Galleries - November 2013

Terry Frost A Painter’s Life by Roger Bristow. 264pp, Sansom and Company hbk, £30. The publisher’s sleeve notes explain that Roger Bristow has “interviewed many of Terry Frost’s friends, collectors, fellow artists and members of his family.” The author seems to have presented the research in full and whilst those of us who recognise many of the characters will enjoy the detail, the text may have benefited from a harder edit. Frost’s journey from figuration to abstraction is often described in his own words: “I had to stop being descriptive and start being pictorial.” This, together with the inclusion of a variety of photographs from the family, help to make this book a welcome addition to the Frost bibliography. Chris Insoll entitled ‘In Situ’, of placing his work in the context of the furniture and design arts of the same period viz 1920s and 30s. It works beautifully. Finally, a reminder that the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham is opening its new Winter Exhibition this month and that it includes some real stunners, notably Neighbours , recently elected by the public to the Art Everywhere national poster competition and a miraculous pencil study for the painting The Beatitudes of Love: Consciousness – of a couple waking up and starting to lick each other’s tongues. “I call it consciousness” Spencer explained, “ because it is like waking up and realising all one has been missing while asleep and making up for lost time.” continued from page 12 abstracting modernism of his style, there is still, particularly in the landscapes of West Sussex with which he made his name, a feeling for place, a sense of its poetics, that put him at a very distinctive angle to that of many of his contemporaries, the rich and mysterious Warnford Water (First Variation) 1959 in this show a good example. He was also a fine painter of the female nude and the still-life, the five examples in this exhibition revealing his acute understanding of Matisse’s art but made into something intensely personal. Patrick Heron termed him “. . . a true painter: instinctive, passionate and sensuous.” On the nail. Rather more overlooked these days is the work of a great Bloomsburyite character (and yet another London Group-er) Edward (‘Teddy’) Wolfe RA – he worked for Roger Fry and Omega Workshop in the 20s. A great sporter of his own colourful hand-painted ties as I remember him in the 70s towards the end of his long life, his exuberantly painted still-lifes and portraits showed a real, and first-hand understanding of Matisse and Fauvism in particular. The Millinery Works, now handling work from the Estate, have had the imaginative idea, in a show 59. GALLERIES NOVEMBER 13 clockwise from above: D avid Bomberg ‘Ghetto Theatre’ at Ben Uri Gallery. Sir Stanley Spencer ‘Neighbours’ at Stanley Spencer Gallery. E dward Wolfe RA painting at Millinery Works MODERN BRITONS See website for selection of recent art titles and next month’s magazine for our Christmas books feature