= The Crawford Arts Review: May 2013

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs at The London Transport Museum

The Floral Hall in Covent Garden was established in 1870 by the Earl of Bedford, part of whose estate it then was, for the sale of “fruit, flowers, roots and herbs”. It is a magnificent space, designed by William Rogers, and looking like a cross between a Victorian Conservatory and a Railway Station (see pics).

It’s entirely fitting that this feast of cast iron and glass should be home to the London Transport Museum.

London Transport celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and the museum has mounted a spectacular display over 2 floors of posters (150 out of a collection of more than 3,300) from the service’s outset in 1863. The exhibition also shows the gifted work of commissioning by the London Passenger Transport Board’s genius Chief Executive, Frank Pick. He made London Transport a key patron of the arts. Designs from each decade are shown and you can vote for your favourite. 

Pick commissioned big: here are works by artists and designers such as Edward McKnight Kauffer, Hans Unger, Graham Sutherland, Tom Eckersley, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (see pic).
Your fare, by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, 1936   
London Transport Museum © Transport for London
(mind you, they left off the apostrophes on some of the station names), as well as surrealist artist Man Ray’s Keeps London Going pair of posters (1938). Pick was also responsible for commissioning the modernist architect Charles Holden to design station buildings as well as the headquarters building in Victoria. 

Underground posters have always been eye-catching – they have to catch the attention of Londoners and visitors to London as they rush about their business. Many of them are now part of the famous V&A prints collection, gifted by Pick down the years as the Underground system and London evolved almost in parallel. The poster that advertises the exhibition (Brightest London is best reached by Underground by Horace Taylor (1924) (see pic) shows everyone dressed up, the women in designer gear, the men in top hats, and is a testament to how clean and comfortable electric rail had become. 
Brightest London is best reached by Underground by Horace Taylor (1924)
London Transport Museum © Transport for London
Many of the posters are recalled by Underground personnel with some amusement: the 1987 Keep your personal stereo personal! by Tim Demuth, was so popular that most of the copies disappeared to grace the personal walls of Londoners.
Keep your personal stereo personal! by Tim Demuth, 1987
London Transport Museum © Transport for London
These famous posters are available to order from the shop, and include recent posters such as the witty Feast of St George 2013 (see pic) for £9.95.
The Feast of St George 2013 Vivienne Lang, Caroline Sellers,
Sergio Fernandez, Helen Booth, Tom Lancaster
London Transport Museum © Transport for London
As well as updating passengers about what was happening on the Underground system itself, the posters have always advertised “what’s on” in London. Exhibitions, visits to Kew, places of interest, the Zoo, green spaces such as Epping made accessible as the network was extended. It’s notable, throughout the exhibition and the museum exhibits themselves, that everything was designed, built, engineered, upholstered, polished, ventilated and powered “for London”.

This progress was temporarily dented by the arrival of a certain selfish creature that showed no allegiance to London or anywhere else, the motor vehicle. One must blame the French . . .. The illustrator chosen to design posters for the Annual Motor Shows at Olympia was André Edouard Marty (1933).  His depiction of fashionable ladies seated at the steering wheel (driving on the right in the French manner it should be noted) with their offspring in a shiny new convertible perhaps struck a chord with the millions of women emerging from the rigours of WWII. Imagine the freedom of driving one of these new machines where what went on “under the bonnet” was the affair of your husband or a mechanic. It’s ironic to think that London Underground’s poster art may have played a part in its own neglect over the decades when the idea of personal transport grew. I must leave it to historians to work that one out. 

Some posters show that not all the artists loved their subjects. In Chinatown by Underground by John Bellany (1988) we see the artist’s portrayal of a group of Chinese women as stylized but less than affectionate (see detail).

The museum and its exhibits are just as fascinating. Thanks to re-investment and the dedication of TfL’s teams, London Underground has been on the move again for the last two decades. Transport stars such as the Jubilee Line Extension’s Chief Architect Roland Paoletti CBE obtained the dedicated services of architects and engineers to build the Jubilee Line Extension. The delivery of the London Overground is opening up whole sections of London never before served by London Transport.

On museum display shows nothing less than the whole history of London Underground over a century and a half. It starts from the first cut and cover line that ran from Paddington to Farringdon (see pic). 

London Underground also had a river boat service and a tram service, the LCC class G electric tramcar, 1906 (see pic)

And, hopefully to the Mayor of London’s delight, you will find a family group on bicycles (see pic), part of London’s transport system. 
The two hours I was there weren't nearly enough. And indeed the £15 ticket (£13.50 concession) buys you not just one visit but unlimited further visits for a year. Under-16s go free. All ages seemed equally fascinated. I have never seen groups of teenagers so quiet and thoughtful. Children from babes in arms to tiny toddlers were engaged; the pre-teens (and probably some of the teens) were all having their picture taken “at the wheel” of a TfL bus or tube train (see pic). 

The adults were happily queueing to have their photographs taken in one of London's 1970s tube carriages (see pic for a shot of the interior).   

I got to the Transport Museum by tube, taking the Northern line to Charing Cross (Exit 7 for Trafalgar Square) and walking in a straight line parallel to the Strand, along Chandos Place, Maiden Lane and Tavistock Street, turning left into Tavistock Lane to reach the Piazza.

The Museum opens Monday to Thursday 106; Friday 116; Saturday 106. Last admission 5.15.

The Poster Art 150 exhibition closes on Sunday 27 October 2013.

Plus – Stop Press – A Last Chance To See Jakob Roepke's Innenwelten (the inner world) at FRED
17 Riding House Street, London W1W 7DS
The nearest tube stations are Oxford Circus, Regent’s Park, and Great Portland Street.
The exhibition closes on Saturday, but there is an opportunity to see it on Thursday between 10am and 9pm - for Fitzrovia Lates – and on Saturday between 11am and 6pm.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Permanent Collection of Dutch Paintings at the National Gallery

The National Gallery has the largest collection of Dutch masterpieces outside the Netherlands itself. Next month it selects some of the paintings of Johannes Vermeer and other related paintings for its blockbuster exhibition Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure. With a month to go, there is time to familiarize ourselves with the work of other Dutch masters, many of them painting, like Vermeer, in the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age, with Amsterdam the most prosperous port in northern Europe, and the Netherlands celebrated throughout the world for achievements in trade, science, military science and the arts.

The National Gallery rooms, 16 and 21–26, a beautiful series of rooms in themselves, are typologically arranged: Rembrandt and Dutch Caravaggists; Vermeer and Delft Painters; Amsterdam and Dutch Painting 1650
1670 and so on. The two rooms labeled Dutch Scenes of Everyday Life are in fact stating something about the entire collection. These paintings are all scenes of everyday life in that they depict the peace and tremendous industry and inventiveness of the Netherlands of the time.

No picture better illustrates this than Meindert Hobbema’s The Avenue at Middelharnis (see pic).

Meindert Hobbema, The Avenue at Middelharnis, 1689: © The National Gallery, London
We look at a wide, tree-lined avenue. A farmer and his dog come towards us over the rutted, sandy path. The painter has, by making the trees recede towards the centre of the picture, taken us to the far horizon. On the left, we see the village and the village church. On the right, between the trees and the farmhouse, we see ship’s masts below the horizon. The land we see is above sea level. But since much of the Netherlands is at or below sea level, it has been constructed that way. By building dikes and sea walls and pumping out the seawater using their famous windmills, the Dutch have been pushing back the sea for 2000 years. By digging networks of canals, they further drained the land they had thus claimed. You can see this in the picture, in the canals that wind around the artificially high fields, and in the field in the right foreground, a plantsman duly plants neat rows. For the land is fertile. The Netherlands lies upon the delta of 3 rivers: the Rhine (Rijn), the Meuse (Maas) and the Scheldt (Schelde). Hobbema’s fascinating work is like an engineering drawing, a diagram in paint. It epitomizes the saying ‘God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland’. Hobbema was the recorder of his country’s hand-wrought land, painting each tree, each pool, each stream, each mill, with precision. To have this work in London is, for your reviewer, one of our great privileges.

This sense of Dutch practicality permeates much of the work here. Aelbert Cuyp paints River Landscape with Horseman and Peasants. Cows heavily in calf take their ease on lush grass. A horseman, possibly the farmer, rides through, checking all is well; others work the fields. The painting is also signaling: we made these fields, look how productive they are. The cows will all bear beautiful calves. and, oh, the milk . . .. With some artfully invented mountains, and his harmonious composition, Cuyp has painted Arcadia. Painters record everything in the minutest detail. Adriaen van de Velde paints A Farm with a Dead Tree. We see the farm, beasts in the field or in the yard, the farmer, the milkmaid, the dead tree covered in ivy, each leaf distinct. Here is the duck named Sijctghen, a famously prolific layer, in all her pied feathery glory together with the 3 eggs she has just laid, painted again by Aelbert Cuyp. This tendency to paint everyday objects and scenes with such clarity comes partly from the fact that as a predominantly protestant country, Dutch artists relied less on the church and more on their country’s rich merchants for patronage. River and seascapes are also highly narrative. A River Scene with Dutch Vessels Becalmed by Jan van de Cappelle shows something of the tumult of 17th century shipping for a trading nation like the Netherlands. Indeed, the Dutch invented the saw mill in order to help build them.

The precision, the painstaking recording of detail, the skill with perspective, comes indoors too, crossing all genres. Here is  Jan Jansz Treck, Still Life with a Pewter Flagon and Two Ming Bowls. The objects are muted, modestly displayed, but speaking nonetheless of the earliness of Dutch trade with Asia. And can there be anything quite as difficult to paint as the vast, vaulted, plain interior of a Dutch Reformed Protestant Church? Where do you start? Where do you place your vanishing point? Contemplate if you will The Interior of the Grote Kerk at Haarlem by Pieter Saenredam. Or the courtyard painted by Pieter de Hooch in The Courtyard of a House in Delft. We see the mother, no doubt having left her house in exemplary order, taking her immaculately dressed little girl shopping or on some adventure.

Then there are the portraits which again seem to record every detail. Here is Fabritius' Young Man in a Fur Cap. It may in fact be a self-portrait. Look at the confident way the paint is handled. The man is wearing military dress, a military bandolier slung across his body. Look at the insouciant blob of white paint applied as highlight on the metal. It’s the confidence that’s breathtaking. Nowhere more so than in the works of Rembrandt, of course.  Here are his self-portraits from 1640 when he was 34 and 1669 when he was 63. In 1635 he paints his wife Saskia in Arcadian costume. Portraits of other artists’ wives and commissioned portraits abound. Frans van Mieris the Elder invites us to admire the crispness of his wife’s white linen headdress in Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, Cunera van der Cock. Frans Hals’s Portrait of a Woman with a Fan simply drips with painted lace.

Here again is Frans Hals: another portrait of a young man. The sitter is vibrant with life. You can see his saliva glisten. He is holding a skull, hence the painting’s title, Vanitas, a reminder of the transience of life and the certainty of death. Again the painter is showing how lifelike, how real, he can make his living sitter; how lifelike, how real, he can make the dead skull one of the most difficult subjects to paint. The scholarly view at the National Gallery is that the young man may belong to one of the many troupes of theatrical players who travelled through the Netherlands en route to employment in the German ducal courts. This figure may in fact be performing Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. Look at the empty right hand, painted at right angles to the picture plane (again, a painterly tour de force), performative, gesturing towards us, his audience.

There is one painting which, for me, links these dressy portraits. In Room 26 we find Quiringh van Brekelenkam’s Interior of a Tailor’s Shop. Van Brekelenham was a Leiden painter and the specialty of Leiden in the 17th century was weaving, spinning and tailoring, all a huge source of wealth for the city. Here the tailor’s young assistants work on a raised platform by the window (a tiny 17th century window) to gain light for their fine work. The tailor himself, in the middle of his shop, looks straight at us. It is as if he is saying I am experienced; I can work here in the semi-darkness but we can’t ruin their young eyes. And look at the highlighting on those tailoring scissors in the foreground. Off to the right of the picture his wife, or a married seamstress, nurses her baby. Bottom right, the dog sleeps on the floor, opening one eye to look at us.

Now, look at the results of such dedicated labour. Jan Steen’s A Young Woman Playing a Harpsichord to a Young Man. Look at the woman’s blouse. Look at the pin tucking of those sleeves, the perfection of her ensemble. And there, in the corridor on the right of the painting, her son approaches, carrying the instrument he is learning to play. It is his tardiness that has allowed his mother and the music master a few moments alone together when, to fill the time, the music master has replied to the mother’s whispered “I learned to play the harpsichord” with “Oh, please, play something”. As the forthcoming Vermeer exhibition will show, music is symbolic both of talent and harmony, an indicator both of education and position in society. It also signals something important in the character of the Dutch: work hard so that you may have the leisure to enjoy music as a listener or performer.

With all this intensity and brilliant, precision work, the quiet, walkable streets of Westminster outside are particularly welcome. There is an entrance to Charing Cross tube and mainline station across St Martin’s Lane, around the back of St Martin-in-the Fields Church as well as in Trafalgar Square itself.

No-one ever stops learning about art. The National Gallery organizes free talks and a wide range of lectures, courses and workshops  (see pics). 

Please note: The Crawford Arts Review will also review the Vermeer & Music: The Art of Love and Leisure exhibition at the National Gallery.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

It is a year since The Photographers’ Gallery re-opened its extended building in Ramillies Street last May. 

And time again for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013, awarded for a body of work rather than a single picture. The gallery showcases the work of the four semi-finalists:  Mishka Henner, Broomberg & Chanarin, Chris Killip, and Cristina De Middel. 

The prize is £30,000 for the winning photographer. And the result is announced on Monday 10 June.

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin
War Primer 2
Photographs of war and its aftermath, combined with 4-line stanzas in homage to Bertolt Brecht’s own photo essay, his War Primer of WW2 published in 1955. In their own war images, Broomberg & Chanarin use digital and analogue media; their avowed intention is to court no reaction. Thus they present us with horror in a simple, understated, wysiwyg manner that allows us to face it; to examine it and to ponder it anew. 

No. 12, ‘Dead Man Against a Wall’, is the record of an apparently retaliative act committed by US forces in an Iraqi suburb which killed more than a dozen people, including 2 Reuters’ news staff. Broomberg and Chanarin’s photograph is of a boy who has just  been shot, the light just gone from his eyes. 

The epigram reads:

“And so we put him up against a wall.
A mother’s son, a man like we had been
and shot him dead. And then to show you all
What came of him, we photographed the scene.”

It is routine US army procedure after battlefield death to strip the corpse and check for identifying tattoos. As well as a lot of his blood, the photograph shows the soldiers scanning his iris and his fingerprints using an army issue biometric scanner. 

Mishka Henner
No Man’s Land
They look as if they might be travel photos but they’re not. The artist used Google Street View and partnered the pics with “information sourced from Internet forums used by men discussing the remote location of sex workers”. A classic coupling, using a technique employed so masterfully by Stephen King* of getting your story by combining two unrelated ideas.

The submission’s subtitle is “Road Movie” and the locations are the soulless stretches of motorway and elevated sections that spread all over the fair lands of southern Spain and Italy. I knew the Italy of the Adriatic coast as a student and, well, it looks like the road makers have grown rich and the people poor.

* On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (2001), Stephen King, Hodder and Stoughton.

And there are the girls, scantily (but decently) clad, in high heels and with mobiles, no doubt giving directions as they ply their ancient trade along the badlands of the Abruzzi. And my goodness, yes, here is a vehicle taking a sharp swerve onto the hard shoulder that you can almost hear. 

In another picture, two girls (on these lonely stretches of road, it is often two girls working together) stand under the unlovely concrete support columns of an elevated section. Someone has stuck posters on the columns in an attempt to cover up the grey. This is Foggia. Signs at the crossroads say Adriatica, Ascoli.

In Spain, two girls have made themselves a little bower among the roadside plants (scrub and tall grasses) where they wait for passing vehicles. Along the road, another girl positions herself on the STOP sign painted on the road. At one particularly soulless Spanish junction, yet another girl sits beneath a sun umbrella. She can’t be missed. 


Chris Killip
What Happened – Great Britain
Killip calls himself ‘by default the chronicler of the De-Industrial Revolution in Britain’. In some ways, Killip does the same thing as Henner, catalogues what happens when you push aside nature and community and install Tarmac (Henner) and concrete (Killip – see Killingworth New Town, Tyneside). 

This submission covers the Britain of the 1970s: the fortunes of the Swan Hunter shipyard on the Tyne, the unemployment, the people eking out a living mending (crab) nets and gathering sea coal. 

Killip’s work includes a haunting picture of a wall of baked beans (18½p for a 15oz tin) in a local supermarket. A man pisses against a wall with “true love” white-chalked onto the brick. A fully grown man sits in the pose of a boy, legs dangling, on a high wall (the artist calls the work “Torso”). We see neither the face nor the upper body; we wonder about the man’s state of mind.

So, after war, unemployment and transactional sex, we need a bit of well-handled fantasy. Here it is.

Cristina De Middel
The Afronauts
The concept here is wonderful. You take an earthling and you give him a jazzy space suit, including a big, bubble-like space helmet (see pic).

Cristina De Middel
Untitled, from the series The Afronauts, 2011 30 x 30 cm
© Cristina De Middel
Courtesy of the artist

The men are African. The space suit fabric references African folk prints. This is an elaborate and elaborated story of an African space mission in 1965. It is one year after Zambian independence and in March 1965 the first Russian space flight took place, followed in June by the first American space flight. You can tell what the Zambians were thinking. Lusaka was abuzz with “we can do this”. 

It is all admirably portrayed by De Middel. It is fun but it doesn’t try to poke fun. The picture of a Zambian astronaut in training dutifully getting fit by striding up an incline with what looks like a picnic basket with white plastic tubing (the oxygen) coming out of it and into the back of his helmet, is both affectionate and entirely believable.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Fitzrovia Lates

On the other side of Oxford Street from Soho lie the urban art villages of Eastcastle, Great Titchfield, Margaret, Great Portland, Little Portland and Berners. These streets once housed a garment industry that supplied the great emporia of Oxford Street. As legacy, these firms have left large-windowed, airy showroom space ideal for showing off the arts. On the last Thursday of the month galleries host Fitzrovia Lates. The next event is on Thursday 30 May and if you’re quick, you still have a few days to catch the current exhibitions. And as you tread these pretty streets, don’t forget to look up. The gables are artworks in themselves.

Carroll / Fletcher, 56-57 Eastcastle Street W1
Current exhibition closes Saturday 11 May

Let me declare an interest. I love this whole space. On the ground floor you will find daylight, white walls and “Brand Innovations”. Contributing artists were asked to produce an object using a custom printing or fabrication service (see pic). How about 40 flip flops artfully arranged (No? Try it; Daniel Temkin); a towel printed with a ‘marble-effect’ (Lindsay Lawson)– all a considerable step further than the ubiquitous tee-shirt.

Here are the 4.7 million passwords leaked from LinkedIn in 2012 bound into pristine white volumes (no other data were involved). “Lost Your Password?” (Aram Bartholl) Here is “Free Leonard Peltier” (Malcolm McLaren’s words) spelled out in black and white (Body By Body; see pic). The show was curated by Eva and Franco Mattes who, in their own words, stole the idea from the artist Artie Vierkant from his show in New York City in 2012.

Move down a fabulously sculptural clay-coloured concrete staircase to the basement. You’ll find candlelight and the pottery of Ian Giles. The artist also has a video installation that plays on the clay theme and on time. To a calming musical soundtrack, the viewer sees a clay meditation class. Holding small bowls of clay slip, participants gently apply it to each other’s faces in the manner of a theatre mask, leaving the eye and mouth area free but coating the front of the face (see pic). The clay dries and before our eyes we see the lines forming as the clay shrinks – the near invisible process of time.

Next exhibition 24 May–6 July Thomson & Craighead “Never Odd or Even”

Bartha Contemporary, 25 Margaret Street W1

Current exhibition closes Saturday 11 May

This exhibition will test your vision. “Science is Fiction” by Stefana McClure shows “Colour-blind Drawing”, three patterns used to test for colour blindness. These are Japanese test cards (the artist lived in Japan), giant squiggly worms in orange and red against a blue/grey background. They look like cells invaded by some giant parasite. The colour blind will see only the background dots. Try it. Film subtitles (subtly changed by the artist) are written again and again on paper that is superimposed on wax to leave a deep impression. The pattern of someone drumming is etched into Teflon and mounted. The final edition of the News of the World (10 July 2011 edition) is commemorated in a 39.5 cm circumference work in cut paper (ironical, no?).

Next exhibition 17 May–22 June, Henrik Eiben “Now’s the Time”

Art First, 21 Eastcastle Street W1

Current exhibition closes Friday 10 May

More text artistry, works by Simon Lewty in ink and acrylic on paper. They form a text amalgam of English, written in italic script, and spaced shorthand characters. And not just any shorthand: the original system invented by Thomas Shelton in the 17th century. Incidentally, the system was much used by Samuel Pepys for passages of his Diary he preferred Mrs Pepys not to read. The characters and the italics are of course beautiful and beautifully rendered. See also Asymptote for Simon Lewty’s essay on ‘Translation’.

Next exhibition 15 May–21 June
Margaret Hunter “Stepping Places” and Will Maclean “Reliquaries”

20 Eastcastle Street W1

Current exhibition closes Thursday 23 May

In “City of Angels”, Polish artist Małgosia Stępnik uses multimedia to create works of self-therapy and spiritual and emotional release. Here you will find a virtual explosion of energy and colour (see pic detail) with many of the works mounted in a LED frame.

For details of further events, see Polish Cultural Institute. http://www.polishculture.org.uk

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Becoming Picasso

The Picasso exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery closes this month, on Monday 27 May. I have just visited.* £6, Tue to Sun; £3, Mon all day; open 10-6 pm in the North Wing of Somerset House, entrances in Victoria Embankment and Strand. 

Caption: North Wing, entrance on the right

The above details should be all you need really: the exhibition is brilliant; truly exquisite.

It helps to know also, in these busy times, that it’s a relatively small exhibition, just two rooms of paintings, Rooms 14 and 15 on the second floor.

Prepare yourself for a space and time shift to the Paris of 1901. Inspired by his visit to Paris the previous year where he met Ambroise Vollard, the city’s most important modern art dealer, Picasso started thinking of exhibiting the following year. He produced something like 64 works in not much more than a month, sometimes 3 canvases a day. They were and are his first masterpieces.

Here is Picasso’s Absinthe Drinker (see pic), harrowing in its painterly depiction of someone in the grip of depression or indecision and alcohol. The woman's pain is written on her face. She is literally hugging herself, holding herself together. And there on the table the proprietor has placed a siphon of soda water. Perhaps she will add some to her glass rather than drink the stuff neat.

6.  Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Absinthe Drinker, 1901
Oil on canvas, 73 x 54 cm
The State Hermitage Museum,
St Petersburg

Like all greats, Picasso had acute powers of observation. In one picture a woman sits in a café with an older child, hugging her baby. In a companion picture the woman is in the street, her child beside her, her baby asleep and heavy in her arms. It opens up the whole narrative of how she got there.

The painter’s observations travel inwards as well. While Picasso was still in Madrid, one of his closest friends, the poet Casagemas, shot himself in Paris. Picasso paints him in his coffin, paints him ascending to heaven. These paintings and their subject matter are generally acknowledged to be the start of the grief paintings of the artist’s blue period (also shown is The Blue Room). Here in London also, but only until 26 May unless a buyer for it is found in this country, is Child with a Dove – painted by a 19-year-old. The small girl with the cropped head (the result of illness?) tenderly clasps a dove to her breast. The style of painting is bold, the child seemingly energized by the power of the brush strokes. An expression of the interplay between life and the nearness of death, the painting is not only beautiful but the opposite of sentimental.

There is the famous self-portrait on which the artist writes “Yo – Picasso” (“I – Picasso”). It is fabulously in your face. The artist is depicted in white smock with vivid orange cravat set against a dark background. He is holding up his wares, his palette of many colours, and looking the viewer straight in the eye. Wow.

What a debut. What a debut still.

NB: if you have time, go to drawings and prints in Room 12. Here you will find Picasso set among his contemporaries, Matisse and Maillol, working in the period just after the horror of the 1914–18 World War, going back to basics by studying classical themes such as the female form. Look at the artist’s Seated woman and tell me if there’s a better way of expressing volume in two dimensions using just a pen and a line of black ink.

* Your reviewer’s sudden decision to write about the arts in London may have something to do with the fact that she keeps missing gems like this one.