Finding beauty in the rough and mundane industrial world of scrap heaps, Michael Kareken’s textural paintings and charcoals are worth checking out.
Nicola Hicks is known primarily for her extraordinarily textured sculptures of animals, people and hybrids thereof. Here charcoal drawings and etchings have a brilliant balance between rough physicality and disintegrating ephemeral line.
There size is almost overwhelming, yet there is a delicacy in both the marks (despite their display of bravura) and in the material. Thin brown paper was simply tacked to the wall of the gallery when I last saw here work.
There is some truth in Flowers Gallery’s claim that her work “often combines charm and menace in equal and sometimes devastating measures”.
Wonderfully varied, absurdly prolific and imbued with that same sense of the spiritual which Rembrandt’s work possesses, the drawings and paintings of Charlie Mackesy are well work checking out.
*Appologies for not having posted in so long. Summer travels have distracted me (very nicely!)
Frank Mason is something of a creative powerhouse. Now aged 87, he has had a remarkable career, putting his brush to almost any subject. From portraits of the great and the good, through still lives and landscapes, to vast neo-baroque religious compositions. A number of great commissions have given him the opportunity to really stretch his abilities. A commission in Venice resulted in him being rewarded with the Cross of Merit from the Order of Malta. All this work has been done with virtuosity.
He is known to many primarily as a teacher at the Art Students League of New York, where he has taught countless painters.
His work is very much in the baroque sensibility, with flare, dynamism and vibrancy. This big dramatic style can be a little overbearing, so it is his drawings that I personally find most interesting, though I encourage you to survey his great sprawling oeuvre.
Alison Lambert creates large oversized drawings of heads in a technique fairly unique to herself. Drawings are created, torn, covered, redrawn, pasted over, redrawn until a very compelling palimpsest of hours and hours of drawing is formed.
The resulting work is powerful, raw and has a psychological impact that comes from a wonderfully paradoxical mix of both frailty and brutality.
Her work has improved over the years, becoming increasingly sophisticated, showing depth beyond simply an interesting technique. My fear is that she will repeat herself ad nauseam.
Mark Demsteader’s work displays the simple joy of drawing from life. Though his work is repetitive and can feel somewhat formulaic, he manages to retain an intensity and focus in each piece. Most of his work consists of charcoal drawings of single figures, usualy women, on a blank background with gouache to pull out the lights. It is clear he is interested in both line and form, and seems to refuse to make a choice to go exclusively for either.
The simplicity of his work, the lack of background and lack or narrative, allows the figure to be a subject in and of itself. It is clear he spends a great deal of time selecting poses, reaching for the most graceful, the most beautiful line, and the most interesting shadow patterns.
It is unsurprising that his work sells well. If you like one piece, you’ll probably like most of them. They are skillfully executed and display that balance between the traditional and the modern. What interests me most is his painted work. He does far fewer paintings than drawings, but the ones he does have an atmosphere of longing, emotion and spirituality that is not so present in his charcoal work.
Mark Demsteader’s gallery has many more images
Google him for lots of other galleries stocking his work, with additional images.