By Anita SmithExhibition at 'The Gallery'

The Gallery, 41 Stanhope St, Liverpool L8
Till 20th August 2010

Reviewed by Gayna Rose Madder

The Gallery is rapidly becoming one of the most successful independent art spaces in the North West. The selection of works in the current group exhibition, though eclectic, demonstrates the consistency of quality which has continued since the venue opened, just a few months ago.

Among the established artists showing is Martin Jones, whose acrylic paintings indicate a broad range and ability. Perhaps best known for his illustrative and fantasy pieces, works such as his 'View of Three Graces' prove his more traditional painterly skills; while 'Graduation', one of his popular tree paintings, is executed in his own inimitable style.

George Jones (no relation!) is well known for his dynamic illustrations and cartoons, particularly those in his own version of the modern Japanese style. More surprising to find here are his witty and beautifully-finished cartoons and drawings in pen and watercolour.

Photography seems to be an area which proves difficult to sell. Yet Anita Smith's moody and atmospheric landscapes (photograph above) are well worth taking the time to look at in depth. She has an unusual eye for colour combinations and has captured these with precision.

Keith Smith (relation - her husband!) is a prolific and successful painter, specialising in local scenes. Many of his portrayals of Liverpool architecture and street scenes have already been sold, but those remaining are well worth investigating.

Some distinct schools of painting are on show here. Anna di Scala's statement says that Picasso is an influence; but her acrylic-on-canvas nudes here are distinctly in the style of Modigliani

Keeping fans of Cubism happy is Charlie Frais, his intricate paintings revealing the 'shapes within shapes' this artist is known for. There has been much interest in 'Forgive me for the sins done in my name', where, on closer study, the political and/ or religious overtones present in much of his work become more overt.

Micheline Robinson' s brightly-coloured works often convey a sense of optimism and hope. Her painstakingly constructed, mixed-media-on-canvas 'Love of life' and 'In the beginning', in oil and acrylic (unusually) charmingly combine a childlike atmosphere with a clear and mature style.

Other well-known artists showing include Sophie Green, Clifford Sayer, Peter Cameron, Christine Enright, Mike Kirby, Pete Lynes, Edna Stewart, James Cosgrove, Denise Nuttall and Sharon Bentley. Many have prints available as well as original paintings or drawings. Lots of pieces have already been sold which, in these times, is a strong indicator of the quality of the work.

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