Age is Just a Number, at Zuleika Gallery

The current summer exhibition at Zuleika Gallery in Masons Yard (info@zuleikagallery.com) features the work of four (co-incidentally all female) artists, of whom the oldest (Katherine Hyndman) is 91 and the youngest (Alyssa Dabbs) is 21.  Three out of four of the artists were present at the opening party when I took the opportunity to talk to them. Their work is very different in style but is of uniformly high quality: red dots began to appear as the evening went on.

Frances Aviva Blane produces work (top image) in the abstract expressionist tradition and its subjects tend to be based on the disintegration of paint and personality, causing one to question exactly what the marks may mean or more pertinently cause one to feel. She’s in distinguished mid career, won the Jerwood Prize for Drawing in 1999 and been widely exhibited in several countries including Germany and Belgium. In 2014 her work was shown alongside alongside exhibitions of Francis Bacon and Louise Bourgeois, at Deconstruct in Belgium.

Katherine Hyndman (central image) produces largely geometric work based on arithmetical proportions and sequences, distributing motifs, shapes and colours in harmonious arrays. She has exhibited widely and internationally. Although there is some superficial resemblance to the work of Bridget Riley I suspect her work is more concerned with achieving harmony and less with challenging the viewers’ perceptions.

Alysssa Dabbs, still in college but well advanced in her craft, produces abstract work on a large scale,with an impressive use of colour and mark making, the latter often achieved by unconventional methods such as working with her own brushes, blindfolded, and with her non dominant hand. Interestingly she quotes Adolph Gottleib as stating, in 1947 that ‘so-called abstraction is not abstraction at all. On the contrary, it is the realism of our time’. She continues “My paintings are a reflection on now, documenting the unconscious, capturing emotions and feelings through choice of colour and expressive mark making. I am continually inspired by the scale of other artists work such as Julie Mehretu and Cy Twombly.” All that said, I was impressed by the use of colour to not only evoke memory and sensation but also, no doubt unconsciously, to create space within the picture plane. For some reason it put me in mind of Ivon Hitchins now showing at Pallant House in Chichester.

The bottom image shows the ceramicist Nadine Bell standing in front of Alyssa’s “Goldfish Bowl” with one of her beautifully formed porcelain vessels. Incredibly light and tactile, their second firing after the biscuit stage often involves the addition of various organic materials and even copper wire to the kiln to produce effects that may best be described as “neither accidental nor controlled”. They are very keenly priced in the mid hundreds of pounds and just about within the indulgent present price bracket.

The exhibition runs until 9th August and is well worth a visit.

Chris

 

 

 

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