Sunday, 2 February 2014

Jerwood Collection Revealed: Hastings Battleaxe recommends....

     Just a quick up-date. Go and see the 'Jerwood revealed' exhibition!
      It was actually sunny today, so we went for a prowl round the Old Town before lunch and Jerwood viewing. Great excitement in George Street - the side of someone's house had collapsed just above the big wall at the back of Butler's Gap. The Fire Brigade were there and had cordoned the place off. This is the second such incident in two days. Yesterday there was a landslide in White Rock and several properties there are now unsafe. If it stays this wet for much longer, Hastings will start slowly sliding down to the sea.....
     Anyway, back to the Jerwood. They have redone the cafe - in grey with yellow accents, and bright red netting lampshades. The tables and chairs are now brown wood. It actually looks much better - warmer, more domestic, less stark.
     For this exhibition, they have got almost the whole Jerwood Collection out on display, plus a room full of
Alfred Wallis - Two Boats
Alfred Wallis, mostly on loan from Kettle's Yard in Cambridge. I don't usually reckon much to Wallis, but it did feel like a very good place to hang his work, next to the view of the fishing beach out of the window. St Ives, where Wallis came from, has got very touristy and sanitised. I think he'd feel at home on the Hastings Stade.
     The first pleasing thing that struck me about the exhibition was that the walls were full of paintings, instead of acres of empty white space. There was plenty to look at, and even some sculptures in cases.  They have made a partition in the big room downstairs and painted some walls grey - it looks much more friendly and welcoming.
     I don't think the Jerwood should be afraid of leaving much more of their collection out on display on a permanent basis. Commercially, I think it would be more interesting for more visitors. The collection is the Jerwood's strength - that is what people want to see. Speaking personally, I like to revisit paintings, and to become familiar with them. I regard my favourites as 'friends', and I don't get fed up of seeing them over and over again.  
    I think for the first time I left the Gallery thinking that what was on view was genuinely satisfying - it was sufficiently dense, and sufficiently interesting.
    Here are a few of my personal favourites. There are more, but I can't find them on Google.
Alfred Wolmark - the Flatiron Building
Dod Proctor





John Bratby




Maggie Hambling
Elizabeth Adela Stanhope-Forbes