Galleries - June 2010

13. GALLERIES JUNE 10 T RIPLE VISION ANDREW SCHUMANN Going up to Cambridge in the early 60s to study natural scien- ces, Andrew Schumann found himself writing an essay on New- ton's Laws in blank verse in week three and an immediate transfer to the English department was granted, a move that also meant he came in on the start of Michael Jaffe's pioneering art history course there. The crossovers be- tween art and science have persisted in his work ever since, as one look at a piece like Scales 2, with its concentric circles of gradated sea-shells held in tense balance with the inert upright of the titanium block to its right, make subtly clear. Mathematics, chemistry and physics – above all the wonder in how all the materials he uses to such poetic effect in the pieces in his new show at Gallery 27 are, invariably, made 'of ar- rangements of just neutrons and protons with whizzing electrons' – inform each of the works here in one way or another. They make for an intriguing contrast too with the 30 or so black and white mono- prints of figures by his friend and long-term mentor Len McComb also included here – "dramas of light and dark, handwriting in relation to art" as he describes the immediacy of a process that involves fingers, rags and sticks – that talk, in truth, a very similar language to Schumann's. N U CARAVAGGISTS There can be few Old Master painters whose lives can, in pop- ular taste anyway, be quite so dra- matically mirrored in the character of their art as that of Caravaggio. Violent, intensely emotional and unconventional paintings reflected a life lived at full-tilt and ending at the age of just 38. This year marks the 400th anniversary of his death so we can expect a substantial number of new additions to the already burgeoning recent lite- rature – including probably the most authoritative so far from the Baroque specialist Clovis Whitfield whose gallery, Whitfield Fine Art, is putting on this handsome cele- bratory exhibition entitled 'Cara- vaggio's Friends and Foes'. It is, essentially, a show looking at some of the many artists pro- foundly touched by this most influential of painters. Among the bitterest of his foes was Giovanni Baglione whose magnificent self-portrait is one of the stars of the show, a work which, ironically, seems to be trying to demonstrate, not un- successfully, that he could 'do him' almost as well. Meanwhile, among the 'friends', is the rather neg- lected Louis Finson, two paintings of whose, Adam and Eve and Saint Sebastian ( a recent rediscovery) reveal him as a figure of major significance in the story of Cara- vaggesque painting. Blake Hall WILLIAM CROZIER An exhibition of ‘Early Paintings: 1958-1975’ by William Crozier – at Pyms Gallery (from 9th June) – has its roots, literally, in the wilds of Essex, ‘the derelict gardens of south London’, a Spanish mount- ain village and harrowing Irish landscapes. These urgently paint- erly visionary landscapes are charged with a radical search for identity that is both metaphysical and movingly intimate. Many of his Essex landscapes (c.1959) are of sugar beet ‘fields burning at night’: ‘ravaged land- scapes’ which he has likened to black and white photos of First World War battlefields. In ( Untitled) Essex Wilderness we see a black moon in a white sky – or is it a black sun? A dynamic improvi- satory quality – with affinities to contemporary artists such as Soulages and Hartung – suffuses these enigmatic, wildly calli- graphic studies of air, fire, earth and intricately undulating plant- forms beneath the soil. Two large museum-quality paintings of Fauvist intensity – The Dancer (1969), portraying an ecstatically grimacing skeleton – and the Crossmaglen Crucifixion (1975) of a skeleton near a village at the heart of the Northern Irish Troubles – are each forceful memento mori pictures that fulfil Crozier’s desire to create ‘art that is as a razor slash’. Philip Vann Giovanni Baglione, ‘Self Portrait’, oil on canvas, (detail) Spanish private collection William Crozier ‘(Untitled) Essex Wilderness’, c.1959 Andrew Schumann ‘Scales 2’ (detail) at Gallery 27