Galleries - February 2010

10. GALLERIES FEBRUARY 10 G iven the remarkable work the Barnet-based arts centre Artsdepot does with refugee groups, Taiwanese Canadian artist Ed Pien’s powerful installation Memento (in its Apthorp Gallery), developed out of his research into the plight of illegal immigrants internationally, carries a movingly resonant charge here. Ropes, cut silhouettes, sound and video evoke allusions to fishing nets, traps, security fences and engulfing waves, the video shown at its centre, of the artist in a small boat in heavy seas, emphasising both human vulnerability and human courage. E d Pien ‘Memento’ (detail) Q uietly humming with a dense, sonorous energy, strips of colour seemingly like lines of indecipherable text make their way across the plain coloured grounds of Edwina Leapman’s wonderfully concentrated, light-filled paintings ( Annely Juda ). Tenaciously pursuing the now almost abandoned path of Rothko-inspired abstraction for some 5 decades now, Leapman has reaped consistently intelligent and visually intensely satisfying rewards in the process, making her surely one of the most undervalued abstract painters at work in this country today. Edwina Leapman ‘Blue Burn’ 2008 T eaching in Scotland from her 20s, English-born painter Victoria Crowe rapidly became an assimilated Scot. Now living on the Scottish Borders, Italy has been a passion since the late 60s to which, more recently has been added India also. It makes for a rich palimpsest of influences that is subtly echoed in the densely layered way of working she has steadily developed over four decades or so. This latest show of paintings and works on paper at Bohun contains fine examples of subjects based on her experience of all three cultures. V ictoria Crowe ‘Venice Reflected’ E stablished 10 years ago, the Fleming Collection is celebrating the occasion with an enticing sequence of exhibitions through 2010, starting this month with the first complete showing since 2002 of their superlative collection of Scottish Colourists. Started in 1968 by the then Flemings Bank as part of its corporate collection when the Colourists were still comparatively unfashionable, they bought well and wisely, the 30 or so pieces by Cadell, Peploe, Hunter and Ferguson arguably the finest collection of its kind in existence – and sheer painterly pleasure! SJ Peploe ‘Green Sea Iona’ 1920 T HUMB NAILS N icholas Usherwood