practice. Clay facsimiles, ancient pastiche, clip art come together to hint at an alternate reality. In this environment degradation and decay take hold, albeit artificially and clinically, ensuring we don’t depart too far from the actuality—that we have slipped into the fabric of a multi-levelled real life video game scenario.’ The Sunday Painter

Showing in February 2016, full details TBA.

Ry David Bradley at Evelyn Yard

The Australian artist Ry David Bradley comes to London in late March for his first UK solo show, at W1’s Evelyn Yard. Bradley’s practice explores the relationship between paintings and images—specifically those that have been sourced from the web. These web-born, landscape images, are edited by the artist on Photoshop, before they are printed onto synthetic suede and stretched as a traditional canvas might be. Bradley often mixes these works with a wider installation, last year displaying them behind a silver, metal fence–at Milan’s Brand New Gallery and Kansas City’s Bill Brady Gallery–a move described by the artist as being ‘inherently political’.

Showing in March 2016, full details TBA. Read more about Ry David Bradley at

Martine Poppe at Kristin Hjellegjerde 

The Wandsworth gallery Kristin Hjellegjerde represents a mix of rising and established artists—often focusing on powerfully coloured, painterly works, that have an underlying political subject matter. Martine Poppe will be showing a solo exhibition at the gallery in April.

Living and working in London, the young (1988) Norwegian artist graduated with an MFA from The Slade School of Fine Art in 2013. Her oil on polyester works all feature a white-ish haze on their surfaces, creating a gentle aesthetic that often masks more violent imagery; including guns, police cars and darkened figures. Her work so far has been shown primarily in group exhibitions in both London and Oslo.

Showing from 22 April – 21 May 2016, full details at


l’étrangère have an exciting group of young European artists, mainly working with a mix of sculpture and photography — often with a mischievous edge. This month, the Shoreditch gallery will open a solo exhibition of the Berlin-based artist Marie Jeschke. A mix of site-specific installation and photography, Can’t Remember Always Always looks at the relationship between memory and archive.

‘By sidestepping an institutional approach to the archive and image conservation, Jeschke returns to a highly personal understanding of collecting, object ontology, memory, and identity-formation.’ l’étrangère

Showing from 29 January – 5 March 2016, full details at

Kathleen Ryan, Bacchante (Tall White), 2015 Concrete, stainless steel, marble 238 x 139 x 106 cm/ 94 x 55 x 42 inches
Alex Rathbone, Da beisst die Maus keinen Faden ab, 2015, Acrylic on Canvas, Rope, 180 × 72 × 3 cm
Alex Rathbone, break the thread, 2015, Installation View, Frutta
Da beisst die Maus keinen Faden ab, 2015, Acrylic on Canvas, Rope, 180 × 72 × 3 cm
Ry David Bradley, WDYWTGT #4, 2015, spray paint and dye transfer on synthetic suede, 182.9 x 111.7cm
Martine Poppe, P6170214, 2015 Oil on polyester restoration fabric 160 x 236 cm 63 x 92 7/8 in Copyright The Artist
Martine Poppe, P6160081, 2015 Oil on polyester restoration fabric 160 x 160 cm 63 x 63 in Copyright The Artist
Marie Jeschke
Marie Jeschke, 10 / 16 Vitale Ambivalenz, 2014. Secondhand batik cloth, Secondhand manga poster, silk screen, printed pop-up colour, piercing rings