Featuring the work of nine very different artists, Painters’ Painters reveals that it has been possible for the practise to evolve even if the focus of the art world has moved away from it.
As you weave your way around this fascinating if slightly clinical approached exhibition, it is easy to see the way in which painting still has the power to influence our thoughts and outlook of life in a more practical way than any other form of art.
In the first gallery, Raffi Kalenderian’s work is an explosion of colour and bold brushstrokes that suggest a contemporary approach to painting but at the same time when you stand back it still has a very traditional vibe about it. Work such as Spirit Guides and Sunflowers isn’t so much focused on the detail, rather the overall impression of the image apparently wanting the viewer to have a rich and more meaningful experience looking at the painting.
But in stark contrast to this, Richard Aldrich’s work is slightly more stubborn in the fact that it doesn’t have a particular style or approach that can leave visitors feeling slightly cold and lacking in impact. It is very frustrating looking at pieces such as Boy with Machines and Past, Present and Future and not to understand what Aldrich was trying to achieve.
All this changes in the third gallery, featuring the work of Dexter Dalwood. Pieces such as Brian Jones’ Swimming Pool and Bay of Pigs for example take a mixture of different techniques associated with tradition of history painting and combining them to make something completely refreshing and different, creating a collage effect that looks like a puzzle that has been put randomly together.
Throughout this exhibition there is an explosion of life and colour, which particularly comes through in Martin Maloney’s work, which includes Public Sculpture , which might exaggerate the faces but this isn’t the point. His work captures ordinary lives in every day situations that are completely relatable and surprisingly comforting to look at.
While the exhibition is strong in terms of the work that has been selected for display, it would have also been interesting to discover what the artist’s themselves had to say about their approach to painting and where they think painting fits in with the world today.
There is no doubting how bold and visionary this exhibition is, yet equally it doesn’t feel as though it is putting forward a strong enough message about the importance of painting in confronting hard issues facing the world.
Painters’ Painters is on display at the Saatchi Gallery until the 28th February 2017. For more information visit: http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/paint/