Tuesday, 3 April 2012


until April 28

This kind of art asks the question
‘Is less more?’  

Unlike Michaelangelo it doesn’t arrange limbs, noses and drapery. Unlike the theatre it doesn’t ape real life. It doesn’t remind us of anything or anyone. There is nothing to see but  acrylic paint on canvas. It reminds me of sculptors like Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth who wanted to stay true to the inner beauty of the materials they worked with such as wood and stone.  
Peter Kalkhof - like Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and Bridget Riley  - have each in their different ways made us see colour anew. Kalkhof grew up in post-war Germany having experienced the Fall of Berlin as a child. He’s lived and worked as an artist in London for nearly fifty years, developing an individual vocabulary with which to tempt the viewer to engage with ‘far-reaching issues pertaining to human life in general and to the universe in which we find ourselves’. This latest show reminds us of his gift of being able to paint with optimism, enjoyment and ambition. His work is as fresh and relevant to contemporary thinking as it was for those artists in the 1960s when it all began.

This piece (Colour and Space 2008,16 parts, overall 162 x 162 cm) reminds me of some of Donald Judd’s wall sculptures. And of Phillip Glass’s music (if you don’t know his work try Glassworks or the film Koyaanisqatsi). It just stays in the room waiting to engage with us Its repetition is s oothing, meditative. Rearranged in different permutations, it all adds up to something very beautiful, even transcendent.
 bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/peter-kalkhof         a slide show of 5 paintings in the National Collection and where you can see them

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