At Last Something Different

Alan Martindale
Glaxo Neurological Centre (until 24th November 2006, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)

Reviewed by Helen Grey

The Glaxo Neurological Centre on Norton Street seems a fitting venue for the artwork of Alan Martindale. When Alan was diagnosed with epilepsy he did not dismay, but used the ‘life changing’ condition to inform and energise his artwork.

The collection – which is displayed in the entrance hall of the centre – is a group of paintings that use vivid primary colours and have a childlike essence about them. Alan’s lifelong work ethic is to ‘look with the eyes of children, animals and other innocents‘, and to ‘emphasise honesty, poetry, faith, freedom and creation‘. This is clearly visible in some of the works. ‘Redundant’ and ‘This is a nice place’ have bold and definite strokes of colour, which are overlaid by simple images of dogs and cartoon faces.

Alan’s work appears at first glance to be basic and offer little more than aesthetic value, however their appearance hides a surprising depth. They challenge the preconceptions that adults carry with them, and challenge the viewer to not take what they see for granted. ‘Can you do it’ shows a carton strip in bold yellow, blue and red. The upper section of the painting shows a farmer holding up a hen saying ‘My hen lays eggs‘. His friend replies ‘What’s so good about that?’. In the lower section the farmer answers simply ‘Can you do it?’

Alan asks the viewer to ‘view the world without preconceptions’. I think that’s a bit of advice we could all do with following.

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