After a dull launch to the new season, London’s commercial art galleries pick up speed with a really exciting list of new exhibitions. Commanding particular attention is the series of new paintings which Sean Scully is showing at Waddington (4 November-23 December). It is his first gallery exhibition in this country for more than five years and follows the exhilarating survey which took place at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1989. Underlining the importance of the occasion, Leslie Waddington has made available both his corner space and his main gallery, usually reserved for a changing display of the dealer’s stock of modern masterpieces. For the present exhibition, Scully, who has important museum surveys at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art, where he will be uniting the “Catherine” paintings, in May 1993, and at the Hôtel des Arts in Paris in September 1993, has created five large new compositions in his studio in Deptford, as well as several seductive smaller canvases and a suite of pastels and watercolours. The large canvases include two new chequerboard compositions, with inserted panels resembling prayer mats laid out on a tiled floor, reminders of his visit to Morocco in 1991, when he was making a film of Matisse’s work in Tangiers for Channel 4.
In other galleries in Cork Street, Victoria Miro is showing the work of Karin Knefel, Michel van Ofen and Andreas Shon (3 November-18 December), three students of Gerhard Richter. There are six new graphic works based on Monet’s waterlily compositions and printed in small editions on stainless steel in hand-painted wooden frames by Roy Lichtenstein at Mayor (16 November-23 December). William Darby has curated a loan exhibition of works by Sickert, placing particular emphasis upon his theatre and music hall subjects and including drawings and etchings, for Browse and Darby (26 November-23 December). RAAB is showing a new series of canvases created in New York by Rainer Fetting (to 25 November) and depicting views of the city from his rooftop studio with further developments of the taxi themes explored in his last exhibition, and other dealers are mounting mixed exhibitions of works by their artists to coincide with Cork Street’s Open Weekend on 28-29 November, when galleries will remain open for business on both days.
To coincide with a survey of his New York Urban Portraits which has opened at Oxford’s Museum of Modern Art (see p. 15), Marlborough is exhibiting twenty-five oil paintings completed by Bill Jacklin on Coney Island during the last eighteen months (to 29 November). Subjects include a bar, the boardwalk and bathers in the sea, a theme which has prompted Jacklin’s most abstract meditations since the drawings which he showed with Nigel Greenwood twenty years ago. Marlborough’s graphic department is publishing a new series of etchings and monoprints proofed at Patricia Branstead’s studio in New York. Marlborough’s list of British artists has been strengthened by the recent addition of Christopher Lebrun, formerly contracted to Nigel Greenwood.
Near Cork Street, there are two exhibitions of the work of Stanley Spencer taking place to coincide with the publication of Keith Bell’s catalogue of the artist’s oil paintings. Bernard Jacobson, the leading dealer involved in the recent revival of interest in Spencer’s art, is showing sixteen canvases (to 5 December) including two important triptychs—”Souvenir of Switzerland” (1934) and “The Resurrection: Waking Up” (1945)— “The Sabbath Breakers” (1952) and a late self-portrait (1951). Richard Nagy is mounting a related exhibition of forty of Spencer’s drawings at the Dover Street Gallery (to 5 December). His selection contains compositional studies for the Burghclere Chapel and “The Marriage at Cana” as well as a fine pencil self-portrait (1931). In Dering Street, Anthony d’Offay shows the four large abstract pictures which Elsworth Kelly exhibited at this year’s Documenta (to 20 November), with an exhibition of an important new group of works by Gilbert & George opening at the end of the month (26 November-29 January 1993). Titled “The New Democratic Pictures”, a selection of which were previewed at the Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Denmark in September, they feature the first nude portraits of the artists. The second part of “And What Do You Represent?” at Anthony Reynolds includes Gerard Hemsworth, Olivier Mossett and Michael Scott (to 14 November).
Christian Boltanski’s new installation at Lisson (to 21 November) is a set of portraits of the autumn’s new enrolment of students at Westminster Community School. The gallery looks across its playground. Boltanski photographed each of 143 pupils when he visited London in September and he is testing the way in which art is created by its context by also sending the portraits to the pupils’ parents in return for the fee which would have been charged by the school photographer. With this ambitious new project, the exhibition includes three historical works, “Images Modèles” (1975), “Compositions Fleuris” and “Compositions Decoratifs” (1976-77). Grenville Davey, a Lisson artist and finalist for this year’s Turner Prize, is showing six recent or new sculptures at Chisenhale (10 November-13 December). They have been created from materials not previously associated with his production and include wood and mirror. Karsten Schubert is mounting a retrospective exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Victor Willing (19 November-19 December), which will also be seen at Richard Salmon’s studio in South Edwardes Square. Deryck Healey’s “Meditation Works”, a series of twenty-five dark and luminous works on paper pinned to the wall like Japanese banners, are showing at Long and Ryle (4-28 November). Created during the five months which the artist spent in Santa Fe at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, they are executed in oil inks applied by brush or rollers and smudged by Healey’s hand, their veils of rich colour capturing the mood of, rather than representing, the broad landscape of New Mexico and its dawn and dusk effects. Adam Lowe’s fourth exhibition at Pomeroy Purdy (to 21 November), shortly to be retitled Purdy Hicks in recognition of the promotion of Rebecca Hicks to director, is a strong series of thirteen new abstract canvases known as “The Verso Paintings”. They were created in oil and acrylic paints and in resin, their boldly scarred surfaces resulting from the careful removal of upper layers in a technique which Lowe compares to the detachment of frescoes from their supports. The exhibition includes “Registration Marks”, six new etchings made by Print Centre Publications.
The following exhibitions were discussed in last month’s issue and should be noted: sculpture and drawings by Eduardo Chillida at Annely Juda (to 14 November), works on paper by Bridget Riley at Karsten Schubert (to 14 November), seven sculptures and a strong selection of graphic works by Elizabeth Frink at Lumley Cazalet (to 13 November), “Three Score and Ten”, the seventieth birthday exhibition of Albert Irvin at Gimpel (to 21 November), the second part of Adrian Wiczniewski’s new paintings, drawings and neon sculpture at William Jackson (to 21 November), Andy Goldsworthy’s clay floor at Turske-Hue-Williams (to 27 November), the large sculptures of Jeff Lowe at Maak (to 20 November), Fantastic Works on Paper at RAAB’s Millbank branch and the paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Combas at Crane (to 3 December).