Banksy exhibition draws crowds in Harrogate
Source: Wetherby News, written by Graham Chalmers
27th November 2011
IT'S not often you laugh out loud at an exhibition, writes Graham Chalmers...
It happened at the start of the year on a visit to The Baltic in Gateshead to view a restrospective of Fluxus, now it's happening here in a slightly more petite setting for a current master of subversion, Banksy.
We've mostly moved on from the days when the idea of graffiti in a gallery seemed (a) radical or (b) insulting.
But a good gag is a good gag and Banksy is as funny as any stand-up.
What gives this gem of an exhibition its punch, is the points the jokes make.
The skill doesn't just lie in the cutting nature of his condemnation of 'corporate culture' and 'globalisation' from what once would have been called a 'left wing perspective' but in the sharpness of his observations of the world around him everyday.
The Tesco flag planted in a whiteout North Pole. A packed House of Commons full of monkeys, not MPs. That poor young girl covered in napalm from the famous Vietnam War photo now portrayed running hand -in-hand with Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald.
Despite his respectable status these days, anonymous and mysterious Banksy still works in the street because he is still from the street, well I assume so. . . no one really knows.
The only doubt that remains about this dynamite exhibition presented by RedHouse Originals is whether these prints will retain their piquancy in the future in a different age with a different set of issues or whether they revert to mere graffiti.
In compete contrast to the modernity of Banksy, the new collection of oils and pastels by gallery owner John Mackie himself is as traditional as the hills.
His fuzzy and warm portraits of the rooftops of Aix en Provence in early evening, the imposing Ponti Vecchio in Florence and the snow-covered main street in Haworth are exactly what you'd expect from an internationally-exhibited, Glaswegian-born artist in thrall to the French Impressionists and Scottish colourists - except for one thing.
The colours. Such is his skill with those bricks and flicks of burning oranges, golden yellows and imperious purples that they seem to shimmer and vibrate right off the canvas and into your heart with as much energy and vigour as the Banksys themselves.
The exhibition runs until December 5. Opening hours Mon-Sat 11am-5.30pm.