Bits and Pieces of a Broken World  – Laurence Noga Strange Windows (the found and forgotten) Standpoint Gallery 2022

By Peter Suchin

Laurence Noga’s paintings and constructions stand between conventional two-dimensional surfaces of colour and line and jazzy amalgams of wall-mounted three-dimensional shapes. The artist has candidly spoken about being influenced – an overused but here appropriate term – by Schwitters and Paolozzi amongst others, something that is plainly “declared” in these works whilst being tightly held in check by the strength of Noga’s own sensibility and approach. There’s a sort of bravado in operation in Noga’s practice, a jamming together of painting and assemblage that in some ways just shouldn’t succeed, and yet does.

Noga’s most recent show, at London’s Standpoint gallery in late 2022 and aptly titled Strange Windows, was like four or five mini-exhibitions in one. A “washing line” (as Noga has called it) of small, speedy, dense abstract collages represented points of departure for later, larger paintings on metal, canvas and board (also displayed), while staged, appropriately, in a section of the gallery still retaining the odd industrial fitting from the building’s former life, were two or three series of constructed forms. Flat against the wall but also projecting from it, and requiring the viewer to perambulate about to gain the full effect, several compact assemblages implied containment and recursivity as much as an alignment with the plane of the wall. The bolted-on found fragments of scrappy wood recalled the driftwood complications of Margaret Mellis, mixed with snippets of Schwitters’ occasional collaged boxes, and even Frank Stella’s “Playskool” series seemed part of the overall allusive tone. A Cubist-inflected “back-to-basics” also staked its place in the display. It was as if Noga had miniaturised and remixed disparate components of Modernist and Postmodernist art, but since detritus is, by definition, common and devoid of value, it’s open to any artist to deploy found material if pertinent to the work at hand. If earlier generations of artists reconstituted and aestheticised waste, the implication today – if not the actual physical procedure – of dismantling and rearranging what’s received through, or transmitted by earlier artistic practice is not so much “fair game” as a vital – if implicit – form of critique.

Noga’s carnivalesque assemblages are bright, ludic, very jolly, but melancholic too. These artworks function as archives, but also suggest practical puzzles and, at a stretch, tabernacles holding secret compartments. Yet one soon realises that the instant riot of relays and “pop” fragments, isolated letters, crude corporate logos, patches of woodgrain, and geometric printed patterns in fact retain the connotations of a lost past life. One of the triggers for Noga’s current work is the large collection of tools, product packages, restaurant menus, photographs, washers and other half-useless “rainy day” objects collected and meticulously stored by his father over many years. As a World War Two Polish refugee who had forcibly lost everything he knew and possessed, this man was highly conscious of the value of holding onto anything that might be needed later on. Schwitters, too, was a refugee who keenly took to hoarding little bits and pieces of a broken world, and surely such vigilance is part of why his work is recognised as being so significant today.

There are at least two strands of experience brought together in Noga’s practice, that of painting, and that highlighted by Walter Benjamin under the sign of the ragpicker, a figure who sifts through that which others have discarded in search of something that may be used again. As Susan Buck-Morss observes on page 293 of The Dialectics of Seeing, her 1989 study of Benjamin’s Arcades Project, “The past haunts the present; but the latter denies it with good reason. For on the surface, nothing remains the same.”




In recent paintings I have developed a calculated layering of colour and collage and mixed media. Drawing the viewer into a peripheral world of imperfect geometries.

The work combines an industrial and geometric aesthetic with more personal themes and undercurrents. A sense of history comes from collective and individual memories. As many of the elements, such as the support for the painting, are from my father’s collection of objects and memorabilia in his garage – hundreds of tools, packets, washers, menus, books and photographs. Their selection and use activates an open approach reliant on the environment and experimentation, alongside a human response to the mysterious, and forgotten items and their poetic sense of history.

A long term interest in the “Bauhaus’ particularly Moholy Nagy, Josef Albers and Paul Klee drives the unpredictability /predictability of the colour handling. These relationships aim to disorientate the viewer, as surface facture is used translucently, or with a sudden density. The colour is often disbursed, or used in compartments, to create a deliberate, and odd depth of field.

recent exhibitions :

2020: Covimetry an international exhibition of current trends in geometric art – BWA Gallery, Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, Poland. (Online) 4/12 – 31/12/20

Multilayer vision 20/20 curated by Juliane Rogge and Ivo Ringe – Raum Schroth, Museum Wilhelm Morgnet Soest. 11 /10 – 31/1/21.

Then&Now  –  Curated by Christina Niederberger and Alexandra Baraitser, 29th Oct – 13th Dec, Terrace Gallery, William the Fourth Leyton, London.

Washing Line – Curated by Neil Zakiewicz and Patrick Morrissey, Thames – Side studios, London.

Recent Paintings The Elixir Gallery Queen Elizabeth Hospital London (solo) 2020,

Online showcase :I’m in a window mood  Curated by Lucy Cox 2020, Possible Architectures Curated by Patrick Morrissey and Hanz Hancock Stephen Lawrence Gallery University of Greenwich London 2019, Playtime curated by Sharon Hall at Arthouse 1 London 2019 Catalogue Art House 1, Panel Paintings 3 at the Eagle Gallery London 2019 . Other group exhibitions (2018) include Momentum, Angus Hughes Gallery London, Open Construction, Eastbury Manor London 2018, John Moores Painting Prize Walker Art Gallery Liverpool 2018 Catalogue John Walker Art Gallery. Other exhibitions include :Open System C&C Gallery London 2018 (solo), Entr’acte: Intermission, Galerie Abstract Project Paris 2017, Make Shift Collyer Bristow London 2017, Sluice Art Fair with Saturation Point, Sluice Art Space London.


Reviews/ Catalogues

2019 Iterations Curated By Ben Gooding Arthouse 1,Catalogue Text

2019 Tomorrows Harvest, Tim Ellis, Fold Gallery, Saturation Point

2018 Looking Down – Francesca Simon Platform A, Catalogue text

2017 Tectonical, Fold Gallery, Saturation Point.

2016  Flatland (curated by TimEllis), Fold Gallery, Saturation Point
2015  Reflections, Eagle Gallery, Published on the occasion of Natalie Dower’s Reflections, Text Laurence Noga
2015  Glyph Graph, Ian Monroe, Horatio Junior, Saturation Point
2015  About Now, Paintings and Prints, Bernard Cohen, Flowers Gallery, Saturation Point
2015  Studio at Fold Gallery, Dominic Beattie, Saturation Point
2015  Time of Day, Eagle Gallery,Trevor Sutton, Saturation Point
2015  Generator,Saturation Point Projects, Kaleidascope Gallery Sevenoaks, Saturation Point
2015  Adventures of the Black Square,Whitechapel Gallery, Saturation Point
2015  Seeds and Syntax, Eagle Gallery, Julia Farrer/Mandy Bonnell, Saturation Point
2015 Seven From The Seventies, Flowers Gallery, Saturation Point
2014 Chance and Order, Eagle Gallery, Saturation Point
2014 Fine Line, Austin Desmond Gallery, Saturation Point
2014 Tricking Yourself, Saatchi Gallery, Fold Gallery, Finbar Ward, Saturation Point


2016 Interview with Michaela Zimmer, Laurence Noga Kerstin Mey, Saturation Point
2015 Interview with Simon Callery, Laurence Noga, Saturation Point
2015 Interview with Richard Caldicott, Laurence Noga, Saturation Point
2015 Interview with David Oates, Laurence Noga, Saturation Point
2014 Interview with Estelle Thompson, Laurence Noga, Saturation Point



Peter Ashton Jones on Laurence Noga’s Deep Pink Filtered Silver

“The free-hand of the drawing, the layering of the painting, the contained release of the vertical bands of paint in contrast to the open field of disbursed paint, and most of all the exactness of the colour relationships, create a depth of field that is seen through the surface of the ‘painting’. There is a sense that a shadow or ghost of some thing or object is in the painting, not lying behind, not pushing to find a figurative form, but more as a signifier for the act of the hand.”
Approaching the In-Between – Nancy Cogswell & Laurence Noga – critical essay by Peter Ashton Jones, co-Editor of Turps Banana

Bibliography & Press


2012   Intuition anti Intuition: Game and play: Lion and lamb Gallery London – Andy Parkinson
2012   First come first served Lion and Lamb Gallery London – Andy Parkinson
2011   Approaching the In-between–  Peter Ashton Jones, Co-Editor Turps Banana
2011   Approaching the In-between, Laurence Noga & Nancy Cogswell – Art Rabbit
2008  Perpetuum Mobile  APT Gallery London
2008  Re: Inventing – a collaboration between Wimbledon College of Art, ING, and the National Maritime Museum
2003  ColourSpace, Time Out
2002  B Magazine – Laurence Noga: Art in the Studio
2002  SW Magazine: Bettie Morton Gallery
1998   Robin Dutt & Richard Dyer on Dinosaurs’ Blood
1994   Iain Gale, The Independent
1993   Angela Sommerfield, Royal Academy Magazine
1993   Art Review
1992   Robin Dutt, What’s On