Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Liza Campbell and Henry Hudson

Two private views in a week: first there was Liza Campbell, whose Black Boxes have been a feature of my life for a while now; her "Carphology & Cryptograms" were on display at the Julian Hartnoll Gallery in St James'. My favourite was "Neurotics Checklist" (left), which lists - you can guess - all the things that a neurotic might worry about, including Alien Abduction, Putrefaction of the Genitals, Quicksand, a Tsunami and a Piranha Infested Caipirinha. If you are neurotic it's probably worth avoiding it. The works have a great deal of the customary Campbell charm and wit - go and check them out: never have Linnaean taxonomies seemed so much fun.

Then today, at T J Boulting's near Oxford Circus, was Henry Hudson's "Hominidae", a series of vast portraits of his family and friends in swirling, layered plasticenes that brought to mind Lucian Freud. They're textured, striking and haunting, upright figures in all but bare surroundings, sometimes looming out of their frames (quite literally as the material rises up towards you.) To the right is a portrait of the artist Lucy McMillan-Scott (who painted both me and my mother) and her dog Piper. There's also one of the novelist Cressida Connolly and her husband Charles Hudson, both of whom were present; striking a more colourful note was Janet Street-Porter, whose hair was, I think, purple, though it was hard to tell.

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