Installation view, Gallery IV. Photography: John Bodkin, DawkinsColour
One exhibit in Gallery IV especially delights Humphrey Ocean (Ocean has co-ordinated the hanging of all the paintings in the Summer Exhibition, but he alone is responsible for this room). His favourite here is the roadworks sign painted by Margaret Calvert. One of the most accomplished typographers and graphic designers alive, she is responsible for all our familiar road signs, including this one. If you look closely at this particular example, however, you’ll notice that it’s hand-painted and that the figure is female. So it’s a sort of self-portrait. ‘Calvert is a heroine of mine,’ Ocean explains, ‘so she simply had to be in my room. Otherwise it’s a mix of six generations of artists, including five painters just out of art school. One of them, Mark Alexander, is represented by The Blacker Gachet XIII, a transcription of the well-known Van Gogh. Alexander, by the way, is the subject of one of my portraits hanging on the adjacent wall.’
‘There’s a satisfying combination here of photographs, abstracts, and figurative paintings, some of which are almost naïve in style. Some of them, like people in a village, get on very well. Others rub up against each other. But it doesn’t matter, because conflict is the essence of this world. Nothing exists without it.’ The mix includes huge canvases by Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz, both Honorary Academicians. The Baselitz is ‘strong and strident. It makes you think. Like all good art.’
Margaret Calvert is not the only designer here. Ocean has also included Ron Arad’s highly polished and aeronautically curved ping-pong table.