James Hyman Photography

James Hyman Photography

On Wednesday I went to James Hyman Photography's private view of its latest exhibition 'Convulsive Beauty', which is a multi-artist show exploring the legacy of surrealists' pyschological and sexual freedom and features some cracking Brassaï and Man Ray works. The show presents vintage and contemporary photography from Atget to Anna Fox and highlights include studies of female hysteria played out in mid-twentieth century cinema, such as black and white photographs of Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren and Jane Fonda in heightened states of agitation and arousal.

The new exhibition in the adjoining James Hyman Fine Art is 'Peter de Francia's Paintings: A 90th Birthday Retrospective'. The gallery's fourth solo showcase of one of Britain's most respected painters is the first large-scale exhibition of de Francia's work since his solo show at Tate Britain in 2006.  The retrospective featured many never-shown-befores and a massive recently-rediscovered first version of 'The Bombing of Sakiet', which is his most famous painting.

I really like the breadth of his work which focuses on different aspects of humanity; the political, dark depictions of war and pain offer a stark contrast with the bustling everyday scenes portrayed in a cheerful, vivid palette. The artist himself was at the opening collecting praise and birthday gifts with a big smile on his face, which was very nice to see indeed. My favourite from the show was called 'Railway Carriage, Tunis (1960)' but I can't seem to find it online anywhere... 

CONVULSIVE BEAUTY and PETER DE FRANCIA PAINTINGS run from 6 January to 5 February 2011 - JAMES HYMAN 5 Savile Row London W1S 3PD