Work In Progress: Copper-leafed dragonflies.
Sunday, 27 May 2018
Wednesday, 23 May 2018
I happened across this wonderful exhibition by happy accident whilst visiting the John Craxton In Greece exhibition at the Osborne Samuel gallery on the floor below (the subject of my last post), and it was curiosity, that led me to climb the stairs to Annely Juda on the floor above, where my nosiness was rewarded with these potent, mysterious wood and metal constructions by David Nash. Nash is a consummate craftsman knowing how best to fully exploit the grain and fissures in the wood that he works. Trees in the forests of their natural habitat have an inherent spirituality, all too aware perhaps of their precious role in the ecosystem of this planet. And although the trees depicted here are fallen and decapitated, Nash appears to resurrect that sense of living energy and spirit, giving new life through his artistic interventions on these timbers.
Ash Bark Dome
The centrepiece of the downstairs gallery is Cork Dome (2012), a large, wonderfully textural mound, constructed from slivers of cork bark. It is a self-contained craggy, maze. Both a citadel and refuge.
Oak Leaves Through May
Nine Cork Oaks
Tree Fern Dome
Red Around Black (2017), was one of my favourites in the exhibition, made from the trunk of a mighty Sequoia, with its coppery red-veined outer, cloaking a charred, velvety black interior. It was a majestic sculptural piece full of intrigue. That blackened interior had unspoken knowledge. It seemed to have a story to tell...
Flame (2017), evoked religious connotations in my mind. The whole resembled a sculptural church/cathedral building.
Whilst the top half was like a pair of praying hands from the angle photographed above. I envisioned Joan of Arc in the act of prayer for deliverance in the moments before she was engulfed and consumed by flames.
Cube, Sphere, Pyramid on a Shelf
Fire Carved Holly (2015). This piece demonstrates how very little needs to be done in terms of artistic intervention to improve on the sculptural shapes found in nature.
Beech, Ash, Oak
Pagoda Column (2015), like many of Nash's pieces appears to be about achieving balance and equilibrium - man in harmony with nature. All of the pieces have a peaceful, meditative air to them.
In the upstairs gallery I really enjoyed the large scale of this coupling of King and Queen I (2011), which seemed to echo the similar male/female pairings of sculptors Lynn Chadwick and Henry Moore.
Again the charred, patinated surface of Nash's royal pair was beautiful, and gave the piece an extra textural dimension.
I also admired the sharp, corten steel angles of Open Cross Box (2017), which again evoked more religious imagery in my mind, of that of the outer cassock/cloak of a bishop. Again this work gives off an aura of mystery, and also shelter. It is a haven, and sanctuary. An enfoldment of protection for all seeking spirituality and refuge from the troubles of a material world.
Green and Black II
Ladle and Spoon
I discovered the exhibition on the day after the opening Private View, and was lucky to have these works, and the gallery space all to myself. In the upstairs gallery there was work in progress in the exhibition space, as workmen were busily engaged in boxing up some David Hockney paintings. And as I was leaving I was nearly squashed by more art handlers bringing in some figurative Paolozzi sculptures. I hope to visit again for a further look by which time the workmen should have packed up and gone.
Black in White, Black in Black: Column; Diagonal Striped Column; Diagonal Serrated Column
Diagonal Serrated Column
David Nash: Wood • Metal • Pigment
until 7th July
Annely Juda Fine Art
3rd and 4th floors
23 Dering Street
Saturday, 19 May 2018
Three Figures, Poros
I hadn't visited the Osborne Samuel gallery since they had moved to their new premises in Dering Street. This new John Craxton exhibition was the perfect opportunity to remedy this, and it was great to see many of Craxton's pieces that I hadn't seen before. This show complements the other significant Craxton exhibition - Charmed Lives In Greece - currently on display in London at the British Museum. There are some lovely works on display here charting the ways in which he picks the brains of Picasso, Matisse, and other artists of the European avant-garde of the period, before ultimately developing his own voice. The show at the British Museum also features paintings and drawings by Craxton's good friends artist Niko Ghika, and the celebrated writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. I have featured a very good earlier Craxton retrospective seen at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge in January 2014, in this very blog which features many of the pieces seen at the British Museum's Charmed Lives In Greece show, which you can visit here.
Couple by the Sea (Panorama Revisited)
Boy on a Sea Wall
Goat Eating a Vine
This lively depiction of a goat rooting in the vines was one of the highlights of the exhibition for me.
Cat, Tree and Bird
I had fun trying to discern the cat and bird from the tree in this piece above.
Autumn Landscape with Hills, Spetses
Faces and Fig Leaves
I really enjoyed this fan-like design merging man with nature similar to the legend of the Green Man and much like John Piper's Foliate Heads series.
Blue Still Life
Cat and Butterfly
Sleeping Fisherman in Olive Grove
Reclining Male Nude
Seated Figure, Paros
Portrait of Petros Mastopetros
These following depictions of men dancing were charming and very amusing - like seeing fathers and uncles 'getting their groove on', doing their best 'dad-dancing' at family get-togethers. Craxton's observations here are so accurate, and perfectly capture the joy of the figures lost in their own reveries to the rhythm, fully engaged in the act of interpreting the music through a series of increasingly athletic and bizarre dance movements. Wonderful.
Dancing Sailor II
Dancing Sailor IV
John Craxton In Greece: The Unseen Works
until 8th June
23 Dering Street
London W1S 1AW