Last month saw all the summers big blockbuster exhibitions opening. Whilst they are definitely worth going to see, my top art picks this month offer an antidote to the crowd-pleasing nature of those mega-shows. These exhibitions are all either from smaller, more experimental galleries or offer a more thought-provoking view of things. and it just goes to show that there is always something for everyone across the capitals art galleries. Payne Shurvell is a brand new gallery in the heart of Shoreditch. For it’s inaugural show, ‘A Bright and Guilty Place’, they have come out with all guns blazing. Each of the thirteen fantastic artists featured, are somewhat under the radar, whether it be because they are right at the beginning of their careers or that they have not been shown in this country for many years. The quality of work on display shows that this small but well-poised gallery could be a force to be reckoned with. There is a great sense of a strong curatorial style, with the theme of this show being mapping – however this is interpreted in a variety of different ways and it will be very exciting to see what they show next. The gallery is run by an artist and an arts writer/promoter so it falls nicely in between a commercial gallery and an artist run space. Given the current doom and gloom over the economic climate and spending cuts, it is fantastic to see that such an innovative art space can start up so successfully. They are defiantly ones to watch! Photobucket If the maps theme of the last show takes your fancy then do also pay a visit to the British Library’s most recent exhibition Magnificent Maps: Power Propaganda and Art. It’s a more sober and serious look at the subject, but no less interesting. The ancient maps taken from the library’s collection offer us a new view of the past. These maps are serious treasures, so to be able to see them all displayed is a real treat. It may not be as immediately engaging to those used to the thrills of modern art as it is a more subtle view, but fasinating nonetheless. Maps really are the subject ‘de jour’, as Rivington Place’s show ‘Who’s Map Is It?’ also takes them as its inspiration. This time, nine female artists take mapping as their starting point, to create multimedia artworks dealing with modern social and political messages. Another smaller show that is packing a bit of a punch this month is Proposals by Volker Eichelmann and Florian Schmidt at Ancient and Modern. The show is a mixture of collage and painting. The collages by Eichelmann are clean and intimate, worth spending time to study each one of the thirty on display here. Each is a proposed design for a building or sculpture, created from meticulous magazine cutouts. Photobucket The most exciting of the current shows at major spaces has to be Sally Mann at the Photographers Gallery. Mann is an extremely well regarded American photographer, who came to prominence in the 1990s, with a series of thought provoking and evocative images of her own children. She works mainly in black and white, using large formats and old-fashioned techniques. Her latest works focus more on the traditionally favourite subject of artists – death. As always her images offer a strange beauty and other-worldliness that is instantly captivating. So hopefully one of these shows, that all are a little different from the norm, will take your fancy this month! A Bright and Guilty Place at PayneShurvell until July 24th. Free Magnificent Maps: Power Propaganda and Art at the British Library until Sepember 19th. Free Who’s Map Is It?at Rivington Place until July 24th. Free Proposals by Volker Eichelmann and Florian Schmidt at Ancient and Modern until July 31st. Free The Family and The Land by Sally Mann at the Photographers Gallery until September 19th. Free All images courtesy of the artist