Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Clive McCartney at Catto Gallery

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 12th May, 2011

‘Before a picture becomes a view of something — a table and chair — it is an abstract assemblage of lines, tones, shapes and colours,’ the artist Clive McCartney writes in the catalogue to his new exhibition, which opened at Catto Gallery in Hampstead this evening. ‘That tension between depicting something real and the abstract language used to construct the picture is what really interests me.’ Sometimes the words of  painters about their own works leave me baffled, but in this case I could see exactly what he means. Many of McCartney’s subjects are familiar places: the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi, the Place des Vosges in Paris, the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. But the play of light gives new insights over often empty spaces; even when there are people in view, their faces are blurred, anonymous. Two of the most striking paintings are of the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London and Grand Central Station in New York — the artist as observer, invisible to those below, with a very particular take on things.



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