Galleries - July 2011

Orkney. Nearer home he has also been supported by Scotrail over the last three years to highlight through his art how much of Scotland can be reached and en- joyed by means of rail travel. The outcome of this ongoing project will form a very attractive Edin- burgh Festival exhibition at the Royal Over-Seas League (from 6 July) right on the Capital’s renown- ed thoroughfare, Princes Street, where alas, the City’s new tram rails still lie empty. The exhibition will feature views from the Aberdeen to Inverness and Glas- gow to Stranraer scenic lines. Following the inspiring example of previous itinerant painters who sought out the many varied beau- ties of the Scottish countryside Leo has produced a series of highly detailed miniature paintings along withnumerous on-the-spot pencil sketches. All this fascin- ating visual documentation and artistic interpretation will surely not only enthral the many visitors to this delightful show, but hopefully, also encourage them to seek out such natural delights for them- selves – by rail or not. Bill Hare MICHAEL AYRTON Michael Ayrton’s artistic achiev- ement has become so indelibly entwined with his passion for Greek mythology that it comes as rather a surprise to be reminded that it wasn’t until he was 35 and already well-established as some- thing of a youthful painting prodigy within the post-war Neo- Romantic movement that it really took hold. The occasion was a painting trip undertaken in the spring of 1956 to the ancient Greek city of Cumae in the Bay of Naples when, in what he would call “a silence filled with Greek”, Ayrton suddenly became aware of a mythic world richer and more ancient than the Christian stories that had hitherto engaged him and, for the last 20 years of his comparatively short but incred- ibly prolific career, it plunged him into a quite remarkable creative furor. The painting that marked this moment, The Cumaean Sybil, (1957) lies at the heart of Keith Chapman’s important retrospe- ctive survey, an exhibition cover- ing work from across the whole of his career which should do much to re-establish the serious crede- ntials of an artist whose reputation has never quite regained the stat- us it enjoyed in his lifetime. It is, it has to be said, the sculptures and drawings though, that will finally do it; Minotaur Alarmed and Through the Blade, for example, small bronzes of a haunting and mythical monumentality and power. NU MAX BILL Unlike his Bauhaus teacher and life-long friend Josef Albers, Max Bill has never really enjoyed a major reputation among either artists or public in this country. Quite why is something of a puzzle since in Europe, USA and even Japan, where he won the prestigious Praemium Imperiale, he was showered with countless honours and exhibitions both before and after his death in 1994. Not that the Annely Juda Gallery hasn’t tried its hardest over the years though this latest show, covering 5 decades of work, from the 1930s to the 1980s must surely rank as one of the most comprehensive and exhilarating, providing a marvellous oppor- tunity for us finally to acknowledge his quiet, almost unassuming, genius. Bill was the classic Bauh- aus product – painting, sculpture, architecture and design all app- roached with the same degree of intellectual rigour and passion – and with mathematics, form and colour contributing to a rich, expansive, and intensely indivi- dual visual language. In a time when art can sometimes seem overly obsessed with ‘moving on’ and critical fashion, Bill’s art, on the other hand, reveals the kind of integrity and originality that comes from a lifetime’s pursuit of strongly-held artistic ideals. NU Images from Left to Right: F rancesco Guardi ‘Venice, a view of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North from the Fondamenta del Carbon’ on sale at Sotheby’s. Patrick Brandon ‘Infinity Pool’ at Jamaica Street Studios. Leo du Feu ‘Near Girvan, a view to the hills’ at the Royal Over-Seas League’. Max Bill ‘Rotation Around Expanding White’ at Annely Juda. Michael Ayrton ‘Minotaur Alarmed’ at Keith Chapman. TRIPLEVISION 9. GALLERIES JULY 11