Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Adam Gallery, Cork St, W1S 3NJ, until December 5th
"The Master's Bouquet "
The Frozen Woods Pastel   30" x 60"

I'm including more images than usual - a wood, a nude woman in bed, a cloud and a stranger by the sea - to illustrate how Cartwright  chooses many subjects but is defined by none of them, He works at night. The absence of daylight is reflected in moonlight in the landscapes and subdued lighting in the intimate interiors. He has the ability to transform the familiar into the mysterious, perhaps nudging us towards a forgotten experience and inviting us to be still, to reflect, even to be comforted.

Reading in Bed (Sophie) Pastel 30" x 40"
The Frozen Woods is also a pastel, an unusual medium for large works. There is an intense feeling of colour and atmosphere radiating from careful layering. Here  Sophie's curtains hanging from her four poster bed, are as fragile as gossamer and sparkle like fairy lights. She appears to be naked, a woman comfortable in her own skin, oblivious of us spectators. Her bed is enormous, dwarfing even historical royal beds we marvel  at in museums or stately houses.                                                                                                                                                            
'Tree with Cloud Pastel 30 x 40 cm

And now for something completely different: a leafless tree, askew, bare boughs spiking upwards, topped by an unlikely cloud The light reminds me of a phrase dredged up from my school girl French - entre chien et loup - that specific time of day, just before night, when the light is so dim you can't distinguish a dog from a wolf. For a moment we wonder what lies between the domestic and the wild, the familiar and the unknown, and stand at that wobbly threshold between hope and fear..

The Treasure Hunter Oil 10" x 18" 

 And lastly an oil, with one tiny Lowry-like figure crouched over his machine, intent on treasure. It reminds me of those pantomime scenes when the only decent thing for the audience to do is shout 'Look behind you'. But this beautifully painted picture may also be a morality tale.What will those mountainous cliffs of solid sparkling sea bring with them?