And per se and returns to the Ingleby Gallery for its twenty-second edition, this time pairing Liliane Tomasko’s ‘some.day’ (2016), already familiar from the previous instalment of this ongoing series, with Howard Hodgkin’s ‘Tide’ (2015-16). As is to be expected from this series the two works prove to be an interesting pair. Both the paintings focus on a subtle play of texture and colour that is not only visually striking, but also speaks to a feeling of melancholy that both Tomasko and Hodgkin’s paintings are well known for. While there are similar elements in both paintings, such as the abstracted forms and the emphasis on thick impasto brushwork, the colour schemes of the two paintings contrast marvellously: Hodgkin’s a symphony of cold blue paint, and Tomasko’s playing with much warmer red and pink hues.
There is no question that the work on show is of incredible quality, especially the Hodgkin, which despite its diminutive size has a huge visual and emotional depth (it was one of the last paintings Hodgkin made before he died). That being said there are some issues with and per se and, the most obvious of which is simply the scale of the exhibition. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel possible that an exhibition could be made up only of two works, especially two works that despite bold form and colour feel a little overwhelmed by the expanse of the grey walls that surround them. While the concept that surrounds this series of exhibitions has huge potential, what has happened at the Ingleby Gallery with And per se and is a case of concept over execution. Evidently the problem is not with the artworks, as the gallery has exhibited all manner of excellent artists from Albrecht Dürer to Louise Bourgeois, but by limiting themselves to only two works of art the gallery space inevitably feels rather empty, and as a visitor you feel slightly out of place.
And per se and has left me feeling conflicted. The works of art – both throughout the series, and specifically the Hodgkin and Tomasko currently on display – are unquestionably worth going to see, but the exhibition is held back by an execution which leaves the walls blank and, as a result, the viewers slightly blank too.
Until 24 February
Image credit: Effie Sutcliffe