5 April - 17 May 2013
Under Helen Lessore’s direction the Beaux Arts had the best smell of any gallery in London. It exuded linseed oil and turpentine and told you that it was a place dedicated to painting. As a young artist growing up her son John must have inhaled it and absorbed the lingering odours of exhibitions by Auerbach, Kossoff and others of the School of London. In addition, with Sickert as his uncle he had developed a sturdy set of values, albeit out of kilter with today’s relativism. From childhood he had known that there was more to painting than novel imagery and meretricious ironies and in the words of Bill Gregory, his contemplative paintings occupy “an extreme position in contemporary art: the view that in painting it is all there if you have the eyes to see it”.
One might equally call him a contrarian, not least because of his devotion to the familiar. Without didactic intent he abjures the sensational, the nihilistic and the transgressive, preferring to capture the remarkable in ostensibly homely events: as Michael Peppiatt defined it, “the magic in the ordinary, the memorable in the everyday”. Whether it is a group of women seen from his studio in Peckham or sunbathers on the beach at Collioure, the light (often softly out of focus) and the colour (often subdued) is sensitively calibrated. Moreover, his earthy, limited palette domestic scenes, many from Norfolk, powerfully evoke Dutch 17th century interiors.
Works in the exhibition are for sale. Click here to download a price list.
Image Studio with Two Easels, oil on canvas, 76 x 56cm © John Lessore
EVENTS Saturday Art Club - 13 and 20 April from 10am-12noon
Wednesday Evening Lecture - Art of the Fresco - 17 April at 6pm
Sunday Study Day - Art and Folklore - 28 April from 11am-3pm
Wednesday Evening Lecture - Fra Angelico - 8 May at 6pm
Monday – Thursday 10am – 5pm
Friday and Saturday 10am – 4pm Admission Free T 0191 227 4424 E firstname.lastname@example.org University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST