Building Sites: Auerbach, Bevan, Chamberlain, Johnson

2 August - 15 September 2006

Over the last year and a half building work in the centre of Mason's Yard has made it almost impossible for business to continue or for visitors to even enter the yard. The present exhibition reflects on the realities of construction in the modern city. 

Frank Auerbach's depiction of a London building site consists of mounds of paint that are an equivalent to the earth itself. The scaffolding provides a powerful structure but man and machine are subsumed by the sheer mess of the excavation and the scale of the construction. Building work may come with promises of something better, and undertakings may be made about considerate development, but what Auerbach emphasises is the all-engulfing impact of this work.

Tony Bevan's architectural paintings possess a sense of order and strength. Walls may be absent and the building may possess no specific function, but the skeleton is strong and resilient, well able to survive the surrounding turmoil.

Lewis Chamberlain's latest painting includes a toy crane, rusting and battered from use, that suggests the child's excitement at the tumult of the building site. Here construction is rendered as a children's game with boxes serving as buildings. Construction is an amusement, something without consequence to others.

Glenys Johnson, in her most recent paintings, presents a city in flux. Buildings dissolve in and out of focus to suggest the ever changing cityscape of London. Cranes dominate the buildings, their linearity forming a counterpart to the awkwardly shaped new buildings crammed beneath them.