Galleries - June 2010

15. GALLERIES JUNE 10 "The poetry of structure to support the poetry of the image" was how Alf Stockham once described the essence of his painting. It’s a distinctly interesting observation because the first seduction of his intensely atmospheric sea-scapes would seem to lie rather in the subtlety and density of their surfaces and the complexity and richness of their colour. Look closer though at any of the new paintings at Twenty Twenty , Pier and Light for example, and you quickly begin to become aware of the overriding importance of their almost Braque-like severity of structure. Alfred Stockham ‘Tree and Dinghy’ Entitled 'Celtic Connections', Barbara Rae's latest exhibitions at Adam (London) (to 12 June) and Adam (Bath) (from 19 June) come out of some extensive recent travels to the "small countries within countries" that make up the Celtic fringe – Western Scotland and Ireland and the Catalan and Basque regions of Southern France. Drawn to the strong identities of these places and the fierce and often beautiful landscapes on which these cultures have made their mark, Rae has been inspired to make some of her most richly colouristic work of recent years. ’ Barbara Rae ‘Yellow Tide – Achill’ (detail) A Staffordshire coal-miner’s son, Jack Simcock has always stayed very close to his roots, training at Stoke Art School (1949-56) before establishing a reputation with London collectors for his sombre, passionate depictions of the bleak moorland landscape he knew from the heart. Ill-health in 1979 resulted in a very different kind of work – brightly coloured abstracts. This show ( Keith Chapman ), celebrating his 80th birthday and focussing on the early work, is a very welcome revival of a gifted but sadly neglected and intensely regional artist. Jack Simcock ‘Rocks’, 1971 Dedicated to raising awareness of fine design, materials and hand carving among a general public that commissions some 280,000 memorials annually to loved ones, the Memorial Arts Charity has set up a National Collection of Contemporary Memorial Art. Entitled the Art and Memory Collection and launched in 2009, it currently contains some 54 pieces, groups of which are now being shown on six permanent sites nationally. One is Monnow Valley who are exhibiting six artists in addition to their pieces by Richard Kindersley already in situ. John Neilson ‘Stone Circle’ THUMB nails Nicholas Usherwood