Back at one of my favourite galleries, both for the space, with its soaring industrial brick walls rising up to the rooflight (it was formerly a garage) and for the selection of artists in its exhibitions. The Bernard Jacobson Gallery’s recent exhibition facing out towards the Christmas windows of Fortnum and Mason was of prints and collages by one of Britain’s ‘lost’ contemporary artists Robyn Denny (1930-2014), in his day the youngest contemporary artist to be given a retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery (in 1973) and as important as Brigit Riley, Peter Blake and David Hockney.
On show were works covering fifty years of his career from 1954 to 2004, during which time he was intertwined with the ‘Swinging Sixties’ in London and was a regular exhibitor at art shows in London before moving to Los Angeles in in 1983. He then returned to London in 1990 but seems never to have regained the position that he had previously, with a new generation of artist perhaps filling the void during his absence. Did galleries in the 1980′s have the international outlook that they have today?
This reflection on the career of Robyn Denny reminds you of the complexities, inconsistencies and unpredictability of the art world.