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Art - ‘Five Approaches to Painting’

Despite the fact that ‘Five Approaches to Painting’ was still being numbered and labelled when I visited the exhibition at the Thebes Gallery on Monday (it opened two days before), the exhibition itself was very impressive, even if the gallery was a bit chaotic.

Outstanding is the work of Julian Le Bas, his charcoal drawings of sheep are simply beautiful. ‘Pregnant Ewe’ is stunning in its simplicity, and I especially like ‘Sheep with a Tree’ which is such a snip at £140 that I may pop back and buy it. Evelyn Ballantine’s pictures (gouache on paper) are striking, especially her use of bold black lines around her female figures. I especially liked ‘Seeking a Way 1’ and ‘Seeking a Way 2’ which both depict a woman leaving through a doorway, dressed slightly differently, but almost identical in their stance and their reluctance to move. Of Ballantine’s 14 paintings on show, these two are the strongest, and yet are the only ones encased in cheap clip frames that do them no justice. Martin Bentley’s figurative charcoal nudes are excellent, especially ‘Pastel Study’. Sophie Reason’s charcoal heads with smudged noses depict her daughter, her mother and her grandmother in different poses - with Samuel Beckett thrown in for good measure. Finally, David Cook’s paintings were yet to be labelled when I visited so I had to guess which ones matched the programme - but the general feel was biblical with a homage to Giotto’s fresco ‘Kiss of Judas’ in his seven ‘Giotto Kiss’ paintings and to Jan van Eyck in ‘Eyck Studies I, II and III’. KA

‘Figure Study 3’ by Martin Bentley

Thebes Gallery, Church Twitten, Lewes
When? Runs until Saturday, 4th November at 10am-5pm
How Much? Free
(t) 484214 or 484195