Galleries - August 2016

AUGUST 2016 GALLERIES 45 painting Dan Llywelyn Hall, leads the way with his exuberantly colourful and expressionistic works alongside three others – Catherine Baker, Kumar Saraff and Sarah Thwaites –also all working in a landscape idiom inspired by Thomas’s poetry. Nicholas Usherwood London’s Riverside Studios is currently out of its Hammersmith home until 2018 while a very impressive new development with prime Thames views takes shape (TV studios, film, theatre, art, food, offices and flats). From temporary accommodation, Riverside Studios has produced a new Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival which features Event Cinema, a programme of films including a series about artists, from Weiwei to van Gogh. See PH Roll up to Roger Billciffe Gallery for their special ‘Summer Spectacular’ exhibition with everything at 25 per cent off ticket prices – all part of a big reorganisation to make space for new special shows. Meanwhile the ‘clearance’ features new names as well as some old favourites – a fantastic opportunity to buy something special. PH Tate Modern’s current exhibition ‘Georgia O’Keeffe’ is a demonstration of how a major institution can exert pressure to change public perception. The success of the exhibition could dictate the success of the museum in the next stage of its existence. ‘Georgia O’Keeffe’ chronicles the work of this American modernist in a framework that seeks to “dispel the clichés that persist” about her paintings. These clichés are essentially that her large scale flower paintings have been interpreted to female genitalia, an intention that O’Keeffe herself denied. However, such readings of her paintings have been important for generations of art historians who have studied her work, particularly leaders in feminist art criticism such as Judy Chicago and Linda Nochlin. Redefining O’Keeffe’s work may be less important than having her accepted into the canon of art history in Britain where she has been typically less well known than in America. In an attempt to show the scope of her work, the exhibition has a tendency to play down O’Keeffe’s best works: only one room is devoted to her flower paintings, only slightly more than is devoted to her less anatomically suggestive, but also less convincing, cityscapes. At the same time, many of the lesser known works, such as her series of studies of the ‘Black Place’ and the ‘White Place’ illustrate O’Keeffe’s knack for portraying the world with a biological sympathy. With the construction of the new Switch House, Tate Modern has taken on the responsibility of representing a wider history of art, spreading its reach beyond the West and incorporating an equal number of men and women. In presenting this new approach, such wide reaching exhibitions as the O’Keeffe retrospective are important – but visitors should come armed to evaluate each artist for themselves. Frances Allitt At his death in 2000, the great Welsh poet R S Thomas left some 36 unpublished poems addressing modernist paintings, a mark not only of the particular importance of painting to his poetry but also, by implication, an indication of how his poetry has become hugely important to generations of Welsh artists. That includes many younger, practising artists of the present generation and, as the National Eisteddfod, which is visiting Monmouthshire for the first time in a 100 years, is celebrating his work, their responses to his landscape-inspired work is providing the theme for an intriguing looking exhibition (and related talks and events) at Abergavenny’s always enterprising Art Shop & Chapel . The rising young star of Welsh Paintings & poetry Go to Edinburgh CODA Future blooms from left G eorgia O’Keeffe ‘Oriental Poppies’ Tate Modern Dan Llywelyn Hall ‘Welsh Hillfort’ Art Shop & Chapel The new order