Galleries - December 2013

Wain . Its romantic forest setting reveals another side to the country’s sporty, beach stereotypes whilst the bleak isolation of Russell Drysdale’s Drover’s Wife hints at the harsh realities of outback life. Yet it’s the indigenous artists who steal the show with their pulsating geometric designs like Uta Uta Tjangala’s Old Man’s Dreaming or Dorothy Napangardi’s dot paintings. Whimsical abstract patterns, symbols and vibrant colour formations are also the DNA of one of Switzerland’s favourite sons, Paul Klee, who has a sprawling retrospective at Tate Modern . Displayed in the order that Klee drew or painted them, we can map out the minute development of his career from his early 1913 Flower Bed with its Cubist and Expressionist influence to iconic works like Fish Magic . Quite coincidentally Klee inspired the early work of Brazilian titan, Mira Schendel, who also has a retrospective at Tate Modern currently. Like Klee, Schendel was born in Switzerland, but moved to Sao Paulo in 1953 where the show – and her largely self-taught career – begins. Her extraordinarily diverse and experimental oeuvre wows, showing just why she is one of Latin America’s most influential and revolutionary artists. Consider her soft sculptures knotted together with rice paper and 93 piece rice acrylic installation. Meanwhile another contemporary Brazilian artist, Valeria Nascimento, is currently showing at the Woolff Gallery . Working in ceramics, she too turns her medium on its head, by transforming them into sculptural, large-scale wall installations. Melanie Abrams Interior Vision The West End’s Belgravia Gallery is heading further west with a joint venture at 555 King’s Road, Chelsea, the new showrooms of long established furniture specialists Titchmarsh & Goodwin. There they will be offering signed lithographs of HRH The Prince of Wales’s watercolour landscapes, with sales benefiting his Charitable Foundation. Founded in 1986 and run by mother-and-daughter team Anna Hunter and Laura Walford, the Belgravia’s Albemarle Street space is showing in December ‘Light Out of Darkness’, which combines contemporary works by Charlie Mackesy with etchings by Rembrandt. Another of their artists, Lesley Thiel, features on the cover of this issue . . . The Price of Bacon . . . As we go to press, Francis Bacon’s 1969 triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud has taken the world auction record for a work of art, going for $142m (£89m) at Christie’s NY, overtaking Munch’s The Scream which sold for $119.9m (£74m) last year . . . Around the World . . . Masterpieces from around the world are in London this month with many here for the first time. There are bark paintings, 14 metre long silk hand scrolls and even sculptures made out of sardine tins. The Victoria & Albert Museum sweeps through 1200 years of Chinese painting from 700 to 1900, showing the development of the world’s longest art tradition from intricate Buddhist banners to the Emperor’s own works such as the Song Emperor Huizong’s elegiac flying cranes. Equally ambitious is the Royal Academy of Art’ s 200 year showcase of Australian landscape art (to 8 Dec). Iconic works litter each room from Stanley Nolan’s surrealist take on legendary outlaw Ned Kelly to Frederick McCubbin’s The Pioneer , considered Australia’s answer to Constable’s The Hay 9. GALLERIES DECEMBER 13 from left: J ulian Bovis ’The Polaroids that held us together will surely fade away’ at The Architect’s Gallery. Stanley Spencer from ‘Heaven in a Hell of War – paintings from the Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere’ (detail), at Somerset House. David Bomberg ‘St Paul’s’, at Waterhouse and Dodd. Sir Russell Drysdale ‘The Drover’s Wife’ c.1945 at The Royal Academy courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia. Valeria Nascimento ‘Black Circle’ at Woolff Gallery. Paul Klee ‘Fish Magic’ 1925, at Tate Modern courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art.