Mandell's Gallery current exhibition
John Link Legacy Paintings
Mandell’s Gallery is pleased to host a retrospective exhibition of paintings by John Link. With a successful career entwined in the theatre, John Link’s paintings are inspired by his love of Shakespeare. This exhibition shows the journey from his first works directly inspired by theatrical plays, through to his last paintings which are full of powerful, vivid colours, featuring evocative characters with a suggested narrative, often for the viewer to interpret. John called these his legacy paintings.
Sadly John passed away in August 2021. This exhibition celebrates his career as an artist.
An exhibition catalogue is available for purchase from the gallery
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Mandell’s Gallery is pleased to host an exhibition of John Link's paintings 2-30 April 2022
A catalogue is available for purchase
John Link 1941 – 2021
John had a successful career entwined in the theatre he trained for three years as an actor at Rose Bruford College. Although he then realised he did not want to be an actor he did discover directing and for 30 years, John worked as a theatre director and TV producer, starting with repertory theatre productions in the north of England before moving to London and Thames TV. In 1996 John taught at LAMDA. He was director and senior tutor, and he remained there for 15 years. John directed many productions, but while teaching was a big part of his work, he was also preparing students for life – he had found something that he was brilliant at, and he just flew!
In his mid 60s a doctor friend told him that he was taking on all the students’ problems and that he needed to learn to relax – why didn’t he take up golf? Golf wasn’t for John, but on the way home he bought a canvas, having decided to try painting. In the early 2000’s John took up painting first as an outlet and to relax but it became a passion. He was almost entirely self-taught and in 2004 he began working full time as an artist. He first exhibited in London and Brighton and then Norwich after relocating there in 2018. He devoted most of his time to his studio in Norwich.
His paintings are spontaneous and free, they have an energy that conveys his own passion and love of Shakespeare and the Theatre. He used the subject he knew and loved to explore and develop his drawing and painting. Colour has always played an important part in his work however, in recent years there was a significant shift in his palette in this last series of paintings: with powerful orange, reds and yellows, lush greens and blues, John really began to experiment with colour. These final paintings John called his legacy paintings.
John’s figures are often inspired by Shakespeare characters such as Rosalind (As You Like It), Miranda (The Tempest), Isabella (Measure for Measure). John has never portrayed these characters in a precise and descriptive way but left their identity somewhat mysterious. Their faces are composed of simple lines creating wistful expressions which invite the viewer to create their own narratives. As John’s painting and palette progressed, the evocative figures and their connections to Shakespearian characters became more elusive.
His landscapes can be dreamlike and almost surreal at times, the latest, created with the strong vivid palette have a feeling of positivity and confidence. Most significantly this is represented in John’s last painting ‘Spring Cannot Be Cancelled’.
This exhibition shows the journey from his first works directly inspired by theatrical plays, through to his last paintings full of powerful, vivid colours and captivating characters.
‘The act of painting or indeed, creating, should be like
a piece of jazz improv – structured – starting from
an idea, this allows freedom to roam and find its
own outcome.’ – John Link
‘Link’s paintings are colourful, quirky, fun, but in the expressive faces, our first impression is of a pervading melancholia, “that sense of being a bit lost, damaged”. The weight of human self awareness, and our isolation as individuals, are its crux. Colour vitalises, design contains and these cushion the melancholy. There is an imagined conversation: “Who am I? Where am I going?” Pondering existence, perhaps on the verge of some liberating insight? These paintings,like Shakespeare’s plays, hold a lightness alongside an intensity and weave a curious unexpected line between them.’
Taken from a longer article by Mary Goody MA (Courtauld Institute of Art)
“I have been a fan of John Links’s work from the moment I first saw it. The portraits are bright and colourful, which I love. You know immediately which character is being portrayed, and you know there is a story there somewhere. I would fill my house with these painting if I had the room!”
‘Never before has the blossom appeared more beautiful. Greaves’s achievement in these beautiful new paintings is to remind us that with the blossom of spring comes new hope.’
Mandell’s Gallery Elm Hill, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1HN +44 (0)1603 626892
‘The act of painting or indeed, creating, should be like a piece of jazz improv – structured – starting from an idea, this allows freedom to roam and find its own outcome.’ – John Link
NORWICH SCHOOL OF PAINTERS
2 November – 23 November 2019
In the early 1950s, the founder of Mandell’s Gallery Geoffrey Allen, collected a large number of Norwich School paintings and watercolours. Geoffrey developed a keen eye, hunting around the junk shops of Norfolk where Norwich School Paintings were to be found at this time. He combined this with weekly visits to Sotheby’s, Christies and other leading London galleries and became a familiar figure around the London arts scene. In 1965 he had the chance to open a gallery of his own with Michael McKee.
The first Norwich School exhibition at Mandell’s Gallery was in 1966 and continued annually for 37 years. The Geoffrey Allen Collection has been in store, unseen for over 50 years. Now after an extensive conservation program, Mandell’s Gallery is pleased to exhibit the collection.
The Geoffrey Allen Collection is not for sale but the gallery has an extensive range of Norwich School paintings and watercolours which are available.
Now in its third generation, Mandell’s Gallery continue to support local artists, both traditional and contemporary.
JOHN ALLEN Director
6-26 March 2016
Ian Houston was the first contemporary artist to have an exhibition at Mandell’s Gallery in 1970 so we are very pleased to welcome Ian back for a solo exhibition in Mandell’s 50th year. Ian Houston has a passion for landscape and seascape which has always been one of the driving forces behind his art. Often his paintings have historic, social and economic connotations.
"The ephemeral magic of sweeping clouds, with their airy lightness and glowing brightness, often combined with the benign tranquility of a bucolic countryside or marine vista, is omnipresent and becomes imbued with lasting permanence in the art of Ian Houston.” J W. Ried
Over 50 painting will be on display in this exhibition including a series of 10 small paintings of the Norfolk Suffolk coastline. The full exhibition is available online at www.mandelsgallery.co.uk/ian-houston This exhibition is sponsored by Howes Percival.
Mandell’s Gallery, Elm Hill, Norwich NR3 1HN 01603 626892 firstname.lastname@example.org Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
BRUER TIDMAN AND BRUCE GERNAND At Mandell’s Gallery November 8 - 28 2015
An exhibition of paintings by Bruer Tidman and sculpture by Bruce Gernand
Up a narrow wooden staircase, Brüer Tidman has for many years worked in a 19th century warehouse between the river and sea in Gt Yarmouth. Stacked close and deep, his canvases entirely fill the studio, an astonishing accumulation of work, his past and preoccupations crowding in, so that to explore a path between them is a strange and beguiling performance. Colour is the first impression – always brilliant, with dazzling opacity juxtaposed with broodingly deep translucency.
There are always figures, characters sometimes faithfully described and at other times almost entirely abstracted, their features briefly scored into a floating veil of paint. There are images of those closest to the artist, notably his mother and Beth Narborough, but also many paintings and drawings of strangers, people moving through a night shelter or circus performers at the Yarmouth Hippodrome.
What binds this body of work is the enduring fascination with the body and human relationships – the illusive closeness and distances between us.
And all of this emotion is communicated with a Modern commitment to paint, the deepest layering of pigment is confounded by a range of graphic and print techniques that throw our attention back to the flatness of surface and pleasure of colour. Amanda Geitner
Bruce Gernand exhibits work from a selection from nearly two decades. For some years his work has negotiated and searched for a relation between the digital and material. Using 3D computer modelling and transferring this data into material form has been a challenge rife with welcome conundrums and paradoxes.
During his time as a Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, Bruce undertook an AHRC funded project, Coded Chimera (2011), which explored the transformation grids of D’Arcy Thompson in collaboration with the Natural History Museum and the Computer Lab at Cambridge University. The convergence of zoological form and computational strategies was guided by a rather un-scientific and poetic concept: the chimera, a composite which makes a link with a long tradition in art where unfamiliar conjunctions act as repositories of our own imaginative projections. Bruce continues to use digital modelling in a more marginal way, pursuing animal form to express our current symbolic connection to this subject matter, returning to traditional sculptural approaches: the susceptibility of process to deformation; the play between interior and outer surface, between the animate and the static.
For more information contact: Mandell’s Gallery, Elm Hill, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1HN 01603 626892 www.mandellsgallery.co.uk email@example.com
JOHN CHRISTIE at Mandell’s Gallery 28 June - 18 July 2015
Notes: Architecture and Disruptive Patterning
This exhibition is made up of work mostly completed since 2012. Architectural themes have been occupying me recently and ‘Rue du Départ’ is a series based on floor plans and isometric drawings of Mondrian’s studio (1921-36) at 26 Rue du Départ in Paris. Both ‘GRILL’ and ‘Monument’ have building and construction as their underlying themes as does ‘Windows’, a series of geometric variations for a stained glass window.
Before these architecture-based images I was working with ‘Dazzle’, a World War 1 naval camouflage system which used bold geometric patterns to visually disrupt a ship’s form and thereby (hopefully) confuse predatory enemy submarines. By the end of June 1918 more than two thousand British ships had been painted with these striking patterns. Art dealer René Gimpel described the sight of the ‘Dazzle’ camouflaged fleet in harbour as ‘like an enormous cubist painting with great sheets of ultramarine blue, black and green, sometimes parallel but more often with sharp corners cleaving into one another ...’. My long association with artist’s books, book-making and printing means that the page is never far from my thoughts and a number of works use the visual form of the double-page spread, as in the 2012 ‘Dazzle’-influenced series ‘from The Book of Deception’.
When selecting work I decided to include a few earlier pieces made following a trip to Australia in 2000. The colours of the earth there changed my ideas and working methods. At the art school in Canberra I made a large chine-collé print, ‘Take a handful of earth...’, the title a quote from the architect Glenn Murcutt and the colours, red iron oxide and yellow ochre, taken from the landscape seen below during the long flights back and forth. Once back home I graduated quickly from the powder pigments I’d brought back from Australia to the more controllable medium of chalk pastel. As a result the use of colour in my work shifted from the fundamental range of those earth pigments to the more extensive and vibrant palette offered by pastel. In addition to pastel I sometimes use the medium of rust on paper which brings its own range of beautiful, chance colours into play.
Most of these pastel works have their origins in small, one-off painted constructions where a shape is assembled from wood then sawn apart and rearranged to form a new piece from the cut fragments. The pastels are a way of making further variations in both colour and size from these constructed objects. John Christie June 2015 Selected Public Collections: works on paper, prints & artist’s books The Tate Gallery, The Victoria & Albert, The British Library, The Government Art Collection, The Yale Center for British Art, Princeton University Library, Museum van het Boek, The National Gallery of Australia.
‘Lying within the tradition of drawing, Emily’s work explores the visual language of marks. These etchings respond to the freedom of mark making in disturbing compositions that aim to capture the simplicity and satisfaction of the mark itself.
Acknowledging the compelling nature of etching, the metal plate is continually reworked. ‘Biting’ it with acid before scratching and scraping it back down to form the lights of the image and simultaneously revealing the trail of marks bitten before.’