Art Exhibition Review:
Alban Low's Exhibition Art Of Folk, At TwickFolk, Twickenham,
Middlesex TW1, Sunday 27th January 2013
TwickFolk Folk Club, Twickenham present

Alban Low's Exhibition Art Of Folk


TwickFolk Folk Club
The Cabbage Patch Pub
67 London Road, Twickenham, Middx. TW1 3SZ
Sunday 27th January 2013, 6pm
with music by
Alan Franks (with Charlotte Moore) 7-7.30pm



Date of Review: 2013/01/28





Art Of Folk Brochure
From the brochure for Art Of Folk
All images by kind permission of the artist and © Alban Low. All rights reserved.

Alban Low: Jacquelyn Hynes
Alban Low: Jacquelyn Hynes, flautist. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Please note that sizes indicated here are as exhibited.
Alban Low's Exhibition Art Of Folk, At TwickFolk, Twickenham,
Middlesex TW1, Sunday 27th January 2013

I have been fortunate and indeed privileged to have been collaborating with Alban Low, with him illustrating reviews of musical events of a variety of 'genres' - jazz, folk jazz, classical, cabaret - that we have attended together, for a while now, and further privileged and honoured that he has consented to be Rainlore's World's Artist in Residence. His illustrations on this site have caused a sensation both among visitors and the musicians concerned.

Thus, I had been eagerly anticipating Alban Low's exhibition Art Of Folk, on Sunday 27th January, at TwickFolk, Twickenham, for some time, being the result of his six-month residency at this renowned folk club. Low's specialty is jazz musicians, and so it was especially interesting to see his work here outside his comfort zone, as it were.

Alban Low: Dick Gaughan
Alban Low: Dick Gaughan. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 42 x 59.4 cm in 50 x 80 cm studio frame.

Arriving a few minutes late, I was pleased to observe that the large room in which the exhibition took place was already filled to capacity. Evidently, overhearing the odd conversation, some people had travelled far and wide to attend Low's exhibition.

Three of the twenty images on display immediately grabbed the attention upon entering.

These were the two large prints of Dick Gaughan, familiar from the poster, front of brochure, and other publicity material, and David Francey, and the standard sized print of Miranda Sykes which stood out with its strong, deep purple background that energised it. And one doesn't see a lady playing the double bass, especially in folk circles, an image that was rather pleasing in itself.
Top

 

What has always struck me most about Low's images, and indeed struck here, is their great fluidity, for want of a better description. Those 'squiggles,' as I have heard them called, seem to uncannily come alive as it were, the imagination is made to see the person or persons almost move and play or sing. By their nature, these images capture a whole series of moments, and thus they seem animated, more like an animation almost than a still image.

Alban Low: Brooks Williams
Alban Low: Brooks Williams. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Fil Campbell
Alban Low: Fil Campbell. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.

More than a kind of 'on-the-hoof' portraiture, Low's work strikes as a kind of moving reportage. It captures and says so much more than a mere photograph ever could.

Another thing that is most striking indeed about Low's work is a certain similarity, or rather, affinity, to that of Andy Warhol. Not in style or technique, understand, but in principle. Warhol strove for reproducible art, art attainable by the masses. Low has achieved exactly this. And personally, I do prefer his illustrations, his reportages, to a can of soup or fizzy drink any day.

Alban Low: Liz Simcock
Alban Low: Liz Simcock. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Garry Smith
Alban Low: Garry Smith. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Willy Porter
Alban Low: Willy Porter. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Duck Baker
Alban Low: Duck Baker. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Eric Brace
Alban Low: Eric Brace. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Alan Franks
Alban Low: Alan Franks. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.

The technique he employs is something that tends to intrigue people, and Low gets asked about it frequently. Sometimes, people try to guess that it's all done in a certain popular imaging programme on computer. However, it would be entirely impossible to replicate Low's images purely through computer software, which is actually quite limited in what can be achieved with it.

According to Low, his technique is complex and compound, and the results ultimately 'hopefully a blend of technique, inspiration and the music.' The procedure is, sketching 'live' in a sketchbook, then ink and tracing paper, then adding gouache for some colour on the front and back of the tracing paper, followed by digitising, then adding extra details in software and/or making changes to background colour etc., and finally 'posterising' in software.

Alban Low: David Francey
Alban Low: David Francey. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper.
42 x 59.4 cm in 50 x 80 cm studio frame.
 


Alban Low: Sue Graves
Alban Low: Sue Graves. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper.
28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Rex PrestonAlban Low: Rex Preston. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.

The twenty prints on show in Alban Low's Art Of Folk exhibition (nineteen of which are shown here - the twentieth, a composite of Low's sketchbook of his TwickFolk Twickenham residency, was too finely detailed to reproduce satisfactorily here) were attractively mounted in standard black studio frames. The framed prints were offered for sale also, and by the close gaps had started appearing on the walls.

Unframed prints were also available from a stall in the centre of the room, along with merchandise such as superb, blank greetings cards featuring the images on display, and excellent quality, low-priced TwickFolk Twickenham t-shirts featuring the image of Dick Gaughan on the front. (For the former, see the note at the end of this review, for the t-shirts please contact the club.) You, too, can now own artwork by Alban Low!

Alban Low: Chris Serjeant
Alban Low: Chris Serjeant. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Jack Harris
Alban Low: Jack Harris. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Tom Kitching
Alban Low: Tom Kitching. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.
Alban Low: Paul Micklethwaite
Alban Low: Paul Micklethwaite. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper. 28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.

The images of folk musicians in Low's Art Of Folk show were every last bit as fascinating as his more usual jazz work, and of the same superb high standard. Two of the images were black on white, the composite of his sketchbook and the image of Duck Baker, while one, of Tom Kitching, was white on black. Of these, the one of Duck Baker, particularly stood out for its immense energy, bordering on the demoniac. It just would not keep still, it seemed!

Alban Low: Miranda Sykes
Alban Low: Miranda Sykes. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper.
28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.

Other images that particularly stood out for their high energy included those of Dick Gaughan, David Francey, and Miranda Sykes. The last of course, as already observed, also stood out as one of the relatively few images not involving a guitar, with its splendid double bass. Also notable for non-guitar portrayals were Jacquelyn Hynes, flute, the only one of these musicians that I had actually had the pleasure to have heard before; Garry Smith, metal resonator guitar (aka Dobro), whose reputation for his skill on this wonderful instrument had preceded him, and a couple of whose songs I was lucky enough to catch at the regular TwickFolk session in another room of The Cabbage Patch pub after the exhibition; Rex Preston, Irish bouzouki; and Tom Kitching, fiddle.

Between approximately 7 and 7.30pm, the folk atmosphere of the exhibition was further enhanced by an excellent performance by the renowned Alan Franks with Charlotte Moore.

If there was one thing I rather regretted about Alban Low's Art Of Folk exhibition, it is that it should have stretched to at least three days, or two or three consecutive Sundays. But I also appreciate that this must have been a very difficult undertaking for a folk club as was. And I certainly would like to congratulate TwickFolk Twickenham on their considerable achievement in mounting this show at all, never mind doing so as excellently as they did. Well done, TwickFolk Twickenham!

 


Alban Low: Josh Harty
Alban Low: Josh Harty. Print on glossy 220g/sq. m paper.
28.6 x 44 cm in 40 x 50 cm studio frame.

Fundamentally, Alban Low's Art Of Folk show has to be rated an unqualified, huge success. A series of truly stunning images from Low's six-month residency at TwickFolk Twickenham, where he spent Sundays sketching away, beautifully displayed in the most appropriate possible setting, a folk club. And it could not have been better attended.

High quality prints (unframed only), sized 28.6 x 44 cm, signed by the artist, are available of each painting at extraordinarily affordable prices. Price is £15 each (+£2.20 P&P anywhere in the world). Free P&P on multiple orders.
A special discounted price of £12 each is available to readers of this review if they quote 'Rainlore' with their order. Offer good while stocks last. Prints of Alban Low's work are published by the prestigious and illustrious Sampson Low Ltd. publishing company. For sales and enquiries contact Sampson Low Ltd.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Gerry Evans and TwickFolk Twickenham for their cordial welcome and kind hospitality.


© 2013 Rainlore's World / Rainlore. All rights reserved.
 

 

Acknowledgements and Info

I would like to express my sincere thanks to Alban Low for kindly supplying the images shown here.

All images are © Alban Low and all rights reserved.

More on Alban Low here:
www.albanlow.co.uk/
Alban Low's Folk Blog
Alban Low's Jazz Blog
twitter @albanart
Prints at Sampson Low Ltd, and prints from this exhibition here

Top
All original content except where stated otherwise © Rainlore's World/Rainlore.
All rights reserved.

All original art, web design and realisation, except where stated otherwise, by Logo - scarlet Eyebis . All rights reserved.