Galleries - September 2016

SEPTEMBER 2016 GALLERIES 47 concerned with both the traces and marks made both by humans on the landscape, and those that the landscape makes on the human memory and imagination. With a dozen or so artists in the show, it is invidious to pick out just one or two but my eye was particularly caught by local artist Gerald Dewsbury’s evocative explorations ofthe secret paths and byways ofShropshire, and Brighton-based stone carver Jo Sweeting’s ‘shul’ stone heads. This is a term used to denote the marking or impression that remains after something – an animal or a river for example – or someone, has passed by. She uses it here as a powerful poetic metaphor both for the act of carving and the way a landscape can act on the human spirit. Nicholas Usherwood Brighton has always had the proverbial buzz about it (the world’s tallest moving observational tower is now open on the seafront) and a good reason to head south is the Brighton Art Fair & Made Brighton at the Dome Corn Exchange – showing side by side this year. The Fair features UK and overseas contemporary artists, with work that is fresh and exceptional, while Made Brighton showcases 50 designer makers with ceramics and much more. Rachel Staiger After the Second World War, sculpture in Europe changed. For sculptors who created figurative pieces, the use of the human form as the ‘measure’ of the human body as the ‘measure’ of a sculpture, was no longer viable. In part this was due to complicated psychological states following the war, but also important was the need to distance sculpture from the aesthetics reflected in the muscled, classicised figures by artists such as Arno Breker that were associated with Nazi rule. British artist Ralph Brown was one of the sculptors who dealt with this problem. He worked in Paris during the 1950s where he studied with Ossip Zadkine and was exposed to artists like Germaine Richier and Alberto Giacometti who used distortion and abstraction to give their figures distinct, expressive qualities. An exhibition at Pangolin London , ‘ The Figure in the Fifties & Sixties’ , shows the work of Brown in the context of other Post-War European artists’ works. Richier and Lynn Chadwick are represented along with earlier artist Auguste Rodin who was a leading influence on the younger artists. Yet as the focus of the exhibition, Brown’s works capture the mid-century understanding of the body as physical matter as well as a tool to capture and convey emotion. Brown’s 1960 bronze ‘Swimming Woman’ plays with perception, showing a figure as though seen distorted through water. The figure is in an unwieldy position, twisted over on itself, the surface of the skin rough. Despite the lack of elegance, however, the position of the feet, the outstretched arm and the contraction of the torso reflect power and even playfulness with their suggestion of familiar movements. This is an exhibition which illustrates how artists rethought the human form, often as weighty and wrong but sometimes also wonderful. Frances Allitt Situated as it is in an intensely rural and agricultural environment, Mary Elliott’s Twenty Twenty Gallery has always tried to be quietly responsive to shifts and changes in current ideas and attitudes towards the environment. Many of her collectors come from within the Shropshire farming community and don’t take that warmly to sentimental or fashionable ideas about the landscape; at the same time she is alert to the latest thinking and writing on the environment. Witness her quite splendid current show ‘Landscape, Green Lanes & Old Ways’ which, taking its cue from Robert Macfarlane’s recent best selling book ‘The Old Ways’, looks at landscape painters and sculptors whose work, in one way or another, is CODA from left J o Sweeting ‘Beacon’ Twenty Twenty Gallery RalphBrown ‘Swimming Woman’ Pangolin London M aking marks Figure this Brighton is belle