Who is a fan of The Phantom? If you are than you must go and see The Phantom Show at Newcastle Art Gallery. Now I admit that I’m not a die-hard having never picked up a comic (well I have though it was an Archie) but it’s not a problem. This travelling exhibition is all about fun and appreciating some great capabilities with medium. Apparently 40 years ago when our gallery was a spring chicken it was host to the first Phantom show and Peter Kingston, one of the original artists has come back to curate alongside Dietmar Lederwasch.
Plenty of locals have managed to squeeze onto the walls of the gallery and their work is often a highlight of the exhibition. Michael Bell is always a favourite of mine. He’s the artist that always harnesses the fun spirit alongside great painting techniques. MB’s canvases truly suit the soul of the event. Tony Abbott as The Phantom had me chuckling. This sculpture by John Turier captures the political times to perfection. I also found the humour of Dino Consalvo’s Phantom appealing. Both Turier and Consalvo have exhibitions at ASW this year Turier’s opening 1st July and Consalvo’s in September.
I was pleasantly surprised to find an interpretation by Elisabeth Cummings. The portrait is intense, the sitter (which is the curator himself Peter Kingston) seeming to study the artist with resignation almost. Her use of the paint would make it seem the work was rapidly executed and it works well. I particularly like the background. This artist is a living treasure.
I also have to include the work of Euan Macleod whose layered painting is heavy with texture and storytelling. His capacity to incorporate what would appear to be a comic strip into a painting and also create a stand out composition is considerable.
I might add here that the exhibition is dominated by the male of the artist species with only a smattering of female’s gracing the walls. With the lower floor of the gallery dedicated to the female abstraction exhibition it is a balancing act of sorts. We’re a spoilt city at present with the gallery bursting with history and brilliant art. It’s just a shame those funds for its extension seem to be as evasive as ever.
Anyway get in to see The Phantom before 20th August.
Yours in art for the time being…