Mervyn Peake – British Library acquires his Visual Archive

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.

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Kovet.Art – Delineating Dreams

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. 

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David Downes – Responses to Covid-19

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.

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Toma Stenko – How Love Feels

Every picture tells a story goes the saying. For Georgian artist Toma Stenko, narrative abounds in her paintings, driven by colour and figurative symbols. Her first London solo exhibition, as the title says, is about love in all its guises, seen from a female perspective. It’s not all sweetness and light since her works are intensely autobiographical, reflecting a fascinating but troubled childhood.

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Ishbel Myerscough – Grief, Longing and Love

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.

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Gill Button – Traces of You

With a background in illustration, Gill Button has established a reputation for taking as inspiration images of models and figures from the pages of fashion websites and magazines and re-versioning them into intimate portraits. With a deft touch of the paintbrush, she succeeds in investing each one with human emotion, feelings such as vulnerability, assertiveness, defiance or just plain cool. Her new solo exhibition, Traces of You, sees her take this practice a step further and extending her repertoire.

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Henrik Uldalen – Lethe

It’s a common theme in history that reactionary groups look back to a so-called golden age, believing that society’s ills will be cured if one returned to the values of the good old days. It’s never that simple of course and the idea of a false collective memory looking at the past through a rose-tinted filter is the theme of Henrik Uldalen’s new solo exhibition, Lethe, at JD Malat Gallery.

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Andrew Lanyon – Beaux Arts London

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.

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