I spent a good part of today in Newtown, Powys, investigating the Oriel Davies Gallery. The Gallery (which has a very good café. Falafels! Cheese scones!) was playing host to the Crohn’s and Colitis patients’ group and I was there in – I hope- a supportive role to listen to the local consultant telling us about advances in treatment.
All very interesting.
The Gallery, however, offered a very different type of experience in the form of an exhibition titled ‘Imaginary Worlds’. Well! This was something else. Over 130 artists from near and far sent in work, which ranged from line drawings to woodcuts, collages, prints, paintings and illustrations. Of these, fifty two are exhibited here. These are magic works, detailed, inventive, witty and with an intellectual and emotional content sometimes sadly absent in the major galleries.
I loved Ben Fairclough’s ‘Favoured Pig-Demon’, Layla Holzer’s ‘Monstrous Feminine’ and Ulla Aatinen’s woodblock ‘Being’, which was masterful in its simplicity, being a figure arranged on a slope and managing to be both present and other-worldly at the same time. It reminded me a little of Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy, without the lion sniffing his garments, in that it captured the night; the wonder of the stars; the silence of the desert. I loved it.
Playing the game of ‘If I could steal one painting when the curator’s back is turned…’ that painting would be the winner. The curator and selectors should be congratulated. I urge you to see it. It closes on 25th Feb.