Frank Kiely @ the Menier Gallery

27 July 2012

To the Menier Gallery on Southwark Street – part of the converted Menier Chocolate Factory, a lovely Victorian building which also houses a bar and restaurant and theatre. The small, light and airy gallery is showing an exhibition of prints by Irish artist Frank Kiely.

He makes prints, mostly of London scenes, based on photographs which he then redraws, thus combining figurative accuracy with an appealing craft element.

His sister showed me round the exhibition, explaining the process of screenprinting and pointing out the many little jokes smuggled into the prints such as the one with a lot of frogs hidden in it, or the frequent references to his three year-old son, Pablo.

All the prints are on sale, some from a few hundred pounds, the big ones for one to two grand.

Chatting with Frank’s sister, I decided I liked the ones which are black and white except for just one coloured object (some have a number of colorised elements). Often these are cars, though there are also buses, a concrete mixer or static objects. The colour draws your eye to the featured image and the best prints all had in common that the image was a) more or less central and b) itself a handsome or striking object and c) rendered in detail. Some of the buses or cars didn’t quite justify the weight put on them by the pictures. But plenty did, like these lovely phone boxes in Leicester Square.

Leicester Square by Frank Kiely

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