Galleries - May 2011

masterpiece, Peace Night, Trafal- gar Square , 1918 shows how he absorbed vibrant nuances from the radical researches of Italian Divisionism and Futurism; under a poignantly soaring Nelson’s Col- umn and a shimmering Bovril sign, revellers dance as asym- metric searchlight diagonals tran- sfigure the cityscape into a disori- entating vorticist vision, which nevertheless retains a curious monumental grandeur, even a biz- arre serenity. Following itinerant continental years (from 1922 to 1939), he made exquisitely bleak wartime paintings of cross-strewn, tree-blasted, starlit landscapes, and pointillistic portrayals of the London Blitz. His VE Day paint- ings of fireworks over London are tours de force of subtle delicacy and intricacy. By contrast, his 1945 depictions of Kremlin fire- works are sumptuously, almost deliriously exuberant studies of explosive colour and light, albeit demonstrating an assurance that shows an artist at the height of his powers. Philip Vann The Mitchell Studio Gallery , Wey- bridge, Surrey, sells work from Barry’s studio. PRINT FEST After a three month sabbatical it’s good to see The Exchange in Penzance opening again with such an accessible and readily appealing exhibition. Utilizing the breadth of material in local collec- private hands and are, moreover, almost all drawn from the artist’s scarifying mature period (1910-18) before his death at 28 – just 3 days after his wife – during the 1918 flu pandemic. Absolutely unmissable, ‘Women’ is the first of a themed Schiele series – and in a private dealer’s Bond Street gallery, no less. TAKING UMBRIA Egg tempera on gesso board is not perhaps the first technique that might spring to mind in paint- ing contemporary landscapes but Ruth Stage, an astonishingly gift- ed RA Schools‘ graduate, has turned it very much to her advan- tage in recent years. As her latest show at the Russell Gallery makes very clear, it transforms the apparent conservatism of her subject matter – Umbrian hill- towns, London parks and East Anglian seascapes – into an al- ways fresh and sparkling vision of the visual world. FIREWORKS This retrospective of Sir Claude Francis Barry (1883-1970) – at the Royal Cornwall Museum , Truro (until 4 June) – helps clarify the reputation of an elusive, enigmatic painter, whose finest, scintillatingly colourist work was inspired by the First and Second World Wars. Born into (then alienated from) an affluent family, as a young artist he lived in St Ives and Newlyn. His tions, particularly The Stoneman Archive and Falmouth Art Gallery where the late curator Brian Stew- art (to whom the show is dedi- cated) was so inspirational, ‘Print!’ is a celebration of just that, ex- ploring the medium of print and the ways in which artists, many of whom are not primarily known as printmakers, have used it. With running presses and participatory workshops, the show fires off in all directions looking back to local greats – a lyrical print by Barbara Hepworth was a surprise to me – and jumping forward to the imme- diate and the now with work by contemporary artists playing and experimenting with printmaking, demonstrating in passing how computer technology has become subsumed within the medium – if you read ‘print‘ as a synonym for text i.e. black and white, forget it and look at Volker Stox’ effulgent colour. Or what of Matt Bening- ton’s extraordinary etching seed- ed from a tiny, forgotten photo that, after stopping out and ma- nipulation of the register becomes something entirely other – haunt- ing, poignant and while still histor- ical, entirely contemporary. Pip Palmer Images fromLeft toRight: C laudeBarry ‘Red Square,Moscow’atRoyalCornwallMuseum. EgonSchiele ‘TheGreenStocking’,1914, gouacheandpencilonpaper,47x29.2cm fromRichardNagy. Ruth Stage ‘HillTown’,22x25cm from theRussellGallery. Henrietta Corbett ‘Blue Inlet ’ fromNorthHouseGallery. VolkerStox ‘Chimera’,pigment inkonpaper, 50x80cmat theExchangeGallery PUBLICEYE 9. GALLERIES MAY 11