Galleries - December 2018

of the calibre of John Berger, by the time of his death in 2002, this Goan born artist was really only remembered by a very small clique of admirers and dealers. As so often in these cases his death then triggered a quite remarkable wave of renewed interest with the always enterprising Grosvenor Gallery and a new generation of Indian contemporary collectors very much to the fore. To date most of the focus has been on what happened to Souza when he came to study in this country in 1949, aged just 25, and the tensions between this strict Roman Catholic-raised Indian and the European Modernism he encountered here; however, this show, entitled 'Souza in the 1940s' at Grosvenor breaks fascinating new ground by exploring his hugely precocious youth in India where, as a student in Goa and Bombay, and then with the artists Raza, Padamsee and Husain, he founded the Progressive Group in 1947 as a reaction to Indian artistic conservatism. It is work that adds yet another layer of understanding to the career of this astonishing artist. Nicholas Usherwood There is no remaining doubt that art exists beyond the canvas when an exhibition like ‘The Twelve Shoes of Christmas’ by Manolo Blahnik pops up at Green and Stone. This iconic art materials retailer (which is so much more than a shop) recently moved from Chelsea’s King’s Road to Fulham Road, including a gallery space in the new set up. This month they exhibit some of Blahnik’s original shoe designs alongside the finished shoe creations. With a nod to the festive season there are also some of his unseen Christmas ‘Fantasy Shoe’ designs on show. Studying art and set design in Paris in 1969, Blahnik’s close friend Paloma Picasso introduced him to the then director of the Met Costume Institute, Diana Vreeland, a meeting which launched him into a life of luxury shoe design, working alongside the likes of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, fashion designer Calvin Klein and film maker Sofia Coppola. It started with a first Chelsea store in 1969, growing to the global brand of today, and picking up a CBE for contribution to British fashion in 2007 along the way. Maggi Taylor AND FINALLY. . . Christmas comes to the Hounslow Arts Centre this month with an exhibition of 24 years of artist Mali’s individual, inventive seasonal cards –which always feature Father Christmas, a motif Book and HoHo’s to go we presume. variety of reasons the tide is, very gradually, beginning to turn – internet and social media breaking down geographical considerations, the now very steady exodus of artists out of London, driven simply by housing costs, and the remarkably strong development of a network of really good new galleries, public and private, across the regions. And, more recently, some powerful regional initiatives also, of which the splendid New Light organisation, founded in 2010 and the open Prize Exhibition they run biannually, is a prime example. Open, that is, to artists who were born, live or have studied in what they term the historical counties of the North of England, it now attracts a very healthy entry of some 2200 works with the 2017-18 exhibition, currently showing at Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery in Carlisle, exhibiting some 90 pieces by 70 artists. With some top-line judges, Frances Spalding among them, and artists ranging from RA Norman Ackroyd to painters just out of art school, it adds up to a splendid advertisement for the continuing vitality of Northern art. The rise and rise of Francis Newton Souza's contemporary reputation is one of the most remarkable phenomenons of the contemporary art market; hugely admired in the 1950s and 60s by European critics DECEMBER 2018 GALLERIES 13 from left M anolo Blahnik ‘Christmas Drawing of Holly Boot’ Green and Stone Santiago Parra ‘Untitled’ J D Malat F N Souza ‘Venus’ Grosvenor Gallery Gavin Watson ‘Lucky Jim’ New Light at Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery Amy Sharrocks ‘London Falling’ Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum A rt afoot Roaring 40s