Thursday 23 February 2017
The setting of the gallery could not be more splendid: the old Duke of York’s Barracks in the Kings Road provides huge cool spaces, with pale wooden floors and white walls. Linda and I arrived through the strong winds of storm Doris and were pleased to visit the modern and elegant facilities in the basement before moving on to the art.
Down in the basement was a room with prints for sale, mostly priced at £95.00, though one, ‘The Last Marilyn’ by someone calling him or herself ‘Pure Evil’ was £2000.00.
The main exhibition on the two upper floors is called 'Painters' Painters' and displays the work of 9 youngish artists. The first one was Dexter Dalwood, whose pictures were somewhat linked to celebrity: Kurt Cobain's Greenhouse and Brian Jones' Swimming Pool for example.
Then there was a room with large bright pictures of women shopping and having cups of coffee, and then we moved on to a room with rather strange collage-esque pictures: angels, bears on bicycles, strings of beads or possibly chromosomes.
At this stage, we felt that there could have been more helpful signage, perhaps explaining what the artists thought they were doing, though of course we could (and perhaps should) have purchased the Exhibition guide. We were, for instance, baffled by a picture called Mingus in Mexico, with no sign of the great Charlie that we could detect.
In room 6, we saw the work of Raffi Kalenderian; I particularly liked his Zebras, but there were also several pictures of people and places, which you can see here.
The next artist was Richard Aldrich, whose semi-blank canvases left me feeling very old-fogey-ish indeed. The one with the pot plant was called Past, Present and Future and, again, you can see some more of his work here.Bjarne Melgaard had a number of large, lurid paintings, including Death of a Hooker; this was not a title or indeed a work which I found appealing.
And then we came to the room which had Ansel Krut's works in it. We kind-of understood Shattered Man, but I have to admit to being baffled by Napoleon on Elba. I am assuming that that is the title of the paint tins work, but the signage was so discreet as to leave one uncertain as to which picture was which.
We certainly enjoyed his picture of mussels, though they looked rather like pieces of watermelon with eyes added.
Then there was a room of Francis Bacon-y pictures, apparently unlabelled, but actually by Ryan Mosley.
On the whole, this seemed to us to be an exhibition of painters developing their art by looking back to other artists, whether cubists or surrealists or abstract expressionists or whatever.
By the way, there is a vast shop full of remarkable things.