For the Silly Season I've set myself the challenge of visiting a different art exhibition on every day of the month and blogging about it.

Wednesday 19 August

Exhibition: A Selection of Modern & Contemporary Art
Place: Crane Kalman Gallery

The Crane Kalman Gallery was founded in a former Manchester bomb shelter just after the war by a Hungarian refugee and struggling tennis coach, Andras Kalman. There never was a Mr Crane. A typesetter misread Kalman’s handwriting so that instead of “The new Kalman Gallery” the newspaper announced “Crane Kalman Gallery”.  Kalman liked the name and kept it.  

The gallery moved to London in the 1950s and is a lovely place, quite intimate and very friendly. It’s noted for its advocacy of a slightly awkward strand of British 20th century art, modernist but representational and a little quirky. So it’s no surprise to find the summer selection showing there this August includes work by L.S Lowry, Edward Burra, Alfred Wallis and Mary Newcomb.

Burra.jpg Public House by Edward Burra.  

The best piece here, for me, is an ambitious Burra watercolour A Public House which dates from 1946. It’s difficult see in my low res snapshot because under glass but I found it delightful and typical of the off-beat social commentary you get with Burra. Amidst the nicely observed drinkers, sitting around the coke stove with pleasantly pickled beery faces, stands an extraordinary anomaly, a white figure who looks like the ghost of Miss Havisham. To say what she might mean would require further study.

Lowry.JPG Two People by L.S. Lowry

The little Lowry is of two figures dressed in black. The woman wears a veil or headscarf: is she a nun? And if so, is he then a priest? There are no further clues.

Mary_Newcomb.JPG Parakeet with Fresh Cherries by Mary Newcomb

Two oil paintings by Mary Newcomb (1922-2008) are in the gallery window, making them difficult to see and harder to take a snapshot of. Kalman was an admirer of this artist, much of whose work is about English rural life. I am too.

Posted on August 21st, 2015


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