Perhaps it is to be expected that plenty of flowers featured in London galleries at the height of an over-hot summer. For example:
Tal R: Untitled Flowers, 2021 at Victoria Miro (top image)
Most of the Tal R’s show ‘Untitled Flowers’ consisted of just that. This oilstick work is nicely illogical: it seems to show the x-ray of a tulip in a vase so bulbous it could be its bulb, though how it remains stable on its table (if there is a table) is a moot point.
Sarah Graham: Magnolia Soulangeana I, 2022 at Lyndsey Ingram
Through partial focus at a magnified scale – this graphite drawing is over five feet wide – Sarah Graham makes the most of the voluptuously weird anatomy of magnolias, suggestive from some of the various viewpoints she takes of brains or more bodily organs.
Ragna Bley: Enter, Erase, 2022 at Pilar Corias
Norwegian artist Ragna Bley’s paintings stem from a poem she writes beforehand, in this case ‘Viridian Land’. The results look somewhat like fluidly-stained abstractions, but floral forms often seem to emerge. Perhaps ‘Enter, Erase’ relates to the poem’s injunction ‘walk us through that tunnel of green / Imagining another place’.
Bernat Klein: Yellow Tulips, 1998 at Rodeo
The Serbian designer-artist (1922-2015), based in Scotland from 1952, often fed his paintings into his textile designs. Rodeo are showing a collection of textile offcuts from the 1970’s, onto which he painted flowers in the late 90’s to complete a circle of sorts. Klein was a keen gardener, planting 300 bulbs annually and painting their blooming.
Richard Learoyd: Poppies with Dark Mirror, 2022 at Hamiltons
Richard Learoyd has long used a room as a camera obscura within which the photographic paper is exposed to produce a larger-than-life image with no interposing negative. His recent poppies include a mirror in the set-up, so emphasising the Memento mori often associated with flower paintings: life is fleeting, reflect on the fact that you will die…
And that’s without including the Garden Museum: they pretty much always have flowers there, and Beatrice Hasell-McCosh didn’t buck the trend.
Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head