British art beyond mere eccentricity

June 15 1997

 The Japan Times, Sunday June 15 1997

 

 

“British art beyond mere eccentricity” by Arturo Silva 

“British Art Now” is an ambitious, complex show featuring five artists now on in Tokyo. It’s complex in the number of venues where the art is being exhibited, as well as in the seminars and workshops being held.” 

The five artists in the show are Alexandra Calinescu, Gordon Hon, Simon James, David Stewart and Fraser Taylor. Though not overly eccentric, they are certainly perse. 

Calinescu makes strong, emotional paintings with titles like “So Do I Mourn and Hang My Head” and Earth of the Night.” Mixed media (sand? Glue? Oils?) are layered on canvas to form arcing, swirling shapes that have equal areas of dark and light. On one hand they have an “I’ve seen that before” quality but the more one let’s one’s attention wander (instead of focus), they become intensely personal - and universal. They are very much landscapes – and hence within one of the British art’s great traditions – but more so are they landscapes of the unconscious. (One hesitates to say dreamscapes because that implies some discernable figures.)