Still Lives, Lenkiewicz, summarised

2011-05-31, , , Comments


I bumped into Nick in the RWA gallery at lunch time. He happened to be there because he wanted to see the damage done to the David Backhouse sculpture at the front of the building, and then he’d realised there was an exhibition on, and entry was free. So why not?

I told Nick he was lucky, this was the final day of the Lenkiewicz exhibition. It seemed ironic that the publicity resulting from an act of vandalism should draw someone into a show which should have been more than capable of generating its own buzz.

I’ve visited the show a number of times and I want to record my response now it’s over.

It is quite stunning. It has been a privilege to enjoy the work of one person displayed with the space and scale it deserves. Lenkiewicz’s skill as a painter is breathtaking. He paints people, fabrics, ghosts, lemons, interiors, mirrors, memento mori. He does colour. He arranges. He goes large. He paints details.

Mr Earl, funeral director, and family, in coffin warehouse

The huge canvases in the main halls which arrange vagrants, the elderly, the disabled, in classical tableaux; these were my favourites at first. I especially like the burial of John Kynance and the funeral director’s family group portrait posed in the coffin warehouse. I tend to skip through the next room, the one where the artist paints himself with naked women draped around him. Increasingly I dwell in the final room, the one with the solo portraits. Here characters like Albert Ernest Fisher, known as “The Bishop”, who appear in various roles elsewhere in the exhibition, figure simply as themselves.

Robbie, by Robert Lenkiewicz