Monday, 27 February 2012

Kalliphilia, and some Wykehamists

Hugo Wilson
It was a very artistic weekend, what with one thing and another. On Saturday I went to a show called Kalliphilia at the Vegas Gallery, which lurks in a back street in Bethnal Green beneath the thundering of trains. A love of beauty can often seem to be absent from the art world, and this gallery aimed to showcase some things of real beauty. Emma McNally's weird and entropic abstracts were very striking; Andy Harper's seething and dream-like serpent stood out, as did Hugo Wilson's dark and dream-like kneeling monk. More surprising was a piece by Tom Gallant, which on the surface seemed a normal collage: look closer, and you will see some very explicit pictures. Beauty lurks everywhere, it seems, whether in flesh or flowers, faith or fever.
Emma McNally

On Friday, I zoomed down to Winchester for an exhibition put on by some recently Old Wykehamists in the enormous and impressive art school. Six old boys, the eldest of whom left in 2003, came together to show some of their recent work. The art school itself was displaying some excellent pieces by current pupils, including some wonderfully Mervyn Peake-like portraits.

Ben Walton
Of the old boys, Ben Walton's human animal hybrids were playful and engrossing, recalling the Chapman Brothers' mutilation of Goya paintings but without their gross sensibility. Tom Rainsbury's abstracts were luminous and peaceful; Charlie Stewart provided some striking photographs (including one of a goldfish and its shadow, seemingly unconnected.) There was fine draughtsmanship in Sam Wilkinson's portraits, eerie and swirling; and also some excellently striking lines in Freddie Martelli's, whose subjects gazed out solemnly and realistically from their frames (amongst them, one of me. Ahem.) Neil Ziatabari's gloomy landscape of a field with some houses was set nicely against his livelier portraits. All in all, there was much beauty there.

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