David Gommon at The Art Stable

THE new exhibition at The Art Stable, at Gold Hill Organic Farm, Child Okeford, is a retrospective of David Gommon, (1913-87), an artist whose work was championed by Lucy Wertheim, of the Burlington Gallery.

Running from 29th April until 27th May, David Gommon: A Lifetime’s Adventure in Art, follows an exhibition in the summer of 2022 at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne which explored the life and influence of Lucy Wertheim.

She was a dynamic force in British art in the 20th century who founded the Twenties Group, and promoted young painters. The exhibition celebrated her and her protégés, with works by members of the group and a new edition of her book, Adventure in Art, expanded with new illustrations in colour and three new commissioned essays which contextualised Wertheim’s story and showed the depth of her legacy.

David Gommon owed his own life in art to this remarkable woman, who gave him a weekly allowance and painting materials, in return for the work he produced. He was free to live the life of a young artist, following his creative drive, painting every day and finding his subjects and expression.

In Dorset it was thanks to the Pooley family in Hartgrove, between Child Okeford and Shaftesbury, that he had a roof over his head, sustenance and a critical audience.

Lucy Wertheim and David Gommon remained lifelong friends; she never wavered in her conviction that he was a gifted and creative painter. She became a friend of art critic, writer and journalist Ian Mayes, who like her was always aware of the depth of David’s qualities as a painter.

A second exhibition at The Art Stable, also running to 27th May, features etchings, published last year as Late Work, together with a postcard and a stone. by Alexander Massouras (b. 1981). The etchings comprise three cycles: Midlands, Good and Bad at Waiting and Mine, which together explore the creation of narrative, particularly aspects of deferral, continuity, and repetition (respectively).

Pictured: David Gommons’ Mrs Pooley (Ascending to Heaven), 1961, oil on board; and Spring, 1977, gouache on paper.