Brown’s London Art Weekend (3-5 July) helpfully drew attention to 100 galleries in Mayfair and St. James through special openings and events. It led me to see things I might have missed: tantric drawings at Indian specialist Joost van den Bergh; a fine selection of Bruce Nauman prints at Sims Reed Gallery just as good a range of Matthew Smith’s luminous paintings upstairs at Browse & Darby; affecting photographs of Brigitte Bardot at Dadiani, along with an engaging story of how they were taken; and the use Ethiopian artist Wosene Worke Kosrof makes of the 228 symbols of Amharic at the newly relocated Gallery of African Art. My first image is one from the largest gathering of Pistoletto mirror works I’ve seen – tucked away above Dover Street in the Repetto Gallery. ‘Venus with a Pipe’ subsumes the viewer in a gentle play on gender expectations.
My second is from a sell-out show for which independent dealer Megan Piper (not a pipe smoker so far as I know) filled the Redfern Gallery with imposingly scaled works by Neil Stokoe. He’s relatively unknown, but studied with Hockney, Bowling, Caulfield et al at the Royal College in the early sixties. Stokoe was present to explain that he liked painting interiors because he could combine internal and external light sources, and could use any colour whilst remaining a realist rather than a formalist. The results, with figures relating mysteriously to each other and their surroundings, have considerable zip.
Neil Stokoe: ‘Mirrored Optical Staircase and Nude Woman’, 1983 – Oil on Canvas, 222 x 213 cm
Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in London. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?