Galleries - January 2012

Double Lives Farming, publishing, the law, make up artists and (even) bank- ing comprise just some of the day jobs of the eight artists participat- ing in the Pepper Gallery ’s latest show at 54 Shepherd Market in Mayfair, entitled ‘The Double Lives of Artists’. In many cases, without formal art training, most have a consider- able track record of previous shows. I’m particularly struck by Richard Snowden’s vibrantly col- oured and confidently painted townscapes and animal subjects, undertaken at night when he has stopped being one of Yorkshire’s biggest salad growers, but there’s plenty of extremely professional- looking work here for all tastes. Choose your profession . . . The Gremlins They really struck last month. First we called the curator of Studio Sienko ’s show of Ukrainian artists Olga, rather than Tamara, Demi- denko; then, in our piece on the Blythswood Gallery ’s show we stated that the painter David Artz was Belgian rather than Dutch and a pupil of Isaac Israels not the Maris Brothers, while a misread ‘l’ led us to confuse J. Phillip (18th C. Scottish) with J. (Jackie) Philip – very much alive!Apologies to all. And the Winner is . . . Every August for the last four years, the Cork Street Open Exhi- bitions have filled ‘The Street’s’ Gallery 27 and The Gallery with works selected from an open sub- mission of thousands. With the intention of both raising the profile of contemporary artists and bene- fiting a selected children’s charity, this has always proved an extre- mely lively event. Now, in a further development of the idea, Director Kathryn Roberts is putting on a show this January (18 to 27) at Gallery 27 which will showcase all the prizewinners from these four shows – a neat way to catch up with this very worthwhile venture if you don’t already know it and to support, again, the charities it has been aiding over this period. Helping the Trycicle An incomprehensible victim of the government’s recent spending cuts – it lost £350,000 funding per year – the Tricycle Theatre has just received a marvellous boost from an unlikely direction, the gift for auction of 35 paintings by the Vic- torian watercolourist Hercules Brabazon Brabazon. Donated by 89 year old collec- tor and philanthropist Al Weil, the work will be going on show first at the Tricycle (to 7 January) and then at Pyms Gallery in Mount Street (from 11 January) before being auctioned, at a time and place still to be finalised. Watch this space! Ziggurats & Towers Basil Beattie’s gradual emergence over the last two decades or so as perhaps the finest abstract painter of his generation in this country is a remarkable story of sheer ten- acity and determination in a hist- ory dogged by critical and curat- orial indifference and, often, ignor- ance too. All of which makes the current exhibition, at James Hyman Fine Art, celebrating the last 25 years of a painting career that goes back to 1958, so sig- nificant. Of the same generation as the late John Hoyland (they more or less coincided at the RA Schools), Beattie initially shared Hoyland’s enthusiasm for Abstr- act Expressionism but then, un- like Hoyland (and others such as Ayres and Irvin) he started experimenting with the poured and saturated painting processes pioneered by Louis and Olitski in the late 60s and early 70s. By the time this show picks up the thread c.1986 though, this had in turn long been overwhelmed by a fierceness and intensity of mark making, ostensibly archite- ctural in character – ziggurats, stairways and towers – but which has, in truth, nothing to do with literal representation and every- thing to do with metaphor and symbolism. The outcome has been a steady flow of paintings bursting with internal vitality and life and which, not unlike late Guston, speak unmistakably to the human condition. NU T ony Feld ‘Brighton Bandstand - Sunday Evening Dance’ at Cork St Open. H ercules Brabazon Brabazon ‘View of the Doge’s Palace, Venice’ at Pyms Gallery. D avid Whittaker ‘The Hovering’ at NOAC courtesy of Millennium 9. GALLERIES JANUARY 12