Jane Harris, 'Divine' Photograph ©Jane Harris, courtesy of Hales Gallery, London This room was hung by Allen Jones and is dominated on the end wall by two large, buoyant and arresting paintings by Michael Craig-Martin. In both of them he juxtaposes upper-case letters with ordinary objects.
The letters in the bigger painting spell the word PARADISE, and they are intermingled with handcuffs, a sandal and a glass of water. The smaller Craig-Martin spells REAL, but no words can be detected in the dramatic painting by Emma Biggs and Matthew Collings hanging nearby. They call it, mysteriously, The Unseen. And a similar air of enigma envelops Jane Harris’s Divine (above), which suggests a celestial explosion.It was chosen by the show’s main co-ordinator, Stephen Chambers, because he considers it ‘a big, unapologetically beautiful painting’.
David Nash, 'Raw Elm Frame' Photo: John Bodkin/DawkinsColourFlanking the door leading through to Gallery I, two monumental paintings by Hughie O’Donoghue reaffirm the importance of the human body. One of them, showing a figure pinioned against a dark ground, stirs impressions of the crucified Christ. The other shows someone emerging from a red mist. They are both imposing, and not very different in mood from Anthony Whishaw’s ominous painting of an apocalyptic river flood on a neighbouring wall.
Sean Scully, celebrated for his grand paintings focused on elemental blocks of colour, causes a surprise here: the left section of his exhibit sets these familiar abstract forms floating in a sea of silver paint. The power of abstraction is also demonstrated in Mali Morris’s big painting,where circles of orange, pink and green are suspended in a loosely painted void. But the exhibit most in tune with the exhibition’s ‘raw’ theme is David Nash’s Raw Elm Frame (left), a chunky block of cracked, ageing wood resting its formidable weight on an equally robust base.