Art Exhibition Reviews Penwith

Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque 29 JANUARY – 13 MAY 2016

Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque

Thomas Newbolt


This exhibition comprises fierce, expressionistic works- many of single female sitters on couches-apparently his models arrive at twilight and he paints them when he cannot quite see the exact colours clearly on his tubes of oil. As the introduction to the exhibition at King’s Place, London states, “Opening in conjunction with the Baroque Unwrapped music programme, Piano Nobile presents Thomas Newbolt: Drama Painting – A Modern Baroque. Immense paintings by contemporary artist Thomas Newbolt explore the very essence of painting: the paradoxes of light and dark, psyche and body, figure and ground. Such liminal spaces are where Newbolt finds a vital potency: ‘I’m interested in the emotional area the painting opens up, so when I stand back I feel it’s true’. Layering undiluted oil paint in vigorous impasto, the paintings have a physical depth mirroring their expressive complexity.” Indeed it is the case that these paintings in impastos of pure colour have an impressive presence and dignity.Thomas Newbolt 2

The figures have the sense that they are apprehensively awaiting a tense psychoanalytic session. Their long and elegant dresses have a timeless elegance about them perhaps reminiscent of Christian Schad but painted with an intensity approaching Francis Bacon. The colours are rich and vivid with an accent on vermillion or verdant dark greens against an equally strong background of intense blue or brown. There is an interesting triptych and smaller studies of heads. Dramatic, indeed, so if you are in London to see a play, take the short walk past the Guardian offices in Kings Cross to see these intriguing works.

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Art Exhibition Reviews German Matters

Louise Bourgeois. Strukturen des Daseins:Die Zellen- Haus der Kunst,München

Just 100 years after the birth of Louise Bourgeois in 1911, her work is due to be re-considered and this display at the Haus Der Kunst in Munich affords an opportunity to evaluate a small but interesting section of it.LB4

Her concerns flourished in a troubled personal and collective past. Here is revealed a land of mirrors, shadows and memory. The exhibition is dominated by large structures, perhaps up to 6m in height as cells, enclosures and gigantic spider like constructions. Their colours are sparse but significant. These units were created by Bourgeois from 1996 after the year 2000. It is impossible not to be aware from their imposing presence of surrealism, of Kafka and of both feminism and psychoanalysis. Having undergone analytical treatment, Louise Bourgeois’ work struggles with the emotions of early childhood; jealousy, fear, security, sexuality, voyeurism and mothering are prominent themes in this exhibition. The supporting frames and nesting shapes are reminiscent of her work inspired by Giacometti as well perhaps of Francis Bacon.LB_Cell_VI_01

The cells are enclosures which suggest relationships which may sometimes become claustrophobic. The insides are not entirely open to the viewer who may feel something of an intruder into a private and personal world. “Cell VI” for instance, consists of a metal stool placed inside a screen of four doors with a gap for the spectator all painted in a light blue suggests an interrogation or perhaps, self-accusation or possibly both. Seeing a number of such structures standing separately, cells or selves in isolation, portraying pre-occupation with past trauma, is reminiscent of Hesse’s evocative poem, “Der Nebel” and its daunting conclusion, “Jeder ist allein”.LB3

Yet despite the creepy insect structures, the wire netting, the discarded bottles, there is an underlying energy about Bourgeois’s work which involves the courage to confront the past. There is an implication of the possibility for communication. Bourgeois was deeply influenced by Leger who believed that together men could transform social relationships and build a better future. As D.H.Lawrence suggested, “One must learn to love, and go through a good deal of suffering to get to it, and the journey is always towards the other soul.”

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