Albemarle Gallery

‘Artistic temperament is the refuge of the amateur’, so said Oscar Wilde and The Winter Salon at the Albemarle Gallery is no refuge, . The ‘new horses’ on display in this group show have an impressive parentage and the work presented is accomplished and sensible, if variable in their impact. The works are being tried out amongst the established collectors for which the gallery in known, and they wait nervously for approval. At the back of the first floor, like blushing debutantes, a collection of works by Fred Fabre stands out the most. Not entirely expected in the context, the work is a feat of colour and ambiguous disposition. I learn that the work pays homage to British landscape greats – Nash, Palmer, Constable but this only goes as far as subject. I can read Nash into the work more. Colour and Line are the most important features in Fabre’s work, as well as a thorough comprehension of the power of the image (Nash created propaganda for the war effort amongst other things). He has also, peculiarly, captured the movement of landscape leaving the observer to remember something about being outside. There is an energy too in the way that Fabre has painted light. This is a boon for the Londoner who rarely ventures beyond Kew. It isn’t a surprise then that Fabre began his varied career as a war journalist and as director of photography. He is serious in turning this experience into art. Warhole did it too – understood the power the image can have on psychology. If these things are concerning Fabre now, I look forward where he goes with it. Hopefully the debutante will blossom.