A new solo exhibition of paintings by Julian Bell which he describes as ‘a hymn to the great 21st century city which is London'...

A tired single mum cradles her infant and a remote control, their faces lit by a desktop screen, while London at night is laid out beneath the window. An office intern performs his prayers on a rooftop, the City of London with its tall buildings and cranes before him. A venerable London church sits quietly in the moonlight, kept company by a sleeping homeless man and a security guard glimpsed through a nearby office window . . .

These are some of the scenes from When The City Is Built, thirty new paintings by Julian Bell, which he describes as ‘a hymn to the great 21st century city which is London’.

Each painting, with its own terse one-word title (Flightpath, Bridge, etc), stands alone as a work of art. Together, they form a panorama of one day in the metropolis as experienced by a handful of imagined people. The story that holds them together – one with emotional, political and spiritual resonances – is meant to be written not on the page but purely in the viewers’ minds.  The paintings veer from personal and intimate experiences to the public sphere: a rooftop bar, business meetings, a supermarket checkout, a passport queue.

Beyond the foregrounded stories, it is clear that the real subject is London and that the exhibition reflects the artist’s love of the city and his curiosity in people.

For more information please visit https://www.sarahokane.co.uk

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