Galleries - June 2014

Osborne Samuel, a partnership between two established figures, Peter Osborne and Gordon Samuel, is, on the other hand, very much the archetypal West End gallery, its handsome Bruton Street space on two floors putting on shows by major Modern British (currently the superb Lynn Chadwick show reviewed here last month) and Contemporary artists. Whatever the differences between them though, together they form a vital part of the dynamic professionalism that helps make London such an absorbing and varied place to look at, and buy, art. Mountains on the Mind By coincidence two exhibitions this month from artists in their 80s for whom the Welsh landscape, the mountains in particular, has always been of paramount importance – Glyn Morgan at Chappel Galleries and Malcolm Edwards at Ffin y Parc . After that though the stories begin to diverge significantly. Morgan, now 88, left Wales as a young student, invited by Cedric Morris, selecting works at an exhibition in Cardiff in 1943, to come and study at the art school he and Lett Haines ran in Essex. Morgan ended up staying there 38 years, being the last to leave after they both died. For all that he was on the other side of the country though, the memory of the Welsh landscape remained the core theme of the work, the love of colour he learned from Morris providing the means for infusing that memory with its unmistakably visionary, mythological and ecstatic character. This is not, it should be added, a retrospective show – he had that at the National Library of Wales in 2006 – but one that looks at his landscapes of the last 10 years, right up to the present. Revelatory stuff. Malcolm Edwards, by way of contrast, has stayed put in North Wales, painting his technically astonishing watercolours, full of an almost hallucinatory realism, surrounded by his beloved mountains of Snowdonia for over 30 years (he was an architect before that). That said, his art remains, as with Glyn Morgan, very much a question of memory and imagination, the work being produced entirely in the studio from sketches. Mood and drama are pre-eminent in his work but they are never allowed to run riot, truth to the reality of this often harsh and forbidding landscape providing a vital and moving check. He claims this is going to be his last major one man show, but on the evidence of this still powerfully focused work, one is forced to ask why? changes afoot in the St James’s/Mayfair gallery scene, it would appear that, generally speaking, 19th and Early 20th C. dealers such as Stoppenbach and Delestre are moving south of Piccadilly, late 20th C., Modern British and Contemporary are shifting northwards, just above or below Oxford Street, leaving the bit in the middle increasingly to the fashion business . . . 1 0 x 2 Two London-based galleries with very different artistic strategies are celebrating their 10th anniversaries this summer – Cynthia Corbett and Osborne Samuel . The former operates effectively as a ‘pop up’ gallery, its American-born director either hiring spaces, as with her anniversary show at the Gallery in Cork Street (23 to 28 June), collaborating with other partner galleries, as with her not-for-profit ‘Young Masters Art Prize’ shows, or putting on exhibitions of individual, younger generation artists she represents, both in the UK and USA. It is all done with a huge energy, two or three such projects going on somewhere at any particular moment. The birthday show itself will consist of a selection of artists from the five ‘Young Masters’ exhibitions to date, plus groups of work from some of her represented artists – Tom Leighton, Deborah Azzopardi, Andy Barber, Klari Reiss and Lluis Barba. JUNE 2014GALLERIES 11 from top left: P etter Cattrell ‘Line of Trees, Thiepval, Somme’ at the Fleming Collection Glyn Morgan ‘Song of the Earth’ at Chappel Galleries. Malcolm Edwards ‘Pecking Order’ at Ffin y Parc. C laude Venard ‘Femme Avec Coupe de Fruit’ at Hanina Fine Art. Lottie Davies ‘The Blue Bedroom’ at Gallery in Cork St/Cynthia Corbett