Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Alice Neel: My Animals and Other Family

You don't see much of Alice Neel's work in the large public galleries so it was nice to come across this show in Mayfair. The last show of her work I caught was the retrospective at the Whitechapel in 2010. This is a small show of drawings and paintings capturing the portraits for which she is renowned, but with the inclusion of animals. I really liked the looseness of style of the unfinished portrait (Hartley With a Cat), above from 1969, with the contrast of the stark white background and cool blue stripes of the sitters t-shirt contrasted with the warmth of his pinkish skin tones, and the warmth of the matching cat's stripes.

I thought the harsh overhead lighting effects that Neel captured in this portrait of Eddie Zuckermandel (1948), was just spot on and gives a real intensity to both the sitters and the cats eyes.

This portrait - Lushka, 1974, was another favourite. I liked the way she has captured the background foliage as it reminded of Gauguin's work done in Tahiti. The colours are really rich and lush, and the brushwork is loose and lightly applied to describe the dogs fur.

Alice Neel: My Family and other Animals
Victoria Miro Mayfair
14 George Street
until 19th December