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

Frames of reference

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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Ben Nicholson

Hare Hill, 1928

There’s a lovely little exhibition of pictures by Ben Nicholson at the Crane Kalman Gallery until the 11th of May, a roomful of his paintings and drawings and collages, and downstairs works by some of his close contemporaries, including Winifred Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Alfred Wallis, Joan Miró, Christopher Wood and Alexander Calder. Here are just a few of my favourite Ben Nicholsons. Read more

Frames of reference

The Colour Of Memory

The entrance to the Pierre Bonnard exhibition at Tate Modern is a portal through a giant detail reproduction taken from his painting The Garden of 1936. It’s perhaps his best painting. It’s the one that most draws me in, most like a garden itself with it’s abstract disposition of marks and colours, it reminds me of paintings by Patrick Heron and Gillian Ayres. And there are other paintings here that bring to mind Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Howard Hodgkin, David Hockney. But before all of that, we’re straightaway into a red gallery with ‘hot’ paintings of Bonnard’s mistress, full-frontal nudes and a post-coital bedroom scene. The gardening comes later. Read more

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Devour

A few mementoes of Jelly Green’s magnificent but all too brief exhibition, Devour, at the Oxo Tower Gallery on London’s South Bank for just four days in early April. At the opening I was running around excitedly with my camera pointing and shooting wildly, trying in vain to absorb it all. The resulting photos are of varying degrees of clarity, but hopefully you’ll get the gist. Read more

Frames of reference