Mervyn Peake will be best remembered as the author of the Gormenghast trilogy, those wonderful novels full of eccentric characters populating a bizarre fantasy world. What’s less known is that Peake was an acclaimed artist, regarded as one of the best children’s illustrators of his day. The British Library has just announced that it has acquired his visual archive of more than 300 original illustrations, that will now join the library’s collection of his papers.Continue reading “Mervyn Peake – British Library acquires his Visual Archive”
One of the effects of this current pandemic is that many of us are wondering what changes the virus will have wrought upon our society after it goes away (if it ever does go away!).
In a broader sense, this zeitgeist has been taken up by Kovet.Art, a new arts organisation designed to help collectors discover the best emerging talent in the UK and to harness and mentor that talent. Its inaugural online exhibition, Delineating Dreams, invites eight of its artists to delve into a dream world expressing visually both the conscious and the subconscious. It’s a surrealism-heavy show just as our current plight has many such characteristics.Continue reading “Kovet.Art – Delineating Dreams”
Every major world crisis, be it war, financial meltdown or as now, global pandemic, is interpreted through the lens of artists of all genres. It can be graphic depiction, symbolic, allegoric or whatever but all capturing in some way the zeitgeist. Among the first painters out of the blocks to give expression to their immediate feelings about the current Coronavirus crisis is David Downes who has just released a series dedicated to it.Continue reading “David Downes – Responses to Covid-19”
There’s an underlying sense of sadness in this new exhibition by British portrait artist Ishbel Myerscough. Half way through preparing for the show, her mother died suddenly without warning. This followed the death two months earlier of her father-in-law.
There’s nothing like the death of a close parent to remind one of one’s own mortality but also to cherish what one has and holds. Grief, Longing and Love provides a series of intimate portraits of family and friends that captures stages in life’s journey from the innocence of youth through the experiences of motherhood to family bereavement.Continue reading “Ishbel Myerscough – Grief, Longing and Love”
“I’m a total believer in absolute nonsense. The absurdity of life is my single goal.” So says artist Glen Baxter whose latest exhibition has just opened at London’s Flowers Gallery in Cork Street. Its very title is appropriately absurd. Gamboge is a yellow pigment that Buddhist monks use to dye their robes. Put it next to the wonderful word “unflinchingly” and you get what he calls “a little explosion”.Continue reading “Glen Baxter – Unflinchingly Gamboge”
Andrew Lanyon is a polymath. He was a photographer who worked with Eve Arnold. He studied film technique, made several short prize-winning films and helped Stanley Kubrick in the early ‘70s as an assistant editor of Ambit Magazine. He has penned dozens of books, both fiction and non-fiction. He can conjure, he sculpts, he publishes, he writes poetry and songs and he paints. He probably dances and plays the bagpipes too though I never asked him about that. I met him at his latest solo art exhibition comprising some 40 small-scale oil paintings produced over the last decade.Continue reading “Andrew Lanyon – Beaux Arts London”
As the UK’s contemporary art scene gears up for the announcement of this year’s prestigious Turner Prize winner, University of the Arts London (UAL) has mounted a fascinating exhibition featuring the work of alumni, both teachers and students, who have either won or been nominated for the prize since its inception in 1984.Continue reading “Counter Acts: Incomplete Histories 1984 – present”
Fierce nationalism and inter-religious tension in South Asia have been a constant feature of the region’s modern history, a legacy of Partition in 1947 and the struggle for independence for Bangladesh in 1971. Millions of people were displaced and millions were killed either directly or through famine. The resultant instability of concepts like home and nationality is explored by 11 acclaimed artists in a new and stimulating exhibition at Cambridge’s Kettle’s Yard, curated by Dr Devika Singh, Curator of International Art at Tate Modern.Continue reading “Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan – Kettle’s Yard”
Last summer, as a result of the UK’s prolonged heatwave, ancient archaeological features began mysteriously appearing in our countryside visible from the air, only to vanish again when the rains came. For a short time, you could detect the outlines of ancient farms, burial mounds and neolithic settlements. I was reminded of this when viewing Naomi Frears work in her new exhibition at London’s Beaux Arts Gallery.Continue reading “Naomi Frears – Beaux Arts”
Robyn Denny was one of the UK’s most influential painters of the post-war era. He was a leading name in the so-called New Generation of artists who graduated from the Royal College of Art in the 1950s and helped bring British art into the mainstream. With his friend Richard Smith, he was an instigator of the groundbreaking ‘Situation’ exhibition at the RBA Galleries in 1960, a landmark for British abstract art. He represented Britain at the 1966 Venice Biennale and became the youngest artist ever (at the time) to be awarded a retrospective at the Tate in 1973.Continue reading “Robyn Denny – Works on Paper”