Galleries - May 2013

Upstairs Downstairs There’s a surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly, given the popularity of Downton Abbey ) country house, period atmosphere to this year’s Museums at Night venture (16-18 May). A Victorian Grand Dinner at Devon’s Arlington Court is preceded by some time below stairs in the servants’ quarters, a night of Food and Flora at Charlecote Park in Warwickshire, and a 1920s murder mystery event in the Art Deco Coleton Fishacre, also in Devon, lead the way. Though for really downstairs it will be hard to beat the atmospheric torch-lit tour of the Geevor Tin Mine and Levant Mine and Beam Engine on the Cornish coast – way below sea-level! 121,000 visitors went to events at 500 venues last year. Free for All The participation of Manya Igel Fine Arts in a new business ‘Preferred Partner’ scheme at Ben Uri , has allowed the Museum and Gallery to drop all admission charges. “Art is an inspiration and should be available to everyone: and now it is at Ben Uri!” as Manya Igel neatly put it . . . then figurative painter Serge Poliakoff who also first showed there in 1938. A Resistance fighter in the war, his absence from Paris meant his earlier achievements became overlooked for many years until shows in the 50s revealed his important place in the art of the period. As Mibus points out “fashions in art can be fickle”, his intelligent, pioneering role over the years in re-evaluating artists of Orientalist, Vienna Secession and Belle Epoque periods another good example of why the London art-market has always remained so pre-eminent. Patrick Stewart of Arundel’s Zimmer Stewart Gallery may have done a more modest 10 years in comparison but he has, in fact, been no less pioneering in his own way, being among the first commercial art galleries to open in what has since become a distinctly art-oriented town. And running a gallery anywhere out of the London orbit is never an easy venture in the first place, so many congratulations on sticking the course and showing some excellent artists – the retrospective exhibition of the work of ceramicist and painter Derek Davis (to 4 May) that is celebrating this anniversary is absolutely typical of the quality of his shows. 10. GALLERIES MAY 13 ANTENNAE Her House is Air A final bulletin from last month’s Adrian Henri Poetry in Art Prize at the Twenty Twenty Gallery , where the winner of the inaugural £10,000 prize was Linda Norris’s intriguing sculpture, Her House is Air. Made in response to a visceral poem by the wonderful National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, entitled ‘Peregrine Falcon,’ this was a bold and highly imaginative choice, one that bodes well for the future of this admirable venture. 40 + 10 40 years in the art business is a seriously long time and usually means the dealer concerned really knows what he/she wants to be doing and has a really firm commitment. Adrian Mibus of Whitford Fine Art certainly has those qualities and is celebrating his anniversary this month in absolutely characteristic fashion with a large solo show of a leading Ecole de Paris painter from the 30s, Joseph Lacasse. This area has always been one of Mibus’s passions and in Lacasse he seems to have come up with a particularly significant gem. Unshown in this country since the early 60s, Lacasse was a prominent figure in 30s Paris, his Galerie d’Equipe providing an important platform for many unknown younger artists, while his proto-Tachiste abstract sketches influenced the young, L inda Norris ‘Her House is Air’, cast blown & engraved glass, peregrine feather & pen nib, winner of the Adrian Henri Prize at Twenty Twenty Gallery. Joseph Lacasse ‘Lumière’, at Whitford Fine Art Graham Sutherland ‘Black Landscape’ © Tate, at Oriel y Parc. Julian Trevelyan ‘Swans’, 1943 at Bohun Gallery. Stanley Spencer ‘Patricia at Cockmarsh Hill’ 1935, at Stanley Spencer Gallery