Galleries - February 2014

makes for demanding, if intensely rewarding, viewing. Though using a technique derivingfrom collage and paint and which involved working directly on to rough-cut muslin, the immediate visual impression they give, seen en masse, is almost like somethingfrom a giant Byzantine iconostasis, while individually they bringto mind the Graeco-Egyptian encaustic paintings in the British Museum. Interestingly the texture of his workingmethod reminded him of Egyptian painted shrouds and had associations with Byzantine altar-cloths too. However we choose to look at them though, the final effect is of a monumental solemnity and seriousness, the figures’ slow, minimalist gestures reverberating in our imagination. Maria Biryukova-Dutton With a great-grandfather who formed a celebrated collection of Russian wooden sculpture, now in the Museum at Perm in the Urals that he also founded in 1917, Maria Biryukova-Dutton comes from a distinguished artistic heritage. She herself trained as a graphic designer in Moscow, and worked in and taught packaging design there before startingto work as an artist a few years ago and somethingof that background is very apparent in the quick, lively movement of the colourful pen and wash drawings she does on her extensive travels. Her first London show at the Menier Gallery records the sights and sounds of her recent trips to the Black Sea, Sweden and Italy. An interestingnew talent. NU Laden with Colour Situated in a street running between the City of London and Spitalfields, Leyden is a new-ish gallery with a nicely adventurous line in exhibition programming. Witness their latest exhibition which brings together the work of two experimental women artists of very different generations – Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Roxy Walsh. Barns-Graham (1912-2004) is represented by the astonishingly vigorous abstract screen-prints she started makingin her late 70s while Walsh, a versatile and multi- disciplinary artist in her late 40s (she works on installations also) is showingrichly-coloured watercolour paintings soaked, stained and washed on to paper, panel and linen. It makes for very lively and stimulatingviewing. NU Turrell Vision With news recently in that the Royal Academy has just been awarded a grant of £12.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the implementation of its Reveal, Celebrate, and Explore (2014-2018) project to transform part of its Burlington Gardens site and link it with its main Burlington House venue, gallery-goers may be interested to know of the current show occupying the space at the back of the site (opening 7 Feb) by one of my absolute contemporary heroes, the great American light artist, James Turrell. Organised by the Pace London gallery, it has four pieces in all, two of them hitherto unseen, displayed over two floors – not to be missed. Mark Shields Educated in Belfast and still working close to the city, Mark Shields has always pursued a fiercely independent course (as we have noted on these pages before) but his latest project – 99 paintings, each roughly 5’ x 2’ and containing a single standing, archetypal, figure such as Saint, Angel, Sage – is, even so, quite remarkable, in our materialist age, in the insistence of its enquiry into the nature of spirituality. Quite apart from the sheer scale of the undertaking, which has meant dividing the show 59/40 between Grosvenor Gallery and Browse & Darby , it FEBRUARY 2014 GALLERIES 9