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|Calling all those living in or near SW London! Katie (my Common Works co-pilot) and I have been setting up and planning this year’s Artist’s Open House which is taking place on 17/18 September. See the map here|
I am venue 4, at 6 Dora Road, SW19 7HH. Laura Crossman is also exhibiting at my house with her stunning botanical paintings and prints.
As part of it, I will be running a free intuitive drawing workshop on Sunday 18th at 2pm. Let me know if you would like to book a space. email@example.com
Other exhibitions to see this monthWinslow Homer: Force of Nature is the first big survey of Homer’s work to be shown in the UK. Winslow Homer, an American ‘realist’ painter, confronted leading issues of the late 19th century like the American civil war, abolition of slavery and the US’s relationship with Europe and the Caribbean. Organised with the Met, in NYC, there are over 50 paintings on display. If you have any interest in American history, do not miss this. National Gallery 10Sept – 8Jan23
Japan: Courts and Culture is a collection of all the presents the Japanese royal family has given successive British monarchs. It also explores the relationship between the two countries, particularly as Japan’s contact with the outside world was essentially prohibited for 200 years. From around 1850 British royals started to visit Japan and from then there was a to and fro of visits and gifts. It does make me wonder how many rooms of ‘gifts’ there are in Buckingham Palace. I hope, for their sake, they never need to move house. Queen’s Gallery until Mar 23
Sorting Britain: The Power of Postcodes. Not strictly art but fellow map-heads will appreciate the beauty of the 19th century maps in this exhibition. Following the story of the postcode from its birth in 1959 with wartime tech pioneers to Poco the Elephant, the show looks at social history and what your postcode says about you. More interesting than you’d imagine. The Postal Museum until 1Jan23
|Congratulations to the Horniman Museum who is this years ArtFund’s Museum of the Year. Located in Forest Hill, in SE London, the Horniman combines environment, ecology and human culture and really is embedded in local life. The museum has also been in the press recently for agreeing to return the ‘Benin Bronzes’, a group of stunning sculptures stolen from Nigeria over 100 years ago. I think the Elgin Marbles will be following suit in the next few years…|
|The Rowe holiday this year was a California Road trip which was pretty mind-blowing. Here are a few of my sketches made along the journey in Yosemite, Santa Barbara and San Diego.|
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|Dad, 35x45cm oil on canvas|
My father, David, was 80 a couple of weeks ago and I painted this portrait of him from his point of command at the kitchen table doing the crossword.
I hope the Summer is treating you well . If you are feeling the heat and need somewhere to cool down may I suggest a wander round some of our fabulous museums, many of which are air-conditioned. The Tate was deliciously cool last week and there are plenty of absorbing exhibitions on across London. Some suggestions below. Thank you to those who went to see my work at Henley Regatta last month. I am delighted to say that I sold all but one of my works.New exhibitions this month
Milton Avery (1885-1965) was a titan of American painting and often thought to be the first Abstract Expressionist. This is the first full scale retrospective of his work in this country. A true colourist and leaning towards the abstract, Avery pared down landscapes and figured scenes to their most basic elements. His influence can be seen clearly in the work of his admirers Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and beyond. If you are at all interested in Amercian 20th century art then get yourself to the RA. Royal Academy until 16 Oct
|Small is Beautiful has been hugely popular with everyone I know who has been to see it. A great show to take the kids to over the holidays. Over 140 artworks created by 34 artists, some require magnifying glasses and all require oohs and aaahs at their sheer inventiveness. Miniature Art Exhibition, South Kensington until 4 Sept.Superheroes, Orphans and Origins: 125 years in comics is a fascinating look at the number of fictional superheroes and characters that lost their parents at a young age. Superman, Spiderman, Batman and Black Panther are just a few of the back stories explored here. Fittingly it is at the Foundling Museum, founded in 1739 as a shelter for abandoned children. The exhibition was born out of the poem ‘Superman was a Foundling’ commissioned by the museum from Lemn Sissay, a poet who grew up in care himself. The artwork will appeal to any cartoon fan, made all the more interesting with this angle. Foundling Museum until 28 AugThere has been a huge explosion of ‘immersive art’ in London and other big cities across the world in recent years. Van Gogh, Klimt and Kahlo are currently running in London. The question is, why would you spend £20 a head to go to one of these (they all cost this much) when most of our fantastic museums and galleries are free?|
I think there needs to be a distinction between contemporary art created to be immersive and old masters blown-up so you can walk over and in it. Both appeal to the selfie generation but good immersive art (see Future Shock, reviewed last month) has integrity and meaning whilst I was simply left feeling nauseous after the Van Gogh ‘experience’ last Summer. I understand the argument that they are trying to appeal to new audiences who in turn will visit the struggling museums but I worry that those audiences are only going to be disappointed by a painting on a wall. My advice is to save the £20 and go to one of our museums to marvel at the real thing instead.
|A few examples of my life drawing this term. All A2 size using charcoal and pastels on paper. I have only started using pastels in the past 18 months. I had previously written them off as uncontrollable but I think I’m beginning to enjoy that lack of control!|
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|Navigating the backwaters, 46x36cm, oil on canvasThis is one of my pieces currently showing at Henley Regatta in the Stewards enclosure gallery. I was delighted to be invited to exhibit again this year, all paintings need to be rowing/river related which suits me fine. If you are going please take a break from the rowing (or bar!) and pop in to have a look. Stewards Enclosure|
To all local artist friends on this mailing list, please note the call below for the Merton Arts Festival Open House trail which I’m organising for September. See CommonWorksGallery.org for more details. Common Works Gallery is a community interest company I have set up with Katie Preston bringing arts projects to the local community. The term ‘Common Works’ takes inspiration from William Morris who’s workshops in Merton Abby Mills were set up with the belief in the benefits of coming together to create and learn new skills. After Art in the Park Festival last year, this year we are reviving the Merton Arts Festival open studio arts trail. You’ll hear more in due course!Exhibitions opening in London this monthPicasso Ingres: Face to Face is an opportunity to see these two paintings together for the first time. Picasso first encountered Ingre’s ‘Madame Moistessier’ in Paris in 1921 and it struck him deeply. He painted the portrait of his young mistress Marie Therese in 1932. Both paintings are stunning and both have fascinating stories behind them. Stop in to see this tiny exhibition if you are passing. National Gallery room 46 until 9 Oct
|Africa Fashion is a huge exhibition that has been 2 years in development and celebrates the originality of African designers in the wake of the continent’s liberation through to the present day. The show looks at the effect this cultural renaissance is having on global fashions. The V&A fashion exhibitions are always a treat, I look forward to this one. V&A until 16Apr23Would you like to some bonding with your teen? Then take them to Future Shock at 180 The Strand, an immersive show of light installations that leave you feeling bowled over. The gallery has established itself as the master of cavernous installations and the mind-bending artists here are no different. It will keep the teen’s instagram fed for weeks. Until 28 Aug, 180 The StrandFor something a bit more wholesome, go and see The Secret Garden exhibition. It celebrates Frances Hodgson Burnett’s wonderful classic with games, trails and illustrations from the book. It was one of my favourite novels as a child (and when I re-read to my children) so I will take them to this! Also, the lovely Garden Museum is a must for any keen gardeners. The Garden Museum 6 July until 4 Sep|
|www.commonworksgallery.orgMeet you in the Bridge Bar, 66x46cm, oil on canvas|
Another of my paintings showing at Henley regatta this week
|View this email in your browserThank you to everyone who came to Fresh Air the show I had with Emily Harris a few weeks ago. We so enjoyed putting together the exhibition and were overwhelmed by such a positive reaction. AdLib gallery continues to show some items of work so do pop in if you are passing through Wimbledon Village.|
I hope you enjoy the long Jubilee weekend, I am busy with a street party in our road. There are also lots of fantastic exhibitions recently opened in London, some suggestions below.
|The blockbuster exhibition of the moment has to be Raphael. It is the first ever show of his full career outside Italy and covers paint, chalk, print, wool, bronze and ink. He achieved so much so early, painting St.Sebastian like this by 19 (left), he was one of the most sought after Italian Renaissance artists by his late 20s and had altered the course of Italian art by his death at 37. Phew. This show has 89 works from collections around the world and finishes with a room of portraits painted out of love and friendship rather than commission. A very special show. National Gallery until 31 July|
|Was Walter Sickert Jack the Ripper? This exhibition seems to throw up more questions than answers but it seems that if he wasn’t, then he fantasised that he was. Sickert’s grimly realist paintings portray Victorian urban life and his work conjures up dank rented rooms and gaslit pubs. He is not afraid to add drama to his paintings which then suggests his penchant for theatre may have led him to falsly confess to the police that he was the mass murderer Jack the Ripper. Or was he telling the truth? Either way he was a cracking painter. Tate Britain until 18 SeptWhilst you’re at Tate Britain seeing the Sickert, it would also be worth seeing the Cornelia Parker show. Parker’s work is immediately engaging and her visual puns will stay with you. The iconic exploding shed is here, mid-boom. Also here, is ink made from pornography confiscated by UK customs, a sculpture made from a gun used in a violent crime and an room covered in off-cuts from Rememberence Day poppies. What Parker does is invite contemplation to by repurposing key objects from current life, sometimes in a jokey way and sometimes serious. Tate Britain until 16 OctoberDo you like aliens? If so, or are looking for something unusual and child/teen engaging, I would recommend Alienarium 5. This installation from Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is designed as a welcoming meeting place between humans and aliens. Crazy no? There are even aliens there. There is also a tribute to the sci-fi genre in a huge mural featuring well-known figures, satellites and spaceships. The aim is to make you imagine a new type of future, one that hasn’t been invented yet. Fun and optimistic. Serpentine Gallery until 4 Sep|
|Roses from the garden, 27x32cm oil on canvasI was suffering a bit of Chelsea Flower fomo last week as I hadn’t booked tickets this year, so painted some roses from my garden to get my fix.Get in touch|
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|Artists Katharine Rowe and Emily Harris come together to celebrate the height of Spring in their exhibition of new work – Fresh Air. “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night and spring after winter.”Rachel Carson, Environmentalist and author of Silent Spring Through a shared love of the ever-inspiring abundance of nature, Fresh Air details each artist’s relationship to the earth. Holding a shared use of colour, the work details ecologies of Costa Rica, Spain, the Scottish Isles and closer to home in Cannizaro Park. Relevant to the current climate conversation, Fresh Air pronounces the feelings each place evokes – awe, home and joy. |
Exhibition runs 12-19 May 10.30-5.30
|Beverley Brook seeks the Thames, 110x90cm framedOne of my paintings to be exhibited at Fresh Air in AdLib Gallery in Wimbledon village next month, 12-19th May. Private view on 12th May, details here.There has been much in the news recently about questionable funding for galleries and museums (also see football clubs). The Sackler family have come into focus after being sued by victims affected by the opioid crisis in the US, where an estimated 500,000 lives have been lost to addiction to the painkiller OxyContin. The Sacklers donated, over the years, vast sums to cultural institutions around the world many of whom are now distancing themselves from the Sackler name. The Tate has become the latest to remove any mention of the Sacklers and will no longer accept any gifts from the family (although haven’t pledged to return any funds, I note). |
I am currently reading Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe, a jaw-dropping history of the Sacklers. They make the Roys (Succession) look like the Waltons.
New exhibitions to see this month
|Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child is not for the faint-hearted. If you have seen the Francis Bacon recently, I would recommend you leave several weeks before seeing this. It is the stuff nightmares are made of, via old tights and rusty cages. The overall themes of the show are generally positive: reparation and the artist late in life coming to terms with various traumas. How she does it though goes head first into the trauma. The show opens with nighties and dresses hanging from animal bones, eek. This show has had excellent reviews. Hayward Gallery until 15MayPostwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-1965 is another heaving, dark exhibition full of important artwork by celebrated painters. The first part of the exhibition represents war-ravaged Britain with bombed-out husks painted by Bert Hardy and explosive sculptures from Chadwick and Paolozzi. The wider trends in painting are also explored later in the show through intense work from Kossoff and Auerbach. This is a timely show given the atrocities happening in the Ukraine right now and is a must see for any ‘mid-century’ fans. Barbican until 26 JuneInspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts is an antidote to the above exhibitions. Walt Disney was a big francophile and this exhibition shows hand-drawn animations alongside fine porcelain, paintings and furniture from Rococo France. This would be lovely to see in the Easter holidays and if you haven’t been to the Wallace Collection before, I heartily recommend it. It is in a beautiful house just near Marylebone (infinite lunch options). Wallace Collection 6 April-16 OctoberFashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear is the new blockbuster show from the V&A. There are 3 galleries: Undressed, Overdressed and Redressed and 100 outfits with many artworks showing their inspiration. The show starts with the 18th century fashion of the Grand Tour when young wealthy men would travel to Europe educating themselves in Classic antiquities and buy rich, flamboyant European clothing. Through various turns it goes through to modern day gender fluid dressing a la Harry Styles. Is your man stuck in a fashion rut? Get him to the V&A! V&A until 6NovRiver Culture is an exhibition I am showing in with artists in the Merton area for the Wandle heritage charity. The theme is the river and it takes place in the fascinating and historical Merton Priory Chapter House. Merton Abbey was the largest in the country before Henry VIII demolished it in 1538 with his Dissolution of the Monasteries. He didn’t manage to totally flatten the Chapter House, however, and there is a small but fascinating museum and exhibition space to be found under a big flyover. It is open at weekends and is really worth going to see. Park at the big M&S and walk through the underpass. River Culture tickets to tonight’s private view.|
|Thank you to those who got in touch about my Daffodils for Ukraine last month. I am delighted to report that I painted and sold three so have transferred £375, to Choose Love , a charity that supports refugees. |
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|January Arts Newsletter|
Silver birch wood, Wimbledon Common, 50x30cm unframed
Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely Christmas break. If more culture is one of your resolutions for 2022 then now is a great time to reappraise all the fantastic permanent exhibitions we have available in this country. Whilst wandering aimlessly through a big museum can seem overwhelming rather than enticing, most of our galleries have curated routes they recommend. Much more palatable and fun.Tate Britain is one of my favourites and never seems too crowded. If you are not already familiar with it, I would highly recommend their ‘Walk Through British Art 1540-1910‘. 420 works are arranged in time zones rather than subject themes, as was previously. There is an audio highlight tour on their website, which you could listen to on your way round. There are also free guided tours daily at 12.00 and 13.00. They last 45 mins and you need to book in advance. If you have younger children, you might also be interested in Story Space on Weds and weekends. Tate BritainThe V&A has 18 major collections spread across 154 galleries and each collection presents itself as a smaller curated show. Two of my favourites are Glass and Furniture; magical. If you are taking younger family members, I would recommend their adventure trails. Simply download and follow on your phone.
They also, of course, have fabulous temporary exhibitions like Fabarge in London: Romance to Revolution. You would be hard-pressed to think of an object that screamed ‘luxury’ more than a Fabarge Egg. This exhibition goes beyond the eggs, though, and tells the story of Carl Fabarge and his New Bond St. store which opened in 1903. It is a story of bling at the turn of the 20th century. I haven’t yet been but by all accounts it is egg-celent. V&A until 8 May 2022
|The British Museum is another whopper but they have lots of bite-size options with different trails, starting from a 3-object trail. There are longer ones to choose from too, and some excellent Museum Missions for kids. Who doesn’t want to discover a mummified cat?!|
Currently on temporary exhibition is Peru: A Journey in Time which follows the path of the Andean people from 15,000 years ago up to the Spanish invasion in 1534. There are different cultures: the Chavin, Nasca, Moche and Inca and different rituals: human sacrifice, dancing, war, hallucinogens and a lot more cats. It isn’t a big exhibition, partly on loan from Peru and partly BM collection, but it is excellent. British Museum until 20Feb
|The Rowes, Christmas 2021. I screenprinted this in 3 layers of ink using a photo as a starting point. Some are more exact than others! This was my last screenprint for a while as I am going back to a weekly life drawing session instead from this term. Expect to see more naked people (drawings of) on my instagram from next week…|
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I hope you have a very creative 2022.
December Arts Newsletter
|November Tunnel, oil on canvas 70x50cmI can’t believe it is 1st December. I feel like we have been in December for weeks already. I have lots of exhibition ideas to distract you from Christmas below. However, I’m not a total Scrooge (I actually love Xmas) and also have a few suggestions for the best Christmas lights. Meanwhile I have been busy in the studio, both painting and screenprinting. The Courtauld Institute has just reopened after a 3 year, £57m makeover. The collection is a magnificent combination of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Renaissance works with a few Medieval pieces too. It has always been one of my best-loved London galleries, partly because it was so tucked away, you would often find yourself alone to contemplate a cracking Manet or Degas. By all accounts the new look is sympathetic to Somerset House and transforms the collection with all new flow and lighting. I can’t wait to go but really hope the word hasn’t got out… shhhh! The Courtauld, Somerset House.Also in Somerset House there is The Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules. The exhibition is set up so that visitors feel they are stepping into pages of the Beano, Britain’s longest running comic. I grew up reading the Beano, in fact all my and my brother’s old comics (c.1983-92) are still at my parents’ house. My children still pick a wodge of them to read whilst staying there. We shall definitely have a family outing to this. Somerset House until 6 Mar|
Durer’s Journeys at the National Gallery is the heavy hitter of the London exhibitions this winter. The most overlooked artist of the Renaissance (maybe because he was German not Italian) his name should be mentioned in the same breath as Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael. Hell, he should have been a turtle. Unlike those other artists who stayed put in Italy, though, he travelled across Europe to learn and teach. This show focuses on those travels, and looks super interesting. National Gallery until 27Feb22.
Amy: Beyond the Stage celebrates all things Amy Winehouse from genres that influenced her music to the legacy that she left behind. Instantly recognisable, Winehouse became an icon of her generation with an immense amount of talent which led to very sad story. It’s at the fabulous Design Museum which also has The Conran Effect about Terence Conran that you could fit in too. until 1April22
If, like me, you were too late to book the lights at Kew, there are plenty of fabulous and free Christmas lights to see around London. Winter Light at the Southbank Centre is an open-air exhibition of work from 10 artists all inspired by light, colour and space. Other festive lights worth seeing are Carnaby Street, which are always excellent, Regent Street, Covent Garden and the Greenwich Peninsular. What also sounds particularly fun is the cobbled streets of Belgravia are being turned into a (super stylish) winter wonderland which they are calling With Bells On. Whilst you’re there you can also visit the Gingerbread City at the Museum of Architecture.
I have been experimenting in the screenprinting studio with mixing different colours to create a wintry starry sky. Brrr!
October Arts Newsletter
Thank you to everyone who came along to Art in the Park on 19th September. We had a fantastic turnout, with over 2,500 visitors. We had the art fair (over 50 artists), sculpture trail, lots of classes, a community sculpture and a drop in Art Hub, there was creativity all over Cannizaro! It has been so rewarding to make this happen (with others) and widen my arty network around Wimbledon. We are currently discussing next year so watch this space…
In the meantime, there are lots of lovely new exhibitions to see, some suggestions below.
Poussin and the Dance celebrates the wonderful work of the Baroque painter and his love of joy and movement. Poussin spent much of his career perfecting the depiction of the body in motion, and this exhibition would be particularly interesting to anyone else who likes life drawing. This show has 20 of his paintings alongside some of the antiquities that inspired him. Any fans of Matisse’s ‘Dance’ can see where it started. National Gallery 9Oct-2Jan
Beautiful People: The boutique in 1960s counterculture. Velvet trousers, Regency brocades and frilly shirts I hear you ask? Yes, you can find them all in this heady, star-studded world of 1960s London where clothes from eight era defining shops are on display. This is definitely a good exhibition for a bit of bonding with your teen over half term. Fashion & Textile Museum until 13 Mar 22
Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything has over 100 rare drawings by the Japanese artist Hokusai. Originally made for an encyclopedia that never made it to publication, the works were recently bought by the British Museum and this is the first time they have gone on show. Hokusai’s masterpiece ‘The Great Wave’ will also be on display and insight into his working practices with woodblocks. Japanophiles get yourselves there!
British Museum until 30Jan22.
Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty is a retrospective of her woodcuts and when compared with the Hokusai, shows quite how flexible the medium of woodcut can be. Frankenthaler is best seen in the context of the US Abstract Expressionists, alongside Pollock, de Kooning, Still et al. Her woodblocks are really quite revolutionary as well as being extremely beautiful. And all in the gorgeous surroundings of Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 18April22.
Arty TV recommendation
If you haven’t already seen it, the latest series of Fake or Fortune is on BBC iPlayer. Is it or isn’t it a Henry Moore? Such good telly!
The last Sweet Peas, oil on canvas 30x24cm
I haven’t had much time in the studio recently but did find time this week to paint these. Can you spot what brand the jam jar was?
September Arts Newsletter
I am extremely excited to invite you all to Art in the Park. As well as over 50 artists selling their work, we have a number of workshops, both for adults and children. These are selling out quickly so click here to see the programme and book a slot. The art fair is free entry and we have other free participatory arty activities as well as a sculpture trail. See you there! Art in the Park.
As a result of organising the above I have not had much time in the studio recently. However, here are some pastel sketches I made on our recent trip to the gorgeous Gower peninsular in Wales.
Mixing it Up: Painting today is an exhibition bringing together 31 contemporary painters all of whom aim to keep pushing boundaries in painting. The participating artists come from a huge range of countries but all are living and working in the UK. This show aims to prove that our country is an international centre of painting today. I can’t wait to see this. Hayward Gallery 9Sept-12Dec
Constance Spry and the Fashion for Flowers charts the rise of Spry, and floristry, as an art form. Spry liked to celebrate the individuality of plants, including those with prickles or plants usually found in the hedgerow or vegetable patch. This was truly avant garde in the 1920-30s and Spry was so fashionable, no society event was complete without her. Regular readers will know, I paint a lot of flowers and used to be a florist. This is going to be my treat once the kids are back at school! Garden Museum. Until 26 Sept
Belloto: the Konigstein Views Reunited. 18th Century landscape painter Belloto was overlooked during his lifetime due to his ridiculously successful uncle, Cannaletto. This exhibition highlights shows five big works and how he took a radical approach to painting in the 18th century as a leading painter in his own right. National Gallery until 31st October, free
As part of her 7th bday present, I gave my niece an art lesson last week. She painted a portrait of Big Bear and I introduced her to perspective and mixing paint with a palette knife. So much fun!