Galleries - March 2014

that power cables stretching across a ploughed Essex field or a gas holder on the edge of picturesque Lavenham have no less beauty than a moonlit beach at Walberswick or the isolated lightship on Tollesbury Marshes. See them at the Chappel Galleries , 1 to 30 March. At Home There’s something rather appropriate about a former estate agent running a gallery from what looks like a perfectly straightforward domestic residence, but that is exactly what Paul Watts, the owner of Bournemouth’s ArtHouse Gallery, has done. Open the garden gate and walk up the black and white tiled path to the immaculately kept period house in the city centre and suddenly you enter an absolute treasure trove of current figurative and abstract art – it’s a clever idea too as it is, one presumes, very much the kind of house some of his potential clients might own themselves. It isn’t just a domestic market he serves either, of course, as he does a good deal of corporate selling as well. Sven Berlin, Prunella Clough, Terry Frost, Martin Brewster and Peter Joyce are all included in the current show. Great stuff! biographer, Peter Khoroche writing the catalogue essay, the gallery has done full justice to what amounts to a substantial body of work by one of the major masters of 20th Century British landscape abstraction. Painting and Staining Now firmly established in its new-ish home at the Mall Galleries , the Lynn Painter- Stainers Prize was founded 9 years ago to encourage representational painting and draughtsmanship skills. The Prize attracted a record entry in 2014, the selection from which is on show from 17 to 22 March. Not surprising, perhaps, given a total prize fund that now stands at £25,000 and a First Prize of £15,000 . . . Eastern Angles The great advantage of living most of your working life in close proximity to the landscape you are painting is that you soon begin to see through the skin of the picturesque to the real beating heart of the place, plain and honest. Wladyslaw Mirecki, born of Polish parents in Chelmsford, is self-taught as an artist and has spent the greater part of his painting life in and around North Essex. He paints it – always in watercolour – with a warm and inclusive directness so MARCH 2014GALLERIES 13 ANTENNAE Chance Encounter In an age when almost all the top artists – and not just Damien Hirst – have massive studio- warehouses full of assistants carrying out the mundane job of actually making the work, the story which has recently come out about the painter Ivon Hitchens and woodcutter Ted Floate’s chance encounter in 1956 in the Sussex woods, where both lived and worked, has a charmingly other world, other age quality about it. It started badly – with Hitchens rather officiously putting out a fire Floate had made in an oil-drum that he felt could have set fire to the wood. No chance apparently – it was in an open space – but once that moment passed, Hitchens went on to ask Floate to come and do some odd jobs around the studio – stretching canvases, framing and even some technical advice. He ended up, in short, becoming not only a close companion but also indispensible to Hitchens’ studio practice for the next 23 years until his death in 1979. In the process, he found himself being given a generous number of canvases and drawings over the years which, now, at 85, Floate has finally decided to sell – Goldmark are, as a consequence showing some 10 previously unseen canvases, a watercolour and a number of drawings. It is, as they say, quite a turn up and, with Hitchens’ from left: C harlie Schaffer ‘Antonio’ oil on canvas at Lynn Painter-Stainers/Mall Galleries Ivon Hitchens ‘Two Woodsmen’ (detail), oil on canvas, at Goldmark Gallery. Sven Berlin ‘Rain God’ (detail), 6 x 4ft, at ArtHouse Gallery