Just one of the problems faced by Ben Levene, whose formidable task it was to hang this gallery of figurative work by members and non-members, was the huge grey sculpture by Anthony Caro that dominates the view from several angles. A similarly thorny problem was how to accommodate a huge number of paintings without making them fight among themselves. Levene tried ‘to vary the pace and mood by inserting a block of drawings every now and again. They shift the tempo and create a breathing space. They also set up a visual rhythm of tones and colours that runs throughout the room.’
Most of the work here is by members though some non-members have been included, ‘because I like to give everyone a fair crack of the whip. One of the paintings by non-members that I really like is the technically polished still-life in egg tempera by Antony Williams.’ Several of Ben Levene’s own paintings are here, among them one of a pot of Cymbidium orchids against a background enlivened by the application of gold leaf.
Mick Rooney is showing a group of characteristically strange, small and detailed modern allegories, while among Ken Howard’s paintings is a self-portrait in his Venice studio (the location is less noteworthy than the nudity). Leonard McComb’s small watercolour of a fish, so reticent that it might easily be overwhelmed by its surroundings, is worth searching out. Roy Wright’s charcoal drawing of an oak tree and Natasha Lien’s even larger view of trees in Kensington Gardens are both especially memorable.