Margot A. LoudonNon classé

 I managed to catch the Frank Bowling exhibition on its last day. When I see how he uses acrylics, I think perhaps I need to try again with them and not just use them as a first layer to be covered by oils. The painterly surface of Bowling’s work glows, and translucent surface colours allow images to show through. Abstract expressionist works tease the eye, with suggested structures, glimpsed forms, that draw the viewer into dialogue  with the painting’s theme. Interesting too that he names a painting after it is completed, reconnecting with its making process. But the titles do not preclude a viewer’s interpretations. Viewing the painting is comparable to reading a fine crafted  poem which yields more, the more it is studied. He developed his techniques to include materials that added to the surface texture (gels, ammonia, pearl essence, shells, for example)  and from across the room or close to, the works could be appreciated differently. His colours are vital and sensuous, and his approaches exploratory and energetic. A worthwhile visit.

I also enjoyed a very different sort of exhibition, Mike Nelson’s The Asset Strippers. Behind wooden doors in the Duveen Galleries, Nelson has assembled an eclectic mix of items that speak of our industrial heritage, knitting machines, agricultural machinery, and other “found” objects that are displayed as monumental sculptures. My particular favourite was some sort of pump, perhaps used for spreading or spraying. Mounted on an old filing cabinet, serving as a plinth, encrusted with dust and decorated with cobwebs, it metamorphosed into an abstract sculpture.