Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London
18 April–17 June 2012
by ANNA McNAY
The aptly named Encounter (1957), for example, is wistfully lyrical, looking up to the sky, where the branches of two trees, fecund with leaves so bright as to be almost translucent, reach in from opposite corners to meet one another at the midpoint.
In Boats in the Harbour (not dated), the peculiar choice of perspective immerses the viewer in a vast foregrounded expanse of dark, non-reflecting water, whilst, in the upper half of the composition, the ripples abound with the reflection of the sun. Similarly, in Shadows on the Beach (1947), the undulating sand, abandoned by the ebbing tide, captures glints of the sky in the shallow pools that remain.
Cavalli’s work spans a variety of genres, and, besides these sun-bleached southern Italian landscapes, he also produced a number of highly posed still lives and portraits. In these too, light remains the key protagonist. Bottles, pipes, padlocks and draped towels bask in the Mediterranean heat, and a young boy is seen from behind as he leans over a white painted roof terrace wall. All the while, however, Cavalli’s tonal contrasts remain nuanced to the extreme. His work is characterised by his use of bright, even lighting, which has an overall bleaching effect, reducing shadows to mere ghosts. The inclusion of works by his students and associates only highlights this further, since, whilst many of them tackle similar compositions, their blacks really are black, not grey, and the vanishing points of their horizons are clear to make out. Cavalli’s works are unique in their simultaneous haziness and clarity, and a subtlety of shading which serves only to underscore the barren solitude he seeks to depict.
Morandi's Legacy: Influences on British Art – book review
This publication is essentially also the catalogue to the exhibition of the same name, which was first shown at the Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal (12 January-25 March 2006) and subsequently at the Estorick Collection, 39a Canonbury Square, London. Professor Paul Coldwell both curated the exhibition and created the catalogue, with support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
New German Painting – book review
This book, edited by Christoph Tannert, provides a well-edited selection of contemporary work by younger artists and allows a structured 'road map' about what is actually going on. In fact, the scene is very dynamic and innovative, precisely as contributor Graham Bader indicates.
The Art of Ken Done
Janet McKenzie's book, The Art of Ken Done, is about an Australian artist who, apparently, has never been recognised by some of his country's leading art critics, and who poses problems because of the seeming naivete of his work and the fact that he is also a designer.
Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan
Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan, edited by Gregory Levine and Yukio Lippit, accompanies a major exhibition of medieval Chinese (Chan) and Japanese (Zen) figure paintings held at Japan Society in New York City (28 March-17 June 2007).* Like the exhibit - the first survey of medieval Zen figure painting by a US museum in more than thirty years - the catalogue is an important component in recent study and critical debate of the history, function and characteristics of such works created during this pivotal period in the development of institutional Zen in Japan.
Rothko through his paintings
Rothko through his paintings – The intention here is to elucidate Rothko's achievement in terms of the paintings themselves. The danger of the literary approach to Rothko is not that it necessarily mistakes his intentions, but that it diverts attention from the primary expression of his intelligence, his paintings.