FLOWERS GALLERY, CORK STREET until 4/10/14
|Playtime, 2013, oil on canvas, (c) John Kirby, courtesy Flowers Gallery London and New York|
|A Doll's House, 2014, (c) John Kirby, courtesy of Flowers Gallery, London and New York|
John Kirby worked at one point in a children's home run by Mother Theresa in Calcutta, and later became a social worker and a probation officer. He gives us a glimpse of a childhood of best clothes and best behaviour, of literally being seen and not heard. But this girl and this boy are being squeezed into rigid stereotypes as they move into a confusing, frightening and alien world. Above all, they are alone, set against a background as cold as a cell, possibly a reference to a nun or monk's religious cell rather than a prison. As you walk past Flowers Gallery window and into the Gallery itself, this effect is very powerful.
As a child John Kirby saw a great deal of religious art at home and in church. It was this influence, he surmises, which drew him to be a figurative artist. He reminds me of two of my favourite artists: Rene Magritte and Edward Hopper.
|B/W image of Edward Hopper's Summertime|
The Living and the Dead by John Kirky (Flowers publ) £13.95