Exhibition Reviews



The page with our view of the exhibitions
as we take a look at a selection of
recent and current exhibitions worth seeing.
Starting with a look back at my 2003
exhibition at The Lemon Grove


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  • To Start Our Exhibition Guide We Go Back To The Lemon Grove And My Summer 2003 Exhibition.
    And so to the Late Summer 2003 Adrian Monks exhibition.
    Lemon Grove is also open with a wide range of food on offer.
    Fancy a pancake ? Then get on down to the Lemon Grove, a new cafe in Ilford where you can enjoy tasty grub in an artistic setting. Pancakes are the speciailty but potatoes and sandwiches are on offer too. It's a haven of peace and quite, and there is currently an exhibition of work by Adrian Monks on show.
    See below for a picture of Ellen Buckland in the colouful Lemon Grove.
    And me there too.

    Aztecs. A civilisation carved in blood and stone.
    Royal Academy of Arts

    Off to the Academy to find out more of the Aztecs who created one of the most impressive civilisations the world has ever seen, and for this exhibition the doors of Mexico's museums have opened with many treasures leaving for the first time. 'Aztecs' includes life-size terracotta figures and monumental stone sculptures, works of turquoise, gold and jade, and exquisitely illustrated manuscripts. Computer-generated views will allow visitors to step back in time to experience the spectacle of the Aztec capital.
    An exhibition I enjoyed but one which suffered by being too popular with the guided headphone people getting in the way.

    Old Friends New Faces - Victoria Art Gallery, Bath

    A day spent in Bath, with a visit to the Victoria, a fine old building by the river. Bath is always a pleasure and the Victoria too should not be missed.
    When I visited 'Stewing Alive - the Story of Bathing in Bath' was a rare opportunity to see Victorian and Edwardian spa equipment together with an amazing variety of material illustrating the taking of the waters.
    Under the Weather: Pictures of Bath by Peter Brown, a local artist who captures the Bath streets in his work with great detail here with his own exhibition - 'Old Friends New Faces'. One of my favourites of his is 'A Glimpse of Sun, Milson Street' which is a crowded scene complete with delivery vans and shoppers.
    Others in the collection are 'People in the Wind' Sculpted by Kenneth Armitage, seen here on the right.
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  • 'The Dressmaker' by William Roberts is another that I liked in the collection. Roberts favourite subjects were portraits and scenes from everyday life. He drew his inspiration from the lives of ordinary people in London where he taught and painted. He was also an Official war artist, as was our next, John Nash.
    'The Canal Bridge' Sydney Gardens, Bath by John Nash. The canal was built between 1796-1810 to allow the transport of goods between the Avon and the Thames and this painting shows Sydney Gardens as it crosses the Thames and Kennet and Avon Canal.

    Eva Hesse - Tate Modern
    Eva Hesse died in 1970 at the age of thirty-four and is considered to be one of the great sculptors of the twentieth century. Making extraordinary art in the space between minimalism, surrealism and abstract expressionism, she pushed the boundaries of painting and sculpture by experimenting with usual materials, such as string, resin and latex, to create works of remarkable delicacy. There were 150 works to see in an exhibition which was well worth seeing.

    Max Beckmann is widely acknowledged as one of Germany's leading twentieth-century artists. A figurative painter throughout his career, Beckman depicted the world around him with unparalleled intensity. His work emerges directly from his experiences of the First and Second World Wars, the political upheavals of the 1920s and 1930s, the rise of Nazism, exile in Amsterdam and his final emigration to the United States.
    I like his style and his subjects form the entertainment world - the circus, actors, masquerade - and allegorical compositions with characters symbolic of ancient myths. Favourite of mine from this exhibition is 'The Sinking of the Titanic'.

    Max Beckmann
    Tate Modern

    12 February
    5 May 2003

    Art Deco - Victoria&Albert Museum
    Glamorous, exotic and vibrant, Art Deco is widely considered the most popular style of the twentieth century and this landmark exhibition is the most comprehensive celebration of the style ever staged. Art Deco flourished between the two world wars and was an eclectic and exciting response to the demands of the modern world. The style transformed the look of everything, from factories and cinemas to fashion and photography, and encompassed the most precious and exclusive works of art.
    A very popular exhibition divided into eight sections:- The Style And The Age, Sources, The Paris Exhibition Of 1925, The Exotic, The Moderne, The Deco World, Manhattan Modern, and Streamlining.
    Favourites of mine were posters depicting rail and sea travel. Ellen Buckland liked silver cocktail sets and the silver spherical coffee pot.

    London and its River - Mall Gallery

    A major Exhibition of contemporary paintings by the renowned Wapping Group of Artists whose sole purpose os to depict the life of the River Thames. With a history going back over 50 years it is one of the oldest societies of working artists in the country. The Group of just 25 members, many of whom have National and International recognnition, meet regularly to paint at various venues along the Thames and its Estuary.
    As early as 1938 a group had been recorded as meeting informally to paint and afterwards frequent a Wapping pub. In 1946 the Group was officially formed and the meeting points along the Thames were defined as the area between The Pool and Rotherhithe. Taking into account the changes over the past 50 years the Group now encompasses Henley to the West and the coasts of Essex and Kent to the East.
    Since their founding the Wapping Group have chronicled the passage of time on the River, from spritsail barges, steam tugs and square riggers to the age of hovercraft. From warehouses and wharves to blocks of flats giving a wide visual history of London and its river in art form.
    All the works on display are for sale, ranging from 325-4950(675-7425Euros).
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  • Matisse Picasso - Tate Modern

    It was sold out, with too many people in the way to enjoy to the full, which is a great shame as this opportunity to see thirty groupings of paintings and sculpture to compare Matisse's expressive use of colour alongside Picasso's stylish virtuosity. Between them they originated many of the most significant developments of twentieth-century painting and sculpture. It's heading to Paris next. Although overcrowded, I did enjoy this selection of work by the two artists who became friends after first meeting in Paris in Spring 1906.

    Masters of Colour - Royal Academy of Arts

    Eighty masterpieces from the private collection of Gabrielle and Wermer Merzbacher proved to be a collection of colour from many well known and lesser known artists which I enjoyed. Those colours. Favourites of mine are 'Boats in the Port of Collioure' by Andre Derain and 'Angel of the Last Judgement', by Vasily Kandinsky.

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  • Why Tate Britain and not Tate Modern. And why was it so poorly numbered, making it impossible to follow.
    Lucian Freud - Tate Britain

    I always enjoy any work by Lucian. His sitters are always well known and captured in his distinctive style. I saw shades of Stan Spencer, Max Beckman, and Paula Rego. Freud quite often appears, either in a self portrait, or as a shadow. Some favourites of mine were 'Sleeping by the Lion Carpet' and 'Large Interior W11'.

    ART2003 London Art Fair - Business Design Centre
    And so to a crowded lively Islington for this years LAF. I haven't been for a few years, but there was no shortage of exhibits. Many styles, many artists and many galleries on display here. Too much to write about here. Go to next years - 14-18 January 2004.

    Time Now For Travels To Exhibitions Seen Here In London And Beyond
    Charles Mozley 1914-1991 - Barbican Library
    Best known for his Shell and film posters, Charles Mozley's work in watercolour and lithograph vary from the stage - opera, ballet, then to views of Venice, Lake Garda, and Paris. They all display his distinctive style of strong use of line combined with colour to create vibrant and complex compositions. A good selection from a varied repertoire.

    The L S Lowry Collection. - The Lowry, Salford.

    I took the train to Manchester with mixed feelings planning to spend the day at The Lowry. Some of LS works I like, others, well, they just don't work. I took the tram from the station to the old docks at Salford where now the ships have gone. The Lowry and others have moved in. The area had the feel of Londons Docklands twenty years ago. Imperial War Museum North was about to open, Commonwealth Games were weeks away, and there was an air of expectancy. And yet there was also a lot of vacant buildings. Mixed feelings and a mixed Manchester.

    Pictured right a watercolour from 1959:- "Yachts".

    As so to the galleries. Lowry is sometimes taken to be a recorder of social scenes, and was employed as an official war artist in the Second World War. The exhibition is a record of the North East in its industrial peak and then decline. 'The Lake' was one such example. The Lake depicts the river Irwell in flood. Everything is spoiled, even the sky, which at its very edge is purple, mauve and black. LS uses colour and structure to represent an uncompromising, relentless view of a dreary, toxic landscape aroud a poisoned flood which is not a lake at all.
    This exhibition changed my view of LS. Matchstick men maybe, but LS captured a great deal more than this in his lifetime. The Lowry is well worth a visit.

    American Sublime - Tate Britain
    Many scenes of natural beauty are captured in this fine collection at the Tate. Spanning just 60 years of great change, we are taken from the State of New York and the New England region to the Andean volcanoes of Ecuador and Icebergs off Newfoundland.

    There Is More:-
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  • Watercolour Challenge Exhibition - Mall Gallery

    The successful Channel Four television programme has just filmed it's fourth series, and all the paintings created were on display here. I found my fellow gallery gazers as interesting as the art. Watercolourist daytime telly type people who were senior citizens. It was a jolly gathering with Mike Chapman signing copies of his book; other people buying prints of the paintings. Favourites of mine were the scenes from France and Italy and also the various English harbour scenes. Unfortunately I cannot show any works here without permission of the artists, but if you are one of these artists, please contact me and I will gladly display your work.


    Kitaj - In The Aura Of Cezanne And Other Masters - National Gallery
    For nearly forty years the American born painter R.B.Kitaj made his home in London and played a central role in British art. R.B.Kitaj's new paintings, which are central to this exhibition, are both highly personal and yet universal. He engages with timeless themes of love and loss by confronting the experience of losing his wife, and also examines his Jewish identity. A most enjoyable small exhibition full of colour and life.

    Paul Klee. The Nature of Creation. - Hayward Gallery.
    If you can get to Switzerland then I would suggest a visit to the Paul Klee Museum in Bern. I was disappointed with this exhibition at the Hayward, hoping to see more of his colour paintings. Instead, the vast majority were sketches. This is an exhibition for the academics. I'll let Paul Klee have the final word. 'Colour possesses me. I don't have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. Colour and I are one. I am a painter.'

    Paris:Capital Of The Arts 1900-1968. - Royal Academy Of Arts. Reviewer - Ellen Buckland
    I don't get away from the garden much, but I ventured to the Royal Academy a couple of weeks ago to see the 'Paris: Capital of the Arts'.
    The exhibition covered the period 1900-1968, and traces the major developments in painting and sculpture that took place in Paris throughout the first 7 decades of the 20th Century, reflecting the unfolding narrative of historical and political events that changed the city's character during this period.
    With over 300 paintings and sculptures on show, it is excellent value. Being rather bohemian myself (except when I am in the office) I particularly enjoyed the selections devoted to Montmartre and Montparnasse and the cafe lifestyle of the artists and their friends. Indeed, the portrayals of original bohemian life will have you pining for the Paris of the 20s and 30s - there you are on a summer night sharing an absinthe in Montmartre with Matisse, or perhaps you are whiling away an afternoon with Picasso and his chums at la Coupole in Montmartre. Except with my luck I suppose I would be starving in a garret on a bare mattress with some hideous fever and 2 months behind with the rent.


    COBRA - Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam - Manchester Art Gallery

    A trip by train to Manchester to see two exhibitions.
    This is the first comprehensive exhibition in the UK of the radical post-war movement of artists and poets known as COBRA. The name COBRA comes from the three cities in which the main participants lived. The exhibition presents over 150 works by 20 artists. Explosively expressive, with an emphasis on myth and the untutored art of the mentally ill, the COBRA artists produced imagery teeming with fantastic creatures and exuding intense emotions:rage,joy and humour. The exhibition conveys the energy and subversive power of this influential movement. This was a fine exhibition. The only great shame is that it can't be seen at move venues.

    Alfred Ackrill: A Manchester Impressionist Discovered - Manchester Art Gallery
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  • Alfred Ackrill was thwarted in his ambition to become a professional artist because of family poverty in the 1920s. In 1921, at the age of 14 he won a scholarship to attend Oldham College of Art but was unable to attend because he needed to go out to work in order to bring in money for the family. So he spent every spare minute sketching and drawing - his sketchbooks from that time are full of images of his work mates having their lunch or resting during their tea breaks. The works in this exhibition represent a selection of the artist's life's work. Alfred exhibited rarely and many of his works are still owned by his family and friends. He preferred to give his paintings away rather than sell them. He died in 1988 and the exhibition has many fine examples of how he created beautiful images from desolate streets, power station chimneys and construction sites of hin native North-East.

    Thomas Girtin. The Art of Watercolour. - Tate Britain

    This extensive collection of works by Thomas Girtin displays the vast volume of work he produced in his short 27 year life. During his life he visited many different parts of the United Kingdom, gathering material in the form of sketches. These were then worked up into finished watercolours in the studio during the rest of the year. An interesting exhibition which displays rural and urban scenes from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

    Garman Ryan Collection - The New Art Gallery, Walsall
    The Garman Ryan Collection was donated to the people of Walsall by Lady Kathleen Garman, widow of sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein, in 1973. This unique collection is displayed in a two storey house consisting of a series of intimate, interconnecting rooms, each with a window, making a house for the collection over the first and second floors of the gallery. An exhibition which I enjoyed as there are many well known artists, with many not so well known works of art on display. Catch those works by Monet, Rembrandt,Constable, Van Gogh, and Picasso.
    From Tate to Walsall....Epstein's Rock Drill.....3 May - 30 September 2003
    The New Art Gallery Walsall opened in February 2000 in the heart of Walsall town centre. The architects Peter St John and Adam Caruso were selected following an open international competition. Construction started in January 1997 and was finished in September 1999. The gallery was the largest built work of any British architect under 40.

    Future exhibitions to be visited:-
    Watch This Space
    More Details Shortly

    And New Spaces On The List Of Visits:-

    Baltic, Gateshead.


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