Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment

Alison Turnbull At ArtSway, Station Road, Sway, Hampshire, until 20 November

A previous group of Alison Turnbull's paintings all incorporated architectural plans, embedded like ideograms at the heart of each canvas (AJ 28.09.00). Before that, Turnbull was very much an abstract artist, making works that, at first, sometimes looked just to be monochromes but that slowly revealed all sorts of painterly subtleties, in addition to colours you would never find on a chart. But Turnbull didn't relinquish those subtleties once she began featuring plans - and the results were intriguing.

Though you never forgot for a moment that you were looking at a painting rather than a diagram, the plan still made itself felt, with its shorthand for a built (or envisioned) world beyond the walls of Turnbull's studio. The gallery was full of architectural ghosts.

In Turnbull's absorbing show of new paintings and drawings at Tony Fretton's ArtSway, the plans are now of botanical gardens rather than buildings, although one of them, Site, conflates the two, representing the garden at Ventnor but also the old tuberculosis hospital that stood there - a layering that has long been fundamental to Turnbull's art, where preparatory drawing is often still visible beneath later coats of colour.

And whether it's the zeitgeist or simply a response to her floral subjects, Turnbull now shows a similar interest in ornament to Herzog & de Meuron or Caruso St John (AJ 06.10.05), though mechanical repetition is always subservient to her personal touch, as her Black Borders drawings make clear.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.