They may not be hanging in the Tate gallery but as CLAIRE HACK discovered the works of art on display at the Our Space gallery in Old Street show a sensitivity and depth sadly lacking in established art.

OUTSIDER art typically describes artworks created by those who don’t fit within the confines of mainstream or “official” culture.

In association with Islington-based charity The Other Side Gallery, the exhibition, entitled “Space Dog”, celebrates the work of contemporary outsider artists.

These are artists who may be without fixed addresses or who may have mental health issues or consider themselves to be excluded from “mainstream” society in some way.

The exhibition is predominantly made up of photography, with a diverse mix of portraiture, landscape and ambitious experimentation with form and composition.

A particular highlight is Justine Roland-Cal, whose technically accomplished black-and-white portraits capture human life in its various guises and evoke tenderness and warmth for each subject.

From the sullen-looking overly made-up teenage girls in “Teens” to the lined, weather-beaten face of “Mushroom Pete”, photographed in Epping Forest, each picture offers a fleeting glimpse into the life of the sitter.

Not all of them seem to be aware of the photographer, however, and it’s these photographs that are most effective.

The subjects, blissfully ignorant of the camera, are not posing or smiling, caught offguard in all their vulnerability and humanity.

Roland-Cal is joined by fellow photographers Stephen Jackson and Raul Peteiro, whose contrasting works offer an unusual complement to each other.

Jackson, whose photographs incorporate both the natural and the manmade, plays with colour and light to create haunting, otherworldly images while Peteiro explores the darker side of humanity with images evoking decay and isolation. The gallery is small - most of the exhibition is on a mezzanine no more than 12x15ft - and there is no biographical detail on the artists.

There’s an online blurb available at and the, but visitors are left to invent their own histories for artists whose identities are all but shrouded in mystery, highlighting their outsider status.

Space Dog is a quirky, offbeat exhibition perfect for art lovers looking for something different to the big name fare of galleries like the Tate Britain and the Barbican.

The Other Side Gallery is based in North London and works with marginalised adults, including mental health service users, refugees, homeless people, people with drug problems and those with physical disabilities.

Together: Working for Wellbeing is a mental health charity, whose national office is host to the Space Dog exhibition.

Space Dog is at 12 Old Street, EC1V 9BE until September 30. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and admission is free. All works are for sale