Galleries - November 2014

Dorothy Mead Aged sixteen, Dorothy Mead (b.1928) attended David Bomberg’s inspirational classes at Dagenham School of Art; she then followed the radical teacher to his London classes, and in 1946 joined his Borough Group. Until her early death in 1975 she devoted herself to painting but didn’t have a single one-person show in her lifetime. Nevertheless, her marvellously potent, delicate paintings, wildly searching in their handling of paint, were critically recognised at the time for what Andrew Forge called their ‘monumental intention’ and David Sylvester their ‘crystalline structure with an inner light’. A Mead retrospective at Waterhouse & Dodd (19 November to 13 December) includes mid-1950s’ landscapes and cityscapes in which daring concatenations of lines robustly bombard each other; early 60s’ seated and reclining nudes taut in structure and spontaneous in coalescing brushstrokes; and a magnificent 1966 seascape in which swathes of varying fluctuating blues and indigo create an atmosphere of serenity and awe. Philip Vann Gary Wragg In his introduction to the catalogue for his latest exhibition at Alan Wheatley, Gary Wragg talks about how he reveres the “sensations and activities playing around, flowing around, images without formula, that are capable of contradiction. The sensing and sensual processes of my painting forage fresh presences and juxtapositions not restricted by categorisation.” Now into his sixth decade as a gestural abstract painter it is just these impulses, one feels, that have kept his painting so wonderfully fresh and of the moment, the stillness and the movement within these works being felt quite as much as seen, and a reflection perhaps of the artist’s passion for the controlled rhythms and gestures of the Chinese marshal art of Tai Chi. Out of fashion perhaps in terms of today’s concerns in painting but, in their acknowledgement that good painting comes out of a willingness to acknowledge difference, better than much. Colour sung and felt rather than simply painted! Nicholas Usherwood PREVIEWS 14 GALLERIES NOVEMBER 2014 James Fullarton The ever popular Contemporary Colourist James Fullarton is having another keenly anticipated exhibition at the Roger Billcliffe Gallery (22 November to 24 December). It is two years since his last show there and during that time the artist has been looking to familiar subjects on his own doorstep, seeking to interpret them in a fresh and expressive way – these include the “ever changing seasons in the garden, in the surrounding Ayrshire landscape and in contrasting coastal themes”. From his training at Glasgow School of Art – under Donaldson, Goudie and Shanks – Fullarton has developed a complex approach to his art, including preparatory sketches, small paintings leading to his larger canvases. Yet even with this careful preparation his richly nuanced work is full of vibrant colours and boldly worked impasto as he seeks to capture the changing lighting effects on his everyday motifs in a direct and intense way. Such paintings will certainly brighten up our on-coming “dreich” winter days. Bill Hare James Fullarton ‘Mixed Poppies’ oil on canvas, at Roger Billcliffe Gallery G ary Wragg ‘Blue/Yellow Streak’ at Alan Wheatley Dorothy Mead ‘Rooftops’ oil on canvas, 1956 at Waterhouse & Dodd