Galleries magazine - page 9

(b.1923) shows his most recent
work alongside that of his mother
Phyllis Eyton (1900-1929). It
highlights a contrast between a
painter with one of the longest
and most distinguished of careers
– at 93 still painting and seen as
among the fines figurative
painters of his generation – and
one of the shortest, and most
distinctly promising – Phyllis died
in a riding accident just nine years
after leaving Heatherly’s Art
School. She was however,
already immensely well regarded
as a landscape painter of
distinctive and poetic subtlety – ’a
rising star’ in Augustus John’s
opinion.
This is, in truth, the first time
Phyllis Eyton’s work has been
shown to a wider public and you
can really see what Augustus
John and indeed William Orpen
were on about in a work like
‘Haystack’ for example – direct
and painterly, they could have
been painted in 2016 quite as
easily as the 1920s. A huge loss
to 20th century British art but also
a wonderful rediscovery.
NU
quietly all his life in the terraced
house where he was born in the
South Wales mining town of
Abertillery. When he showed his
work, it was swooped on by
collectors.
An exhibition at the
Kooywood
Gallery
includes a small selection
that were released from his studio
after his death, making the news
last year.
He walked away from a
scholarship at the Royal College
of Art in 1963, wishing to avoid
being influenced by tutors and
students, and he preserved a
distinctive vision all his life. It
encompassed the female figure,
myth and shamanism, the
landscape and history of the
coalfield, sometimes all in one.
His gem-like pastels and bold
paintings are enticingly poetic.
Other works were layered in
mixed media, scratched and
burnished, so their surfaces
seemed like miracles. A book on
Roger Cecil is due out next year.
Also at the Kooywood are Pete
Monaghan’s paintings of scruffy
corners of Wales (all corrugated
iron and telephone poles), Robert
McPartland’s urbane, super-realist
still lifes and Matthew Wood’s
joyously painterly mountain and
coastal landscapes.
PW
There is a huge poignancy at the
heart of
Browse & Darby’s
September exhibition ‘Capturing
Light’ in which Anthony Eyton RA
Blindness ought, by definition, to
be the ultimate prohibition for a
painter. Not in Sargy Mann’s
case. The point at which his sight
finally failed, in 2005, after two
decades of struggle, marked ten
years in which his art took off on a
‘late period’ of exuberant,
colouristic adventure that is
unprecedented in contemporary
British art and fascinating
concrete evidence of the fact that
we do not simply see with the
optic nerves but, via our visual
cortex, with our mind also.
Taking up a brush shortly after
leaving hospital just to see what
would happen, if anything, and
putting some ultramarine blue on
his brush “I saw in my head the
canvas turn blue”, the same then
happening with some magenta.
He was away and, with huge
family support and technical
ingenuity, above all from his wife
the artist Frances Mann, he
painted prolifically and quite
beautifully right up to his death
just over a year ago.
If this is hard to credit, see the
show of his works on paper at
Cadogan Contemporary,
and be
profoundly moved.
NU
Roger Cecil may be one of the
greatest abstract artists Britain
has produced, but he is also one
of the least known. He painted
SEPTEMBER 2016 GALLERIES
9
from left
R
ichard Walker‘Pink Posing Patti’ Curwen Gallery
Phyllis Eyton
‘Haystack’ Browse & Darby
Matthew Lanyon
‘Holiday Tracks’ New Craftsman
Gallery
Felix Anaut
‘Opus’ Zimmer Stewart
Sargy Mann
‘Penny’s House in Normandy’
Cadogan Contemporary
Roger Cecil
‘No 20’ Kooywood Gallery
S
argy Mann
Roger Cecil
Phyllis & Anthony Eyton
contributors:
Pip Palmer, Nicholas Usherwood
Peter Wakelin
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