The Molten Force of the Sunflower****

‘I, indeed, before, others, have taken the sunflower,’ wrote Vincent Van Gogh to Paul Gauguin on 21 January 1889 with remarkable assurance for a man of such febrile temperament. Ever since, the whole world has inclined to agree with him. The name Van Gogh has become identified with his various painted representations of it. Without … Continue reading The Molten Force of the Sunflower****

The Challenge of Latex: the danger of gender-fluidity spillage **

Can you imagine a hotter topic for an inflated gallery show than gender fluidity? Apparently human beings are are at it everywhere these days, in the bedroom and the schoolroom, wondering who they are, and who they might yet become once they have shucked off the daily, flat-footed plod of their customary identities... Could there … Continue reading The Challenge of Latex: the danger of gender-fluidity spillage **

Wildness is all: yet another under-sung heroine… ***

Do you know the work of the painter Lee Krasner? Why not? Born in 1908 into a family of Russian Jewish émigrés in New York, she was an Abstract Expressionist. Remember them? In the 1950s, they snatched the crown of Art Capital of the World from Paris single-handed. Paris has never recovered. Who were the … Continue reading Wildness is all: yet another under-sung heroine… ***

Those Long Afternoons in Paris: the voyeur’s view of Edouard Vuillard ****

The sheer oddness of the angle of view is what appeals above all things else. Too pent? Too wonky? Too side-on? The painter Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) lived for much of his life in a variety of rather small apartments in Paris, hugger mugger with his mother and his sister... The Family After the Meal (1891), … Continue reading Those Long Afternoons in Paris: the voyeur’s view of Edouard Vuillard ****

Fighting it Out on the Home Front***

The home is an enduring site of ease and dis-ease. It is where we traditionally experience comfort, contentment, resentment and confinement. How did British artists respond to the idea of home between about 1950 and 1980? Answering that question is the purpose of a new group show at the Graves Gallery in Sheffield which opens … Continue reading Fighting it Out on the Home Front***

Stuck in the cul-de-sac with no way back****

A suite of three new galleries have been created from former office space over at the Burlington Gardens' side of the Royal Academy, one letting into the other, a very pleasing show-through. Works by Phyllida Barlow - collectively entitled cul-de-sac - are on display in them. Was this where Stormin' Norman Rosenthal once worked? They … Continue reading Stuck in the cul-de-sac with no way back****

Van Gogh comes to London ****

This is a huge and almost unwieldy, if not ungainly, show. So research-heavy is it that it courts the possibility of failure by sheer documentary overload, but because, by sleight of hand, it finally encompasses so much (and that much includes many excellent paintings by Van Gogh which have nothing to do with Britain whatsoever), … Continue reading Van Gogh comes to London ****