The Easel

25th June 2019

Interpreting Oscar Murillo

Murillo is going places. Backed by a prominent collector he can boast notable auction results. He has frecently been nominated for Britain’s Turner Prize. However, only a few critics have reviewed his current show, one of them describing it as “rubbish”. A reaction to unfamiliar art? If so, this reviewer shares it, saying the work is “perhaps Murillo’s means of dealing with [his] anxieties”.

Bartolomé Bermejo: Beat the Devil

The art world in the fifteenth century was focused on Italy. Spain, provincial, was ignored. Bermejo took advantage of this to develop his own style – somewhat similar to Flemish masters like van Eyck. His works show intricate detail and a mastery of oil painting. One work, recently restored, is “one of the supreme works of art produced in all of Europe in the fifteenth century.”

The Colorful Waves Generated by Mohamed Melehi and the Casablanca Art School

Hard-edged abstraction, as Frank Stella conceived it, was macho. Melehi, part of the same New York circle in the early 60’s, saw something different – a resonance with “the abstraction inherent in Islamic art.” Back in Morocco he pioneered an aesthetic that married abstraction with Berber craft motifs. A new chapter in the culture of independent Morocco had begun.

18th June 2019

Dame Paula Rego: Will Gompertz reviews Obedience and Defiance in Milton Keynes

Paula Rego doesn’t do mild. Intense is closer to the mark, especially works dealing with issues – like abortion – that affect women. In these works, and others, her female figures seem empowered. The renowned “dog-woman” series shows female figures in dog-like poses, yet all possessed of an indomitable spirit. As one critic says “exhilarating, at times alarming”.