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Friday, 3 December 2010

About all those free drinks I mentioned ... and the secret life of Adam Hargreaves

Let me ask you: do you love the English countryside? The winter landscape on the right for example.

Do you, like me, prefer it to what I saw in the Saatchi Gallery last year - a pile of old clothes masquerading as art?

I love it. It's painted by someone I've never met - but was surprised to discover. His name is Adam Hargreaves.

The reason I was surprised to discover him is that he is famous for something that could hardly be more different than this painting. He is the author and illustrator of the Mr Men and Little Miss series of children's books (he is the son of their creator). But as you see, he's an extremely talented painter of landscapes like this.

It is his secret side.

The reference I made yesterday to free drinks in ever-so-fashionable Notting Hill was really about his second one man show in London, at the West Eleven Gallery, just off Portobello Road.

He had a show last year in Covent Garden which sold out. The picture I show gives you an idea of his work. Calm, even subdued celebrations of nature’s small corners and grand moments. Nothing pretentious, but immensely appealing.

It's almost impossible to write about art without sounding utterly phoney, so I'd better stop now before I start writing rubbish. However, much of the fashionable stuff nowadays has something serious missing. It is called competence. All you need is an idea - "let's put a pile of chicken shit in a fridge and say it represents the consumer society" - and that's it, job done.

Having ideas is not hard. A friend and I used to play a game called "Let's have 20 ideas for businesses over lunch" - and nothing is easier. The trouble comes when you have to carry them out. This is the bit a lot of modern art doesn't bother with. It's "conceptual" art - just have the idea, no skill needed to execute.

Enough from me. If you like stuff that does call for skill and sensitivity, you can see Adam's new paintings next week.

WHERE: The West Eleven Gallery in Notting Hill -
5 Blenheim Crescent London W11 2EE
WHEN: from 7th to 11th December.
Private View: 5 - 9PM Tuesday 7 December

Further viewing at 10am to 6pm, 7 - 11 December
 with a late night opening on Thursday 9 December till 9pm

You can find out more at www.adamhargreavespaintings.com or from TheOneWeekArtShow on 01892 852394 or email kay@theoneweekartshow.com.

And just in case any nasty suspicions crept into your mind, no, I have no interest in this, financial or otherwise. I just like his work. And somehow countryside scenes are so right at this time of the year.

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