Struck gold

AFTER one or two rather ‘obscure’ exhibitions in recent times the Jerwood has at last struck gold with a show of high quality and broad appeal.

Comprising British figurative and abstract art from the 20th and 21st century there are many famous artists on view including works by Lowry, Bratby, Sickert, Piper, Spencer and many more - a rare treat for Hastings.

This show is welcome antidote to some of the crazy stuff that claims to be art and plagues our galleries. I have nothing against abstract art, installations,human sculptures,and the many other forms of contemporary art, but among the good stuff there is so much nonsense and rubbish - peddled by people jumping on the bandwagon - which often leaves me feeling disappointed and angry.

This exhibition put the ‘feel good factor’ back in me - its about the craft of good painting whether observed or imagined, figurative or abstract, a good deal of the works are by ‘proper artists’ who’ve learned their trade.

We live in times when its often deemed as ‘not cool’ to wax lyrical about ‘traditional’ paintings, perhapes being seen as sentimental and old fashioned, but this show proves its anything but with some really tough pieces on display including a massive charcoal portrait by Anita Taylor called Resigned.

This picture really does paint 1,000 words with a face that’s been through the mill so many times and yet still remains dignified! In contrast there’s big bold impasto still lifes by Bratby full of colour and impact, war artists Piper and spencer reflect those dark days in oils and watercolours and local boy Mick Rooney excites with his beautifully crafted and surreal six footers.

There’s also a few good quality abstracts on dispay plus many more to enjoy. All good art should mirror the world we live in, stir our emotions in some way and for me this exhibition did just that.

My visit was topped off by a visit to the café where as I sipped my tea and looked through the huge panoramic window I was lucky enough to witness the sun bursting through the clouds and dance along the sea front towards Pelham Crescent revealing flashes of brightly coloured buildings and rugged cliffs, with the dark edifice of the castle looming on high.

Truly exhilarating - even the Tate Gallery can’t boast a view like that.

MICHAEL FUNNELL

Wishing Tree Road

St Leonards