Galleries - January 2010

ANTENNAE John Rixon as an 'ambient audio- visual feast – a perfect antidote to the excesses of the season', Flood is the work of two highly regarded East Anglian artists (both live and work in Bungay in Suffolk but 'sleepy hollow' it definitely ain't!) the abstract painter Dom Theo- baldandcontemporary composer andmusician Roger Eno. They like to describe it as a "tempered collision of highly colouredsou- nds and forms, caused by two artists, one chromatic, one Lydian [mode]." I can't speak for the music as I haven't heardit yet, but if Dom Theobald's vividly reson- ant images for it are anything to go by (see above) this shouldbe something well worth catching. FRY'S DELIGHT The Fry Public Art Gallery in Saffron Walden is that current rarity, a voluntarily supportedand run public gallery andexhibition space. Housedin a little two-room gem of a Victorian art gallery that was built by andstill belongs to, the Gibson/Fry family of Anthony andRoger Fry artistic fame (who lease it back to the gallery charity), it has, since it was restoredandre- openedin 1987, come to house the North West Essex Collection. That might, at first sight, sound slightly small beer until you realize that this covers Ravilious, Bawden Aldridge and the whole Great Bardfield phenomenon, not to mention Michael Rothenstein, Edwin Smith and, these days, John Bellany as well as a whole host of designers, photographers, 8 GALLERIES JANUARY 10 RECESSION PROOF? Despite the increasing mutterings I'm beginning to hear from gall- eries about 'art fair overkill' (or exhaustion?) there's no absolutely obvious sign of it as we enter the New Year with the three fairs coveredin this issue, the Water- colour + Works on Paper Fair at the Science Museum (see p18 for more about their 'Art of Invention' show), the National Fine Arts & Antiques Fair at the NEC in Birm- ingham (see spreadon pp18/19) andthe London Art Fair from 13 to 17 January) all seemingly in pretty goodhealth. The last nam- edis even reporting a record number of stands – 113 in all – with Mauger Modern and Whit- ford Fine Art being among the 11 galleries new to the main section of the Fair this year. (See pp50/51 for a taster of what many will be offering.) Meanwhile the inter- esting new trendhere wouldseem to lie in the Fair's collaboration with the Multiple Store, ICA and 176/Zabludowicz Collection Edit- ions in the selling of limitededition 3-D pieces andprints. Economic necessity, or increasingly steep prices for original one-off works of art, or a combination of both? FLOOD AT TATE BRITAIN No, the Thames hasn't overflowed into their basement, it's simply the title of an intriguing artistic/musical collaboration at Tate Britain on 8 January which is to form part of one of the gallery's 'Late at Tate Britain' Friday evenings events. Entitled'Quiet Voices' andcurated by former Big Chill visuals resident writers andsculptors who livedor stayedin the area – some 560 items as it stands. Now it is launching an appeal, backedby three senior RAs, Mary Fedden, Anthony Green andJohn Bellany, to raise a further £10,000 to add to the £12,000 already given by the Art Fund. This is to enable the Gallery to underwrite the recent purchase of 37 Ravilious wood- blocks andalso to re-instate the purchasing fundfirst established from an Edward Bawden legacy so that they can fill gaps or extend the permanent collection. For appeal forms andinfo write to: The Treasurer, Fry Art Gallery, Castle Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1BD. (Or markedgift- aided cheques direct to him if you feel so inclined.) TIME FOR HAWKING A very glitzy event at the Royal Society last month markedthe unveiling of a fine portrait by Tai- Shan Schierenberg of Professor Stephen Hawking, the latest in a series of portraits of distinguished British scientists commissioned on behalf of the Society by Dame Stephanie Shirley, Government appointedAmbassador for Phil- anthropy. Hawking was there himself (after recent illness) and spoke with his customary dry wit andaplomb Dom Theobald ‘Flood’, from Quiet Voices at Tate Britain. Tai-Shan Schierenberg ‘Stephen Hawking’ at the Royal Society of Arts