Galleries - June 2014

PREVIEWS uncle with three companions from a Sheffield ‘Pals’ battalion. All four died in the first assault on the Somme in 1916 and it was Cattrell’s visit in 1989 to the memorial at Thiepval, to find his name, followed by a visit to the battlefield itself, that sparked off multiple trips to the historic site and a huge and compelling body of work. The landscape feeling captured in Cattrell’s earlier work is a subtle and contradictory one, the unmistakable traces of war softened by the renewals of nature into tranquil beauty and apparent normality. Similarly his later work, recording the shrapnel and debris he picked up on his visits, mixes ferocity and beauty to simple, astonishing effect. The show is then lent a final, nice, symmetry by the fact that it was Cattrell who was commissioned in 2004, by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, to transfer Lewis’ original negatives (in the Imperial War Museum) to silver gelatin prints. An altogether lighter mood prevails in the show at Curwen , which is showing the original paintings made by veteran watercolourist Albany Wiseman to illustrate Robin Ollington’s 2006 children’s book Tommy Atkins in the Great War . Their purpose was to make the story of the war accessible for young children and in this they succeed admirably, humane and touching and implicit with the sharp humour and wit of the ordinary infantryman. NU and as an infantryman in the Royal Berkshires on the Salonika front; on his return he feared he might have lost his way artistically: “Oh no, it is not proper or sensible to expect to paint well after such experiences”. However, his native Cookham rekindled inspiration and this show concentrates on works of the early 1920s, depicting his immediate surroundings as in Unveiling Cookham War Memorial (his brother Sydney’s name is on it) and beginning to address his service in Macedonia. Catch them at the converted chapel gallery in his Thames-side village until 2 November. AA Leaving a Trace Before the trickle of WW1 related shows turns into the expected flood, a note of two more very different shows getting in early. Firstly, a remarkably moving exhibition at the Fleming Collection featuring the work of distinguished Glasgow-born contemporary photographer Peter Cattrell, alongside the much earlier work of George P. Lewis – one of 16 official British photographers to document the war – who was commissioned in 1918 to record the role of women in Scottish transport and heavy industry. Cattrell’s interest in the war was sparked when he came across a photograph of his great 12 GALLERIES JUNE 2014 Water Mysteries Water is at once the most abundant and most mysterious of substances, formless and shape shifting, colourless and yet filled with light and hue. To Qin Yuhai, a remarkable photographer from the far north- east of China, a land defined by great rivers, the Amur above all, it has been a lifetime’s subject matter. “Water always fascinates me and tranquillity overcomes me every time I fix the lens of my camera on it” he once commented and that feeling is very much the one that predominates in the exhibition of his work held at the Saatchi Gallery this month (11 to 15 June). Entitled Ebb and Flow , we are asked to ponder, as the great Japanese photographer Hiroji Kubota has observed “the countless changes water assumes in volume, colour and shape. Only by possessing the keenest comprehension of Chinese culture can a person create art of this calibre. Visitors will marvel at the wonder water generates and will find a sudden love and admiration for it.” Demob Happy? Appropriately in this Great War centenary year, the Stanley Spencer Gallery ’s exhibition ‘Paradise Regained’ looks at the artist in the immediate aftermath of that conflict. Spencer served both in a Field Ambulance unit