Tate Britain showed 'A Picture of Britain' through until 4 September. This picturesque visiting of well-trodden scenarios of the English, Scottish and Welsh landscape exploited the device of picture linkage ostensibly in order to promote such resources of national beauty to tourists. There was a curious 'Shell Guide to Britain' feel about the accompanying television series where David Dimbleby searched avidly for narrative and artistic anecdotes to connect widely varied scenes of the sublime and picturesque. One almost expected to see John Betjeman emerge from the undercroft as animator. The concept of a peasant life seems prevalent among curators. But the landscapes of Eric Ravilious, with the contemporaneous seascapes of the Cornishman Alfred Wallis, provided a welcome respite from this jumble of pictorial and televisual confrontations. Apart from this, many of the exhibition works were well-known old favourites which even those 'visiting Britain' would have no trouble in recognising, and could even form a therapy for those marooned by the catering strike at British Airways, which showed a different environment to that which the tourist boards intended.
British Folk Art
It is all too easy to forget about folk art in the UK, to dismiss it as purely decorative, twee, or even a thing of the past. So there is something hugely refreshing and daring about Tate Britain’s latest exhibition, which shines a spotlight on the vibrant, varied and democratic world of folk art: an art by the people, for the people. My only criticism is that this exhibition neglects to recognise that folk art is still thriving.
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: In Perspective – The Late Works
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004) was a key figure in the abstract movement in Britain yet it was only towards the end of her long and productive life that she received the critical attention she deserved.
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
Pallant House Gallery, which opened on 1 July 2006 in the centre of Chichester, is a dramatic conjunction of old and new - dramatic, that is, internally. From the exterior, as approached from the town, a seamless joining has been achieved by the architects with great dexterity and carefully calculated understatement.