Prof Ian McKeever RA, Temple Painting. Oil and acrylic on linen, 270 x 420 cm © the artist. Photo: John Bodkin, Dawkins Colour
‘We wanted to create an impression of coolness and reserve after the somewhat heated mood conveyed by the Kitaj room,’ says Paul Huxley, who hung Gallery II with Mick Moon. You can see what he means, from the Ian McKeever painting alone, the large, luminous abstract in subtle tones of grey that hangs on the end wall.
‘Cool’ is not at all the right word for Huxley’s own bold, brightly coloured paintings, the three geometric and crisp-edged compositions that cleverly play with the Chinese calligraphic characters for ‘sun’, ‘blue’ and ‘purple’. For the first time Huxley is also showing a group of sculptures. They are obviously related to his paintings, although they lack their eye-catching colours.
‘Everything in this gallery is by Academicians or Honorary Academicians – Antoni Tàpies, Mimmo Paladino and Ed Ruscha – apart from two photographs by Boyd and Evans, one of them looking as tactile as a painting,’ says Huxley. ‘And we’ve included a small memorial tribute to Colin St John Wilson, the architect of the British Library, who died last year. It includes the first ever model of Sandy’s original conception of the Library, and a drawing of one of the building’s interiors, as well as a group of his paintings, done not long after the Second World War, before he had decided to become an architect.’