Richmond Library Space, 415 Church St, Richmond
Up Close and Far Away - paintings in oils on canvas
11 October - 12 December 2011
On 18 October I visited Richmond Library to see the exhibition of work by Laurie Collins. This was really two exhibitions in one. In the case at the entrance to the library was the display of sculptures and then in the library proper was the wall of works on paper.
First I shall write about the sculpture. In all, there were ten works, all in metal and round about twenty centimetres in height. Each work was a carefully thought out little gem, and what made it even more interesting was the fact that the artist had written a little text with each work to explain the history and thinking behind the design. I felt that the subjects were inspired from his life experiences and each one was a memory sensitively interpreted.
My favourite was the Floating girl. She flew through the air with her bright red dress blowing in the breeze. Funny and joyful. Loved it! Next in line for me was Proud, the new father pushing his baby in the pram. I have often seen that body language in new parents and I thought he has just captured that perfectly.
Laurie's great strength in all the works, both in metal or on paper, is his ability to capture the attitude of the subject at a given moment, as in Hula Girl or Voice of the Machine. There is just something in the angles at which the figures are placed, which gives them life and consequently speaks to the viewer. Many a farmer out there would have a chuckle viewing A Fine Crop of forks!
Of the works on paper, there were thirteen. For these works, Laurie has used a most unusual medium, biro and coloured washes. Biro is a very unforgiving medium and it takes a brave draftsman to handle it. However, Laurie seems very comfortable and confident in using it.
Three of these works featured my very favourite subject, CATS. One was a lovely study of The Meeting (Big Ginge and Sally). I take it these two have a special friendship. It was drawn with affection for his subject. Perhaps Little Grey is a new member of the family. He lies confidently curled up on his cushion. How could I not love drawings like these.
Once again in these small portrait studies, the ability to capture the moment comes across. Wary (Julie) and The Wind (Linda) are great examples of this. Katherine (That Expression) looking a little impatient, and Alice (Bubble Girl) blowing bubbles, express once again, their mood just at that moment.
The colour in the works on paper was subdued where it should be as in the portrait studies, but lively in such subjects as Summer. I felt that it was a happy exhibition. It had humour, sensitivity and skill.
Review by Yvonne Patton