Art - Martin Gayford

All week something was bothering me. For a start I never knew that Martin Gayford, the Spectator art critic who writes readable art books, was an artist himself. And secondly I couldn’t reconcile his erudite but jovial writing style with the one work I’d seen, the rather haunting image of a girl’s face superimposed into a winter tree, which we put on our last page last week. When I got to HQ to have a sneak preview of the exhibition of Gayford’s works, all was revealed. It wasn’t the same Martin Gayford. This knowledge came as something of a relief.

Martin Gayford the artist might be erudite, but he certainly isn’t jovial. His exhibition is called Young Love. There is very little colour in the work. He manages to make the Grand Canyon look bleak. He either paints oil on canvas, or takes doubly exposed photos, in which one ghostly image sits on top of the main one. There are some paintings of Belgian buildings, which strike me as having a photo-style composition about them. I later learn they are representations of 1940’s photos: one is of a deportation centre from which Belgian Jews were sent to concentration camps. I like a few of the American landscapes he has exhibited, especially when he has extended is palette a little, and I like the photographs of London, particularly the one taken outside The Tate, in which a see-through girl lights a cigarette. Perhaps, though, this is because she strongly reminds me of an ex girlfriend. Who knows why we like or don’t like artworks? Go see for yourself. AL

City 1: Martin Gayford returns to Mechelen, the holiday town of his youth

HQ Gallery, 15 St John St, Lewes
When? Open 10.30-5pm Tues-Sat, 1pm-5pm Sun
How Much? Photos £215, paintings from £465-£800

HQ Gallery
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