29th April to 2nd May 2017
PS45, 45 Preston Street, Exeter, EX1 1DF
Open 10.30-4.30pm each day
This exhibition shows a selection of Margaret Dean’s major works chosen from her career as a visual artist since she trained at Liverpool College of Art in the late fifties. It was a great time to be an art student and the colleges were hotbeds of rebellion and freedom, simultaneously providing some excellent tuition.
After some years working and teaching in the Liverpool area, in 1973, Margaret had the good fortune to be offered exceptional studio space in Bluehayes House in Devon. The house belonged to an internationally known curator who worked at the Guggenheim and Whitney Galleries in New York, and was often used to clean and restore paintings from major players in the New York School. Her use of that facility was to last for the next twenty years.
With one exception, the work on display dates from that time to the present day. However for those who think they are familiar with Margaret’s work, and novitiates, there are many bold surprises.
Demonstrating the handling of both oil and acrylic paint with skill, the most impressive paintings on show are large in scale, the most successful of which are quite unsettling. For example ‘The Time Machine’ where a surprisingly plastic, classical, tardis rests in immaculately tended parkland for what or Who? The colour register is beautifully handled.
Nearby in ‘The Bar at 15.00 hours’ a dancer rests with her hand behind her on the bar, whilst we are also given a rear view of her in the mirrored wall. The only figure in this room, she wears an eye-mask! The composition is striking and we see more passages of beautifully handled colour in the wall beside her.
‘Bluehayes House’ also makes an appearance here, where the artist can show off her considerable skills as a draughts woman in creating an image of the elegant empty house. A large area of foreground is given to immaculately mown strips of lawn, leading our eyes right up to the subject; sadly there is no one in.
More recently Margaret created an extensive series (sixteen works) of paintings based on the life of the Aviator Amy Johnson. A group of works from this series are on show, and they unravel a narrative of the life of Johnson, including her dreams and aspirations, during her epic flight to Australia in 1930.
These demonstrate the artist’s intellectual curiosity with history and science weaving around a romance. Without the sinister edge of the earlier works, and the absence of figures, these works are warm, inhabited and fantastical all at the same time.
The piece de resistance of the show is ‘Kings Feast’ a large, fabulous, still life. A riot of colour and restless detail, so expressively handled.
Throughout her career Margaret has studied the female figure and a selection of smaller works are on show which demonstrate her understanding of anatomy and her skill in defining the light on her subject.
— Maggie Giraud FRSA
Margaret Dean The Bar
Margaret Dean Route Australia
Margaret Dean The King’s Feast
Click to view Margaret’s page
May 7th to 21st 2017
Town Mill, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3PU
Open 10.30 – 4.30 pm each day
Curated by Deborah Wood, The Art Room
Robert Organ was born in Somerset in 1933. He studied at the West of England College of Art, Bristol and the Slade School of Fine Art in London where in ‘54 he became a Slade Scholar. It was here, under the tutelage of George Sweet and Claude Rogers that Roberts’ natural talent as a draughtsman and painter were honed.
In 1957 he moved to Cornwall and taught painting and drawing at Falmouth School of Art alongside his old Slade friend, Francis Hewlett. Together with Michael Finn they developed Falmouth into a major art school with a national reputation for excellence that attracted many illustrious teachers.
Robert left the School of Art in 1973 and pursued a parallel career in architecture, working firstly with his brother Tim Organ as ‘Artist and Constructor’. Their expressive forms and daring designs marked them as leading contemporary architects and their work received much attention in books and articles. Later he formed ‘Architecton’ with Colin Harvey and Paul Richold.
During this period he was tutor at the Architectural Association in London; in the department of architecture at Bristol University; Cambridge University and visiting lecturer at the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. As his reputation grew he was invited to make a number of films for the BBC which were transmitted under the ‘Open Door’ and ‘Outlook’ series.
After several years, because of difficulties with planning, Robert gave up designing buildings’ and turned his attention to painting full-time. In 1978 he became artist in residence at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter who hold a number of significant large paintings in their permanent collection. Over the next few decades he had many solo shows in notable galleries such as Beaux Arts in Bath, Newlyn Orion in Cornwall and a particularly long standing relationship with Browse & Darby, Cork Street, London.
At 84, Robert is still painting, continuing his life-long pursuit of looking and painting subjects that interest him. He is particularly interested in people, human expression and behaviour, and is one of the few artists working today who have the skills to transfer these nuances into paint. He is also a master of the still-life arrangement and has produced magnificent large painting of round tables bursting with objects and food of all descriptions.
In this exhibition we see Robert’s love of nature, superbly rendered new paintings of golden carp, verdant gardens and his beloved French landscape.