Anita Austwick, Across the River, Oil on canvas, 91 x 91cm
Solo Show at the Modern Artists Gallery - 1st to 30th November - City Music
REFLECTING A CHANGING CITY - Trevor Cotton - art critic
Anita Austwick at The Modern Artists Gallery Berkshire.
On entering Peggy Gibson's gallery situated at the bottom of Whitchurch Hill - one is confronted by a veritable riot of colour. "Reflecting a Changing City" by Latvian artist Anita Austwick is her most colourful yet - all those brilliant hues, bright blues, ravishing reds,bedecked with splashes of light from yawning yellows.
This exhibition is centred around the life and vitallity of two twinned cities, London and New York - with the latter haunts the legacy of 11th September, a ghostly presence, fortunately seen in the background of the twin towers.
But the overall impression remains of colour, of the vibrancy of life and the beating pulse of modern city life. One can recall something of the work of poets such as Thom Gunn in celebrating the vitality of urban places and the rich colours of Van Gogh's Cafe at Arles.
And yet amidst the brutalism of todays cities with their confrontational, no holds barred, modern architecture, the artist Anita has brilliantly sought out beauty, the beauty of light and movement. Her work both contrasts and yet shows the similarities of the big city life of her two restless subjects - London and New York. Not for Anita the dull drab vistus of those gloomy sombre rainswept days in capital cities.
Two images which particulary excite and engross are the two very large expanses of contrasting colour - perhaps aimed at the corporate wall-space - of London in blue seen from the Embankment looking across Westminster bridge, yet tinged with yellow highlights - and of New York in red, shading from pink to purple seen looking across Brooklyn bridge with those shadowy towers on the skyline - as was.
But my special favourite entitled "Sunset over London" a scene of rest and repose, capturing a precious moment of pink and orange tinged sunset looking across Big Ben into Parliament Square.
Then again "Late Shopping" takes the eye, a rich panorama of the end of day as shadowy pedestrians red buses and black cabs rush to complete their journeying.
Finally perhaps the Austwick eye and treatment would do well to focus on and be of great benefit to other of our great cities in the UK and abroad in finding life colour and vitality admidst the urban environment.