Galleries - April 2015

year from 1964 to 2000, and was President of the London Group, revealing him, in short, as a painter of very serious intent. It was quite an achievement for a working-class boy from Hull, but this was that marvellous post-war moment when the art schools became an absolute powerhouse of almost revolutionary egalitarian creativity. The human figure, the female nude in particular, was very much Smith’s central preoccupation – he painted them in bedrooms, in gardens, in woodland, in rivers – the bold slashing brush strokes and brilliant colour always firmly underpinned by the most rigorous of drawing techniques. He could draw like a dream and also painted a series of rather quieter, acutely observed landscapes in the 60s and 70s. The show at Hilton Fine Art in Bath (from 19 April) has examples of them all. NU Colour Rich How is it that colour on a canvas can acquire so much intensity and movement? How can colours create such powerful illusions of depth and distance? How do colour and textures take us on journeys in our mind and thrill us? These and other questions are asked by Paul Tonkin’s latest paintings. His painterly process begins by flinging buckets of paint at a stretched surface and is followed by working wet in wet, exploiting Scottish work. Their latest exhibition, ‘Art of the Matter’, coinciding with the Edinburgh International Science Festival, looks at artists who use science in the making of their art, and gives a very good idea of their ambitions. One piece is a life- sized bronze and stainless steel sculpture based on Leonardo da Vinci’s famous sketch of Vitruvian Man (a symbol of the science of its day) by artists Björn and Amanda Sjöling. Entitled Nobody Does it Better it is being shown in Scotland for the first time. Another, by Fraser Ross, makes sculptures out of magnetic fluid interacting with adjacent materials but also, in its solid form, acting as a receptor to external environmental changes. Intriguing stuff! Stanley Spencer The annual summer loan exhibitions at the Stanley Spencer Gallery are full of wonderful works by this great, eccentric genius of English 20th century painting, including loans from two of the major holders of his paintings – Leeds and Aberdeen. They range from early religious to a later portrait group – Hilda, Unity and Dolls 1937, a mourning of his failed marriage to Hilda, full of self-knowledge N U each accidental flow of paint in a simultaneous destruction and creation. The pigments are hugely heightened, as they nudge, flow past, or penetrate one another. Purple veins and electric blues eddy through bright reds, transparent pinks float frivolously, lime green is frothed by yellow. Forest greens rear up like seahorses or curl like dragons, while smoky purples and whites stream around; the paint eddies or appears to explode. In this sonorous display at Lovely Gallery , (16 April – 10 May), the approach has become looser, more varied and the interactions more complex. The pioneers of abstract painting saw their work as the “soul’s journey to pure spirit”. A century later Tonkin reasserts the symphonic power of lyrical abstraction in an exploration of new territories of emotion and intelligence. Corinna Lotz A Fresh View Tracey Robertson and Archie Roxburgh are two ex-pats who have returned to their native country with some very fresh- sounding ideas about what they want their gallery, Urbane Art, to do. Situated on Jeffrey Street in Edinburgh’s Old Town, well away from the main concentration of the city’s galleries, they aim to focus on art drawn from a wider international spectrum, rather than simply opening another gallery dedicated solely to ANTENNAE 10 GALLERIES APRIL 2015 from left: S tanley Spencer ‘Hilda, Unity and Dolls’ at Stanley Spencer Gallery. Stan Smith ‘Waterfall with Two Figures’ at Hilton Fine Art. Fraser Ross ‘Dark Matter’, at Urbane Art Gallery