= The Crawford Arts Review: January 2016

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Three more days of Peter Blake's 'Portraits and People' at Waddington Custot

Cork Street, birthplace of London's world of private art galleries, is undergoing some changes so you may have to negotiate some hardhats and hoardings to get to the galleries. At No. 11 you will find the venerable and much loved Waddington Custot.

The Gallery is filled with the work of Sir Peter Blake. Blake was represented by Leslie Waddington from the early 1960s onwards until that gracious dealer's sad death in November 2015. This exhibition is dedicated to his memory.

From Pop Culture to Portraiture: it's not a bad reach for any artist. And Blake is endearingly modest. His portrait 'after Hans Holbein the Younger' (left) carries the legend 'work in progress'. 

On show are new works and works never previously exhibited, including loans from private collections. 

Put together with celebs, circus performers, wrestlers and what the catalogue calls 'heavily inked people' - plus an 'Elvis Shrine' - it's quite a show.

Highlights are two immensely impressive portraits of Her Majesty the Queen, painted in 2002 (profile) and a decade later in 2012 (full face). Both portraits shine with the artist's respect for his subject, his artistry and his way of using watercolour and the white of paper to capture the light.

Until Saturday 30 January
Waddington Custot Galleries
11 Cork Street
London W1
Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm
Saturday, 10am to 1.30pm

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Until Friday 12 February

The chance of looking round an artist's *dream* studio is hard to resist. Joan Miró had his built in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca by his architect friend and Catalan compatriot J.L. Sert.

Fast-forward 60 years and you will find that the enterprising Barcelona-based Galeria Mayoral has built a near-replica in London. Creatively shoehorned into a hired room in Mayfair, it is a surprisingly good fit.

It also makes a beautiful setting for these bright, often surprising works in that they offer new insight into Miró's creative oeuvre.

There are 25 paintings on paper, card and canvas (see pic 1).

Among them lie the tools of the artist's trade: paints, brushes and easels. 

Miró was also an avid collector of found objects (see pic 2) as well as the Catalan siurell, the finger-pinched and brightly painted clay whistle.

As his Mallorca studio gradually filled with these colourful works and objects, Miró himself said of it that it resembled an indoor garden. For grey-hued London at the start of the year, it is a particularly apt metaphor (see pic 3).

More of the artist's archive can be found downstairs, including video footage filmed inside his Mallorcan studio with Miro himself (he lived to be 90) as our guide.

Not all the works on show are for sale - but the ones that are can be expected to be museum quality.


Miró's Studio
Galeria Mayoral
6 Duke Street St James's
London SW1
Open Mon-Fri 10-6

Monday, 18 January 2016

The wonderful Lumiere London is over but natural light and the light of the built environment remains. This is King's Cross looking towards Islington.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Until Sunday 17 January 


London's FIRST multi-sited light festival

6.30 to 10.30 pm

Traffic-free streets along the route

Free programmes with maps

Shops, pubs and restaurants open

Special transport arrangements

Check with Transport for London


Saturday, 2 January 2016

Sculpture in the Park

Frieze Sculpture in the Park - extended until Sunday 10 January

The English Gardens (St Andrew's Place entrance, nearest tube Great Portland Street)

The park trees are still winter bare but every lengthening day brings the light that brings them to life again. Scattered among them in this south eastern section of The Regent's Park are sculptures by, at the time of viewing, Richard Serra, Carol Bove, Conrad Shawcross, Kathleen Ryan, Tony Cragg, William Turnbull, Takis, Dominique Stroobant, Haroon Mirza, Gary Webb, Aaron Angel, Jesse Wine, Leo Fitzmaurice and Seung-taek Lee.

In a very real way these works show the trees as what they really are: beautiful living sculptures. Later in the year the trees will bear the solar arrays (AKA leaves) by which we breathe. I cannot put their importance better than Royal Parks themselves do in their website note on trees

Some of the sculptures too reference trees, breathing gases, and the sun's energy - for example, Mirza's solar-powered light and sound piece and Shawcross's tetrahedral tree-like form, Seung-taek's inflatable earth. Other works use steel, stone or plastic to offer a contrast to the deliberately natural surroundings of the park. Ryan's 'oversized snake ring' uses polished concrete. It's a beautiful piece, the texture as lustrous as stone.