La Balagne

For one week in May this was our bedroom window, with its view of the Golfe de Calvi and the mountains beyond, with Monte Grosso 1,938 metres and Monte Padro 2,393 metres, two of the highest in Corsica. Every morning their silhouette was gradually illuminated as the sun rose behind them, projecting fast-moving cloud shadows onto their faces, with every morning a different view. Read more

Frames of reference

Which Way Up

For John McLean, 1939-2019.

Sadly I’m not allowed to post this video on our blog, but please watch it here.

John McLean is a Scottish abstract painter with work in some of the world’s great public art collections. In 2013 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This feature-length documentary charts McLean’s struggle to carry on working as the disease takes hold. He proves to be an engaging, humorous and always fascinating companion as he allows us access to the most private of spaces; the artist’s studio. Parkinson’s gradually locks him into disability but he heroically and resolutely refuses to give up on his paintings.

“If you walk down the street with him he’ll notice some small architectural detail really high up quite obscure, and a little detail on a chocolate biscuit, the concaveness of the centre of it, which seems quite minor at the time, but it just shows this exploration into things visual and shapes, it’s all comical quite often and witty but then also deeply like kind of comes from being intrigued by life.”

Jack Fawdrey, studio assistant

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Jonathan Christie: Paintings & Drawings

This is a rare opportunity to see several pictures by Jonathan Christie gathered together in one place; it’s his first solo exhibition anywhere and we’re honoured to host it in our window throughout June. Paintings and drawings inspired by favourite places and favourite artists, from Venice to St Ives via Ben Nicholson and Eric Ravilious and all stations to Alfred Wallis. Read more

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Hepworth | Nicholson

Another beautiful Ben Nicholson exhibition, this one shared with Barbara Hepworth and framed within the elegant rooms of Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert in Bury Street, St James’s, until 12th July.

‘Barbara Hepworth | Ben Nicholson: Sculpture and Painting in the 1930s’ brings together over thirty works created by two of the most influential artists of the Twentieth Century. As the first ever loan exhibition to focus solely on this pivotal period in their careers, co-curated by their granddaughter Sophie Bowness and Professor Christopher Green of the Courtauld Institute, it presents sculpture, paintings and works on paper produced during this formative decade. The show contains work borrowed from major private and public collections, including Abbot Hall Art Gallery, the Courtauld Gallery, the Pier Arts Centre, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and the National Galleries of Scotland, and will feature rarely seen works from the artists’ family collections, as well as archival material from the Hepworth Estate. Read more

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Delicious Solitude

This little booklet is no bigger than a postcard. It’s a pocket book. It was published in 1989 for a joint exhibition of drawings by John Hubbard and photographs by Paul Joyce at the Royal Festival Hall. The exhibition toured to other venues, including Warwick Arts Centre. I didn’t see the exhibition but fortunately I found this book, another discovery in the treasure house that was Notting Hill Books. For many years its tiny reproductions were my only knowledge of John Hubbard’s charcoal drawings, until I saw his exhibition at Kew Gardens in 2006, Spirit of Trees, which included some of the drawings reproduced here. I found this book again today and felt moved to share its pages. Read more

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Rivers & Tides

I was just told about this film. I’d not seen it before. Why had I never heard about it? It is wonderful. It was made in 2000 but it still feels fresh and full of magic.

Landscape sculptor Andy Goldsworthy is renowned throughout the world for his work in ice, stone, leaves, wood. His own remarkable still photographs are Goldsworthy’s way of talking about his often ephemeral works, of fixing them in time… Now with this deeply moving film, shot in four countries and across four seasons, and the first major film he has allowed to be made, the elusive element of time adheres to his sculpture.

Director Thomas Riedelsheimer worked with Andy Goldsworthy for over a year to shoot this film. What Riedelsheimer found was a profound sense of breathless discovery and uncertainty in Goldsworthy’s work, in contrast to the stability of conventional sculpture. There is risk in everything that Goldsworthy does. He takes his fragile work – and it can be as fragile in stone as in ice or twigs – right to the edge of its collapse, a very beautiful balance and a very dramatic edge within the film. The film captures the essential unpredictability of working with rivers and with tides, feels into a sense of liquidity in stone, travels with Goldsworthy underneath the skin of the earth and reveals colour and energy flowing through all things.

Frames of reference

One Day In Calvi

We were staying at the top of the hill, behind the beach and the hotels, looking east over the bay to the mountains beyond. North of us was the Citadel but it only came into view as we descended the zigzag path back down into town. It seemed like a good place to begin exploring. Read more

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Primavera

We’ve got a whole host of springtime in our window for May, paintings made earlier this year by Annabel Keatley in Andalucia where she lives, soaking up the light and the colours and the heat of southern Spain, absorbing, extracting, expressing it all in her joyful pictures. “There are two Springs here, one in January and February when the almond blossom is in flower, and now, when most of the wildflowers are out… So it was the first Spring when I painted most of this series…” Read more

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Cava Ispica

The doorway in the rock face opened into a honeycomb of catacombs, hand-carved rock tombs and tunnels, cubicles and niches, an underground depository for the dead. All now dissolved, evacuated, long gone and undead, a dormitory of empty beds, a newfangled airbnb ghost town opportunity. Read more

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Jolie Holland

I’m away now for a few days, meanwhile here’s Jolie Holland and an anonymous string band with three songs, caught in the woods at Happy Valley Pickathon in 2014. Read more

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