Catto’s Christmas Crackers
Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 1st December, 2011
The Catto Gallery in Hampstead traditionally offers an artistic pot pourri in December, and the Christmas Selection exhibition that opened there this evening is no exception. The variety of the artists shown is startling, both in medium and style. I really loved the bronze scultpures of animals by Joseph Paxton and could happily have walked off with his Spaniel (which actually reminded me of our own late lamented red setter, Baggs), were it not for the five-figure price tag. The other top scorer in my notebook also chose the natural world as his theme; Robert Davies’s massive yet intricately drawn pencil on paper sketches are quite stunning. The bull ‘Marmite’ is amazingly large and powerful (apart from a slightly strange hind leg), though I can quite understand why the Catto Gallery chose his goose ‘Paul’ for the exhbition catalogue’s cover. A Christmas tree, decorated in discreet tiny white lights — in sharp contrast to the multicoloured canvasses of Derek Balmer and Chuck Elliott nearby — also reminded us of the season, despite the mild weather, the kir, the prosecco and delicious canapés. I left before the guitarist present began to play, but it was good to chat to cartoonist and local Hampstead resident Ken Pyne, who contributes regularly to the Ham & High, as well as to The Oldie, like me.
[illustration: Robert Davies's 'Paul' -- the goose]