Galleries - August 2015

website. Such is its popularity that it is now also extending its opening times from just the August Bank Holiday. With some big names like Tim Nicholson, Daisy Cook and Petter Southall this is increasingly serious stuff – and out ofthe gallery and into places where art is actually made. Further along the coast – just inland at Timsbury near Romsey in the rural Test Valley – where a group known as the New Road Artists (see Jubilee Hall) is based. This is a slightly different venture and rather smaller than a typical open studios group. It was originally set up by ex-art students from the Southampton Institute under the guidance ofa former tutor and now, with some 17 members, meets on a weekly basis to paint together and for talks, discussions and visits. Their reputation was founded principally on the quality oftheir abstract art and this still shows in the impressive character oftheir work, as their August group show – part ofHampshire Open Studios (22 to 31 August) – makes very clear. Apart from the sheer creative energy ofall these events, I am struck by how increasingly professional they are. Dog Days No More London was once a visual desert in August but not any longer, the public galleries now providing an absolute treasure trove ofdelights running throughout the month. The Royal AUGUST 2015 GALLERIES 13 much more. Finally a reminder not to miss two other excellent shows – Carsten Höller’s intensely stimulating, interactive environments at the Hayward and the magnificent re-evaluation ofBarbara Hepworth’s career at Tate Britain – back up there with Henry Moore again I suspect. Rosa Sepple Rosa Sepple is something ofa one-off in contemporary figurative painting, her vivid, prolific output, part expressionist, part naive, allowing her, as she readily admits, to indulge an imaginative playful world which she feels, having somehow gone straight into marriage and motherhood, she never enjoyed as a child. “Now, as I sit and work in my studio, I can take my most excessive imaginings for a walk in complete safety and do all the naughty things I would have liked to have done.” It helps that she is also a gifted painter – the 122 paintings that make up her show ‘Out ofthe Blue’ at the Mall Galleries in association with Adrian Hill Fine Art in Norfolk, are never less than vivid and engaging, her eye and touch immaculate. NU Academy’s Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) exhibition, the first since the revelatory Whitechapel show in the early 80s, is essential viewing. Nicely entitled ‘Wanderlust’ in reference to the fact that Cornell, for all the exoticism of foreign travel and strange curiosities displayed in his resonant little glass-fronted boxes of treasures, hardly ever travelled beyond New York City. This immaculately curated show of some 80 of these mysterious objects is a paean to the power of the human imagination. Fuelled by a staggeringly vast collection of ephemera and found objects, picked up on his almost daily walks around New York, these boxes allowed him to travel in his head to Europe and its historic cultures, the Italian Renaissance and Belle Epoque particularly, and indulged his passions for astronomy, ornithology, poetry and the performing arts. among other things. Just go – and be entranced. Another American eccentric meanwhile, at Tate Modern – Agnes Martin. The same generation as Cornell, her work could not be more different in its spare geometries of drawn lines and pale washes of colour. Coming to art comparatively late in life via Zen philosophy and a period living in New Mexico, Martin found resolution for an often troubled mind in making canvases of all-encompassing grandeur – less is, here, very from left: T essa Coe ‘Within And Without You’ at New Road Artists. John Corley ‘Pot Metals on Black’, at Linden Hall Studio. Rosa Sepple ‘Piccadilly Circus’, at Mall Galleries. Joseph Cornell ‘Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery’ 1943 ©The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/VAGA, NY/DACS, London 2015, at Royal Academy. Agnes Martin ‘Friendship’ 1963 © Agnes Martin/ARS,NY, at Tate Modern.