London Art Fair 2015, Business Design Centre in Islington

Previewing tonight and continuing until Sunday, London Art Fair is the UK’s premier Modern British and contemporary art fair.

The 27th edition of the Fair features 128 galleries and takes place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, from 21-25 January 2015, open until 9pm some nights.


One thousand three hundred and five  2014

at England & Co (stand 28)

More information here:

Matisse Cut-Outs, Tate Modern

It is difficult to dislike the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition. This expressive and colourful display of creativity and passion is currently livening up the white walls of Tate Modern.

This show features work from the final chapter of Matisse’s life. When the artist began to get ill in the 1940s, he became unable to paint and so swapped his brush for scissors initiating a new medium of paper cut-outs. After undergoing a crucial and risky operation in 1941, he felt he had been given another chance and a second life, explaining perhaps why his final works are so celebratory and liberated. He depicts subjects of wonder and fascination on both a small and huge scale.Although flat, the energetic shapes and patterns seem to create a magical depth and as you look longer the compositions appear more complex and the patterns become more intriguing.

I have always loved the work of Matisse, reminding me of long summers in the South of France, where I often saw his paintings in Nice or Vence. The collages are something I discovered later, but love equally, simple works but with an amazing ability to capture the imagination.

Every piece in this Tate Modern show exudes happiness… dancing figures and exotic creatures, beautiful shapes and joyful colours. We witness the artist’s studio layout, the decorative Oceania paper scene that covered the walls. The blue nudes are simple and classic, studies of the female form that work in tandem with Matisse’s earlier sculpted nudes, similar in pose and mood. The psychedelic Jazz prints are loud and humorous, depicting scenes from the circus and theatre.

Amazingly as Matisse grew older and his mobility became more limited, his technique seems to loosen and broaden… his final works show a surge in energy with a greater sense of movement and power. Bigger works such as the Snail are emotive and triumphant, he describes it as ‘abstraction rooted in reality’. The roughly torn pieces of paper are arranged in a playful spiral, the giant masterpiece manages to evoke a tiny creature.

Even now the shapes, shades and patterns remain imprinted on my memory. This is a cheerful and life-affirming collection of works, offering a colourful glimpse into the mind of Matisse.

Continues until 7th September 2014, book here.

Sketch, Lecture Room & Library, Mayfair

There is so much to say about Sketch, and so much that has already been said. One thing is for sure… it is unlike any other venue in London, with enough style and swagger to make you quake in your boots. Pierre Gagnaire is the Willy Wonka of the restaurant world creating magical and imaginative food that will make your heart race and your jaw drop.

This Mayfair restaurant wows from the instant you step inside…  beautiful wallpapers, glittering lighting, impressive sculptures and wonderfully wacky modern artwork fills this converted Georgian townhouse.

The most desirable of the dining options is undoubtedly the Michelin awarded Lecture Room & Library. The menu has a distinctive style, adapted from Gagnaire’s renowned eatery in Paris. Each of the a la carte dishes is presented as a series of culinary ideas…. a very thoughtful way of cooking which fully explores the flavour and uses of the ingredients.

After exquisitely inventive cocktails in the waiting parlour we were escorted to our table. The meal began in a flurry of craziness: plates, bowls and dishes of artful nibbles, miniatures to intrigue the palate.

My White Autumn starter was more bizarre than brilliant, a study on the flavours of cauliflower, onions and grapes… paired with lassi ice-cream, camembert chantilly and bechamel. The wintery whiteness of the food was startling and beautiful, but the tepid temperature almost alarming. The Hare Terrine option was more appetising… an assortment of more familiar flavours, the sweet onion gratin was a particularly delicious component.

For main course the meat menu offers: pig, deer, lamb or beef. We chose Pig and Deer, both warming and rich. Contradicting all expectations the meats are presented and adapted to catch the guest out. The duo of star anise and Japanese squash intensified the flavour of the deer loin while the crunchy pig ear with kimchi and black Radish looked and tasted unlike anything I have ever encountered before.

Cheese was perhaps the most titillating course… a dual trolley offering selections of British cheeses and French alternatives. Diners are invited to choose from the British but are treated to slices from both boards. Needless to say it was a delicious exercise in contrast and comparison.

My dessert was a fairground of delights: seven bowls of different shapes and sizes were arranged delicately on the table in front of me ready for tasting. Some were divine, others tastes to acquire… roasted pineapple with ricotta and coconut milk and lemon parfait with olive oil and candied angelica mousseline were particularly memorable.

Prepare for a sensory ride, surprises of every kind await you… as we emerged into the grubby London street, I couldn’t help feeling I was leaving Narnia behind me, an unforgettable world of fabulousness and foolery.

Sketch is found at 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG. Book months in advance, save up for years in preparation.