John Hoyland RA, 'Memories of Rain' Photo: John Bodkin/DawkinsColour Arranged by Allen Jones, this room at once confronts us with the feisty theme of this year’s Summer Exhibition – ‘raw’.
An enormous five-part painting by Jeffery Camp has a dramatic impact, enveloping us in his familiar territory on the wind-blown south coast of England. Poised between land, sea and sky, Camp operates like a bird hovering over the entire scene. At the age of 87, he has developed a far more free way of working, an autumnal outburst of emotion and vigour.
Allen Jones enthusiastically calls this gallery ‘the room of scribbling – the paintings here are all about expressionist gesturing. In spite of this emphasis on gesture, there’s a limited vocabulary ranging from a circular motion to stroking and jabbing. But if you put these painters together, you can see their differences. It’s not my side of the planet, so I can be free to see the merit of it.’
In this arena, Maurice Cockrill’s rhythmic, lyrical abstraction enters into a fruitful dialogue with works by Albert Irvin and John Hoyland. One entrance is flanked by two of Hoyland’s most commanding canvases: the aptly titled Blood Moon and, on the other side, Memories of Rain (above), drenched with a downpour of runny paint.
Barbara Rae, 'Scar' Photo: John Bodkin/DawkinsColourElsewhere, Barbara Rae explores her obsession with Celtic connections in a large, freely handled painting with the dramatic title Scar (right). And Sheila Girling’s Oncoming shows mysterious multi-coloured creatures on a beach with storm-ruffled waves beyond. Finally, sculpture is represented by Joe Tilson’s row of Italianate forms and Hew Locke’s Dust to Dust No. 8, an overwhelming extravaganza of bejewelled knick- knacks descending in a doomed cascade of ‘bling’.