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Outside the Gates of Eden

January 20, 2014

“Mood Swings”, the exhibition of sculpture and paintings by Bob Dylan at the Halcyon Gallery in central London, ends soon – it’s on until 25th January. At seventy-three, Dylan still has creative energy by the truck-load and the physical energy to paint vast canvases and weld heavy structures.

Quotation and images are from the catalogue, which can be browsed here.

Dylan 1

I’ve been around iron all my life ever since I was a kid. I was born and raised in iron ore country – where you could breathe it and smell it every day. And I’ve always worked with it in one form or another.

Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference.

Dylan 2

Every piece includes Dylan’s “Black Buffalo Ironworks” signature logo – seen here on the middle of the bottom rail of the right-hand gate.

Dylan 3

In addition to the iron works (gates, tables and wall-hung pieces), there is a basement room of paintings from the “Side Tracks” series. The catalogue can be browsed here. These are large canvases in an impressionist style, showing train tracks running into the distance in a hot dry landscape with a few shaky shacks and huge incandescent skies that glow like an iron-furnace. I was reminded of evening glimpses of an open furnace at the Sheldon Bar steel-works in the Potteries when I was a student at Keele in the 60s. These paintings contain no human figures. I prefer them to his portraits.

On the mezzanine floor is a display of Dylan’s satirical “Revisionist Art”, silkscreen prints of subverted popular magazine covers. These too are large-scale pieces. Catalogue here.

In the Halcyon’s other gallery on the opposite side of New Bond Street, we saw more of Dylan’s paintings, prints from Miro, Dali and Warhol, and some kinetic sculptures in bronze from the “Love Series” by Lorenzo Quinn. The photos on his website show the beauty of these pieces but not the mesmerising effect as they rock on their plinths. “Love” rocks slowly and serenely, “Finding Love” in a more urgent manner.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 20, 2014 5:22 pm

    Very interesting Ama, thanks for this. I like the iron gates a lot. Not a fan of his voice though…

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