“Joining the dots”… (a time-line), an exhibition of art and artefacts by artist Roy Adcock in Dunkley Square, Gardens, until end May.
Inspired by Menenghelli, this new and eclectic exhibition by artist Roy Adcock showcases this artist’s work and diverse collection. It is the story of a lifetime’s investment in art, art history and the wonders created by the “hand-of-man”.
Abstract interpretations that often defy a Western mindset; incredible and moving executions that seem to engage a spiritual dimension and are strongly influenced by the likes of Picasso and many others.
The show reflects a time-journey from Classical Greek “wet look” drapery, to centuries of amazing lost-wax bronzes from the royal courts of Benin made with consummate skill in the era before electricity.
Chinese, Indian and Moroccan-carved doors, some 200 years old, with elaborate mirrors and Chinese opium weights from Macaw.
Then on through the revolutionary work of Manet, whose art created such a sensation that visitors spat at the painting of Olympia (a full-sized copy is displayed), or Van Gogh, who never sold a single work in his life, yet is today venerated like a god. And on to the powerful influences of Picasso and Matisse. Ever present.
The traditional and time-honoured skills such as found in African or Sepic (New Guinea) carvings, headdresses, ceremonial masks, shields, embroidered cloth full of spelling mistakes, beadwork and mud-printed fabric.
Kuba woven raffia designs that dazzle with abstract algorithmic complexity, hand-painted leather in complex geometry.
Balinese Ikats, wood carvings and carved sandstone panels.
These inspirations and examples are all present in the exhibition.
The time-line then moves on to a few refined, contemporary life drawings of exceptional quality and detail by an American.
Now we move with the artist to his own figurative works commenting on contemporary South African issues; Rhodes Must Fall, the loss of traditional cultural references, the failure of Western culture to fully comprehend the depth and nuance of African cultures and vice versa.
Cultures are either devalued by commercialism or superficially viewed as stereotype, or cast in a mould of simplistic and shallow “Disneyfication”. In the end no-one wins. The works often show inner colourful and eclectic worlds contrasted against an outer world of uncertainty and vulnerability.
Humanity is depicted as naked and defenceless. The “Boat-People” painting shows just such vulnerability and uncertainty with castaways in a rough sea navigating to where? Are we alone? Maybe. But the ever-watching crow indicates otherwise.
Finally, the time-line moves us to a more current (2017-2018) and exuberant universe of 26 large painted works on canvas full of colour and bold gesture, inviting a much more optimistic and free view of the world. The works are created line by line, gesture by gesture with the finger on an iPhone.
Then they are blown up on large-scale canvas and partly overpainted in oil to enhance the texture and depth. The finished result is cheerful and quite stunning in its colourful free-form expression. Matisse would approve.