Galleries - April 2015

Meanwhile the drawings show ranges from Gainsborough to Hockney, Turner via Rossetti to Ravilious – pure delight the whole way, while the specialised focus on line and drawing provides a chance to explore that nebulous old chestnut – the Englishness of English art. If you are in Woodstock for the Art and Antiques Fair at Blenheim (see opposite) make sure you also pay a visit to Iona House Gallery in the High Street, which has two excellent shows on in April. First up is their SpringShow (to 19 April) which features the witty and stylish prints of Trevor Price, followed a week later with ‘Quiet Horizons’, where the colourful, symbolic paintings of Catherine Hyde take pride of place. Human Nature On that famous old crossroads of the Cotswolds, Stow-on-the-Wold, is Fosse Gallery, currently celebrating its 35th birthday and in fine form under its dynamic present owner Sharon Wheaton. Over the winter she mounted two significant shows of the abstract painter William Gear; in April it’s something very different, the deeply imaginative fantasies of East Anglian based painter Nicola Slattery and a show entitled ‘Human Nature.’ Paintings of peaceful thoughtfulness, her densely textured and richly coloured figures – lovers, single figures, birds and animals, set against landscapes of an almost medieval detail and vibrancy and inspired both by fiction and myth and events or emotions experienced – can hardly be bettered as expressions of a fertile imaginative fantasy. Dreaming Spires Approached from the south or east, Oxford is a gateway to the Cotswolds, its ‘dreaming spires’, honeyed stone and lush water meadows a rich foretaste of the myriad pleasures, both architectural and geographical, that lie beyond. Artistically, with a resurgent Ashmolean Museum no longer forcing the city to rely solely on MoMA for visual stimulation, its special exhibitions are worth travelling a long distance to see. Over the winter it was a great William Blake show, this spring two new delights – ‘Love Bites’, a 200th anniversary celebration of the death of arguably the greatest of all British cartoonists, James Gillray, and ‘Great British Drawings’, an exploration of just some of the treasures in the Museum’s world-standard collections. The Gillray show could not be more timely if you tried, his excoriation of the great and the, not-so, good politicians, princes and autocrats is quite as ferocious (if not more so) as anything Steve Bell or Martin Rowson can come up with today. Napoleon himself once observed that Gillray’s anti- French propaganda did more than all the armies of Europe to bring him down. Naming and shaming – ‘c’est moi’ he could justifiably have said of himself! art COTSWOLDS H enrietta Corbett ‘Flying Through’ 2014 wood metal and paint, at Quercus Gallery Nicola Slattery ‘Pastoral’ at Fosse Gallery C2 COTSWOLDS GALLERIES APRIL 2015 Nicholas Usherwood reviews the spring shows in galleries and museums throughout the region