The Law Society art group’s annual exhibition is a key indicator for the state of the profession. Obiter certainly wondered where legal aid cuts and the Mitchell judgment would leave solicitors’ creative preferences: a retreat to the certainties of sentiment, beauty and constructivist art? Or a more spontaneous, painterly, approach?
First, proof that market ‘experts’ have been over-using the metaphor about the ebbing tide revealing who’s wearing a swimming costume: nudes are very well represented. Striking among them is Richard Davidson’s Nude and Pey Kan Su’s unclad but painterly Man Standing – the latter holding on to a pole, presumably to avoid injury in the post-LASPO world.
Other spontaneous pieces include Ruth Munby’s exuberant View from Lambeth and Michael Newman’s painting of a spaniel, Spike (for which the only comment Obiter can think of is ‘cute!’). And, as most works are for sale, can signs of a sustained recovery be read into the confident pricing (£500) of IA Bax’s small oil A Lawyer’s Wedding?
Anyone seeking to get into Lord Grabiner QC’s good books may consider buying Maggie Clarke’s Colour Composition – a mixed media depiction of the Master’s Lodge at Clare College, Cambridge, where the noble silk takes up residence later this year.
There’s just a small touch of politics, notably a sculpture of a bath plug by Kat Joseph, entitled Dear BP: Concerning Mexico. Though Richard Davidson’s striking picture Shirt (the shirt is empty yet wearing a tie) may be subversive – Obiter couldn’t decide.
Obiter’s favourites? Oil painting Albert Embankment by Jon Corballis (which uses something of an Edward Seago colour palette), a fairly flawless watercolour by John Joseph, River Cennen & Alder Tree, and Linda Zelin’s soapstone modernist carving Figure 1 (Unique) all stood out. The exhibition runs until 24 January in the Law Society Reading Room.