This morning I hoofed down to Mayfair to photograph the installation of an exhibition at the Timothy Taylor Gallery. The artist is Alex Katz, who I always associate with the highly stylized portraits of Blur he did for one of their album covers: pop art for Brit Pop.
This new exhibition is called 'Black Paintings', portraits in oils on linen, all with black backgrounds. Just as Rembrandt and all the old masters knew, the power of a person's face and body set against a black background concentrates the eye and the mind. Unlike the very flat pop art portraits he did earlier, these are quite painterly with visible brush strokes.
I particularly loved this painting, 'Nicole'. In this shot it is seen heavily cropped and with the corners of other canvases framing it. I like this kind of work where you can play with the shapes. As this wall was filled with panoramic canvases, each with one or two figures, there was plenty of black canvas to arrange against the white walls and focus attention on the woman in red.
Sadly, although Alex Katz was directing the installation of the work, he didn't want to pose for photographs. At the age of 87 he looks twenty years younger and is clearly still on an artistic roll. The rest of my photos are on Demotix.
Anna Watson: photographer, parent, juggler